Awards and honors


Dr. Chiang Chung Mei, Edmund K. Turner Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, received the International Coastal Engineering Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) at the group's annual convention in San Diego.

The annual award recognized Dr. Mei's "outstanding research and teaching contributions to coastal engineering." His past work in coastal and oceanographic engineering has been published in the book, The Applied Dynamics of Ocean Surface Wave.

Dr. Mei's main focus is the theoretical fluid dynamics of sea waves. His analytical and numerical theory of wave diffraction and radiation by large bodies has been applied to the wave forces and motion of offshore structures.

Recipient of many awards, Dr. Mei was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1986. He received the Moffatt-Nichol Award from ASCE in 1992.

A prestigious award has been presented to Dr. Robert J. Thomas, senior lecturer in the Sloan School of Management, for his book, What Machines Can't Do: Politics and Technology in the Industrial Enterprise (University of California Press, 1994).

To win the C. Wright Mills Award, a book must critically address an issue of contemporary public importance; bring to the topic a fresh, imaginative perspective; advance social science understanding of the topic; display a theoretically informed view and empirical orientation; evince quality in the style of writing, and explicitly or implicitly contain implications for courses of action.

Thomas argues that the impact of technology on organizations cannot be understood until we consider why people in organizations choose the technologies they do. He suggests that the task of process engineering be reconfigured as a flexible combination of people and technology.

Past winners of the award include Rosabeth Moss Kanter (Harvard Business School) for her classic, Men and Women of the Corporation; Michael Useem (Wharton), The Inner Circle; and William Julius Wilson (Chicago), The Truly Disadvantaged.

Citing long-term service and outstanding achievement and contributions to intercollegiate women's athletics, the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators named Jane Betts as recipient of the Jostens Administrator of the Year award at its recent meeting. Professor Betts, who is on leave from MIT, has been involved in the founding of many organizations that have enhanced opportunities for women in intercollegiate athletics, including the New England Women's 8 athletic conference in which a number of MIT teams participate.

Three MIT faculty members and a recent PhD recipient have won The Vinci of Excellence award, given in conjunction with the annual "Science for Art" Prize, which annually rewards artists and scientific researchers for the impact of their discoveries on artistic or aesthetic creation.

The prize, sponsored by LVMH Moet Hennessy-Louis Vuitton Inc. of Paris, dealers in luxury goods, consists of two first prizes-an art prize and a science prize of $20,000 each-and The Vinci of Excellence Awards.

These are given to scientific candidates "whose work is of the highest international level" and who reached the final stage of the selection process for the first prizes.

Each year the "Science for Art" Prize centers around a different theme, which this year was "Play of Light and Matter: Encounters and Conjunctions."

The four MIT winners were Dr. George B. Benedek, Alfred H. Caspary Professor of Physics and Biological Physics; Stephen A. Benton, Allen Professor of Media Arts and Sciences; Dr. Michael S. Feld, professor of physics and director of the Spectroscopy Laboratory; and Kyungwon An, a postdoctoral associate.

Each will receive a commissioned work of art presented by the artistic winner, and a trophy derived from a dodecahedron sculpture based on Leonardo da Vinci's drawing.

Two students in the laboratory of Dr. Chi-Sang Poon, principal research scientist in the Biomedical Engineering Center at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, have received national distinctions.

Mauricio Barahona, a graduate student in physics, received one of four 1995 Whitaker Graduate Student Awards in recognition of a paper he presented at the Biomedical Engineering Society annual fall meeting. The research paper, performed under Dr. Poon's supervision, evolved from the continuation of a term project he did in a graduate course taught by Dr. Poon called Biological Control Systems. The paper is titled, "Identification of Chaotic Dynamics Using Volterra-Wiener Series."

The other student, Kumaran Kolandaivelu, received his SB in mechanical engineering this fall and is now a graduate student in the department. He received the award in recognition of a senior design project he did in Dr. Poon's lab, which started out as a UROP project in the summer of 1994.

The award to Kumaran Kolandaivelu recognizes his engineering achievements "as evidenced in your design project titled, `Miniature High-Frequency Ventilator for Genetically Engineered Newborn Mice.'" Mr. Kolandaivelu is continuing to work with Dr. Poon.

Jonathan D. Taylor, a graduate student in operations research, has won second place in the Executive Leadership Council's 1995 essay writing contest on "Diversity as a Global Business Issue." The Council is made up of black men and women who are chief executive officers for Fortune 500 firms.

MIT has been recognized by the American Institute of Plant Engineers with its FAcilities Management Excellence (FAME) Award of Merit for introducing a water reclamation and reuse system in Building 13.

In its effort to reduce water costs and usage, MIT chose the Bush Building (Building 13), a 42,000-square-foot facility with a measured annual water consumption of 27.6 million gallons-most of it used for cooling-for a water conservation project.

MIT hired an outside company to do a survey of water use in the building and, when that was done, an engineering company to produce drawings to go out to bid for construction, which was done by a Brookline company. The project manager was Raul H. Varela, staff mechanical engineer in Physical Plant.

The project involved the installation of a drainage system throughout the building to capture the water discharged by the equipment in the labs. It included two 1,500-gallon tanks for collection and storage, and a centrifugal pump and operating controls to allow transfer to the Central Utilities Plant-Building 42-and its non-potable water main.

Although the system, costing $140,000, has been largely operational since 1994, it hasn't been possible yet to measure the actual savings. But the water reclamation project may well result in reducing water consumption in the building by 20 million gallons a year or more, translating into a savings of $160 million, according to Mr. Varela.

The FAME awards, considered among the facilities engineering field's most prestigious honors, recognize the best and brightest facilities engineers in the country. The awards salute projects with outstanding problem-solving abilities and contributions toward energy conservation, maintenance management, waste minimization and productivity improvements.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 15, 1995.


Topics: Awards, honors and fellowships

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