Monthly Archives: October 2013

October 31, 2013

Shum developing automatic speaker tracking in audio recordings

A central topic in spoken-language-systems research is what’s called speaker diarization, or computationally determining how many speakers feature in a recording and which of them speaks when. Speaker diarization would be an essential function of any program that automatically annotated audio or video recordings.

To date, the best diarization systems have used what’s called supervised machine learning: They’re trained on sample recordings that a human has indexed, indicating which speaker enters when. In the October issue of IEEE Transactions on Audio, Speech, and Language Processing, however, MIT researchers describe a new speaker-diarization system that achieves comparable results without supervision: No prior indexing is necessary. Stephen Shum, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, is lead author on the new paper.

Continue reading the article on MIT News.

October 31, 2013

OneStart Bioentrepreneur Competition; Applications due Dec. 15

Enter the world’s largest life science business plan competition: OneStart.  The winner will receive $150,000 as well as free lab space in San Francisco for 12 months and ongoing business and intellectual property advice.  First round applications are open until Sunday, December 15th, 2013.  Entrants can join individually or as a team, and are encouraged to recruit other scientists, business students, lawyers, and anyone else with the talent and motivation to execute on a great idea.  Ideas at all stages of development are welcome.  Entrepreneurial individuals without a biotech idea of their own are encouraged to create a profile at the Co-Founder’s Hub, where applicants can search for additional team members.

35 semi-finalists will receive direct mentorship from experienced industry professionals, chances to network with Venture Capital, Pharmaceutical and Biotech executives and the right to attend a Business Bootcamp in San Francisco with workshops from sponsors, including GSK, Roche, and the QB3 East Bay Innovation Center. The winner will be chosen at the finals gala before a crowd of industry executives in May 2014. OneStart is open to any applicants 35 and under as of January 1, 2014, who are living in North or South America. Visit the website to find out more and apply or email

October 30, 2013

New tool helps identify astronauts with better spatial skills

Today, all incoming astronauts complete extensive training to learn to operate a robotic arm on the space station. But the operation isn’t intuitive, and there’s a steep learning curve for some. MIT researchers in the Man Vehicle Laboratory (MVL) are looking for ways to streamline this lengthy training process. They administered standard cognitive spatial tests to 50 astronauts, and compared these initial results with the astronauts’ performance in NASA’s 30-hour Generic Robotics Training (GRT) course. The researchers found that the initial spatial tests were able to predict the top performers in the more extensive course.

The results, says MVL director Charles Oman, suggest that the initial spatial tests may be used as a screening tool to place low-scorers on an in-depth training track, while accelerating high-scorers through a shortened course. Oman and his colleagues have published their results in the journal Acta Astronautica. The paper’s co-authors are research scientists Andrew Liu and Alan Natapoff, and graduate research assistant Raquel Galvan. Continue reading the article on MIT NewsPhoto by NASA.

October 30, 2013

“Bionanoscience for Innovative Global Healthcare Research & Technology” lecture on Oct. 31

The Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) Distinguished Speaker Series presents “Bionanoscience for Innovative Global Healthcare Research & Technology,” a lecture with the Arnold and Barbara Silverman Distinguished Professor at UC Berkeley, Professor Luke P. Lee.  The lecture will take place on Thursday, October 31st, 2013 in MIT Room E25-111, with a pre-seminar reception at 5:00pm and the lecture at 5:30pm.

October 29, 2013

Nora Vrublevska’s “Cambridge at Night” photography on display now

Nora Vrublevska‘s “Cambridge at Night” photography exhibition will be on display in the Wiesner Art Gallery in the MIT Student Center (W20, 2nd Floor) from Tuesday, October 15th to Tuesday, December 10th, 2013.  The “Cambridge at Night” series is a photographic exploration of the area around the MIT campus at night.  Nora’s long-exposure night photographs were created using black-and-white film over a period of two years.  There will also be an artist’s reception on Thursday, November 7th, 2013 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm in the Wiesner Art Gallery.  More of Nora’s work can be seen on her website.

