Monthly Archives: December 2013

December 31, 2013

Bring history alive with the Handel & Haydn Society this IAP

This IAP class will begin to develop a dynamic application for interactive historical performance.  Utilizing Messiah performances by the Handel and Haydn Society, the class will recreate and manipulate these performances in reverse chronological order ending with 1815.  Finally, the class will investigate whether this same process can be used not only in museum settings, but to disseminate live concerts in a more enticing way today.  Advance sign-in is preferrered by Wednesday, January 1st, 2014.  The event is limited to 25.  Contact Teresa Neff for more information: MIT Room 10-263; (617) 452-3212;, or visit the website.

December 31, 2013

Lab Coat Video Contest; Deadline Jan. 24

The Lab Coat Video Contest is open for registrations now until Friday, January 24th, 2014.  First place wins $1000, and second place wins $500.  The purpose of this contest is to make a video about lab coats and submit it to TechTV.  The rules are outlined here.  Also keep in mind that MIT has facilities where you can use advanced video editing software if need be.  The contest is open to the entire MIT community.  Contact for more information.

December 30, 2013

Media Arts and Sciences grad students build $500 speed-of-light ‘nano-camera’

A $500 “nano-camera” that can operate at the speed of light has been developed by researchers in the MIT Media Lab.  The three-dimensional camera, which was presented last week at Siggraph Asia in Hong Kong, could be used in medical imaging and collision-avoidance detectors for cars, and to improve the accuracy of motion tracking and gesture-recognition devices used in interactive gaming.

The camera is based on “Time of Flight” technology like that used in Microsoft’s recently launched second-generation Kinect device, in which the location of objects is calculated by how long it takes a light signal to reflect off a surface and return to the sensor. However, unlike existing devices based on this technology, the new camera is not fooled by rain, fog, or even translucent objects, says co-author Achuta Kadambi, a graduate student at MIT.

“Using the current state of the art, such as the new Kinect, you cannot capture translucent objects in 3-D,” Kadambi says. “That is because the light that bounces off the transparent object and the background smear into one pixel on the camera. Using our technique you can generate 3-D models of translucent or near-transparent objects.”

Media Arts and Sciences graduate students Ayush Bhandari and Refael Whyte also worked on the nano-camera project.  Continue reading the article on MIT Newsphoto by Bryce Vickmark

December 30, 2013

2014 MIT Energy Conference early bird registration ends Jan. 15

Every year, the MIT Energy Conference draws over 1000 attendees to engage in critical discussion about key challenges defining the energy sector. This year’s conference will take place on February 21 and 22, 2014. Attendees hail from industry, academia, and policy. They provide an array of perspectives that foster rich dialogue amongst CEOs, entrepreneurs, investors, professors, researchers, regulators, students, and more. Early Bird pricing for registration ends January 15. Please contact organizers directly for a discount on purchases of 6 tickets or more. Tickets are required for BOTH Friday and Saturday panels. The Showcase is on Saturday and is open to the public. A detailed conference schedule will be released by December 31, 2013.

December 30, 2013

SEEK – Kickstart your spiritual journey during IAP

Want to explore faith in Jesus and connection with God? SEEK is a practical and experiential approach to connection with God for those new to faith or anyone looking for a fresh start with faith. Kickstart your spiritual journey Mondays and Wednesdays of IAP at 7:00 pm in W20-027. Includes dinner and informal conversation with similarly curious people. Contact for more information.

December 27, 2013

Kushman writes programs using ordinary language

In a pair of recent papers, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have demonstrated that, for a few specific tasks, it’s possible to write computer programs using ordinary language rather than special-purpose programming languages.

The work may be of some help to programmers, and it could let nonprogrammers manipulate common types of files — like word-processing documents and spreadsheets — in ways that previously required familiarity with programming languages. But the researchers’ methods could also prove applicable to other programming tasks, expanding the range of contexts in which programmers can specify functions using ordinary language.

In work presented in June at the annual Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Barzilay and graduate student Nate Kushman used examples harvested from the Web to train a computer system to convert natural-language descriptions into so-called “regular expressions”: combinations of symbols that enable file searches that are far more flexible than the standard search functions available in desktop software.  Continue reading the article on MIT NewsPhoto by Christine Daniloff

December 27, 2013

How Grad Students and Junior Professors Can Publish, Not Perish

Getting published is hard—especially for graduate students and young professors trying to do it for the first time, without a full understanding of the rapidly changing publishing environment. The fierce competition for academic jobs has put more pressure on graduate students to publish early and often. Hiring institutions are increasingly likely to expect newly-minted Ph.D.’s to have a book under contract, or to have published some scholarly articles, at the very least. And, like it or not, the book-length monograph remains the gold standard for tenure and promotion.

