Monthly Archives: November 2012

November 30, 2012

Dean Ortiz’s New Facebook Page

OrtizDean Ortiz would like to invite you to subscribe (“Like”) her new Dean’s facebook page. This page will serve to engage the MIT graduate community virtually, highlight opportunities and innovations in graduate education at MIT including entrepreneurship, service learning, international programs, interdisciplinary interactions, information on selected prestigious opportunities (e.g. fellowships, awards, professional development, etc.), raise awareness of personal support resources, promote graduate student accomplishments and research, host virtual challenges, solicit ideas and feedback for how to enhance graduate education at MIT, and include some of her activities as Dean. She will be maintaining and posting to the page herself. Don’t worry — “liking” is different from “friending” and your profile will not give her access to any of your personal information! It will only allow you to see her posts in your news feed.

November 30, 2012

A Stellar Year for MIT Graduate Admissions

Admissions12012 has been a stellar year for graduate admissions at MIT! We received the largest number of applications in the history of the Institute (22,588), admitted 3,504 students (16% selectivity or admit rate), enrolled 2,229 new graduate students (64% yield), bringing the total number of enrolled graduate students at MIT to 6,523. Regarding the newly enrolling graduate students, 32% are female, 44% are international (from 80+ countries worldwide), and 14% of domestic graduate students are under-represented minorities.

November 29, 2012

South American Guitar from the 19th to the 21st century event on Dec. 3

“The Poise and the Noise, South American Guitar: from 19th to 21st century” is being held as part of the 2012-2013 Whitehead Concert Series on Monday, December 3rd, 2012 at noon at the Whitehead Auditorium.  This event features Lautaro Mantilla (a guitarist, composer, and improviser from Bogota, Colombia) playing music by Barrios, Villa-lobos, Montana, Brower, Dyens, and Martinez.  As a guitarist, he received the First Division Award in Classical Guitar at Pittsburg State University, First Prize at the Banco de la Republica National Competition, Colombia, and First Prize at the Banco de la Republica National Competition with the Quinteto Mate Ensemble, Colombia. He has taken master classes with guitarists Leo Brouwer (Cuba), Sonia Diaz (Cuba), Ricardo Cobo (Colombia), Robert Sullivan (U.S.), and Brad Shepik (U.S.).  Refreshments will be available.  The concert lasts around 40 minutes.  Discount lunch tickets are available at the door for the day of the concert.  All concerts are open to the Whitehead Community and friends.

November 28, 2012

Lewis reveals brain-wave patterns detailing consciousness during anesthesia

A new study from MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) reveals, for the first time, what happens inside the brain as patients lose consciousness during anesthesia. By monitoring brain activity as patients were given a common anesthetic, the researchers were able to identify a distinctive brain activity pattern that marked the loss of consciousness. This pattern, characterized by very slow oscillation, corresponds to a breakdown of communication between different brain regions, each of which experiences short bursts of activity interrupted by longer silences.

“Within a small area, things can look pretty normal, but because of this periodic silencing, everything gets interrupted every few hundred milliseconds, and that prevents any communication,” says Laura Lewis, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) and one of the lead authors of a paper describing the findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week. This pattern may help anesthesiologists to better monitor patients as they receive anesthesia, preventing rare cases where patients awaken during surgery or stop breathing after excessive doses of anesthesia drugs. Continue reading the article on MITnews.

November 27, 2012

Chasin mines physicians’ notes for medical insights

In the last 10 years, it’s become far more common for physicians to keep records electronically. Those records could contain a wealth of medically useful data: hidden correlations between symptoms, treatments and outcomes, for instance, or indications that patients are promising candidates for trials of new drugs. Much of that data, however, is buried in physicians’ freeform notes. One of the difficulties in extracting data from unstructured text is what computer scientists call word-sense disambiguation. In a physician’s notes, the word “discharge,” for instance, could refer to a bodily secretion — but it could also refer to release from a hospital. The ability to infer words’ intended meanings makes it much easier for computers to find useful patterns in mountains of data.