October 29, 2013

BCG Paris networking event registration deadline Oct. 29

Come talk with The Boston Consulting Group Paris Office at a cocktail to discuss the full extent of strategy consulting on Monday, November 4th, 2013 at 6:30pm in New York (the location will be specified at a later date).  The Boston Consulting Group team will share their personal experience in strategy consulting and regarding life at BCG.  The deadline for registration is Tuesday, October 29th, 2013.  Please note that due to a limited number of invitations available, applications will be selected.  For more information, contact Magali Leclere at

October 28, 2013

McGovern recognized by International Desalination Association

MIT doctoral candidate and Hugh Hampton Young Fellow Ronan K. McGovern SM ’12 has received the Best Presentation Award of the Young Leaders Program at this year’s World Congress on Desalination and Water Reuse, hosted by the International Desalination Association.

The award was presented “in recognition of superior technical content and oral presentation made at the 2013 IDA World Congress. The award committee judged this paper to have the best combination of scientific and technical innovation, relevance to the theme of the Congress, and style of presentation by a member of the IDA Young Leader’s Program.”

The paper in question, titled “Design and Optimization of Hybrid ED-RO Systems for the Treatment of Highly Saline Brines,” was authored by R.K. McGovern, S.M. Zubair, and J.H. Lienhard V. Continue reading on MIT News.

October 28, 2013

‘Cool’ invention wins first place at MADMEC

Heating or cooling certain parts of your body — such as applying a warm towel to your forehead if you feel chilly — can help maintain your perceived thermal comfort.  Using that concept, four MIT engineering students developed a thermoelectric bracelet that monitors air and skin temperature, and sends tailored pulses of hot or cold waveforms to the wrist to help maintain thermal comfort.  For this invention, the team, called Wristify, took home the $10,000 first prize at this year’s Making And Designing Materials Engineering Competition (MADMEC), held Tuesday afternoon.

“Buildings right now use an incredible amount of energy just in space heating and cooling. In fact, all together this makes up 16.5 percent of all U.S. primary energy consumption.  We wanted to reduce that number, while maintaining individual thermal comfort,” says Sam Shames, a materials science and engineering senior who co-invented the Wristify technology.  “We found the best way to do it was local heating and cooling of parts of the body.” With the prize money, the team plans to further develop the prototype, using advanced algorithms to better automate the thermal pulses, among other things.  Other Wristify co-inventors from DMSE include graduate students Mike Gibson and David Cohen-Tanugi, and postdoc Matt Smith.

Read the article on MIT NewsPhoto by Franklin Hobbs.

October 28, 2013

International students are invited to Halloween Tea on Oct 31

International students are invited to celebrate Halloween with a special gathering on Thursday, October 31st, 2013 from 2:00pm to 3:00pm in the (haunted) International Student Office. There will be Halloween treats and goodies. Costumes are encouraged but not required.

October 25, 2013

Legal Aspects of Business In China, In the USA and In Between event on Oct. 27

Come to the MIT-CHIEF Workshop Series event: Legal Aspects of Business in China, In the USA, and In Between on Sunday, October 27th, 2013 from 3:00pm to 5:00pm in MIT Room E51-145.  The speaker will be David L. Woronov, Partner, McCarter English, LLP.  Learn about the regulatory environment of businesses in the United States as well as the legal environment of China.  For more information, contact

October 25, 2013

Regeneron accepting applications for 2014 Postdoctoral Fellows

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is now accepting applications for its 2014 class of Postdoctoral Fellows.  These applications are open until Sunday, December 15th, 2013.  The Regeneron Postdoctoral Program offers three years of formal postdoctoral training in a program directed by an award-winning educator, exposure to the biotechnology industry’s most successful and innovative scientists, and weekly postdoctoral scientist meetings to foster scientific rigor, creative thinking, critical reasoning, and career advancement.  Fellows will be a part of a prestigious, well-resourced, and highly driven industry environment where they will gain encouragement of scholarly productivity through publications and conference presentations.  Fellows will also have the opportunity to pursue their own cutting-edge research ideas in almost any area of biomedicine, including human genetics.  For more information and to apply online, visit the Regeneron website

October 25, 2013

Grad Coffee Hour on Oct. 28

Come to the Grad Coffee Hour this Monday, October 28th, 2013 at 7:00pm in the Stata Center Forbes Cafe.  There will be free food, coffee, and hot chocolate.  Take a break from studying, hang out with your friends, and even make some new ones.  Contact for more information.