So it’s no wonder young academics have plenty of unanswered questions about publication. This special panel pulled together current and former editors from some of the most influential journals in American studies to debate a number of those topics: When should you start publishing review articles? Should you ever publish in a non-refereed forum? Should you craft seminar papers so that they lend themselves to publication in a particular journal? (And how would you even go about doing that?)

In other words, there was a lot to chew on. But here were a few of the most useful tips on offer… Read the article on Vitae.

December 27, 2013

Info session on the Council for the Arts Grants Program Jan. 22

On Wednesday, January 22nd, 2013 at 1:00pm in MIT Room E14-240, Manager of Student Art Programs Sam Magee and Director of the Council for the Arts at MIT Susan Cohen will outline the steps involved in submitting a CAMIT grant application, give advice on other sources of funding, and describe the various permissions and processes necessary to put on an event.  No registration is needed.  First come, first served.  For more information on the grants program, visit this website.  Only currently registered MIT students, MIT faculty, and MIT staff are eligible to apply.  Alumni, retirees, and spouses are not eligible.  Now is the time to learn how the Council for the Arts at MIT can help you fund your arts project!  Also keep in mind that the next application deadline is Friday, February 7th, 2014.  Picture by Lian Zhen

December 24, 2013


Thiers Brings Down The Cost Of Clinical Trials

“Pharma and CROs don’t have all of the information they need to properly select the right sites,” says Fabio Thiers, ViS founder and CEO and former MIT Hugh Hampton Young Fellow. “As a result, pharma firms and CROs may well end up with centers that don’t recruit any patients, and trials that take twice as long as they should. This lack of available information on trial sites will therefore drive up the cost of trials.” To help solve the problem, ViS spent a decade creating a map of over 400,000 sites that exist around the world. The company’s online feasibility platform makes information on those sites, such as patient populations, investigators, and disease-specific specialties, accessible to sponsors and CROs. Read the full article on the impact of his research at Clinical Leader. Photo: Arquivo pessoal

December 24, 2013

Apply for the Josephine de Karman Fellowship by Jan. 31

The Josephine de Karman Fellowship Trust is intended to recognize and assist students whose scholastic achievements reflect Professor von Karman’s high standards.  DeKarman fellowships are open to students in any discipline, including international students, who are currently enrolled in a university or college located within the United States. Only candidates for the PhD who will defend their dissertation by June 2015 and undergraduates entering their senior year (will receive bachelors degree in June 2015) are eligible for consideration.  Approximately eight fellowships of $22,000 for graduate students will be awarded for the regular academic year (fall and spring semesters or the equivalent where the quarterly system prevails), paid through the fellowship office of the university in which the recipient is enrolled for study in the United States.  The deadline for this fellowship is midnight, Friday, January 31st, 2014.  For more information, including application requirements, visit the website.

December 24, 2013

Koch childcare center meets parent demand

On Oct. 1, MIT opened a new daycare center at 219 Vassar Street. The center, known as David H. Koch Childcare Center or TCC Koch, is the fourth of MIT’s Technology Childcare Center (TCC) facilities. Three other on-campus centers are located at Eastgate, Westgate, Stata, and the fourth is in Lincoln, Mass., serving all MIT affiliates including Lincoln Labs employees. Additionally, there is also an on-campus infant care room in Building 68.

“The center was opened smoothly and successfully,” said Alison Alden, MIT’s Vice President for Human Resources. “The parents are thrilled, and the center had an enormous positive impact in responding to campus demand.” Continue reading the article in The Tech.

December 23, 2013

Hsu and Scott improve techniques for gene editing

Earlier this year, MIT researchers developed a way to easily and efficiently edit the genomes of living cells. Now, the researchers have discovered key factors that influence the accuracy of the system, an important step toward making it safer for potential use in humans, says Feng Zhang, leader of the research team.

With this technology, scientists can deliver or disrupt multiple genes at once, raising the possibility of treating human disease by targeting malfunctioning genes. To help with that process, Zhang’s team, led by graduate students Patrick Hsu and David Scott, has now created a computer model that can identify the best genetic sequences to target a given gene.

Continue reading the article on MIT News.