Graduate student Rachel Chasin is a co-authour of the paper concerning algorithmically distinguishing words with multiple possible meanings in medical records; postdoc Anna Rumshisky led the research with Peter Szolovits, MIT professor of computer science and engineering and health science and technology, and Özlem Uzuner, a research affiliate.  Continue reading the article on MITnews.

November 26, 2012

Paek determines that paintballs may deflect an incoming asteroid

In the event that a giant asteroid is headed toward Earth, you’d better hope that it’s blindingly white. A pale asteroid would reflect sunlight — and over time, this bouncing of photons off its surface could create enough of a force to push the asteroid off its course. How might one encourage such a deflection? The answer, according to an MIT graduate student: with a volley or two of space-launched paintballs.

Sung Wook Paek, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, says if timed just right, pellets full of paint powder, launched in two rounds from a spacecraft at relatively close distance, would cover the front and back of an asteroid, more than doubling its reflectivity, or albedo. The initial force from the pellets would bump an asteroid off course; over time, the sun’s photons would deflect the asteroid even more. Read the rest of the article on MITnews.

November 26, 2012

Sanjay Sarma appointed as MIT’s first director of digital learning

Sanjay Sarma, the Fred Fort Flowers and Daniel Fort Flowers Professor of Mechanical Engineering, has been appointed MIT’s first director of digital learning, effective immediately.  In his new capacity, Sarma will work closely with the Institute’s faculty, staff and students to assess how new models of online instruction — such as the edX online-learning platform; MITx, the Institute’s course offerings on that platform; and other online tools that enhance students’ educational experiences — might become integral parts of MIT students’ on-campus education. These tools can also allow global learners access to MIT-quality instructional experiences. Read the rest of the article on MIT newsphoto by Bryce Vickmark

November 21, 2012

Martell uses protein-labeling to visualize molecules inside cells

The glowing green molecule known as green fluorescent protein (GFP) has revolutionized molecular biology. When GFP is attached to a particular protein inside a cell, scientists can easily identify and locate it using fluorescence microscopy. However, GFP can’t be used with electron microscopy, which offers much higher resolution than fluorescence microscopy. Chemists from MIT have now designed a GFP equivalent for electron microscopy — a tag that allows scientists to label and visualize proteins with unprecedented clarity.

“With things that may appear only a few pixels across by fluorescence microscopy — for example, a mitochondrion — you can’t make out any of the internal features. But with electron microscopy it’s very easy to discern the intricate internal structures,” says Jeff Martell, a graduate student in chemistry at MIT and lead author of a paper describing the new tag in the Oct. 21 online edition of Nature Biotechnology. The new tag could help scientists pinpoint the locations of many cell proteins, providing new insight into those proteins’ functions, according to the researchers. To read the rest of the article, visit MITnews.

November 21, 2012

MIT Ballroom Dance Team Social Dance on Nov. 24

The MIT Ballroom Dance Team is hosting a special November Social Dance on Saturday, November 24th, 2012 from 7:30pm to 11:59pm in Sala de Puerto Rico.  There will be a free quickstep lesson at 7:30pm followed by social dancing beginning at 8:00pm.  Contact for more information.

November 20, 2012

Paxson helps discover a better way to shed water

Condensers are a crucial part of today’s power generation systems: About 80 percent of all the world’s powerplants use them to turn steam back to water after it comes out of the turbines that turn generators. They are also a key element in desalination plants, a fast-growing contributor to the world’s supply of fresh water. Now, a new surface architecture designed by researchers at MIT holds the promise of significantly boosting the performance of such condensers. The research is described in a paper just published online in the journal ACS Nano by MIT postdoc Sushant Anand; Kripa Varanasi, the Doherty Associate Professor of Ocean Utilization; and graduate student Adam Paxson, postdoc Rajeev Dhiman and research affiliate Dave Smith, all of Varanasi’s research group at MIT.