October 24, 2013

HallowMIT on Oct. 26

HallowMIT is MIT’s annual children’s Halloween festival, taking place on Saturday, October 26th, 2013 from 3:00pm to 5:00pm at the Zesiger Center.  Graduate students, faculty, staff, and their families are all encouraged to come.  The event includes games, juggling, arts and crafts, music, and food.  Also, costumes are welcome!  This event is free and open to the entire MIT community.

October 24, 2013

Braff separating the good from the bad in bacteria

There are good bacteria and there are bad bacteria — and sometimes both coexist within the same species.  However, determining whether a bacterium is harmful typically requires growing cultures from samples of saliva or blood — a time-intensive laboratory procedure.  Now MIT researchers have developed a new microfluidic device that could speed the monitoring of bacterial infections associated with cystic fibrosis and other diseases.

The new microfluidic chip is etched with tiny channels, each resembling an elongated hourglass with a pinched midsection.  Researchers injected bacteria through one end of each channel, and observed how cells travel from one end to the other.  The cells were propelled by a technique called dielectrophoresis, in which voltage exerts a force on a particle.  But depending on the cells’ exterior composition, or phenotype, they either passed through the channel’s narrow section or were trapped at the opening.

Read more

October 24, 2013

Spain@MIT: Israel Ruiz on Oct. 25

Come to the next Spain@MIT Science Series featuring Israel Ruiz, MIT Executive Vice President and Treasurer, on Friday, October 25th, 2013 from 12:00pm to 1:00pm in MIT Room 32-155.  In this seminar, Ruiz will present his vision on what it takes to promote research in science and technology.  Spain@MIT is the association of Spanish students and students interested in Spanish culture at MIT.  Contact for more information.

October 23, 2013

Three new reports from ODGE-sponsored ad-hoc committees now available online

Three different ad-hoc committees sponsored by the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education have recently published reports which are now available to read online as PDFs. To view them, MIT certificate authentication is required.

The following committees have released findings:

For more information about each committee’s charges, membership, and more, click on the links above. Photo by Steve Garfield.

October 23, 2013

GSC Science Outreach Blog meeting on Oct. 24

The GSC Science Outreach Blog gives people the chance to explain science through writing.  Interested students should join the Activities Committee in discussing the blog on Thursday, October 24th, 2013 at 6:00pm in MIT Room 50-220.  Dinner will be provided.  For more information, contact gsc-ac@mit.eduRSVP here.

October 23, 2013

Engineering PhDs and postdocs: Raise your visibility

Beginning next week, the School of Engineering Dean’s Office will once again run an advertisement to help graduating PhDs and completing postdocs gain visibility, especially on the academic job market.  The advertisement will run in First Bell, a content-aggregation newsletter produced by ASEE that has 27,000 recipients, 87% of whom are engineering faculty members at other universities.  The advertisement will point to this site:  Any PhDs or postdocs who would like to be featured on the site should visit this page and complete the form.

October 23, 2013

EECS doctoral student Cheung awarded Intel Fellowship

Alvin Cheung, a doctoral student in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and advised by Professor Sam Madden and Professor Armando Solar-Lezama, was selected as one of the 24 students awarded Intel PhD Fellowships for the 2013-2014 academic year.  As Intel notes, “The recipients of these prestigious awards are among an elite group who represent the brightest talent and future thought leaders in their respective areas of research.”  Read the announcement on Intel’s website.

October 22, 2013

Heroes and Villains: Halloween MIT/Harvard mixer to be held Oct. 26

The Heroes and Villains Halloween MIT/Harvard mixer is taking place on Saturday, October 26th, 2013, in Edgerton from 6:00pm to 7:30pm, Ashdown/Warehouse from 7:30pm to 9:00pm, and Sidney Pacific from 9:00pm to 1:00am.  Appetizers and pumpkin carving are at Edgerton.  Dinner and games will be at Ashdown and the Warehouse.  Dessert, drinks, and dance will finish off the night at Sidney Pacific.  If you intend to drink, please bring a 21+ ID.  For more information, contact

October 22, 2013

Lin and Warren find blood clots before they wreak havoc

Life-threatening blood clots can form in anyone who sits on a plane for a long time, is confined to bed while recovering from surgery, or takes certain medications. There is no fast and easy way to diagnose these clots, which often remain undetected until they break free and cause a stroke or heart attack. However, new technology from MIT may soon change that: A team of engineers has developed a way to detect blood clots using a simple urine test.

