A November 17 Discovery Health Channel program on back pain and office ergonomics featured Dr. David Diamond of MIT Medical. The story was filmed in part at MIT. Dr. Diamond is an internist and an occupational medicine specialist.
Supply chain interview
What is the supply chain and why should we care about it?
David Simchi-Levi, who joined the faculty this fall in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, should know, given that he co-authored an award-winning 1999 book on the topic.
Professor Simchi-Levi was also the focus of a lengthy interview in the November/December 2000 issue of Supply Chain Management Review. The interviewer's first question? "You wrote a book about designing and managing the supply chain. Why is that subject so important?"
"First you have to define supply chain management," Professor Simchi-Levi said. It's "a discipline that focuses on the integration of suppliers, factories, warehouses, distribution centers and retail outlets so that the items are produced and distributed to the right customers, at the right time, at the right place and at the right price... This is difficult because you have many different parties with different and conflicting objectives."
He also noted that "a lot of money is tied up in logistics-related activities." In 1998, American companies spent some $900 billion on such activities.
Cog, the humanoid robot being developed at the Artificial Intelligence Lab by Professor Rodney Brooks and colleagues, is of such interest to TV producers worldwide that the News Office created -- and distributes -- a 45-minute tape of the robot to those who ask for it. The office only requires that the tape eventually be returned.
One such tape recently found its way back to the News Office complete with "anti-pornography certification." Under "brief synopsis of content," the Berlin-based production company wrote: "Film deals with MIT's Artificial Intelligence Lab robot. There is no immoral matter in it."
A web site managed by the Microsystems Technology Laboratories made the "Netwatch" section of the November 3 Science magazine. "Traveling a typical city subway, you might, if you're lost, consult a map to see what color train will take you to your destination. The Semiconductor Subway is organized along similar lines," wrote John MacNeil.
The site includes colored "routes" to take for more information on semiconductor topics including upcoming conferences and updates on fabrication facilities. The site "is refreshingly navigable... All aboard!"
Staying in shape
Professor Richard Wurtman was featured in an October 18 New York Times story about obesity in America. Dr. Wurtman, a professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) and director of the Clinical Research Center, described himself to writer Gina Kolata as "a fat person in a thin person's body."
"I've been in pretty good shape now for decades," Dr. Wurtman said. "But it's only because of being concerned every day with what I eat and what I burn up." Breakfast, for example, "is always grapefruit juice, black coffee and a bran muffin made by his wife, Dr. Judith Wurtman," the article noted. Dr. Judith Wurtman is a BCS research scientist.
"I don't expect this to set off a firestorm of organizing at all of the top universities, but it is likely to have an effect at some." -- Professor Thomas A. Kochan of the Sloan School of Management in a November 2 New York Times story about the National Labor Relations Board's ruling that graduate students who are research and teaching assistants at universities have the right to form unions.
"Using a PC today is like using a shovel before bulldozers came along." -- Professor Michael Dertouzos, director of the Laboratory for Computer Science, in a story about the increasing power of computers in the September issue of Business & Technology, a British magazine.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 6, 2000.