Three faculty members--Kevin Amaratunga of civil and environmental engineering, Wolfgang Ketterle of physics and Maria Zuber of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences--have been appointed to named professorships.
Assistant Professor Amaratunga has been named as the next Rockwell International Career Development Professor for a three-year term beginning March 1, 1998. He was appointed to the MIT faculty after receiving the PhD in computational engineering from the Institute in 1996.
While a graduate student, Dr. Amaratunga was a research assistant in the Intelligent Engineering Systems Laboratory from 1991-96 after receiving the bachelor of engineering degree from the University of Southampton in England. His research uses wavelet theory to develop hierarchical models for engineering analysis and to develop data compression techniques.
Professor Ketterle has been named as the next John D. MacArthur Professor for a five-year term beginning July 1. The chair was established in 1981 with a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Professor Ketterle does research in atomic physics and laser spectroscopy. In 1995, he was among the first scientists to observe the phenomenon of Bose-Einstein condensation in dilute atomic gases, and in 1997 he performed the first demonstration of an atom laser.
Dr. Ketterle joined the MIT faculty as an assistant professor in 1993 and was promoted to full professor in 1997. He was a research associate at MIT from 1990-93 after serving in research posts at the Max-Planck Institute for Quantum Physics and the University of Heidelberg from 1982-90. He received a master's degree (1982) from the Technical University of Munich and the PhD in physics (1986) from the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich.
Professor Zuber has been selected as the next Griswold Professor for a five-year term beginning May 1, 1998. The chair was established in 1987 with a bequest from Earle A. Griswold (SB '23). Dr. Zuber's research interests include theoretical modeling of geophysical processes; and analysis of altimetry, gravity and tectonics to determine the structure of and dynamics of Earth and solid planets.
Before being appointed to the MIT faculty as a professor of geophysics and planetary science in 1995, Dr. Zuber was on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University from 1991-95, and she has also done geophysics research in various capacities with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center since 1985. She received the BA in astrophysics and geology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1980, and the ScM (1983) and PhD (1986) in geophysics from Brown University.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 20, 1998.