The noninvasive diagnostic, described in a recent issue of the journal ACS Nano, relies on nanoparticles that detect the presence of thrombin, a key blood-clotting factor. Lead authors of the paper are Kevin Lin, a graduate student in chemical engineering, and Gabriel Kwong, a postdoc in IMES. Other authors are Andrew Warren, a graduate student in Health Sciences and Technology (HST), and former HST postdoc David Wood.

Continue reading the article on MIT NewsPhoto by Christine Daniloff.

October 21, 2013

EECS PhD student Cody Gilleland named first recipient of Regeneron Prize

Cody Gilleland, a PhD student in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), was recently awarded the first ever Regeneron Prize for Creative Innovation by a Graduate Student.

According to Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, which created the annual prize, this “new initiative [was] designed to acknowledge, reward, and foster talented early-career scientists.” Gilleland was nominated by the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education.

Continue reading the article on MIT News.

October 21, 2013

Family Day at the List on Oct. 26

Visit the MIT List Visual Arts Center for Family Day on Saturday, October 26th, 2013, from 12:00pm to 4:00pm.  Celebrate the List’s newest exhibition, Chris Marker: Guillaume-en-Egypte. with free drop-in activities, just for families.  Discover contemporary art at MIT and create your own animated drawing while exploring simple zoetrope machines.  At 2:00pm, there will be a family-friendly tour of the exhibition.  Visitors of all ages are welcome, and no registration is required. Click here for more information.

October 21, 2013

Zhao returns to MIT to begin doctorate program in aerospace engineering

When Zi Peng “Hunter” Zhao was five years old, he knew what he wanted to be when he grew up: an aerospace engineer. “You see a rocket launch, and that to me was the coolest thing ever. You’re sending people to space, and it’s… discovery – exploration – it’s just really awesome to me,” he says. While the precise details of his dream have evolved over the years, his connection to MIT – beginning as a middle school student and extending through today as a first-year Ph.D. candidate in aerospace engineering – has remained constant.

Zhao nurtured this dream by enrolling in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Program in its inaugural year, when he was in the seventh grade. In the program – provided by the MIT Office of Engineering Outreach Programs (OEOP) to students who attend public middle school in Boston, Cambridge, and Lawrence, Massachusetts – Hunter and his peers spent five weeks during the summer learning math and science from MIT students and select Saturdays during the school year working one-on-one with student mentors. He also participated in the Saturday Engineering Enrichment and Discovery (SEED) Academy. Read about Hunter on the Office of Engineering Outreach Program’s News website.

October 18, 2013

International Sales Competition Oct. 21-25

The International Sales Competition will be held from Monday, October 21st to Friday, October 25th, as well as Saturday, November 2nd, 2013 in MIT Sloan.  This is a unique opportunity for graduate students to win up to $10,000 in cash prizes, while honing essential presentation skills.  There will also be recruiting opportunities for internships and full time jobs, as well as networking opportunities with fellow graduate students and professionals from around the world.  This competition will consist of a preliminary round case telephone pitch (5 min) followed by a final round, where the students can go individually or work with a group.  The top three contestants from each school in the preliminary round will compete in the final round.  Contact or visit the website for more information.

October 18, 2013

October Social Science Happy Hour on Oct. 18

Come to the October Social Science Happy Hour to discuss social science research over food and beverages.  Network with other social science researchers at this event on Friday, October 18th, 2013 at 5:30pm in MIT Room E18-202.  All are welcome to attend.  Contact for more information.

October 18, 2013

Housing and Community Affairs Monthly Meeting on Oct. 21

Share your thoughts about student housing, childcare, transportation, and more at the Housing and Community Affairs (GSC-HCA) Monthly Meeting on Monday, October 21st, 2013, from 6:00pm to 7:00pm in the GSC Office, Walker Memorial 50-220.  Get involved with student-centered issues!  Contact for more information.

