• MIT's faculty inductees to the National Academy of Engineering for 2010: (from left to right) Robert E. Cohen, Alan Willsky, Cynthia Barnhart, Andrew Whittle and Gang Chen.

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MIT engineers named to the NAE

The National Academy of Engineering has elected five current MIT faculty members, one member of the MIT Corporation, and a number of alumni to its ranks.

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) elected 68 new members and nine foreign associates on Feb. 17, which included five current MIT faculty members — Cynthia Barnhart, Gang Chen, Robert E. Cohen, Andrew Whittle and Alan Willsky — and one member of the MIT Corporation, Art Gelb ScD ’61. MIT President Emeritus Charles M. Vest, NAE president since 2007, announced the new members this week.

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature.”

  • Cynthia Barnhart is the associate dean for academic affairs for the MIT School of Engineering, professor of civil and environmental engineering and engineering systems and director of Transportation@MIT. She was honored for her professional leadership, and for contributions to optimization and transportation models, algorithms, and applications.
  • Gang Chen is the Carl Richard Soderberg Professor of Power Engineering and director of Pappalardo Micro and Nano Engineering Laboratories in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He was acknowledged for his contributions to heat transfer at the nanoscale and to thermoelectric energy conversion technology.
  • Robert E. Cohen is the St. Laurent Professor, co-director of the DuPont-MIT Alliance, and chair of the PhD CEP Steering Committee in the Department of Chemical Engineering. He was honored for his research on polymer morphology and surfaces, commercial products and processes, successful entrepreneurship and novel educational programs.
  • Andrew Whittle is head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and a SMART Research Professor. He was acknowledged for his development of soil models and numerical analyses that advance the design of braced excavations and offshore structures.
  • Alan Willsky is the Edwin S. Webster Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and co-director of Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems. He is being honored for his contributions to model-based signal processing and statistical inference.
  • Art Gelb is president of Four Sigma Corp. and co-founder, retired chairman, and chief executive officer of TASC (The Analytic Sciences Corp.) in Belmont, Mass. He is being honored for his leadership in applying Kalman filtering techniques to the solution of critical national aerospace problems.

“I am delighted to welcome Cindy, Gang, Bob, Andrew, Alan and Art to the distinguished cohort of engineers in the National Academy,” says Subra Suresh, dean of the School of Engineering and Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering. “They join 153 members of the MIT community who have been elected to the NAE thus far — of whom about 115 are still active in the intellectual life of MIT. I look forward to formally recognizing and celebrating their induction with MIT colleagues and friends at a School of Engineering reception to be held in Washington in October.”

With this week's announcement, NAE's total U.S. membership expands to 2,267 and the number of foreign associates to 196.

A number of MIT alumni were also named to the NAE, including Montgomery M. Alger ’78, Richard C. Flagan PhD ’73, Irene Greif PhD ’75, Brewster Kahle ’82, David J. Mooney PhD ’92, David L. Morse PhD ’76, Gregory B. Olson, ScD ’74, Roderic I. Pettigrew PhD ’77, and John C. Wall ’73, ScD ’78.

Topics: Alumni/ae, Awards, honors and fellowships, Faculty, National Academy of Engineering (NAE)

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