News Archive 2010

School news from 2010.

Kresge Auditorium


Economics Symposium launches MIT's 150th celebration

This symposium, organized by the School's Department of Economics and the Sloan School of Management, celebrated the role of MIT’s faculty and students in advancing the fields of economics and finance, in putting the latest developments into practice, and in contributing to the design of public policy.

precis newsletter logotype

précis published 

précis, the newsletter from the School's Center for International Studies, covers the wide range of Center activities and tracks the accomplishments of faculty, researchers and affiliates. Features from the current issue include an excerpt from Democratic Insecurities: Violence, Trauma, and Intervention in Haiti by Erica Caple James.  

Beijing at night


MIT strengthens connections with China | Quanta Chair in Chinese Culture established

The Institute has embarked on a major, long-term effort to promote intellectual and technological exchange...A major part of the Institute’s effort will also be the expansion of the study of China at MIT. A new chair in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, The Quanta Professorship in Chinese Culture, has recently been established thanks to a $5 million donation.  

Nobel Prize in Economics


Peter Diamond receives Nobel in Sweden

Institute Professor Peter Diamond PhD ’63 will collect the Nobel Prize in economics on Friday, Dec. 10, during a ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall in Sweden. Diamond, Dale T. Mortensen of Northwestern University and Christopher A. Pissarides of the London School of Economics won the prize for their analysis of “markets with search frictions,” which roughly equates to any setting in which buyers and sellers don’t easily find one another.

David Kaiser


David Kaiser elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society

David Kaiser has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society, following nomination by the APS's Forum on the History of Physics. The citation reads: "For his outstanding publications that combine technical mastery of twentieth-century physics with a deep knowledge of recent developments in the history, philosophy, and sociology of science."

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Boston Globe reviews BSO's performance of Harbison's Second Symphony

"Last night's BSO program offered a deeply satisfying summit of second symphonies, those of Schumann and John Harbison, to be exact. James Levine was on the podium for a second week in a row leading music by these two composers who he feels share a "particular combination of poetry and energy." Those words mean less in the abstract, but when the two outwardly dissimilar works were placed side by side last night, there was an undeniable connections, somewhere far beneath the notes."  — Jeremy Eichler, The Boston Globe

                                          Burchard Scholar Jennifer Lai wins Rhodes Scholarship                                                

  "Jennifer Lai, a senior who is majoring in biological engineering and music and theater arts, has received a Rhodes Scholarship to study next year at Oxford University. Lai, 21, of Honolulu, joins a distinguished company of 43 former MIT recipients who have won the prestigious international scholarships since they were first awarded to Americans in 1904." 

Ben Ross Schneider awarded a Ford Foundation International Chair  

Ben Ross Schneider has been awarded a Ford Foundation International Chair, making him Ford Foundation International Professor of Political Science as of January 1, 2011. 


New Faculty | Fall 2010 

The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences is pleased to present the most recent new members of the School's faculty. They come with diverse backgrounds and vast knowledge in their fields: digital media, linguistic anthropology, economics, contemporary literature and media studies, French studies, and political science. We are very fortunate to have such a distinguished group of scholars join the School, and welcome them warmly into the community.  • 

Fox Harrell


Harrell convenes thought-leaders to catalyze new research informed by science, humanities, and arts disciplines.

Bringing together the resources of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Associate Professor Fox Harrell has led a joint workshop focused on research informed by both the arts and sciences. 55 thought leaders gathered to explore the goal of using technology to better understand society—and using the humanities and arts to build creative computational systems.

Amy Finkelstein

Economist Amy Finkelstein wins Presidential Early Career Award

On Friday, Nov. 5, President Barack Obama named Amy Finkelstein, Professor of Economics, and six other researchers from MIT as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. 

Goethe on a poster

MIT-Germany Seed Fund launched | Research-initiation grants to faculty at MIT and in Germany    

MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) has launched the MIT Germany Seed Fund, made possible through generous support from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The new fund will offer research-initiation grants to MIT faculty and their counterparts in Germany, and will encourage students to be actively involved in the collaborations. A specific focus will be on topics related to complex global issues — including health, the environment, energy and technological innovation.

