Awards and honors


The admiration that Pendleton County in Kentucky holds for one of its own, Nobel laureate Phillip A. Sharp, will soon take concrete form.

The school board has voted to name a new middle school after its famous son, who was educated in county schools, graduating from Pendleton County High School in 1962. The district hopes to break ground for the Phillip A. Sharp Middle School in January and complete construction in 1997.

Dr. Sharp, Salvadore E. Luria Professor of Biology and head of the department, shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for work that fundamentally changed scientists' understanding of the structure of genes.

In a letter to his hometown newspaper, the Falmouth Outlook, shortly after winning the prize, Professor Sharp thanked the newspaper for its extensive coverage, adding: "I am quite overwhelmed and it is with great pleasure that I share this honor with you. I want to take this opportunity to also thank the citizens of Pendleton County for my education. I was taught math, English and science by caring and responsible teachers. This education made it possible for me to make the transition to Union College which prepared me for my continued education at the University of Illinois."
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Dr. Shafrira Goldwasser, professor of computer science and engineering, has been named a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar for 1995-96.

As a participant in the program, she will travel to two institutions, Middlebury College and Bates College. During two-day visits at each college, she will meet with students and faculty members in a variety of formal and informal sessions, including classroom discussions, seminars and public lectures covering such topics as modern cryptology, randomness and computation, and probalistically checkable proofs.

Professor Goldwasser, a faculty member since 1983, has also been a visiting professor at the University of Amsterdam, Hebrew University, Princeton University, the International Computer Science Institute and the Weizmann Institute.

Her research interests are in complexity theory, cryptography, computations number theory and fault tolerant distributed computing.

She has received a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigators Award, an NSF Award for Women in Science and the Godel Prize in theoretical computer science for her work on zero-knowledge interactive proofs.
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MIT doctoral candidates in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science have won five of 16 fellowships awarded nationally by The Intel Foundation for women and underrepresented minorities.

The Intel Corporation is a leading supplier of microprocessors and other semiconductor products to the computer industry, and is the producer of the widely known Pentium Processor. The Intel Foundation makes cash grants to national programs in support of science and engineering, technology awareness, women and minorities in science and engineering, and community needs.

Anthony D. Joseph received the SB and SM degrees simultaneously at MIT in 1988. He is currently doing doctoral research in the field of mobile computing and the unique set of challenges introduced by mobile environments. After graduation, he plans a career of research in computer science research.

Melanie J. Sherony received her bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at Northwestern University in 1991 and the SM from MIT in 1993. She is currently doing doctoral research and plans to work on the design and manufacture of semiconductor devices after graduation.

Ellen R. Spertus received the SB and SM degrees from MIT in 1990 and 1992. Her doctoral research is in the field of information retrieval.

Michelle S. Spina received her bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1991, and the MS in electrical engineering and computer science at MIT in 1994. Her doctoral research is in the area of automatic speech recognition. After graduation, she plans to continue her research on spoken language systems, speech recognition and understanding, and biomedical issues of speech processing as they relate to automatic speech recognition.

Deborah A. Wallach received the SB and SM degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT in 1990 and 1992. Her doctoral research is in the field of parallel and distributed operating systems.
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Dr. Michael O. Hengartner, who received the PhD from MIT in 1994 for research performed in the laboratory of Dr. H. Robert Horvitz, professor of biology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, is the 1995 grand prize winner of the Pharmacia Biotech & Science [Magazine] Prize for Young Scientists. The award, in its first year, is designed to boost the careers of young scientists through visibility at an early stage in their careers.

He won for his essay on programmed cell death in the worm Caenorhabditis elegans, which described his research at MIT. He is now a staff member at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
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MIT's School of Architecture and Planning received an award for the Most Significant Advance in Distance Learning Overall for 1995 at the recent TeleCon trade show in Anaheim, CA, sponsored by Applied Business Telecommunications.

Students and faculty affiliated with the Design Studio of the Future conducted experiments in geographically distributed design activities. Called The Virtual Design Review, the project used computers, Picture Tel videoconferencing systems and the World Wide Web to present and discuss students' final designs to a jury of critics at MIT and Cornell University simultaneously.

TeleCon judges said the project "foreshadows the coming working and learning environments of the 21st century, while pushing the envelope of electronic collaborative work with the high-end complexity required by architectural and engineering design problems."

They described the MIT project as "truly a breakthrough use of videoconferencing in architectural design that has the potential of changing the way facilities will be designed in future generations, eliminating place as a barrier."

The Design Studio of the Future is based on concepts developed by Dean William J. Mitchell of the School of Architecture and Planning.

The project is now being launched as an interdisciplinary consortium, supported by industrial partners. Dr. Woodie C. Flowers, Pappalardo Professor of Mechanical Engineering, is the faculty chair for the consortium and represents the mechanical engineering component. Dr. John Williams, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, participated in the development of the award-winning work and represents the civil engineering component of the consortium.
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Two MIT professors-Dr. Eric S. Lander and Dr. John M. Essigmann-will receive research awards of $200,000 and $100,000 respectively from CaP Cure, the Association for the Cure of Cancer of the Prostate.

Dr. Lander is professor of biology and director of the Whitehead Institute/MIT Center for Genome Research. With the award money, the Genome Center will use genetic mapping tools to study prostate cancer.

The award to Dr. Essigmann, professor of chemistry and toxicology, is to be used for the design of programmable drugs targeted at prostate malignancies.

CaP Cure was founded in 1993 by Michael Milken after he learned about his own diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer. That occurred shortly after he completed a jail term for securities fraud.

Through the support of the Milken Family Foundation and other donors, CaP CURE has become the largest private funder of prostate cancer research in the country.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 13, 1995.


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