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The Boston Globe

William Pounds, the former dean of the MIT Sloan School of Management who was “famous for being willing to approach and talk to anybody,” has died at age 95. “As an administrator, he wanted to guide business school graduates to become able leaders of corporations like the ones where he had worked," writes Bryan Marquard for The Boston Globe.

The Boston Globe

MIT alumnus Julian Bussgang SM ’52 - an entrepreneur, researcher and teacher who wrote about his experience escaping Poland during the Holocaust - has died at age 98, reports Bryan Marquard for The Boston Globe. “I have been one of the lucky ones. I survived,” wrote Bussgang in his memoir, adding that “the Holocaust still affected me. Lurking in the depth of my soul, there is a gnawing sorrow and haunting memories.”

Nature

Nature contributor David Chandler writes about the late Prof. Edward Fredkin and his impact on computer science and physics. “Fredkin took things even further, concluding that the whole Universe could actually be seen as a kind of computer,” explains Chandler. “In his view, it was a ‘cellular automaton’: a collection of computational bits, or cells, that can flip states according to a defined set of rules determined by the states of the cells around them. Over time, these simple rules can give rise to all the complexities of the cosmos — even life.”

The Boston Globe

Gus Solomons Jr. '61, a “groundbreaking force in modern dance” has died at 84, reports Bryan Marquard for The Boston Globe. “Teacher, student, dancer, and choreographer, [Solomons Jr.] was based in New York City and commuted to Boston to spend each Tuesday teaching,” writes Marquard. “Performances with numerous dance groups in both cities packed his calendar, even before he made history as the first Black member of the legendary Merce Cunningham Dance Company.”

New York Times

Gus Solomons Jr. ’61, “a leading figure in modern and postmodern dance,” has died at 84, reports Gia Kourlas for The New York Times. Solomons began dancing at age 4, but didn’t begin training until he was a first year student at MIT, where he earned a degree in architecture. “Over his long career, Mr. Solomons danced with many companies and many choreographers, including Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham,” Kourlas notes. “He broke ground as the first Black dancer to join the Cunningham company.”

The New York Times

Former MIT Prof. Edward Fredkin, “a pioneer in artificial intelligence and a maverick theorist,” has died at 88, reports Alex Williams for The New York Times. Williams notes that Fredkin, who worked on Project MAC during his time at MIT, was “fueled by a seemingly limitless scientific imagination and a blithe indifference to conventional thinking.” Prof. Gerald Sussman recalls that “Ed Fredkin had more ideas per day than most people have in a month.”

Associated Press

Prof. John Goodenough, who shared the 2019 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work developing the lithium-ion battery, has died at age 100, reports Jim Vertuno for the AP. Goodenough “began his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where his research laid the groundwork for development of random-access memory for the digital computer.”

The Washington Post

Washington Post reporter Brian Murphy memorializes the life and work of Prof. John Goodenough, who worked at MIT Lincoln Laboratory for over 20 years. Goodenough was “an American scientist who shared a Nobel Prize for helping create the lithium-ion battery that powered the mobile tech revolution and provides the juice for electric cars, but who later raised worries about a design that relies on scarce natural resources,” writes Murphy.

The New York Times

New York Times reporter Robert D. McFadden highlights the work of Prof. John Goodenough, a scientist who worked at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory for over 20 years and played a “crucial role in developing the revolutionary lithium-ion battery” has died at age 100. “At MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory in the 1950s and ’60s, he was a member of teams that helped lay the groundwork for random access memory (RAM) in computers and developed plans for the nation’s first air defense system,” writes McFadden.

Nature

Astrophysicist Frank Shu '63, who is credited with making pivotal contributions to our understanding of galaxies and star formation, has died at the age of 79, reports Douglas Lin and Fred Adams for Nature. “For the past dozen years, his concern about the climate crisis led him to study the use of molten-salt reactors to generate energy from nuclear waste and to convert waste biomass into inert products that can be sequestered, removing carbon from the atmosphere,” write Lin and Adams.

The New York Times

Virginia Norwood ’47, an aerospace pioneer who designed and championed the scanner used to map and study the earth from space, has died at 96, reports Dylan Loeb McClain for The New York Times. Using her invention, the Landsat Satellite program has been able to capture images of the planet that provide “powerful visual evidence of climate change, deforestation and other shifts affecting the planet’s well-being,” writes McClain.

The New York Times

Adjunct Professor Emeritus Mel King, a political activist whose 1983 mayoral campaign helped ease racial tensions in Boston, has died at 94, reports Richard Sandomir for The New York Times. King’s work included “teaching in the urban studies and planning department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1970 to 1996,” writes Sandomir. “There, he started a Community Fellows Program for leaders nationwide.”

The Boston Globe

Prof. Emeritus Nelson Kiang, a scientist and educator who pioneered research into how humans hear, has died at 93, reports Bryan Marquard for The Boston Globe. “Kiang’s research ultimately helped form some of the foundation for other research into hearing, including the design and refinement of hearing aids and cochlear implants,” writes Marquard.

NPR

NPR reporter Kaitlyn Radde spotlights the life and work of Virginia Norwood ’47, “a founding figure in satellite land imaging who developed technology to scan the surface of the moon for safe landing sites and map our planet from space.” Norwood was known as the "Mother of Landsat” for her work developing the Multispectral Scanner System that flew on the first Landsat satellite.

The Washington Post

Virginia Norwood ’47, “a pioneering aerospace engineer who used design innovations, emerging technologies and seasoned intuition in projects that scanned the lunar surface for safe Apollo landing sites and mapped the Earth from space with digital imagery never before seen,” has died at 96, reports Brian Murphy for The Washington Post. “Over a four-decade career that began with slide rules and moved into the age of computer modeling, Ms. Norwood became known as a resourceful problem solver who often hit upon simple but effective solutions,” Murphy writes.