US Constitution


Maier's Ratification delivers new knowledge about the adoption of the US Constitution, the most consequential debate in American history

"A stunning examination of... 'the beginning of American national politics' — the debate that explains the way we Americans govern ourselves, resolve disputes, conduct diplomacy, choose leaders and protect our freedoms." 

photo of the middle east from satellite

Bustani seminars celebrate 25th anniversary with two lectures this fall

The Emile Bustani Middle East Seminar at MIT will celebrate its 25th Anniversary with two lectures this fall on contemporary Middle Eastern affairs, and two additional lectures in the Spring of 2011.  

cultures of war cover


Dower's Cultures of War is 2010 National Book Award finalist

Over recent decades, Pulitzer-winning historian John W. Dower has addressed the roots and consequences of war from multiple perspectives. Here he examines the cultures of war revealed by four powerful events—Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, 9-11, and the invasion of Iraq in the name of a war on terror. 

Peter Diamond

Economist Peter Diamond wins the Nobel Prize 

Peter A. Diamond PhD '63, Institute Professor and professor of economics at MIT's School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, has won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for 2010. Diamond has received the award along with two co-winners, Dale T. Mortensen of Northwestern University and Christopher A. Pissarides of the London School of Economics.

john harbison


Boston Symphony Orchestra begins two season cycle of the complete symphonies of John Harbison   

John Harbison, who is among America's most distinguished artists, is a composer, Professor of Music in MIT's School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, and an MIT Institute Professor. Beginning with performances in October 2010, the Boston Symphony will perform the complete cycle of Harbison's symphonies, spanning two seasons. The BSO calls the performance cycle "an unprecedented opportunity to experience these exciting...contributions to the modern symphonic literature."    

Huang awarded the MLA's 2010 Scaglione Prize — 
Chinese Shakespeares cited as a "landmark" book 

Alexa Huang, Research Affiliate in the School's Literature section has won the MLA's Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies for Chinese Shakespeares (Columbia University Press, 2009). Huang's book is called a "landmark" in comparative literary studies. With Peter Donaldson, Ford Foundation Professor Humanities at MIT, Huang is also the co-founder and co-editor of two open-access digital video archives, Global Shakespeares and Shakespeare Performance in Asia.  

Jessie Little Doe Baird

Alumni Baird, Saez win MacArthur "genius" grants 

Two alumni of the MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences — linguist Jessie Little Doe Baird SM ’00, who is working to revitalize a long-silent Algonquin language, and economist Emmanuel Saez PhD ’99, who studies the relationship between income and tax policy — have been named 2010 MacArthur Fellows. The fellowships, awarded each year, carry a $500,000 purse. •      

mary fuller

Fuller receives 2010 Levitan Prize in the Humanities 

Deborah K. Fitzgerald, Kenan Sahin Dean of the MIT School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, has announced that the James A. and Ruth Levitan Prize in the Humanities has been awarded to Mary Fuller, Professor of Literature. The $25,000 Levitan Prize, a gift from the late James A. Levitan, a 1945 MIT graduate in chemistry, is awarded annually as a research fund to support innovative and creative scholarship in the humanities.

Evan Ziporyn

Ziporyn begins season of major musical events 

For Evan Ziporyn, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music, and an award-winning composer and performer, the current season has emerged as an especially rich confluence of major musical events involving his work. Highlights include Boston and New York premieres of Ziporyn’s opera, “A House in Bali;” an evening at Carnegie Hall devoted to his compositions; international festivals; and the world premiere of "Tabla Concerto."  •  

Stefan Helmreich wins Gregory Bateson Book Prize for Alien Ocean

Professor of Anthropology, Stefan Helmreich's most recent book, Alien Ocean: Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas, has been chosen from a field of more than 80 entries, as the recipient of the distinguished Bateson Book Prize, awarded by the Society for Cultural Anthropology. Welcoming a wide range of styles and argument, the Bateson Prize honors work that is theoretically rich, ethnographically grounded, interdisciplinary, and innovative. •   

