Said and Done

September 2012 Edition
Published by the Office of the Dean
MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences




"A brilliant piece of reportage and science writing" that "should be required reading at every medical school in the world"

— Wall Street Journal review of The Panic Virus, by Seth Mnookin



David Pesetsky elected a Fellow of the Linguistics Society of America
Pesetsky, Professor of Linguistics, 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.   

Economist Parag Pathak receives a Presidential Early Career Award
President Barack Obama has named Parag Pathak, MIT Associate Professor of Economics, 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 research careers. 
Story at MIT News | Profile of Parag Pathak | White House Web Story

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 Graduate Program in Science Writing, has been awarded the 2012 Science in Society Journalism Award for his book The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy. 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." 
Full Story 


Seth Mnookin, Asst Professor of Science Writing; co-director, Graduate Program in Science Writing



September 11, 5 pm, Bartos Theater 
George Lakoff | The Brain's Politics: How Campaigns are Framed and Why
Everything we learn and understand has a physical dimension in brain circuitry. Lakoff proposes that this basic fact has deep implications for how politics is understood, how campaign narratives are framed, and why conservatives and progressives often talk past each other. 


September 21-22, 7:30 pm, Institute of Contemporary Art | ICA Boston 
"World of Wires" by Jay Scheib
Based on the 1973 film Welt am Draht by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, World of Wires is a high-energy, thrill-ride performance.  With video, live action, and tightly choreographed movements, this Obie award-winning play by MIT Associate Professor of Theater Jay Scheib, explores the contemporary challenges of defining identity. 
More at the ICA website

September 24, 5pm, MIT Faculty Club, E52
Writing for a Wider Audience: shaping scholarship into general literature 
Distinguished panelists discuss shaping scholarship into books for a general audience. Panelists include Caroline Zimmerman, Literary Agent, Kneerim & Williams; Alane Salierno Mason, VP and Executive Editor, W.W. Norton & Company; James Marcus, Deputy Editor, Harper's Magazine, and Stephen Heuser, Editor, Ideas Section, The Boston Globe.  

September 27, 7:30 pm, MIT Stata Center, 32-123
Reading by Junot Díaz
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author and MIT Professor of Writing reads from his new book This is How You Lose Her. The event is free, with a reception following.


Additional Forthcoming Events
MIT SHASS Calendar |  Arts at MIT Calendar | Music & Theater Arts Calendar




Research Portfolio 
Research is the engine for the School's capacity to help meet the world's great challenges. To name just a few areas of impact, MIT SHASS research helps alleviate poverty, safeguard elections, steer economies, understand the past and present, inform health policy, articulate morality, assess the impact of new technologies, understand human language, and create new forms at the juncture of art and science.
Research Portfolio

The research of MIT's School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences appears principally in the form of books and publications, and music and theater productions. These gems of the School provide new knowledge and analysis, innovation and insight, guidance for policy, and nourishment for lives.  
Take a look

The cost of increased temperatures
New research co-authored by MIT Economist Ben Olken indicates that even temporary rises in local temperatures significantly damage long-term economic growth in the world’s developing nations.
Story by Peter Dizikes at MIT News

Understanding gambling addiction 
Anthropologist Natasha Schüll, an Associate Professor in STS, is publishing research about the impact of the immersive technology of new gambling games; designed to increase industry profits by keeping players "in the zone," the new games prove highly addictive for some people.     
Story by Peter Dizikes at MIT News  |  Video: Schüll on 60 Minutes



Natasha Schüll, Associate Professor, Program in Science, Technology, and Society 


Want to cut drug spending? Air pollution rules might help.
A working paper, coauthored by MIT economist Michael Greenstone, concludes that a U.S. government program set up in 2003 to reduce smog-forming compounds in certain regions both saved lives and led to lower spending on pharmaceuticals—particularly heart and respiratory medications.  
Article at the Washington Post | Wonkblog