October 18, 2013

IAP Public Service Fellowships Deadline on Oct. 18

The IAP Public Fellowships program supports MIT students working on capacity-building service projects.  Students work with community-focused organizations including non-profits and social enterprises (which can include the student’s own enterprise).  You can create your own project, continue work on an enterprise you already started, or find project ideas on the website.  Remember that applications for IAP Fellowships and Internships projects must be submitted by noon on Friday, October 18th, 2013.  Contact for more information.

October 18, 2013

Task Force on the Future of MIT Education works toward preliminary report this fall

As the Institute-wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education works toward its expected release of a preliminary report this fall, hundreds of members of the MIT community — including more than half of the faculty — have weighed in on the topic. On February 6, President L. Rafael Reif convened the Task Force, charging its members with reinventing residential education. “To stay true to our educational values, we must seize the opportunity to reimagine what we do and how we do it,” Reif wrote, adding: “We are in the midst of an educational revolution.”

In a spirit of openness, an Idea Bank was launched to encourage faculty, students, staff and alumni to contribute recommendations; 180 ideas were submitted, and individuals from more than 100 countries have visited the Idea Bank. All of the submitted ideas have now been reviewed, and are organized by themes at Continue reading the article on MIT News.

October 18, 2013

Syria: How can YOU help? event on Oct. 18

Speakers will give insight into the humanitarian aid efforts going on in Syria, followed by a discussion about what MIT students can do to help. This event will take place on Friday, October 18th, 2013 at 3:00pm in the Bush Room, MIT Building 13. Dinner will be served. Contact for more information.

October 17, 2013

e4Dev Special Event with Power Africa on Oct 17 – RSVP required!

Power Africa coordinator Andrew Herscowitz and USAID Energy Division Chief Allen Eisendrath will present an overview of Power Africa at a special e4Dev event on Thursday, October 17th, 2013, from 6:00pm to 7:30pm in MIT Room 66-110.  Power Africa is a major Obama Administration initiative to double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030.  The presentation will include a moderated question and answer session led by MIT Energy Initiative Deputy Director Robert Stoner.  Please RSVP here.  Light refreshments will be served.  Contact for more information.

October 17, 2013

Lemelson-MIT National Collegiate Student Prize Competition; Deadline Dec. 31

The Lemelson-MIT Program has expanded its prestigious Collegiate Student Prize program to become the National Collegiate Student Prize Competition. The prize competition is supported by The Lemelson Foundation and is open to teams of undergraduate students and individual graduate students. Applicants can submit their inventions in the following two inaugural categories that represent significant sectors of the economy: the “Cure it!” category and the “Use it!” category. “Cure it!” will reward students working on technology-based inventions that can improve healthcare. “Use it!” rewards students working on technology-based inventions that can improve consumer devices and tools. Inventions can address opportunities in both developed and developing economies. The deadline to apply for the National Collegiate Student Prize Competition is Tuesday, December 31st, 2013. Visit the competition’s website for more information. Fill out the application here. For more information, watch this YouTube video.

October 17, 2013

Chen, Whisler, and Jeon model behavior of cancer cells

Researchers at MIT have developed a microfluidic device that mimics the flow of cancer cells through a system of blood vessels. Using high-resolution time-lapse imaging, the researchers captured the moments as a cancer cell squeezes its way through a blood vessel wall into the surrounding extracellular matrix. The process is “highly dynamic,” as they write in a paper published in the journal Integrative Biology; a better understanding of it may help scientists identify therapies to prevent metastasis.

“Now that we have a model for extravasation, you can think about using it as a screen for drugs that could prevent it,” says Roger Kamm, the Cecil and Ida Green Distinguished Professor of Biology and Mechanical Engineering at MIT. “We could take circulating tumor cells from a patient and subject those cells to a handful of factors or drugs. That’s ultimately what we’d like to do, but in the process we’re learning a lot as we go along.” Kamm’s co-authors on the paper include graduate students Michelle Chen, Jordan Whisler and Jessie Jeon. Read the rest of the article here.

