Monthly Archives: July 2012

July 31, 2012

SOE Award for Grad Student Teaching Goes to Chelsea Humbyrd

A School of Engineering award honoring extraordinary teaching and mentoring by a graduate student went this year to CEE’s Chelsea Humbyrd. One nomination letter said: “Though many TAs can boast a mastery of the material they are responsible for teaching, Chelsea Humbyrd is one of the few who combines this mastery with the ability to effectively communicate with students. Chelsea’s consistent, thorough work for the class and her commitment to her students make Chelsea the most effective TA we have encountered in our four years at MIT … More impressive is Chelsea’s ability to connect with students in person. For many students, face-to-face time with a teaching instructor is extremely valuable. She is capable of distilling the essence of any engineering concept and presenting it in a clear, effective manner to a large group of students.” Read the original article here.

July 30, 2012

Slide Rule Olympics!

Come join in with fun and competition at the MIT Museum’s Slide Rule Olympics! On August 10th from 5pm to 8pm at the MIT Museum (265 Mass Ave), there will be a celebration of calculation and computation with – you guessed it! – slide rules! If you already have experience with a slide rule, you can also help develop activities for visitors of all ages. For more information, please contact Photo by Daniel Williams on Flickr.

July 27, 2012

Shea and Tikoo Published in Science Magazine

Presidential Fellows Erin Shea and Sonia Tikoo recently co-authored “A Long-Lived Lunar Core Dynamo.” This paper, also co-authored by Ben Weiss and Tim Grove, appeared recently in Science Magazine. Their research suggests that the moon had a much longer lived molten core than previously thought. As stated on MITnews: “The new paper is the latest piece in a puzzle that planetary scientists have been working out for decades. In 1969, the Apollo 11 mission brought the first lunar rocks back to Earth — souvenirs from Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s historic moonwalk. Since then, scientists have probed the rocky remnants for clues to the moon’s history. They soon discovered that many rocks were magnetized, which suggested that the moon was more than a cold, undifferentiated pile of space rubble. Instead, it may have harbored a convecting metallic core that produced a large magnetic field, recorded in the moon’s rocks.” The full paper, published January 2012, can be found on the Science websiteImage by NASA.

July 25, 2012

Rory Clune receives Maseeh Award for Excellence as a Teaching Assistant

The Maseeh Award for Excellence as a Teaching Assistant went to Rory Clune, teaching assistant for 1.035 Mechanics I of Structures and Soils. One of his nominators said that Clune “cared deeply about his mission and dedication to the students, and was also supremely effective as a recitation instructor, grading homework and quizzes, and as a lab assistant. … Friendly and laid back by nature, but also having an unusual technical and mathematical talent himself, he was able to reach down to their level of understanding, never expecting them to know what he knew, or insinuating that the material was in any way obvious.” Find other Civil and Environmental Engineering news here.

July 24, 2012

Turning ‘Plan B’ Into a ‘Plan A’ Life

“Susan Ferber is executive editor for American and world history at Oxford University Press USA. Her list includes academic and trade titles on topics ranging from ancient history to contemporary history, many first books as well as works by senior scholars. Books she has edited have won numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize and Bancroft Prize, and five have become national best sellers. She also teaches at the book workshop of the Columbia Publishing Course.”

That brief bio is the public record of my life. But it’s a polished narrative, like my CV, and it strikes me that the true value in the continuing discussion about alternate career paths for historians lies in talking about what usually gets erased from such documents: the detours, wrong turns, time spent stuck in traffic, even the metaphorical car crashes. Read more of this article by Susan Ferber at The Chronicle.

July 23, 2012

2012-13 Hugh Hampton Young Fellows Named

Five graduate students at MIT have been named recipients of the prestigious Hugh Hampton Young Memorial Fund Fellowship for the year 2012-13. The fellowship, named for the pioneering medical researcher Hugh Hampton Young, is a highly selective research fellowship at MIT. Recipients are chosen for traits that include academic achievement, demonstrated leadership skills, and research that shows breadth of vision and crosses disciplinary boundaries, as well as passion for a field that promises broad social impact. Candidates must display integrity and moral character, strong will and determination, coordination and leadership skills, broad interests, interdisciplinary development and creativity in cross-disciplinary concepts.

Painting by Eric G. Haupt; oil on canvas, 39.5 by 31.5 inches, 1931.

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July 20, 2012

Luvena Ong essay published in Science; submit your big idea by August 17!

