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Awards, honors and fellowships

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Forbes

Prof. Roger Levy, Prof. Tracy Slatyer and Prof. Martin Wainwright are among the 2024 John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship recipients, reports Michael T. Nietzel for Forbes. “The new fellows represent 52 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields and are affiliated with 84 academic institutions,” writes Nietzel.

The Boston Globe

Prof. Roger Levy, Prof. Tracy Slatyer and Prof. Martin Wainwright have been awarded John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowships, reports Mark Feeney for The Boston Globe. A Guggenheim fellowship “is one of the most sought-after honors in academe, the arts, and culture,” explains Feeney. “It helps underwrite a proposed art or scholarly project.”

Science

Science reporter Jennifer Sills asked scientists to answer the question: “Imagine that you meet all of your research goals. Describe the impact of your research from the perspective of a person, animal, plant, place, object, or entity that has benefited from your success.” Xiangkun (Elvis) Cao, a Schmidt Science Fellow in the MIT Department of Chemical Engineering, shares his response from a photon’s perspective. “I am a photon,” writes Cao. “I started my journey entangled with my significant other at the beginning of the Universe. In the past, humans couldn’t understand me, but then physicists created a quantum computer. At last, I have been reunited with my life partner!”

Boston Magazine

A number of MIT faculty and alumni – including Prof. Daniela Rus, Prof. Regina Barzilay, Research Affiliate Haddad Habib, Research Scientist Lex Fridman, Marc Raibert PhD '77, former Postdoc Rana El Kaliouby and Ray Kurzweil '70 – have been named key figures “at the forefront of Boston’s AI revolution,” reports Wyndham Lewis for Boston Magazine. These researchers are “driving progress and reshaping the way we live,” writes Lewis.

Boston.com

Prof. Feng Zhang has been named to STAT’s 2024 STATUS List, which highlights the leaders shaping the future of health and life sciences, reports Dialynn Dwyer for Boston.com. “Among the companies he’s co-founded is Editas Medicine, which as of late 2023 was now the official holder of patent rights to the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing tool used in the sickle cell therapy Casgevy, and Aera Therapeutics, which in February 2023 raised $193 million in venture funding to develop protein nanoparticles as a way of delivering gene editing,” Dwyer writes.

DesignBoom

La Biennale di Venezia’s Board of Directors has named Prof. Carlo Ratti as the curator for the 19th International Architecture Exhibition, reports DesignBoom. “Recognized as one of the leading scholars in urban planning, Ratti has co-authored more than 750 publications,” notes DesignBoom, adding that his, “involvement in curatorial projects spans various countries and prestigious platforms.”

Slate

David Zipper, a senior fellow at the MIT Mobility Initiative, writes for Slate about the “continually expanding size of the typical American automobile” and the deadly consequences of car bloat. “In 1977, SUVs and trucks together represented 23 percent of American new car sales; today they comprise more than 80 percent,” writes Zipper. “Meanwhile, the models themselves keep getting larger. These four-wheeled behemoths started as niche vehicles, meant to allow certain groups of people to accomplish specific tasks. Today they have become a fixture of everyday American life. They are also linked to myriad societal ills, from crash deaths to climate change to social inequality. Bigger cars make each of those problems harder to solve.”

Forbes

Lisa Su BS, MS ’91, PhD ’94, the CEO of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), has been named to the Forbes 2023 Future of Work list for her, “technological chops and management savvy [techniques that] helped orchestrate a case-study worthy turnaround at AMD,” reports Jena McGregor for Forbes. The Forbes list, “highlights 50 leaders, executives, thinkers and teams rethinking the world of work at a time when everything – from the job market’s future to AI’s impact to a college degree’s value – feels more uncertain than ever.”

The Boston Globe

President Biden has awarded Prof. Emeritus Subra Suresh ScD '81, the former dean of the MIT School of Engineering, the National Medal of Science for his “pioneering research across engineering, physical sciences, and life sciences,” reports Alexa Gagosz for The Boston Globe. Prof. James Fujimoto '79, SM '81, PhD '84, research affiliate Eric Swanson SM '84, and David Huang '85, SM '89, PhD '93 were awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, “the nation’s highest award for technical achievement.”

Nature

Nature reporter Neil Savage speaks with former members of Prof. Moungi Bawendi’s research group about their work with Bawendi on synthesizing quantum dots. Manoj Nirmal PhD '96 recalls how, “what I was really intrigued and fascinated by was, it was very different than anything else that was happening in the [chemistry] department.” Christopher Murray PhD '95 rejoiced in the Nobel Prize announcement, saying, “It’s extremely exciting to see that what [Moungi] built is recognized as part of the Nobel prize.”

CBC News

Prof. Moungi Bawendi, recipient of the 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, speaks with CBC Quirks & Quacks host Bob McDonald about his work in quantum dots and nanotechnology. “I really want to stress that the beginning of this field, we were interested in this because it was a brand new material, it was a size region that no one had investigated before,” says Bawendi. “This was before people talked about nanoscience and nanotechnology, we were just very curious how the properties evolved from the molecular properties… to the bulk properties.”

AFP

Prof. Moungi Bawendi shares his thoughts at an MIT press conference after being named a recipient of the 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, reports the AFP. “None of us who started this field could have predicted 30 years later, it would be where we are today,” says Bawendi. “And you know it’s just amazing to me. If you have really great people working on a brand new field with brand new materials, innovation comes out in directions that you can’t predict.”

The Wall Street Journal

Prof. Moungi Bawendi has been named a recipient of the 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work and contributions to the field of quantum dots and nanotechnology, reports Brianna Abbott for The Wall Street Journal. “To understand the physics, which was the motivation, we had to create the material,” says Bawendi. “I would never have thought that you could make them at such a large scale and that they would actually make a difference in the consumer area.”

WBUR

Prof. Moungi Bawendi, one of the winners of the 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, speaks with Lisa Mullins of WBUR’s All Things Considered. “It's a lot of hard work, a lot of perseverance, and sometimes, you know, you'll work for a few years without seeing any results at all. And then the results come maybe just in a few weeks, and suddenly it happens,” says Bawendi of his advice to students on dealing with progress and failures in their research. “Believing in the end point and just, you know, when things don't work, learning how to solve problems and go maybe a little slightly different direction."