October 16, 2013

What I Learned by ‘Doing Capitalism” presentation Oct. 17

Dr. William Janeway, a 30-year veteran of the investment banking and venture capital industries, will discuss his experience working at the intersection of finance, technology, and innovation on Thursday, October 17th, 2013 at 4:00pm (with refreshments preceding at 3:30pm) in MIT Room 56-154.  He will reflect on the system of innovation in the United States, the importance of financial bubbles to technological advances, and the role government has and should play in encouraging innovation.  Read about Dr. Janeway in The New York Times.

October 16, 2013

Nominations for the 64th Meeting of Nobel Laureates and Students due Oct. 28

The Office of the Dean of Graduate Education (ODGE) is accepting applications directly from students for the Internal Competition for Nominations to the 2014 Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates and Students, to be held from Sunday, June 29th to Friday, July 4th, 2014. This year’s meeting will focus on medicine and physiology (medical, biomedical, and other biological sciences and related disciplines). Only two nominations can be submitted bu MIT via the Mars, Inc. sponsorship pathway. Transportation, lodging, and registration expenses will be arranged and paid for by Mars, Inc. MIT nominations must be submitted by the Office of the Dean of Graduate Education. Individual faculty members may not submit nominations directly.

October 16, 2013

Xu discovers that some cracked metal can heal itself

It was a result so unexpected that MIT researchers initially thought it must be a mistake: Under certain conditions, putting a cracked piece of metal under tension — that is, exerting a force that would be expected to pull it apart — has the reverse effect, causing the crack to close and its edges to fuse together. The surprising finding could lead to self-healing materials that repair incipient damage before it has a chance to spread. The results were published in the journal Physical Review Letters in a paper by graduate student Guoqiang Xu and professor of materials science and engineering Michael Demkowicz.

“We had to go back and check,” Demkowicz says, when “instead of extending, [the crack] was closing up. First, we figured out that, indeed, nothing was wrong. The next question was: ‘Why is this happening?’” Read the rest of the article on MIT News.

October 15, 2013

Software in Computational Science with Wolfgang Bangerth on Oct 17

Software is where computational scientists and engineers ultimately have to implement the numerical methods they describe in their papers, and where it is necessary to implement the desired concrete physical setting for simulation. Over the past decade, many high quality libraries have been developed that make writing advanced computational software simpler.  In this talk, Wolfgang Bangerth, Ph.D. (Department of Mathematics at Texas A&M University) will briefly introduce the deal.II finite element library, whose development he lead, and show how it has enabled the development of the ASPECT code for simulations of convection in the earth mantle.  Bangerth will also discuss some of the results obtained with this code.

The talk will be held on Thursday, October 17th, 2013 at 4:00pm in MIT Room 56-114.

October 15, 2013

Chris Marker: Guillaume-en-Égypte opening reception on Oct 17

The opening reception for Chris Marker: Guillaume-en-Égypte will be held on Thursday, October 17th, 2013, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm in the List Visual Arts Center.  The reception will begin with a film screening/talk at 6:00 pm by exhibition curator João Ribas, and then will continue at the Carpenter Center from 6:30-8:00 pm, with a screening of La jetée at 7:30 pm, introduced by Haden Guest, director of the Harvard Film Archive and, curator João Ribas.  Chris Marker: Guillaume-en-Égypte is a survey exhibition of the work of renowned filmmaker and artist Chris Marker (1921-2012).  The exhibition is the first comprehensive presentation of Marker’s pioneering work in text, photography, film, video, and digital media, reflecting his role as a chronicler of the second half of the 20th century through its images. This event is organized by João Ribas and is presented concurrently at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University (Friday, October 18th, 2013 to Sunday, December 22nd, 2013),  and is accompanied by a retrospective at the Harvard Film Archive (Thursday, October 17th, 2013 to Monday, December 9th, 2013).  This event is free and open to all.