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Mbiti, May, and Fox are 2010-11 MLK Visiting Scholars 

Two new MLK Visiting Scholars are joining the School community for the 2010-11 academic year: Isaac Mbiti in Economics, and Reuben Buford May in Anthropology. Following a year of inspiring teaching and acclaimed performances, Donal Fox, MLK Visiting Artist in Music and Theater Arts for 2009-10, will be continuing for a second year.  

Pakistani journalist Rabia Mehmood receives Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship, will work with CIS

"Rabia’s work in Pakistan demonstrates a dedicated and brave pursuit to expose social injustices. We look forward to her time at MIT and are honored to have her among us," said Richard Samuels, director of CIS and Ford International Professor of Political Science at MIT." 

James Paradis

James Paradis named interim director of Comparative Media Studies 

“Jim is a first-rate scholar, a crack administrator, and a splendid identifier of emerging trends and new directions in humanities scholarship and activity. For many years he has been cultivating new faculty who are on the cutting edge of their fields in writing and media. He will be an excellent Interim Head and wise counsel to students and colleagues alike.” — Dean Deborah Fitzgerald

Richard Locke

Richard Locke appointed head of Political Science 

Professor Richard Locke is on a mission as the new head of the Political Science Department — MIT’s mission: to bring knowledge to bear on the world’s great challenges. “I believe every single one of the units of MIT should be reinforcing that mission,” says Locke, whose appointment took effect July 1. “What, therefore, can Political Science do to tackle and address the world’s great challenges?”

Thomas Levenson

Thomas Levenson appointed head of Writing and Humanistic Studies 

”Tom’s extensive experience in documentary film-making and writing about science in both historical and contemporary contexts makes him a natural leader for this terrific program.," said Dean Deborah Fitzgerlad. "His boundless energy, imagination, and productivity inspire us all, and remind us of the deep connections between the many different forms of “story-telling.”

Dean Deborah Fitzgerald

Dean Fitzgerald joins President Hockfield and Chancellor Clay in welcoming the Class of 2014

"If you have a great and innovative idea, we want to help you make it happen. It does not matter whether your field is electrical engineering or French culture or architecture or biology or economics. You are here, and not at some other university, because you are both brilliant AND a little quirky, disciplined AND restless, dedicated AND idealistic. That is what it will take to change the world. Welcome — you have a home at MIT."  


Kaiser and Alexander create books for MIT's 150th anniversary

MIT150 and MIT Press have partnered to bring out two books for MIT's sesquicentennial year—both works authored by members of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. David Kaiser, Professor in Science, Technology and Society, is the editor of Becoming MIT: Moments of Decision. Philip Alexander, of the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies, is the author of A Widening Sphere: Evolving Cultures at MIT.  

David Deveau

David Deveau performs on tour of China — and at points west

Deveau, Senior Lecturer in the Music section, made his second tour of China (the first was in 2004-5 when he performed in Beijing and Qingdao). This tour included solo recital performances in Shanghai at the Shanghai Theater Academy, and in halls in Suzhou and Hangzhou.

bulbs in sand at beach

Levenson, Locke, and Paradis named to new leadership roles 

Professors Tom Levenson, Richard Locke, and James Paradis have been appointed to new leadership roles in the School, beginning July 1, 2010. Levenson is the new Director of Writing and Humanistic Studies, Richard Locke is the new Head of the Department of Political Science, and James Paradis will serve as the Interim Director of Comparative Media Studies.  

gamelan orchestra instruments

Gamelan Galak Tika teams up with Kronos Quartet for world premiere of "Super Collider" 

On August 13, 2010 Music and Theatre's Gamelan Galak Tika group (a Balinese gamelan directed by Professor of Music Evan Ziporyn) teamed up with the Kronos Quartet for the world premiere of MIT alum Christine Southworth's piece, Super Collider.  The performance also featured a set of new gamelan instruments designed and built by current and former MIT students. 

detail, tree of knowledge


How America Invented the Humanities

Geoffrey Galt Harpham, President and Director of the National Humanities Center reviews that history of hte humanities as a collection of academic disciplines invented by the American academy during the post WWII culture of the United States.

