Awards and Honors


Dean Philip S. Khoury of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) has announced that Assistant Professor of Linguistics Michel DeGraff has been awarded the 1998 Levitan Prize in the Humanities. The $20,000 prize, established in 1990 through a gift of Corporation member James A. Levitan (SB '45, chemistry), supports innovative and creative scholarship by SHSS faculty members. Professor DeGraff will continue his research on "Whence Language Creation: Elucidating the Mental Processes Underlying Creole Genesis."

Associate Professor Anne M. Mayes of materials science and engineering has received the 1998 Outstanding Young Investigator Award from the Materials Research Society (MRS). The award was established "to recognize outstanding interdisciplinary materials research by a young scientist or engineer."

Professor Mayes was cited for "incisive theoretical and experimental investigations of macromolecules at and near surfaces and interfaces leading to tailorable surface properties, especially novel biocom-patible substrates." According to the MRS, "Mayes's work spans the range of basic theory, materials synthesis and experimentation." The award was presented to Professor Mayes April 13 at the 1998 MRS Spring Meeting, where she gave a talk titled "Tailoring Polymer Surfaces for Controlled Cell Behavior."

Professor Arnold C. Demain has received the 1998 Alice C. Evans Award, established by the American Society of Microbiology to recognize those who have made major contributions toward the full participation of women in microbiology. "Demain has fostered the careers of many women students and helped them become established in high-quality university and industry positions," the ASM News reported (Vol. 64, No. 2). "He has worked steadfastly to ensure that women have opportunities��������������������������� he continually pressed others to include women scientists in their sessions, committees, advisory boards and panels."

Andrea Whitsell, a senior in architecture, has been awarded a Traveling Fellowship in Mechanical/Electrical Building Systems Engineering by the Skidmore, Owings and Merrill Foundation. The award helps young architects, engineers and urban planners expand their professional education by observing foreign culture, history, building and design first-hand. Ms. Whitsell will go to India to study heat-mitigating building systems and traditional passive technologies in hot climates. She will study for an MIT master's degree in building technology starting next fall.

Dr. Robert J. McCunney, director of the Environmental Medical Service, is the new president of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), an international society of 7,000 occupational-medicine physicians. A member of the organization since 1981, Dr. McCunney became an ACOEM Fellow in 1985 and is a member of the organization's board of directors.

President Charles M. Vest will receive an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree at the University of Notre Dame's 153rd Commencement exercises on May 17. Nine others will also receive honorary degrees. Dr. Vest, the university noted, specialized in the thermal sciences and the engineering applications of lasers and coherent optics as a faculty member at the University of Michigan, where he also held posts including dean of engineering, vice president for academic affairs and provost.

Four MIT sophomores -- Walter Aldana and Jaydeep Bardhan of electrical engineering and computer science, and Lily Cheng and Jeremy Chou of chemical engineering -- are among 24 recipients of Advanced Micro Devices Scholarships. In addition to the monetary award, winners can intern during the summer at the AMD facility in Sunnyvale, CA, or Austin, TX. The company is an international supplier of integrated circuits.

Three MIT faculty members have won awards from the American Chemical Society (ACS). Institute Professor and Nobel laureate Mario Molina, the Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Studies in earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences and chemistry, received the Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology for his discovery that chlorofluorocarbons could destroy the Earth's ozone layer. JoAnne Stubbe, the Novartis Professor of Chemistry and a professor of biology, received the Alfred Bader Award in Bioorganic Chemistry for her studies of ribonucleotide reductase and achievements in uncovering how the targets of several anti-cancer drugs work in the body. Professor Emeritus Irwin Oppenheim of chemistry earned the Joel Henry Hildebrand Award in the Theoretical and Experimental Chemistry of Liquids for achievements in exploring the transport of materials in two-phase flow (particle and liquid).

Associate Provost for the Arts Alan Brody, professor of theater arts, has won the 1998 Founder's Award Contest for Excellence in Playwriting for his play "Medea's Nurse." The play will be produced by the contest's sponsor, the Riverside Stage Company in Wilton, CT, during its forthcoming season. The award will be presented at the theater's spring benefit on May 11, when Broadway veterans Gloria Pilot and Mark Shanahan will perform a scene from the play.

Robert B. (Brad) Gray, a senior in chemical engineering, has added to his array of honors by being named the 1997-98 ECAC/Robbins Division III Male Scholar Athlete of the Year by the Eastern College Athletic Conference. Mr. Gray, a defensive tackle with a 5.0 grade point average, was an ECAC Division III New England All-Star and the first lineman ever to be named the 1997 Eastern Collegiate Football Conference Player of the Year. He will work toward a master's degree in molecular and cellular biochemistry at Oxford University on a Marshall Scholarship next year.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has announced that Sloan Research Fellowships will go to 100 young scientists and economists, including six from MIT: Associate Professor Madhu Sudan of electrical engineering and computer science (EECS); Assistant Professors Lars Hesselholt and Daniel Spielman of mathematics; and Assistant Professors Victoria M. Kaspi, Kevin S. McFarland and Krishna Rajagopal of physics.

Sloan Fellows receive research grants of $35,000 for a two-year period. More than 400 nominations were reviewed by an 18-member panel of distinguished scientists including Barbara Liskov of EECS and Dean of Science Robert Birgeneau of physics. The Sloan Foundation has spent nearly $80 million since 1955 on the program.

The American Society of Microbiology has named Professor Eric Lander as one of three 1998 winners of the Chiron Corporation Biotechnology Research Award. Dr. Lander, a professor of biology and member of the Whitehead Institute, was recognized for "providing the tools for the use of molecular markers in mapping disease genes [and developing] statistical methods to allow the analysis of large data sets of genetic information��������������������������� His leadership at the Whitehead Institute genome center contributed to establishment of the first validated whole genome physical maps of human DNA and the construction of high-resolution genetic maps of mice."

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 6, 1998.


Topics: Awards, honors and fellowships

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