October 11, 2013

Robert Langer: Biomaterials and Biotechnology Lecture on Oct 15

The MIT Sidney Pacific/Presidential Fellows Distinguished Lecture Series presents Biomaterials and Biotechnology, a lecture by Institute Professor Robert Langer on Tuesday, October 15th, 2013 at 6:30pm (with refreshments at 6:00pm) in the Mark Multipurpose Room of the Sidney Pacific Graduate Residence.  This lecture is open to all graduate students.  Dr. Langer is a leading researcher and innovator in biotechnology.  His research laboratory at MIT is the largest biomedical engineering lab in the world.  Dr. Langer has written over 1,200 articles, and has 815 patents worldwide.  His patents have been licensed or sublicensed to over 250 pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology and medical device companies.  He is the most cited engineer in history.  RSVP here, and contact for more information.

October 11, 2013

Graduate Education in Medical Sciences (GEMS) – Information Session on Oct 17

IMES and HST are holding an Information Session about the programs’ Certificate Program in Graduate Education in Medical Sciences (GEMS) on Thursday, October 17th, 2013 from 3:00pm to 4:00pm in MIT Room E25-401.  This is a part-time certificate program to supplement existing MIT PhD curricula.  GEMS provides students with the training to translate their basic research to clinical settings.  It allows students to learn about medicine, how their work may have relevance to medicine, as well as how engineering and science meet real world health care.  It’s also a great networking opportunity, with GEMS faculty including physicians and physician-scientists from the Harvard Medical community.  Please RSVP to  For more information, visit the website.  Keep in mind that the application deadline for the program is Friday, November 15th, 2013.

October 11, 2013

New space opens for MIT’s youngest attendees

“What a joyful occasion!” MIT President L. Rafael Reif said at Friday’s dedication of the Institute’s newest child-care facility, the David H. Koch Childcare Center. Reif praised the “wonderful impact of this center on the life of our campus” — doubling MIT’s capacity to provide care for the preschool children of faculty, staff, postdocs, and graduate students. The ceremony, held on a second-floor porch of the 14,000-square-foot modular building on Vassar Street, featured comments from members of the MIT community whose lives have already been affected by the Institute’s on-campus childcare services.

“This project depended from start to finish on the initiative, vision, and generosity of David H. and Julia Koch,” Reif said in his introduction. “They saw the urgent need for high-quality child care to help MIT’s parents succeed in balancing demanding careers.” They responded to that need, Reif said, with “a big gift to make this center happen, and then cheered its progress every step of the way.” That gift, Reif said, will help to “make the MIT family stronger and happier for many years to come.”

Continue reading the article on MIT NewsPhoto by Dominick Reuter.

October 10, 2013

GEM GRAD Lab to be held Oct. 26

The GEM GRAD Lab (Get Ready for Advanced Degrees) is a free event sponsored by the Massachusetts Consortium of S.T.E.M. Programs, designed to inform students from underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (S.T.E.M.) about the importance of pursuing an advanced degree, how to apply for graduate school and prepare a competitive application, and graduate school funding opportunities.  All S.T.E.M. undergraduates (particularly juniors and seniors) and masters students considering pursuing a PhD are encouraged to attend. Register for this valuable opportunity by clicking here.

The event will take place on Saturday, October 26th, 2012, from 9:00am to 3:30pm EST at Northeastern University’s John D. O’Bryant African American Institute and the Cabral Center, 360 Huntington Avenue, Boston. A panel of speakers will provide their insight and experiences on graduate school and beyond, and the keynote speaker will be Dr. Howard Adams, a renown expert in mentoring and mentorship programs. Breakfast and lunch are provided.

October 10, 2013

Tutor Night Shift Employees in English

The MIT English as a Second Language Program for Service Employees is looking for volunteers to tutor night shift employees for one to two hours per week, or to serve as substitutes as needed.  No experience is required.  All that is needed is an active command of English and an interest in helping individuals whose first language is not English.  The goals of the program are to build student’s confidence, to help them become more productive in their jobs, and to perhaps open up further opportunities for advancement.  Tutoring takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00pm.  Contact for details.

October 10, 2013

Herbert and Krishnamoorthy are probing the surface of pyrite

Pyrite — perhaps better known as “fool’s gold” for its yellowish metallic appearance — is a common, naturally occurring mineral. It holds promise as a high-tech material, with potential uses in solar cells, spintronic devices and catalysts, but is also a byproduct of corrosion of steel in deep-sea oil and gas wells. Both its potential usefulness in devices and its role in corrosion are largely influenced by the fundamental electronic properties of its surface — which have remained relatively unexplored.