Sensing the Unseen
A year of exploration

This yearlong seminar, which explores how social sciences and humanities scholars study the unseen, is organized around six species of the subject: The Elusive, The Unaccounted, The Occult, The Invisible, The Evanescent, and The Obscure.

students repairing artwork

Student musician-engineers repair public artwork 

Thanks to an ensemble of MIT students with music and engineering backgrounds, a pianist whose staff job is planning Institute concerts, and a saxophone-playing engineering instructor, “Kendall Band,” the interactive sound sculpture beloved by commuters at the Kendall ‘T’ stop, will play again.

Donal Fox

Donal Fox's "Piazzolla to Bach Project" to premiere at Tanglewood 

Celebrating 73 summers at Tanglewood in the Berkshire Hills of Lenox, Massachusetts, the 2010 season comes to a close with the Labor Day Weekend Jazz Festival on September 5, featuring the Donal Fox Quartet with cellist Maya Beiser. In this video podcast, Fox discusses the range of his musical influences, as some of his acclaimed music plays.  


Why I am a history major at MIT

Excerpt from MIT Admissions Student Blog | Guest Blog by Dora '11, double major in course 8 and Ancient and Medieval Studies. She writes: "There are lots of people here who love the humanities, and who approach subjects in humanities with the same excitement and fervor that they approach their technical fields.... humanities at MIT carries a distinctly MIT feel: challenging, stimulating, and entirely fulfilling. 


Gamelan Galak Tika teams up with Kronos Quartet for premiere of "Super Collider" 

On August 13 in Manhattan, Music and Theater's Gamelan Galak Tika (a Balinese gamelan directed by Professor of Music Evan Ziporyn) will team up with the Kronos Quartet for the world premiere of MIT alum Christine Southworth's composition, "Super Collider." Part of the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Series, the concert will also feature a set of new gamelan instruments designed by current and former MIT students. 

Judith Jarvis Thomson

Conference on Normativity honors Philosopher Judith Jarvis Thomson

Fundamental ethical questions were up for debate recently as distinguished moral philosophers gathered at MIT for a daylong conference on Normativity — a groundbreaking 2008 treatise by MIT philosophy professor emeritus Judith Jarvis Thomson. “Debate was vigorous, lively, and good humored — in all the ways that humor can be good!” said Professor Richard Holton, head of the Philosophy Section.

Cover of Drawing the Map of Life

Drawing the Map of Life 

Victor McElheny's new book describes how DNA will change our future. Drawing the Map of Life is the story of the Human Genome Project from its origins, through the race to order the 3 billion subunits of DNA, to the surprises emerging as scientists seek to exploit the molecule of heredity. 

2010 Levitan Awards for Excellence in Teaching Announced

The School's Teaching Award Selection Committee has announced the recipients of the 2010 James A. and Ruth Levitan Awards for Excellence in Teaching.

Evan Ziporyn

NYT calls Ziporyn and Bang On A Can "exhilarating"

Evan Ziporyn, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music, is a founding member of the acclaimed "Bang on a Can All Stars," which performed a 13-Hour music festival at Winter Garden in New York City in June 2010. The New York Times reviewer calls Ziporyn's contribution, "a fusion of Balinese gamelan and rock guitars into something new, personal and exhilarating." 

national library of North Korea

Jim Walsh on North Korea's latest political transition

“When any country goes through a leadership transition, but particularly in the case of one-man-rule like North Korea’s, the tendency is to pull back, hunker down, and offer displays of strength,” says Jim Walsh, a North Korea expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program in Cambridge. “They are rallying people around the flag at a delicate moment,” he adds, “and we shouldn’t expect it to stop tomorrow.”