The key to the improved hydrophobic (water-shedding) surface is a combination of microscopic patterning — a surface covered with tiny bumps or posts just 10 micrometers (millionths of a meter) across, about the size of a red blood cell — and a coating of a lubricant, such as oil. The tiny spaces between the posts hold the oil in place through capillary action, the researchers found. Continue reading the article on MITnews.

November 20, 2012

Friday After Thanksgiving (F.A.T.) Chain Reaction Nov. 23!

The 15th Annual Friday After Thanksgiving (F.A.T.) Chain Reaction is taking place on Friday, November 23rd from 1:00pm to 4:00pm in the Rockwell Cage.  Prospective attendees build their own chain reaction machine out of bits, bytes, bucky balls, or whatever else, and then on November 23rd, they bring their machine to Rockwell Cage and link up with other contraptions to create a Rube Goldberg-like reaction.  Spectators and volunteers are welcome!  Registration, tickets, and more information is available on the website.

November 19, 2012

Ehrenberg discovers new metamaterial lens

In many respects, metamaterials are supernatural. These manmade materials, with their intricately designed structures, bend electromagnetic waves in ways that are impossible for materials found in nature. Scientists are investigating metamaterials for their potential to engineer invisibility cloaks — materials that refract light to hide an object in plain sight — and “super lenses,” which focus light beyond the range of optical microscopes to image objects at nanoscale detail. Researchers at MIT have now fabricated a three-dimensional, lightweight metamaterial lens that focuses radio waves with extreme precision. The concave lens exhibits a property called negative refraction, bending electromagnetic waves — in this case, radio waves — in exactly the opposite sense from which a normal concave lens would work.

For Isaac Ehrenberg, an MIT graduate student in mechanical engineering, the device evokes an image from the movie “Star Wars”: the Death Star, a space station that shoots laser beams from a concave dish, the lasers converging to a point to destroy nearby planets. While the researchers’ fabricated lens won’t be blasting any planetary bodies in the near future, Ehrenberg says there are other potential applications for the device, such as molecular and deep-space imaging. To continue reading the article, visit MITnews.

November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Potluck on Nov. 21

The Lutheran-Episcopal Ministry is hosting a Thanksgiving potluck on November 21st, 2012, from 6:30pm to 8:00pm in MIT Building W11 (Large Dining Room).  Share the things for which you are thankful.  There is no faith requirement to participate in any LEM event.  This event is supported by the GSC Funding Board; contact for more information.

November 16, 2012

Sung is speeding algorithms by shrinking data

In computer science, the buzzword of the day is “big data.” The proliferation of cheap, Internet-connected sensors — such as the GPS receivers, accelerometers and cameras in smartphones — has meant an explosion of information whose potential uses have barely begun to be explored. In large part, that’s because processing all that data can be prohibitively time-consuming.

Most computer scientists try to make better sense of big data by developing ever-more-efficient algorithms. But in a paper presented this month at the Association for Computing Machinery’s International Conference on Advances in Geographic Information Systems, MIT researchers take the opposite approach, describing a novel way to represent data so that it takes up much less space in memory but can still be processed in conventional ways. While promising significant computational speedups, the approach could be more generally applicable than other big-data techniques, since it can work with existing algorithms.

EECS graduate student Cynthia Sung is the paper’s third author, along with postdoc Dan Feldman and Daniela Rus, the director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.  Read the rest of the article on MITnews.

November 16, 2012

A fond farewell to Sidney-Pacific and Ashdown Housemasters

Dean for Student Life Chris Colombo announced that next June, Sidney-Pacific and Ashdown House, two of MIT’s graduate communities, will say farewell to their long-time Housemasters, Roger and Dottie Mark and Terry and Ann Orlando. “Over the last decade, MIT has built a remarkable graduate community in the Northwest campus. At the center of that community have been the Marks and the Orlandos,” Colombo says. “We are honored and grateful for the truly wonderful impact these Housemasters have had on our students.”

