Skills in juggling and solving problems that she acquired as an MIT undergraduate have stood Jennifer Harris in good stead as one of the flight directors for the Mars Pathfinder mission. In articles in the Boston Herald (July 10) and the Los Angeles Times (July 7), Ms. Harris (SB '90, aeronautics and astronautics), described her demanding work leading to the successful landing and deployment of the Sojourner rover.
For the past three years, Ms. Harris has been responsible for coordinating a team of specialists in spacecraft operations such as monitoring instrument temperature and pressure, image quality, power levels and general health of the spacecraft. With the constant influx of data, "everything's so chaotic... you're always working on three or four problems at once," she told K.C. Cole of the Times.
She credited much of her skill to MIT, where "I learned a lot about problem-solving," she told the Herald's Jules Crittenden. "Part of it is an attitude of not letting a problem get in the way of what you're trying to accomplish."
On the Horizon/A Book of Creation, a collection of 43 myths by Professor of Linguistics Samuel Jay Keyser, has been published by the Arlington Street Church. The myths were read during consecutive Sunday services throughout 1995 by the Rev. George C. Whitehouse, minister-at-large at the church and a friend of Professor Keyser's. "George wanted to read them from the pulpit," Professor Keyser recalled. "I told him if he did, I'd go to church. He did and I did."
Describing the collection for the book jacket, poet Denise Duhamel wrote, "If you've ever wondered why there are so many gods that worshippers have to choose from and why they tend, more or less, to ignore us, On the Horizon is the book for you. Affixed between a child's wonder and a sage's wisdom, Samuel Jay Keyser's creation stories startle with their simple elegant imagery. Keyser is so deft in his telling of how the moon and the tides and clouds really came into being, this reader comes away convinced--that must have been the way it happened."
This is Professor Keyser's second book of poems/stories. His first, Raising the Dead, was published in 1993 by the Garden Street Press (Wellfleet, MA). On the Horizon is for sale for $10 at the church, the MIT Bookstore and the Grolier Bookstore in Harvard Square. Proceeds go to the church's restoration fund.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on July 16, 1997.