Daron Acemoglu cited in Bloomberg on Botswana

“Botswana’s post-colonial leadership, particularly Seretse Khama and Quett Masire, and also its major economic elites were committed to democracy, economic development, secure property rights and fairly orthodox macroeconomic policies,” says Daron Acemoglu, the economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who first called attention to Botswana’s achievement.  — Amity Slaes, Bloomberg



David Deveau inaugurates new hall for Rockport Music

David Deveau is a pianist, Senior Lecturer in Music and Theater Arts, and since 1995, Artistic Director of the Rockport Chamber Music Festival (now Rockport Music). He has been a key force behind the acclaimed Shalin Liu Performance Center that opened in Rockport, Massachusetts in June 2010.

Haitian girls

DeGraff cites vital role for Creole in rebuilding Haiti 

In a June 16, 2010 Op-Ed in The Boston Globe, Associate Professor of Linguistics, Michel DeGraff, writes that after the devastating earthquake Haitians now have "a rare opportunity to build a new and vibrant school system." DeGraff explains why providing educational instruction in the Creole language that is spoken by the majority of the Haitian people is crucial if the billions in international aid for schools is to be successful.

Girl drinking water


Global water issues call on humanities and social science research

"Rethinking Water" workshop shows significance of research in the humanities and social sciences for meeting global water needs. 

David S. Jones

David Jones receives major teaching award from Harvard Medical School

David S. Jones, M.D., Associate Professor of the History and Culture of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS), has received the 2010 Donald O’Hara Faculty Prize for Excellence in Teaching from Harvard Medical School (HMS).

Sally Haslanger

Sally Haslanger receives two major awards: 
2011 Carus Lecturer, and Distinguished Woman Philosopher of 2010

Professor of Philosophy, Sally Haslanger, a scholar widely respected for her work on the metaphysics of gender and race, has received highest honors from two prestigious associations in philosophy. She has been named the 2011 Carus Lecturer, an honor presented bi-annually by the American Philosophical Association (APA), and she has been selected Distinguished Woman Philosopher of 2010 by the Society for Women in Philosophy. • 

explosion of energy


Energy challenge calls on political, economic, and cultural realms

Meeting 21st energy requires both technological solutions and innovation and input from economic, political, social and cultural spheres. Technical issues have human and social components, and there is no one solution to the complex energy issues.  

Esther Duflo

The New Yorker publishes profile on Duflo, J-PAL

Please note that this is a subscription-only story; a precis is available without subscription. Story by Ian Parker appears in the May 17, 2010 edition of The New Yorker, p. 79.

detail, William Blake watercolour

Child's "Song of Liberty" reviewed in Boston Musical Intelligencer

Peter Child, composer and professor at MIT...has given us a fine new choral work, "Song of Liberty: A Blake Cantata," for soloists, chorus, strings and percussion. It was premiered on Sunday afternoon in Kresge Auditorium by the MIT Concert Choir conducted by William Cutter. The title suggests a musical emblem of Independence Day, but the five movements on various William Blake texts give no hint of any such narrow patriotism, until the fifth chorus, which is taken from Blake’s own “Song of Liberty.” — Mark DeVoto, Boston Musical Intelligencer

Conducting with feeling

Harris receives Hall of Fame Award from Conductors Association

Frederick Harris Jr., Music Director of MIT’s Wind and Festival Jazz ensembles, and Director in the Music section, recently received the 2010 Paul Smith Hall of Fame Award from the Massachusetts Instrumental & Chorus Conductors Association.

Craig Wilder

Wilder and DeRobertis '10 awarded Fulbright grants

Two members of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences community have been awarded grants from the Fulbright Program. Craig Wilder, Professor of History, has received a Fulbright Senior Specialists Grant to collaborate with colleagues in Israel this spring. Charles DeRobertis ’10, a double major in Spanish and biology has received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to work in Spain next year. 

