• Penny Chisholm, the Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Studies at MIT, will discuss her research at a May 3 symposium as part of MIT's inaugural festivities.

    Photo / Donna Coveney

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Interdisciplinary research symposium planned

MIT has seized the opportunity offered by the inauguration of Susan Hockfield to hold two symposia in which prominent members of the faculty will discuss interdisciplinary research, art and technology.

On Tuesday, May 3, four panelists will speak on the topic "Interdisciplinary Research at MIT: Making Uncommon Connections."

Penny Chisholm, the Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Studies, will discuss her research on microorganisms, the significant role they play in shaping our planet, and the diverse fields that play key roles in studying them.

"Only through interdisciplinary research that combines microbiology, ecology, genomics, oceanography, physiology and applied mathematics can we understand these complex microbial systems--upon which all life depends," she said.

Chisholm was part of the team that in 1985 discovered the smallest known photosynthetic cell and the most abundant microbe in the sea. That microbe is now used as a model system for understanding global processes from the genome to the ocean.

Chisholm, whose symposium talk is titled "Marine Microbes: Tiny Cells, Global Impact," will be joined by three other panelists. Rosalind Williams, the Metcalfe Professor of Writing, will describe "The Multidisciplinary Forest of MIT: From Twigs to Canopy"; Moungi Bawendi, professor of chemistry, will discuss "Tiny Crystals: The Path From Science to Technology"; and Alex Slocum, professor of mechanical engineering, will give a talk titled "Big Iron to Little Silicon."

Alice P. Gast, vice president for research and associate provost, will moderate.

The second symposium, to be held Wednesday, May 4, will be on the topic "Art and Technology."

Both symposia will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Stata Center's Kirsch Auditorium and are free and open to the public.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 27, 2005 (download PDF).

Topics: Inauguration, Special events and guest speakers


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