“NextGEN Voices” is a new feature of Science Magazine, which calls upon young scientists to share their thoughts and experiences on different topics throughout the year. Published in July’s edition were selected essays answering the prompt: “Describe a specific experience and how it changed your science, training or career goals. An essay by  Luvena Ong (Division of Health Sciences and Technology) was selected during this round. Please see: Science 6 July 2012: Vol. 337 no. 6090 pp. 32-34 DOI: 10.1126/science.337.6090.32. The newest NextGEN Voices Survey is now open: What one big idea in your field do you wish that every non-scientist understood? Why? Responses must be 250 words or less and can be submitted onlineDeadline for submissions is August 17, 2012. Photo by Joe Sutliff (Kingshuk Poddar) National University of Singapore

July 19, 2012

MIT-WHOI Joint Program Picnic and Beach Day July 28

On Saturday, July 28, from 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm, MIT and the Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institute will be hosting a joint picnic and beach day. This is a great chance to enjoy a summer day on the beautiful WHOI campus on Cape Cod where you will be able to swim in the ocean, play beach volleyball, tennis, soccer, frisbee and basketball, and participate in the MIT vs. Joint Program kickball tournament! Ticket holders will get a round-trip seat on the Peter Pan charter buses traveling from MIT to the WHOI campus. Tickets are $10 and go on sale on July 13th at 8:00 am. For more details and to purchase tickets, please visit MIT adMIT ONE.

July 18, 2012

Grim Job Talks Are a Buzz Kill

You were one of only a handful of candidates we invited to campus. We wanted to like you. Hell, I wanted to love you. I am your potential future chair. When I became chair, I knew that bringing in strong faculty members was my best chance to leave a mark on the department and the college. I also knew that job searches were a drag on the little boat I would be trying to navigate through waters strewn with budget cuts, increased teaching loads, and fussy-somewhat-overworked faculty members. So I wanted the search to be over and for you to be here already.

But then your job talk started and my throat went dry and I felt that thumping in my temples. Read more of this article by Dan Shapiro at The Chronicle.

July 17, 2012

Are You an Innovator? An Entrepreneur? Then Pitch to China!

Are you an entrepreneur ready to take advantage of incredible opportunity? The MIT-China Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum presents to you the “Pitch to China” Business Plan Contest! Over $20,000 will be awarded in prizes and contestants will receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs and investors. Networking opportunities will be available with invited guests of MIT-CHIEF, including researchers, well-known entrepreneurs and policy-makers. There will also be a special prize awarded to a team or teams focusing on the area of innovation in education: The MIT-CHIEF ODGE Student Innovation Prize is generously supported by the MIT Office of the Dean for Graduate Education and focuses on education and the building of scholarly communities. The deadline to register is July 29th! Find out more information and register here.

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July 16, 2012

MIT-WHOI Barn Olympics July 21

Join us in Woods Hole on Saturday, July 21, for a day of friendly competition as teams of four will battle for victory in the 7th annual Barn Olympics! Creative events include a photo scavenger hunt, tug-of-war, dodge ball, trivia, a costume contest, a quadrathon relay and more. Events start at noon at 99 Challenger Drive (aka “The Barn”), and last all day. Advance registration is required. Contact Jeff Kaeli ( for more details.

July 13, 2012


Rambax: MIT’s Senegalese Drum Ensemble

During IAP 2012, Rambax MIT traveled to Senegal to study sabar with the Mbaye family. Sabar is a vibrant drum and dance tradition of the Wolof people of Senegal, West Africa. The group is co-directed by artist-in-residence Lamine Touré and faculty advisor Patricia Tang and consists of MIT students (graduate and undergraduate) and other members of the MIT community. New members are accepted in the fall based on space availability and skill. They have the opportunity to rehearse and hone skills through one-on-one feedback from advanced members during the academic year. Click below to see the video of their incredible and culturally enriching 2012 IAP Study Tour, which showcases Rambax’s  experience in Senegal (supported by the Office of the Dean of Graduate Education).

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July 12, 2012

How New Graduate Students Should Spend Their Summers

We’ve written before about the need for new Ph.D.’s and postdocs who are about to go on the academic job market to use their summers wisely. If you don’t start readying your job-search materials now, you may find yourself blindsided by the amount of time it takes away from your other duties in the fall. This summer George David Clark, a Ph.D. student at Texas Tech University, will be blogging about his summer experience for The Chronicle in a regular feature called “On Not Squandering the Summer.” With that ground covered, we thought we’d focus this month’s column differently, and look at how first- and second-year doctoral students can make the best use of their time. Read more of this article by Julie Miller Vick and Jennifer S. Furlong at The Chronicle.