Many Americans die with ‘virtually no financial assets.’
It is a central worry of many Americans: not having enough money to live comfortably in old age. Now an innovative paper co-authored by MIT economist James Poterba shows that a large portion of America’s older population has very little savings in bank accounts, stocks and bonds, and dies “with virtually no financial assets” to their names.
Story by Peter Dizikes at MIT News


Profile | Saluting Susan Mannett
On the occasion of her retirement, the community salutes Sue Mannett, the longtime SHASS Director of Human Resources extraordinaire.  
Salute to Sue Photogallery

Faculty Promotions
The MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences is very pleased to announce the following faculty promotions, effective July 1, 2012: Helen Elaine Lee (CMS/Writing) and Ben Olken (Economics) have been promoted to full Professor. Martin Hackl (Linguistics) and Keeril Makan (Music), have been promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure.  

Author Ta-Nehisi Coates is 2012-13 MLK Visiting Scholar
Acclaimed writer Ta-Nehisi Coates will join the School community for the 2012-13 academic year in the Comparative Media Studies / Writing Program.    


Top: Helen Elaine Lee, Professor of Writing; Ben Olken, Professor of Economics; Martin Hackl,
Associate Professor of Linguistics. Bottom: Keeril Makan, Associate Professor of Music; Ta-Nehisi Coates, MLK Visiting Scholar; Susan Mannett, retiring Director of Human Resources for SHASS 


New Faculty | Fall 2012
The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences is pleased to present the newest members of the faculty. Please join us in welcoming these excellent scholars to the School community: Devin Caughey (Instructor, Political Science); Stephanie Frampton (Assistant Professor, Literature); Heather Hendershot (Professor of Film and Media, CMS); Daniel Hidalgo (Assistant Professor, Political Science); Seth Mnookin (Assistant Professor, CMS/Science Writing); Emily Richmond Pollock (Assistant Professor, Music); Alp Simsek (Assistant Professor, Economics); Paolo Somaini (Assistant Professor, Economics); T.L. Taylor (Associate Professor, CMS/Writing); Christopher Warshaw (Assistant Professor, Political Science)
Biographical Notes and Photographs

Edward Schiappa is Visiting Professor
Three from Taiwan-USA Alliance are Visiting Scholars

Edward Schiappa is a Visiting Professor in Comparative Media Studies for 2012-2013; three members of the Taiwan-USA Sister Relations Alliance (TUSA) will join the School as Visiting Scholars for 2012-2013. 
Biographical Notes and Photographs

Three new Administrative Officers join the School 
Elouise Evee-Jones, Sarah Smith, and Amberly Steward have been chosen to serve as the Administrative Officers for Foreign Languages and Literatures, Comparative Media Studies, and Anthropology, respectively. 
Biographical Notes and Photographs


Deveau lauded for performance and leadership | Boston Musical Intelligencer 
A thoughtful piece in the Boston Musical Intelligencer acclaims MIT's David Deveau, Senior Lecturer in Music, as a pianist and as the Artistic Director of Rockport Music.    
Full story

On Jellyfish Blooms
Feature article by MIT graduate student Fangfei Shen, in Scope Magazine, publication of the MIT SHASS Graduate Program in Science Writing
Story at Scope Magazine

 Aurelia aurita, Moon Jellyfish; photograph, Luc Viatour


Becoming a Science Writer | Tom Levenson interview in Scientific American 
Levenson, MIT Professor of Science Writing, and award-winning author and film producer, shares his insights about the field, and how to succeed as a science writer.  
Interview at Scientific American 

Interview with Junot Díaz | New York Times Sunday Book Review
Q: What’s the last truly great book you read? 
Interview at The New York Times

Media Clips 
MIT SHASS in the national and international media 
Current and Archived Stories



John Harbison at the 2012 Aspen Music FestivalInterview + Performance 
MIT's Pulitzer prize-winning composer and Institute Professor John Harbison talks about his jazz roots and performs delicious jazz selections on piano. Harbison is interviewed by Fred Child of Performance Today.
Audio Interview  





What's happening

Welcome to our social media community


RSS News | RSS Multimedia

Great Ideas Exhibit 
Take a look 


Library of ancient Alexandria 

Great Libraries of the World Series