But a team of MIT researchers has now found a way to probe these elusive surface properties for the first time. Their findings are reported in the journal Surface Science, in a paper by professors Bilge Yildiz and Krystyn Van Vliet and graduate students F. William Herbert and Aravind Krishnamoorthy. “The surface of this material is very different from the bulk, something that is common for many materials,” Yildiz explains. “The bulk has been widely characterized, but when it comes to the surface, there is only a small amount of data, and it’s not consistent.” Read the rest of the article on MIT NewsPhoto by Justin Knight.

October 10, 2013

MIT $100K Pitch Contest; Registration Deadline Oct. 15

Compete for $10,000 in cash prizes at the MIT $100K Pitch Contest. Share your 60-second pitch in front of venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, top executives, and an excited audience. Build a team around an idea you want to realize, and jump start the company that you want to build. The contest also offers a free How to Pitch workshop;  more information will be available in the future. The Pitch Contest Finale will be on Wednesday, November 6th, 2013.  Visit the website or contact for more information.  The registration deadline is Tuesday, October 15th, 2013.

October 9, 2013

GSC Legislative Platform Open House on Oct 10

The GSC Legislative Platform Open House will take place on Thursday, October 10th, 2013 at 6:00pm in MIT Room 50-220. There, you’ll be able to learn about and provide feedback on potential updates to this years legislative platform.  Food will be provided, but please RSVP.  Contact the Legislative Action Subcommittee ( if you have any questions.

October 9, 2013

Seneviratne, Miao, and Shih are building disaster-relief phone apps on the fly

Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the Qatar Computing Research Institute have developed new tools that allow people with minimal programming skill to rapidly build cellphone applications that can help with disaster relief. The tools are an extension of the App Inventor, open-source software that enables nonprogrammers to create applications for devices running Google’s Android operating system by snapping together color-coded graphical components. Based on decades of MIT research, the App Inventor was initially a Google product, but it was later rereleased as open-source software managed by MIT.

The researchers presented their new tools in a paper at the Workshop on Semantic Cities last month in Beijing. The MIT researchers on the paper — principal research scientist Lalana Kagal, graduate students Oshani Seneviratne, Daniela Miao and Fu-ming Shih, and postdoc Ilaria Liccardi — are all members of CSAIL’s Decentralized Information Group (DIG). Continue reading the rest of the article on MIT NewsPhoto by Christine Daniloff.

October 9, 2013

IDEAS Global Challenge Fall Generator Dinner on Oct. 10

Come hear about the IDEAS Global Challenge at the Fall Generator dinner on Thursday, October 10th, 2013 at 7:00pm in Walker Memorial, Morss Hall, MIT Building 50.  This is your chance to network with other people helping under-served communities, learn about attaining funding for your project, as well as generally getting involved in the IDEAS Global Challenge.  Pitch your idea and recruit teammates, or pitch your skills to get hired onto a team.  This is your chance to share your ideas, meet teammates, and form a team before the first chance to submit an Initial Scope Statement on Thursday, October 24th, 2013.  RSVP here or email to sign up for a 60-second pitch opportunity.  Contact for more information.

October 8, 2013

Boston Symphony Orchestra College Card now available

The Boston Symphony Orchestra College Card is now available for purchase at MIT Copytech (MIT Room 11-004) for $5.  They will remain for sale for the rest of the academic year.  For this one-time purchase fee, the College Card allows MIT students the chance to obtain a free ticket to virtually every Boston Symphony Orchestra concert with unfilled seats.  For more information about the College Card program, visit the website.  Join the Ticket Alert Mailing List here.

October 7, 2013

Fall 2013 Graduate Language Exam; Apply before Oct 30

The Foreign Languages & Literatures section is holding the Fall 2013 Graduate Language Exam (GLE) Wednesday, November 13th, 2013, at 2:00pm in MIT Room 14E-304.  The application deadline for the Fall GLE is Wednesday, October 30, 2013.  FLL offers this exam for graduate students in those departments that require proficiency in a foreign language for the Ph.D.  For more information, including the link to download the application, visit this website.