MIT Housemasters are an integral part of the residential experience at MIT. They are faculty members who reside in the undergraduate and graduate residence halls, and serve as mentors, neighbors and intellectual leaders for the communities. Housemasters work to advise individual students, advocate for the House, and foster community life. “Housemasters serve a critical function in the graduate student community,” said Dean for Graduate Education Christine Ortiz. “When students leave the classroom or lab, it is the Housemasters who can encourage interaction among students, as well as the formation of friendships so students can get to know one another personally.” Read the rest of the story on MIT News.

November 15, 2012

Williams developing friendly car-bot ‘AIDA’

AIDA is an intelligent dashboard companion that not only reads the road, but should soon read your mood too. “People tend to have this inherent bond with their cars,” says Kenton Williams of the Personal Robots Group, who is lead researcher on the project. “If you can leverage that to create a stronger bond, then we think you can make the driving experience more enjoyable.” Continue reading about Williams’ research on Fastcompany.

November 15, 2012

Late Guy Fawkes Night Celebration on Nov. 17

Remember, remember the Fifth of November.  Guy Fawkes Night commemorates the defeat of English insurgents’ attempt to destroy Parliament.  This event takes place at the Edgerton House Lounge and Courtyard on Saturday, November 17th, 2012, from 8:00pm to 10:30pm.  Outdoors, there will be the traditional effigy-burning in the Edgerton fire pit, followed by s’mores.  Indoors, there will be traditional cuisine from Britain and Ireland, including Bangers & Mash, Irish Stew, Shepherd’s Pie and Chocolate Guinness Cake.  There will also be a screening of “V for Vendetta,” a modern adaptation of the Fawkes tale told from the insurgent’s viewpoint.  All members of the MIT community are welcome!  Contact for more information.

November 15, 2012

MIT Snowrider-GSC Ski Trip in January 2013

The annual MIT Snowrider-GSC Ski Trip 2013 will be at Jay Peak Ski Resort in Vermont from January 11th to the 14th, 2013.  Part of the Green Mountains Range in northern VT, Jay Peak ranks among the finest ski resorts in New England with plenty of trails for all levels of riding and skiing.  The Ski Trip is open to all MIT graduate students and post-docs.  The trip includes 3 days of riding, boarding and frolic.  All attendees will get special discounts on gear rental as well as a free pass to the indoor water park at Jay Peak Resort; there will be a Hawaiian-themed party on Sunday, January 13th at this water park.  Tickets cost $285 if you drive yourself, otherwise $340 with the bus.  There will be two rounds of ticket sales, one starting at noon on Monday, November 12th, 2012 and another on Wednesday, November 14th starting at 7:00pm.  Sales will remain open until tickets sell out.  Each MIT graduate student or post-doc is allowed one non-MIT guest. MIT hosts must first sign up for the trip, and then their guests  will be able to sign in to the registration page using their host’s email address. Hosts and guests need not purchase the same package.

November 14, 2012

Celiker discovers survival edge in cooperating yeast cells

Many species exhibit cooperative survival strategies — for example, sharing food or alerting other individuals when a predator is nearby. However, there are almost always freeloaders in the population who will take advantage of cooperators. This can be seen even among microbes such as yeast, where “cheaters” consume food produced by their neighbors without contributing any of their own. In light of this, evolutionary biologists have long wondered why cooperation remains a viable survival strategy, since there will always be others who cheat. Now, MIT physicists have found a possible answer to this question: Among yeast, cooperative members of the population actually have a better chance of survival than cheaters when a competing species is introduced into an environment. Hasan Celiker, an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science, is the paper’s lead author.  Continue reading the article on MITnews.

November 14, 2012

Edgerton Coffeehouse on Nov. 18

The Edgerton Coffeehouse is taking place on Sunday, November 18th, 2012, from 5:30pm to 7:00pm in Edgerton Large Lounge.  Come hear fellow students sing, play an instrument, and read poetry.

November 13, 2012

‘The Listening Room’ shares MIT music with the world

Music composed and performed by MIT’s renowned music faculty and students is now available in The Listening Room — a Web-based collection that showcases the Institute’s longstanding engagement with music. “The MIT mission is to serve humanity,” says Marcus Thompson, the Robert R. Taylor Professor of Music at MIT, “and the arts provide a powerful way for our students to grow in knowledge and understanding of the human condition.” Read the rest of the article on MITNews.