Peter Diamond

Diamond nominated by President Obama for Federal Reserve post

"MIT economist and Institute Professor Peter Diamond PhD ’63 has been nominated by U.S. President Barack Obama to serve on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, the central bank of the United States. If confirmed to what would be a 14-year term, Diamond would be one of seven governors on the board." 

Chiefs, Scribes, & Enthnographers

Howe documents native people’s initiative in their own anthropology

When Swedish anthropologist Erland Nordenskiöld went to study the Kuna people of Panama in 1927, their leader, Nele Kantule, essentially handed Nordenskiöld a record of his people’s customs, beliefs, and history. “Anthropology of the Kuna was started by the Kuna. And they continue to do it,” says Professor of Anthropology James Howe, who examines the relationship between the Kuna and their own enthnography in his new book. 

Clark Medal

Esther Duflo receives the John Bates Clark Medal

Esther Duflo PhD '99, the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics in the School's Department of Economics, has been named winner of the 2010 John Bates Clark medal. Duflo whose influential research has prompted new ways of fighting poverty around the globe, is the second woman to be given the award, which ranks below only the Nobel Prize in prestige within the economics profession and is considered a reliable indicator of future Nobel consideration. The medal is awarded (now annually) to the American economist under the age of forty who is judged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge.

seal of American Academy of Arts and Science

Caballero and Posen elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Ricardo Caballero, Ford International Professor of Economics and Head, Department of Economics, and Barry Posen, Director of the MIT Security Studies Program and Ford International Professor of Political Science, are among six members of the MIT community recently elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Maya girl

School hosts unique conference on Mayan linguistics

On April 23-25, the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy hosted an international workshop on Formal Approaches to Mayan Linguistics. This National Science Foundation-funded conference, the first of its kind, brought together specialists to discuss the unique properties of Mayan languages. An unprecedented feature of this workshop: more than half the presentations were made by linguists who are also native speakers of Mayan languages.


Comparative Media Studies Celebrates 10th Anniversary 

In ten years, CMS has grown from a modest proposal by Professor Henry Jenkins and Dean Philip Khoury into a preeminent international program with the most talented media graduate students; with partnerships established with governments, film producers, Pulitzer Prize winners, and others; and groundbreaking projects that shape the future of everything from childhood education to government accountability. Celebrations begin April 23rd.

Kuna woman

Anthropology students assist with UN human rights review

The United Nations will be evaluating the human rights record of Panama this April with a little help from MIT Professor James Howe and the graduate students in his new course, “Monitoring the Rights of Native Peoples.” Howe and his students are feverishly working to produce a five-page report for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the United Nations’ process for reviewing human rights practices around the world.

Chinese character for "meaning"

Fravel named Research Associate in National Asia Research Program

M. Taylor M. Fravel, the Cecil and Ida Green Career Development Associate Professor, in the School's Department of Political Science, has been selected for the first class of Research Associates and Fellows of the National Asia Research Program, a joint project of the National Bureau of Asian Research and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. 

Widener dome

Harvard borrowing privileges for MIT undergraduates 

Beginning April 5, 2010, MIT undergraduates will have borrowing privileges at participating Harvard libraries, and Harvard students will enjoy similar privileges at MIT libraries. The program, which will be evaluated after 14 months, offers undergraduates from both institutions access to the complementary circulating collections of each institution’s libraries.

New Diaz short story in The New Yorker  

from "The Pura Principle," by Junot Diaz:  "Those last months. No way of wrapping it pretty or pretending otherwise: Rafa estaba jodido. By then it was only me and Mami taking care of him..."

Harriet Ritvo

On the Human | Online Forum with Harriet Ritvo     

Harriet Ritvo's essay "Humans and Humanists (and Scientists)," is the focus of an on-line forum called "On the Human," sponsored by the National Humanities Center.  