July 11, 2012

MIT-WHOI Jelly Talks July 20 – August 17

On Fridays at noon from July 20th through August 17th, the MIT-WHOI program will be hosting Jelly Talks in the Smith Conference room on the WHOI campus. Jelly Talks are a summer tradition: students give short seminars on a topic completely unrelated to their research. This year’s talks will feature diverse topics as perspective on Chinese culture, insect pinning/preservation and more. Pizza and beverages will be provided. This event is sponsored by the WHOI Student Organization and sponsored by the GSC Funding Board. Questions? Contact Amalia Aruda (

July 10, 2012

Friendsie Frenzy July 13!

Do you want to expand your social circle and make meaningful connections with other graduate students? The MIT Graduate Student Council Activities Committee will be hosting Friendsie Frenzy on Friday, July 13, from 7:30 to 9:30 PM at the Thirsty Ear Pub! Come participate in an evening of fun activities aiming to catalyze social interactions; enjoy great company and win prizes with your new friends! There will be free appetizers for all guests and 21+ government ID is required for entry. Seating is limited, so sign up here. The GSC will email you to confirm your spot. Contact the Activities Committee at or check out other activities on the Activities Committee Website.

July 9, 2012

Build Graduate Community! Apply by July 31

The Office of the Dean for Graduate Education has 8 openings for Graduate Community Fellows beginning in the Summer of 2012. Graduate Community Fellows work on projects and assignments that enhance the MIT graduate community in unique ways. This opportunity allows graduate students to interact closely with administrators, advocate for student interests and gain valuable leadership experience. Fellows report to a staff member in the ODGE or a partner organization and focus on a specific project for which they receive partial stipend support for the length of their appointment. A list of possible assignments, the application and more information can be found on the Graduate Community Fellows webpage. Applications for open positions must be submitted to Communications Officer Heather Konar by 5pm on Tuesday, July 31.

July 6, 2012

GSC Dissertation Boot Camp July 16 through 25

Would you like to have an opportunity to work on your dissertation in a focused environment with additional support? The Graduate Student Council is holding the Dissertation Boot Camp from July 16 through 25, 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM, where students can build healthy writing habits. Exercise breaks will be conducted by the MIT Center for Health Promotion and Wellness and writing tips will be provided by representatives from MIT’s Writing and Communication Center. The room will also be equipped with chairs, tables, wireless connection and electric plugs; you must supply your own laptop computer. The registration fee to attend the bootcamp is $20. Please contact Pavitra Krishnaswamy by July 10th at to register. More information can be found here. Photo by Sean MacEntee.

July 5, 2012

Photo Credit: MichaelFitz on Flickr

Lessons from the Slush Pile

My first cover letters, when I began submitting poems to literary magazines in graduate school, could not have been more lifeless. Although I had been encouraged to personalize my letters by praising something specific from a recent issue, I felt awkward complimenting editors, as though I were trying to flatter my way into print. Instead, I kept my letters “professional,” which to me meant stripping them of personality. My thinking was that the work should speak for itself. Of course in a sense that is always true, but over time (particularly when I began working as an editor myself) I came to appreciate the value of letters that pair the professional with something more personal. Read more of George David Clark’s article about getting hired at The Chronicle. Photo by MichaelFitz

July 3, 2012

Life Magazine Hologram

Contemporary Holography at the MIT Museum

From June 27 through September 28, 2012, the MIT Museum will be hosting The Jeweled Net: Views of Contemporary Holography, an exhibition of over 20 internationally created holograms. Here is a rare opportunity to view works by artists from Germany, Italy, the UK, Canada, Australia, Japan and the US. This will mark the beginning of the 9th International Symposium on Display Holography which is being held for the first time in Boston. The exhibition, hosted by the MIT Museum and the MIT Media Lab, is open to the public and free with an MIT ID. The full press release, visitor information and more articles about holograms can be found on the MIT Museum webpage.

July 2, 2012

Community Ice Cream Social Monday 7/2!

On Monday, July 2nd, the Institute will welcome Rafael Reif and Chris Kaiser, MIT’s incoming President and Provost. There will be refreshments in Lobby 10 from 1:00 to 2:00 PM at this event, open to the entire MIT Community. Please stop by at this casual gathering to greet and give best wishes to Professors Reif and Kaiser.