November 13, 2012

Speed Friending – China and the World on Nov. 15

Want to know the Top 3 reasons why Chinese (non-Chinese) people break up with their boyfriends/girlfriends?  Interested in how Chinese (non-Chinese) people receive political information and express political views?  How do people in your country establish connections, or guanxi (in Chinese), for career purposes?  Come to this special “speed-friending” event on Thursday, November 15th, 2012, from 6:00pm to 7:30pm in MIT Room W20-407.  A reception will follow with Chinese Dim Sum.  Registration is required here.  Contact for more information.

November 12, 2012

A Day in the Life of a Digital Humanities Postdoc

  • Plan and teach class on Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”
  • Work on article about teaching with Wikipedia
  • Present an hour-long demonstration of Eighteenth-Century Collections Online to an upper-division English class based on their course materials
  • Train undergraduates to use Omeka so they can support faculty and students using it in a variety of courses

This is a typical day for me and illustrates why I relish my job as a digital humanities postdoc at Occidental College. It offers everything I want in a digital humanities position: time for research, flexibility to experiment with my teaching, and the opportunity to spread the word about how technology can invigorate teaching and revolutionize research in the humanities. Postdocs are relatively rare in the humanities compared to the sciences, and postdocs at liberal arts colleges are even rarer. Because digital humanities postdocs at liberal arts institutions are so new, they pose unique opportunities and challenges that highlight important questions about the structure of the academy. In this post, I will discuss how my liminality allows me a degree of freedom unusual even for academia, but also privileges skills that I teach myself rather than the ones I learned in graduate school. Read the rest of the article in The Chronicle of Higher Educationphoto by Flickr user deanj

November 12, 2012

GA^3 Taste of the World Potluck on Nov. 16

The Graduate Association of Aeronautics and Astronautics is hosting a Taste of the World potluck on Friday, November 16th, 2012, from 5:30pm to 8:00pm in MIT Room 33-116.  Bring your favorite meal, dessert, soup, salad, or any of your favorite dishes and share your culture with others!

November 9, 2012

MIT welcomes six new MLK visiting professors and scholars

An urban transportation expert, a member of the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science, and a senior editor at The Atlantic are three of the six new Martin Luther King Jr. visiting professors and scholars on campus this academic year. Since its creation in 1991, MIT’s MLK Jr. Visiting Professors and Scholars Program has honored the late civil rights leader’s legacy by inviting scholars of diverse backgrounds to campus. While here, MLK visiting professors and scholars are deeply engaged in the life of the Institute through teaching and research; they enrich the Institute’s intellectual life and community while enhancing their own scholarship. To date, 68 visiting professors and 24 visiting scholars have come to MIT through the program. To see the visitors and read the rest of the article, visit MITNews.

November 9, 2012

Comedy Night at the Thirsty Ear Pub on Nov. 13

Comedy Night, presented by the Thirsty Ear Executive Committee (TEEC), is taking place this Tuesday, November 13th, 2012, at the Thirsty Ear Pub (Ashdown House) at 7:30pm.  Stand up comedians include Phoebe Angle, Alex Edelman, Tesha Kondrat, Anthony Scibelli, and PJ Westin.  There will be free food and soft drinks.  This event is sponsored by the GSC Funding Board and the Peter de Florez ’38 Humor Fund.  A 21+ government ID is required for entry.  Please have it ready to show at the door!  Contact for more information.