Elena Ruhr

East Coast debut for Elena Ruehr's "Bel Canto" string quartet 

MIT composer Elena Ruehr's “Bel Canto," commissioned by the Cypress String Quartet, will have its East Coast debut at a free concert on Wednesday, March 17, 2010, at Wellesley College. The work is inspired by Ann Patchett's much-acclaimed novel Bel Canto, which received the 2002 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

MIT Economics PhD Alum Peter Blair Henry named Dean of NYU’s Stern School of Business

Effective January 15, 2010, Peter Blair Henry —who has served as the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Economics at Stanford University — became dean of NYU’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business. Henry, who received his Ph.D. in Economics from MIT in 1997, is a Rhodes Scholar, the leader of the Obama Transition Team’s review of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and other international lending agencies; and an economic advisor to governments from the Caribbean to Africa. 

Norvin Richards

Norvin Richards named 2010 MacVicar Faculty Fellow

MARCH 9, 2010 — "Four professors were honored for outstanding undergraduate teaching, mentoring and educational innovation when they were named as the 2010 MacVicar Faculty Fellows: Annette (Peko) Hosoi, of mechanical engineering, Krishna Rajagopal, of physics, Rajeev Ram, of electrical engineering and computer science, and Norvin Richards, of linguistics and philosophy." — MIT News    

Rebuilding Haiti | Resources 

 Here are resources for learning more about Haiti and contributing to the rebuilding of the country.  

rubble of Haitian earthquake

Rebuilding Haiti

Haiti’s past casts a long shadow over its future, according to four MIT scholars (all with strong personal ties to Haiti) who spoke at a Starr Forum held to explore the future of the country. Insights from Michel DeGraff, associate professor of linguistics, Erica James, associate professor of anthropology, Cherie Miot Abbanat, lecturer in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, and Dale Joachim, a visiting scientist at the MIT Media Lab.

Clapperton Mavhunga named to inaugural group of Poesis Fellows

Mavhunga, Assistant Professor of Science, Technology, and Society, will be among the first group of Poesis Fellows, an initiative based at the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. The focus for the initial fellowship group is on cities.

Kendall Station

Students to restore musical sculpture by Paul Matisse at Kendall Station

"Pythagoras, Kepler, Galileo may have finally found their saviors—in MIT students. Recently, students formed a group to restore the three musical sculptures in the Kendall T station, which have been in disrepair since at least 2007. Though the timeline is still up in air, members of the Kendall Band Preservation Society estimate that repairs will begin within a month."  Story from The Tech by Ziwei Hao.



Critics call Ritvo's Dawn of Green "enthralling" 

The controversy in the 1870s over Thirlmere, a picturesque body of water in Britain’s Lake District, created a “template for subsequent environmental struggles,” writes Harriet Ritvo, the Arthur Conner Professor of History at MIT. Ritvo’s recent book, The Dawn of Green, published in 2009 by the University of Chicago Press, explores this episode and its ongoing influence on the way we frame environmental discussions and debates.

Call for Submissions | 2010 Ilona Karmel Writing Prizes

The Ilona Karmel Writing Prizes, awarded in May by MIT's Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies, are named after Ilona Karmel, novelist, poet and Senior Lecturer in the Program for many years. Apply by 5 PM on Friday, April 2, 2010. All undergraduate and graduate students are eligible.

Junot Díaz wins Writers for Writers Award

Professor of Writing, and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Junot Díaz is among this year's winners of the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award.

How do MIT students become global citizens? Here's one way.  

My name is Yiliu Zhang, a freshman planning on majoring in political science. I am spending my IAP in Madrid, Spain, as a participant of MIT’s IAP-Madrid program. Every weekday morning, I have Spanish class for three hours, and then I’m free to explore the city. Learning a language is a nice break from working on problem sets! In the evenings, my fellow program participants and I typically eat dinner with our respective host families. — excerpt from the Alumni Association's Slice of MIT blog.  


David Mindell on Obama’s NASA proposal

In an interview with MIT News, Mindell responds to the Obama administration’s recent budget proposal for NASA. The proposal would increase the agency’s budget but would cancel the Constellation program, which was intended to send humans to the moon by 2020, and would also rely on the commercial sector to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station.

