Awards & Honors


Three MIT faculty members are among the 164 artists, scholars and scientists to win 1997 Guggenheim Fellowships totaling $4.89 million. They are Sallie W. Chisholm, McAfee Professor of Engineering in the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Biology; Lily E. Kay, Associate Professor of the History of Science in the Program in Science, Technology and Society; and Cynthia Griffin Wolff, Class of 1922 Professor of Humanities in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies.

Guggenheim Fellows are appointed "on the basis of unusually distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment." This year's recipients were chosen from among 2,876 applicants. During its 73-year history, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has granted nearly $176 million in Fellowships.

According to the foundation, Professor Chisholm will use her award for studies in ocean fertilization. Professor Kay will study Warren S. McCulloch and the making of modern neuroscience, while Professor Wolff will do a biographical study of Willa Cather.
----------

George B. Benedek, Alfred H. Caspary Professor of Physics and Biological Physics, has been awarded the Proctor Medal for "outstanding research in basic or clinical sciences as applied to ophthalmology," the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology has announced.

Professor Benedek has participated in research both to develop instruments to detect signs of early-stage cataracts and eye drops to thwart the development of cataracts. His research has encompassed areas including nuclear magnetic resonance, semiconductor physics, the physics of high pressures and shock waves, critical phenomena in ferromagnets and fluids, quasielastic light-scattering spectroscopy, and the theory of transparency of the eye. He is co-author, with MIT Professor of Physics Felix M.H. Villars, of a three-volume text, Physics with Illustrative Examples from Medicine and Biology, and co-author, with Dr. David Miller, of Intraocular Light Scattering: Theory and Clinical Applications.
----------

The US Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration has awarded Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowships for postgraduate research in transportation to 102 recipients, including three graduate students from MIT: Clare Epstein of urban studies and planning, and Brian Per-reault and Michael Ramming of electrical engineering and computer science.

The $10,000-per-year award will help fund Ms. Epstein's study of the Tren Urbano system, a heavy rail line now under construction in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Mr. Perreault, who founded a company called Magnemotion and expects to receive the PhD in June, is finishing his thesis on a flexible, inexpensive system that implements accurate position-sensing and communications between a vehicle and the wayside, or vehicle and vehicle. Mr. Ramming is studying how travelers use information such as times, costs, safety and comfort in evaluating their various travel options.
----------

Dr. Alan Grossman, associate professor of biology, has been awarded the 1997 Eli Lilly & Co. Award, presented to a scientist under the age of 40 to stimulate fundamental research in microbiology and immunology.

Professor Grossman's research "has contributed fundamentally to the understanding not only of microbial physiology, but of general biological processes," according to a statement from the American Society of Microbiology, which will present the award on May 9. "His work epitomizes the power of combining sophisticated molecular genetics with a deep appreciation of the physiology of the bacterial cell. This combination has enabled him to unravel the integrated and interactive decision-making processes in microbial development and commitment to cell fate, and serves as a guide to approaching complex and fundamental biological questions."
----------

Purdue University has bestowed an honorary Doctor of Science degree on Professor Emeritus of Mathematics Bertram Kostant. "Among his professional peers, Kostant is widely hailed for his four decades of work in representation theory, including such mathematical realms as the Lie groups or Lie algebras, homogeneous spaces, differential geometry and mathematical physics," the Purdue announcement notes. "He is also known for the mentoring role he has played to generations of researchers."

Professor Kostant received his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Purdue in 1950. He came to MIT in 1962 and was awarded emeritus rank in 1993, though he continued at the Institute as a senior lecturer until 1996.
----------

MIT sports information director Roger Crosley has been named the winner of the College Division Irving T. Marsh Award by the Eastern College Athletic Conference-Sports Information Directors Association. The Marsh Award is given annually to an ECAC-SIDA member for contributions and dedication to, and excellence in, the field of collegiate sports information. Marsh Awards are given for both the College Division (NCAA Divisions II & III) and University Division (Division I) each year. Mr. Crosley has been treasurer of ECAC-SIDA for 11 years.
----------

Louis J. DiBerardinis, associate director of the Environmental Medical Service, has won the 1997 Chemical Health and Safety Award from the American Chemical Society. The award, which recognizes contributions to chemical health and safety, was presented "in recognition of his many contributions to laboratory ventilation, which have advanced and helped further the standardization of laboratory hood performance," according to the March/April 1997 issue of Chemical Health and Safety. Mr. DiBerardinis is past president of the American Academy of Industrial Hygiene.
----------

Neuro-Dynamic Programming, by Professors of Electrical Engineering Dimitri Bertsekas and John Tsitsiklis of the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, won the 1997 INFORMS/CTST Prize, awarded for research excellence in the interface between operations research and computer science. The methods presented in the book combine dynamic programming, neural networks and learning to address complex sequential decision and resource allocation problems in the presence of
uncertainty.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 21, 1997.


Topics: Awards, honors and fellowships

Comments

Back to the top