November 8, 2012

Working Hours for Graduate Students

One thing any academic recognizes is the fact that there is always more work to be done. There’s always another article to read, another experiment to run, another set of data to code, or another archive to consult. And so this leads, reasonably enough, to some anxiety about just how much work one should be doing at any given moment. Graduate students, especially newer ones, understandably need guidance in learning to recognize the norms and values of the academy. And so, a few weeks ago, an unnamed department in astronomy apparently sent this message (via AstroBetter, where there are great comments, too) to all the graduate students in their program… Continue reading the article on The Chronicle of Higher Educationphoto by Flickr user Skiwalker79

November 8, 2012

“Glow” Book Reading on Nov. 14

Jessica Maria Tuccelli will be reading from her book Glow on Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 at 7:00pm in MIT Room 32-141. Discussion and questions will follow.
Synopsis: In the autumn of 1941, Amelia J. McGee, a young woman of Cherokee and Scotch-Irish descent, and an outspoken pamphleteer for the NAACP, hastily sends her daughter, Ella, alone on a bus home to Georgia in the middle of the night—a desperate measure that proves calamitous when the child encounters two drifters and is left for dead on the side of the road. Ella awakens in the homestead of Willie Mae Cotton, a wise root doctor and former slave, and her partner, Mary-Mary Freeborn, tucked deep in the Takatoka Forest. As Ella heals, the secrets of her lineage are revealed.

November 7, 2012

Experience current research on Fridays with MIT News At Noon!

Meet MIT visionaries and learn about their front-page research, and connect with local colleagues before and after the program.  MIT News At Noon is a free event that will take place every Friday until December 7th, 2012 from 12:10pm to 12:50pm at the MIT Museum.  Presenters will be announced each week following their appearance in MIT News. The dates are as follows: 11/9. 11/16. 11/23, 11/30, and 12/7.
This Friday, November 9th, MIT News At Noon features Devavrat Shah who will discuss his new algorithm that predicts which Twitter topics will trend hours before they really happen.  The Boston Globe took note of this fascinating topic when it was recently announced.  Dessert will be provided.  Learn more about the program here.

November 7, 2012

GSC wins NAGPS Member of the Year Award

The MIT Graduate Student Council recently won the 2012 Northeast Member of the Year Award from the National Association of Graduate Professional Students (NAGPS) Award, an overall student government award for the Northeast Region (out of 16 universities).  The GSC officers include Eric Victor (GSC Treasury, Chemistry), Bomy Lee Chung (GSC Secretary, Chemical Engineering), Aalap Dighe (GSC Vice President, Mechanical Engineering) and Brian Spatocco (GSC President, Materials Science and Engineering).

November 6, 2012

“Making (up) an Archive: Women’s History in a Digital Mode” on Nov. 13

Professor Afsaneh Najmabadi will address the issues raised by the Women’s Worlds in Qajar Iran (WWQI) digital archive project on Tuesday, November 13th, 2012 at 4:00pm in MIT Room 3-133.  WWQI is a digital resource that preserves, links and renders accessible primary-source materials related to the social and cultural history of women’s worlds in Qajar Iran. Through the use of technology it brings together little known archives scattered across the world. Given the dearth of available primary-source materials related to women in the Qajar era, it is not surprising that, to date, the vast majority of Qajar social histories have focused almost exclusively on the struggles, achievements, and day-to-day realities of the men of that period. This is in part a matter of expediency; while men’s writing have been easily accessible in various national archives for decades (and many have in more recent years been published in edited volumes), most women’s writings, photographs, and other personal papers have to date remained sequestered in private family hands.WWQI aims to open up the documented social and cultural histories of Qajar women, thus allowing for the examinations of broader patterns of life during this era.

November 6, 2012

Program Assistants

Now Hiring: Program Assistant applications for MSRP due Dec 14

Program Assistants (PAs) for the MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP) are responsible for working closely with the MSRP Director and Assistant Director of Diversity Initiatives to provide mentorship and facilitate a positive research experience for approximately 50 interns. PAs meet with interns to provide assistance and mentoring, and to assist them with various program requirements including scientific posters, abstracts and research papers. Applications are due Friday, December 14th, 2012 at 5:00pm, to Monica Orta, Assistant Director, Diversity Initiatives ( Read more

November 5, 2012

Bitten by the Online Bug

The label “online lecturer” used to bother me. You didn’t see teachers in a traditional classroom calling themselves “in-the-flesh lecturers” or “face-to-face lecturers.” I feared that if I became an online lecturer, my colleagues might start to question the quality of my teaching or my reputation—as though the “online” bit would make what I did a little less important. Or a little less, well, good. Then I finished teaching my first online course and I switched sides. “Online lecturer” is simply the best way to describe what I do and how I teach, and I now find myself proud of the title. Continue reading the article on The Chronicle of Higher Education.  photo by Brian Taylor

November 5, 2012

Register Now for MIT CHIEF; Ticket Sales End Nov. 16!