MISTI Global Seed Fund winners announced

Covering an astonishing range of topics, 43 international faculty research projects received almost $700K in funding from the MISTI Global Seed Funds competition. Covering topics from cement nanopores to quantum computing, 43 international faculty research projects received $664,793 in funding from the 2009-2010 MISTI Global Seed Funds competition.

Pat Gercik

Patricia Gercik receives the MIT Excellence Award

Patricia Gercik, Associate Director of the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) and Managing Director of the MIT-Japan Program, has received an MIT Excellence Award in the category of “Bringing Out the Best: Everyday Leadership throughout MIT.”  The award, which is among the highest honors presented to MIT staff in recognition of their work, will be presented at a community-wide celebration on Wednesday, March 3, 2010, at Kresge Auditorium.

CD cover to "How She Danced"

Enchanted: Sequenza 21 reviews Elena Ruehr's String Quartets

"I was enchanted with this, my first acquaintance with the music of American composer Elena Ruehr, and I think you will be, too...Her music reflects a variety of traditional and world influences in addition to her formal education under mentors William Bolcom, Milton Babbitt and Vincent Persichetti."  — Phil Muse

MIT doctoral student Harris authors WSJ commentary on the US-Japan alliance      

Tobias Harris, a doctoral student in the School's Department of Political Science, says that while the recent election unsettles US-Japan relations, there is a potential silver lining.

Harbison concert to honor Institute Professor Peter Diamond 

A concert to salute Institute Professor of Economics Peter Diamond will feature the premiere of a new work for two pianos by Institute Professor John Harbison. Diamond Watch, commissioned by Priscilla (Kate) Myrick Diamond as a birthday present for Peter Diamond, and in honor of his retirement from MIT, will be performed by Robert Levin and Ya-Fei Chuang at Kresge Auditorium on April 30, 2010, at 8 pm. Admission is free, and the public is invited. 


School's Economics Department ranked first in nation

MIT is ranked as top graduate school for Economics in the US News and World Report on the best graduate schools in the nation. 

Ricardo Caballero

Time Magazine talks with Ricardo Caballero about the role of other countries in the financial crisis

"Blame China, Saudi Arabia and, yes, Canada. Much of the fault of the financial crisis has been heaped on Wall Streeters, unscrupulous mortgage lenders, and weak regulators. But in a new research paper, economist Ricardo Caballero [MIT Professor of Economics] says there is another major group of contributors to America's monetary mess who are not getting the blame they deserve."  — Excerpt from Time Magazine 



Haldeman receives science fiction community's highest honor

Joe Haldeman, Adjunct Professor in the School's Program in Comparative Media Studies / Writing, has received the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master award for 2010 from the Science Fiction and Science Fantasy Writers of America. The Grand Master award is SFWA’s highest accolade and recognizes excellence for a lifetime of contributions to the genres of science fiction and fantasy. 

Glowing Reviews for Musical Time Winter Concert Series

The MIT Winter Festival series, which presented three concerts in January 2010, was a collaborative endeavor that brought together two music powerhouses and scholars from various disciplines to explore the idea of musical time. The Music and Theater Arts faculty of MIT's School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences teamed up with the Boston Chamber Music Society to create this series. 

Boston Globe feature on "Musical Time,"
Winter Festival Concert Series at MIT

"The gathering is the brainchild of Marcus Thompson, who is in his first year as artistic director of the [Boston Chamber Music] society and his 36th on the faculty of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where the concerts and conferences are taking place. He says the idea arose from a desire on the part of both institutions to open themselves to new audiences."  
Story in Boston Globe |   

statue of pegasus underwater

The Economist cites Brendan Foley's game-changing research for deep sea archaeology

Modern robotics is developing a new generation of affordable, free-swimming, automatic underwater vehicles (AUVs) that are transforming marine archaeology and helping deliver answers to "many first-order archaeological questions."