Faculty Honors and Awards | 2012

Kaiser wins Physics World’s Book of the Year Award
How the Hippies Saved Physics by David Kaiser, Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science, has been named 2012 Book of the Year by Physics World magazine. “A rollicking good read,” according to Physics World, the book describes how a group of young, unconventional physicists working in in Northern California in the 1970s changed the face of modern physics. Kaiser is the head of MIT’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society, and a senior lecturer in the Department of Physics.
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Junot Díaz wins MacArthur Fellowship 
Junot Díaz, the MIT writing professor widely acclaimed for his vivid, inventive works of fiction, has won a 2012 MacArthur Fellowship, sometimes referred to as a “genius grant.&rdquo. The MacArthur Foundation cited Díaz for his stories that use “raw, vernacular dialogue and spare, unsentimental prose to draw readers into the various and distinct worlds that immigrants must straddle.” 

American Philosophical Association honors Judith Jarvis Thomson with the Quinn Prize
MIT Philosophy Professor Emerita Judith Jarvis Thomson has been awarded the 2012 Quinn Prize from the APA in recognition of her lifetime contributions to philosophy and philosophers. An internationally renowned philosopher, Thomson is known for her thought experiments, including the famous "trolley problem," which present simple scenarios that illuminate serious moral and ethical questions. 

MIT economist Anna Mikusheva receives the 2012 Elaine Bennett Research Prize  

The prize, from the American Economic Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession (CSWEP), recognizes outstanding young women in economics.    

Roger Petersen wins Distinguished Book Award for Western Intervention in the Balkans
The Ethnicity, Nationalism and Migration section of the International Studies Association has awarded the Distinguished Book Award to Roger Petersen's Western Intervention in the Balkans, The Strategic Use of Emotion in Conflict (Cambridge University Press, 2011). Petersen is the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science at MIT.   

Stefan Helmreich wins Rachel Carson prize for Alien Ocean 

Helmreich's book Alien OceanAnthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas, has won the 2012 Rachel Carson Book Prize, given by the Society for the Social Study of Science to recognize a book-length work of special social or political relevance in the area of science and technology studies. Alien Ocean (University of California Press, 2009) has also received two earlier significnt prizes: the 2010 Gregory Bateson Book Prize, awarded by the Society of Cultural Anthropology, and the 2010 Senior Book Prize from the American Ethnological Society.  

DeGraff awarded $1m NSF grant   
Michel DeGraff, Associate Professor of Linguistics, is the Principal Investigator for a five-year project that will help develop classroom tools to teach science and math in Haitian Creole for the first time.  
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Silbey honored for lab safety research
Susan Silbey has received the 2012 Scott Award from ASA, a $25K Seed Grant from UCLA, and a grant from the MIT Simons Center for the Social Brain. 

Seth Mnookin wins 2012 Science in Society Award for his book The Panic Virus
Mnookin, Assistant Professor of Science Writing, and co-director of the MIT SHASS Graduate Program in Science Writing (GPSW), has been awarded the 2012 Science in Society Journalism Award for his book The Panic Virus. Of the award, given annually by the National Association of Science Writers, Tom Levenson, MIT Professor of Science Writing, notes, "This is one of the very top awards in our field. It reflects the judgment of the leading science writing association in the world and it is an honor that only comes to superlative work." 

Economist Parag Pathak receives PECASE
President Obama has named named MIT Associate Professor of Economics Parag Pathak as a recipient of an Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Economist Robert Townsend elected to National Academy of Sciences

In addition, three other MIT professors were elected, bringing to 78 the number of Institute faculty who are NAS members.  
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Theater artist Jay Scheib wins 2012 OBIE Best Director Award

Scheib received the OBIE, off-Broadway's highest honor, for direction of his recent play, "World of Wires."

Historian/Physicist David Kaiser receives Perkins Award for Excellence in Graduate Advising

"It is impossible to do justice to Dave’s generosity as a teacher and adviser...Perhaps the best of his many ways of teaching is by example."

David Pesetsky elected a Fellow of the Linguistics Society of America

David Pesetsky, Professor of Linguistics, MIT SHASS, has been elected a Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America. The induction ceremony for the 2013 class of Fellows 
will take place on Friday, January 4, 2013 at the LSA Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.

MIT SHASS Economist Amy Finkelstein wins John Bates Clark Medal

Lauded for work on health care markets, MIT economist Amy Finkelstein, a leader in studying health insurance markets, was named winner today of the prestigious John Bates Clark Medal, an annual award given by the American Economic Association (AEA).

Daron Acemoglu wins Nemmers Prize
Acemoglu, the Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics at MIT, has been named the recipient of the 2012 Erwin Plein Nemmers Prize in Economics, a major prize in the field.

Philosopher Stephen Yablo is elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences — also receives Guggenheim Fellowship 

Yablo, Professor of Philosophy in MIT's School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences — and has been awarded a 2012 Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

MIT Economists Autor and Finkelstein are elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 

Autor and Finkelstein are among the leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities, and the arts elected as new members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  

Composer Keeril Makan receives Guggenheim Fellowship

Makan, Associate Professor of Music in MIT's School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, has been awarded a 2012 Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for his “prior achievement and exceptional promise.” This is the second year in a row that a faculty member in Music and Theater Arts has received the Guggenheim.

Silbey and Huising win Regulation and Governance's best paper prize
Susan S. Silbey, Head of Anthropology, and Ruthanne Huising, PhD ’08, have been awarded the 2011 best paper prize from Regulation & Governance for their article, “Governing the Gap: Forging Safe Science Through Relational Regulation.”  The paper explores nuances of aligning ideals and real world conditions to achieve safety in science labs.

Shigeru Miyagawa receives President's Award from the OCW Consortium    

MIT linguistics professor Shigeru Miyagawa has been selected to receive the President's Award for OpenCourseWare Excellence (ACE) for his contributions to the global OpenCourseWare and Open Education movements. Miyagawa, who is also head of the Global Studies and Languages Section, has been a key member of the faculty team that has nurtured the development of MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW), has contributed a significant amount of his own course materials to the site, and has traveled extensively to spread the practice of openly sharing educational materials globally. 
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Anthropologist Erica Caple James awarded the 2012 Levitan Prize in the Humanities 

Deborah K. Fitzgerald, Kenan Sahin Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, has announced that Erica James, Associate Professor of Anthropology, has received the James A. ('45) and Ruth Levitan Prize in the Humanities. The $25,000 prize is awarded annually as a research fund to support innovative and creative scholarship in the humanities. Professor James's project is for research on the impact of anti-terrorism measures on charitable giving.  

Cuthbert receives $500K Digging into Data grant for innovatitve musicology research   

Michael Cuthbert, the Homer A. Burnell Career Development Professor and Associate Professor of Music has been awarded a $500K grant from the Digging into Data consortium. The grant, given to Curtbert in concert with an international team of researchers, supports his work using computational techniques to study changes in Western musical style.

Irene Heim elected a Fellow of the Linguistics Society of America
Irene Heim, Professor of Linguistics, MIT SHASS, has been elected a Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America. The induction ceremony for the 2012 class of Fellows
will take place on Friday, January 6, 2012 at the LSA Annual Meeting in