MIT CHIEF is a two-day conference, held this year on November 16th-18th, 2012.  Leading authorities from academia, industries, enterprises, businesses and the government institutions, from both China and the US, will deliver presentations and showcase their work at MIT.  This forum will address not only the current development and potential collaborations of technologies and enterprises in the US and China in areas such as clean technology, information technology, health care and biotechnology, but also the related policies and future directions China should take for continued future development in innovation and entrepreneurship.  The components of the conference will be keynote speeches, panel discussions, an entrepreneurship contest. technology showcases, and networking sessions.
As the largest China-focused event on MIT campus, MIT-CHIEF 2011 attracted over 40 high-profile speakers, 100 start-up projects and over 600 attendees from all over the US and China. It was regarded as “an important milestone in MIT’s engagement with China” by Professor Victor Zue, Director of MIT Greater China Strategy Working Group.  To learn more about MIT CHIEF, visit their website.  Buy tickets here.

November 2, 2012

Mind and hand: A fencer takes on MIT Sloan’s MSMS Program

At the age of 18, Valentina Rizzati, MSMS ’13, had to choose between fencing and economics. An accomplished fencer from Ferrara, Italy, Rizzati won regional and inter-regional competitions and placed fifth at an international fencing competition. However, like most athletes, Rizzati realized she couldn’t keep up with a competitive sport forever. Writing an economics paper in high school sparked her interest in the subject, and it’s what eventually led her to MIT Sloan. “For my last year of my master’s I wanted to attend a school with a diverse and unique curriculum and student body, and I knew that I would find that at MIT Sloan.” Read the rest of the article on News@MITSloan.  photo courtesy of Valentina Rizzati

November 2, 2012

Grad Hillel Shabbat Dinner on Nov. 9

Enjoy a delicious Shabbat dinner with an awesome community of MIT graduate students on Friday, November 9th, 2012 from 7:30pm to 10:00pm in MIT Building NW86 in the Multipurpose Room.  The theme of this Shabbat dinner will be Shabbat 101; participants will learn together about the various traditions associated with Shabbat.  Contact for more information.  RSVP here.

November 1, 2012

The Dissertation Defense: We’re Doing Something Right

I never had a dissertation defense. My department had abolished them sometime before I arrived as a graduate student, and I considered myself lucky compared with friends at other universities who had to endure what I imagined as a painful ordeal. So when the time came, my two faculty readers signed a form approving my dissertation, and I walked the bound manuscript over to the registrar and submitted it. That was that. The first defense I ever attended was as a professor. Only then did I realize what I had missed. Continue reading the article in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  photo by Brian Taylor

November 1, 2012

“You can’t say that at MIT? Or can you? Should you?” event on Nov. 8

The Division of Student Life is hosting the event “You can’t say that at MIT? Or can you? Should you?” featuring nationally known speaker Peter Lake.  Professor Lake is a highly sought after speaker and futurist, particularly in the field of higher education law and policy, where he has served as a presenter or keynote speaker at several hundred international, national, regional, and local meetings.  The event will be a series of conversations on campus addressing civil communication in a diverse and technologically oriented community, including online communication, harassment, and bully, and will be held on two different days for two different groups of people.  On Thursday, November 8th, 2012, from 6:00pm to 7:30pm in MIT Room W20-491, the discussion and topics will be designed for a student audience (but all community members are welcome to attend).  On Friday, November 9th, 2012, from 9:00am to 12:00pm in MIT Room W20-407, the discussion and topics will be designed for faculty and staff.  For questions regarding this event, call the Office of Student Citizenship (Christy Anthony, Director) at (617) 253-6699 or email