December 23, 2013

Volunteer & outreach at the MIT Museum Jan. 11

The MIT Museum is accepting applications for museum volunteers for Saturday, January 11th, 2014 at 9:00am.  This is an opportunity to connect your research to the public and to develop and run educational demonstrators for museum visitors.  Apply here.  For more information, contact

December 23, 2013

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction starts Jan. 6

This 10-week program teaches participants how to use their innate resources and abilities to respond more effectively to stress, pain, and illness.  It also includes guided instruction in mindfulness meditation practices, gentle stretching, mindful yoga, group dialogue, and daily home assignments.  Research indicates that mindfulness practices can be highly effective in a wide variety of ways, including lasting decreases in physical and psychological symptoms, greater energy and enthusiasm for life, and improved self-esteem.  The program will be start on Monday, January 6th, 2014 in MIT Room E23-319.  For more information, contact

December 20, 2013

Vondrick teaches computers to see — by learning to see like computers

Object-recognition systems — software that tries to identify objects in digital images — typically rely on machine learning. They comb through databases of previously labeled images and look for combinations of visual features that seem to correlate with particular objects. Then, when presented with a new image, they try to determine whether it contains one of the previously identified combinations of features.

Even the best object-recognition systems, however, succeed only around 30 or 40 percent of the time — and their failures can be totally mystifying. Researchers are divided in their explanations: Are the learning algorithms themselves to blame? Or are they being applied to the wrong types of features? Or — the “big-data” explanation — do the systems just need more training data?

Today, the feature set most widely used in object-detection research is called the histogram of oriented gradients, or HOG (hence the name of the MIT researchers’ system: HOGgles).

“This feature space, HOG, is very complex,” says Carl Vondrick, an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science and first author on the new paper. “A bunch of researchers sat down and tried to engineer, ‘What’s the best feature space we can have?’ It’s very high-dimensional. It’s almost impossible for a human to comprehend intuitively what’s going on. So what we’ve done is built a way to visualize this space.”

Read more on MIT News.

December 20, 2013

e4Dev IAP Course: Racing Toward Energy Access

The e4Dev IAP Course Racing Toward Energy Access – Why the Next 2 Billion Users Matter (more than you think) involves a series of lectures, case studies, interactive activities, and the development of an energy access project evaluation strategy to gain a working knowledge of the current state of energy access (and what it means to provide access).  Students will also understand the connection between energy access and poverty alleviation as well as the financing mechanisms and business models for energy projects in the developing world.  The course is led and facilitated by Professor Ignacio Pérez-Arriaga, MIT Energy Initiative Deputy Director Rob Stoner, and a variety of guest speakers.  It takes place from Tuesday, January 7th to Friday, January 10th, 2014 in MIT Room E17-128.  Contact for more information.

December 20, 2013

PSA Yalda Night on Dec. 21

Celebrate the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, with friends and assorted foods on Saturday, December 21st, 2013 at 8:00pm in the Sydney Pacific Lounge.  There will also be pomegranate, watermelon, nuts, cookies, and more.  Tickets are available here.  You can get more information by emailing

December 19, 2013

Resource Spotlight: Work-Life Center

The challenges of raising and caring for a family while pursuing a graduate degree at MIT can be formidable and complex. Fortunately, the Work-Life Center is available to members the MIT community, offering an array of tools and solutions to insure the health and stability of students, faculty, and staff and their families.

Their services range from one-on-one consultation to address issues like work-life balance, childcare, parenting, stress, and more to administering on-campus childcare centers and the new backup childcare pilot program for students, which is co-sponsored by the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education. The center houses a lending library of more than 1,000 books about a variety of work-life topics. They can also provide referrals to other support facilities both on and off campus.

Read more

December 19, 2013

Accepting applications for GCWS Spring courses through Jan. 3

Applications are still being accepted for the Spring 2014 Graduate Consortium in Women’s Studies seminars until Friday, January 3rd, 2014.  These courses are open to graduate students across all disciplines as well as advanced undergraduate students doing work in a discipline related to the course topics.  The courses include:
  • Feminist Inquiry
  • Screen Women: Body Narratives in Popular American Film
  • Queer Theory and Politics
For more information, including application procedures, call or email or visit the GCWS website.

December 19, 2013

Bollywood Karaoke Night on Dec. 20

Come celebrate the end of the semester at Bollywood Karaoke Night on Friday, December 20th, 2013, starting at 6:00pm in the Student Center, Twenty Chimneys (W20-306).  Sing your favorite Bollywood numbers and enjoy free food and soft drinks.  Please RSVP here.  Contact for more information.


December 18, 2013

Nonato explores the Brazilian language of the Kĩsêdjê in the Amazon rainforest

Wandering through his university’s library in São Paulo one day in 2002, Rafael Nonato noticed a book titled “Language.” Curious, he pulled it off the shelf.

The book was written in 1921 by a linguist named Edward Sapir, who did work on Native American languages. “It’s this very interesting book; he discusses the possible relationships between language and culture. I thought, ‘Wow, this is really cool!’” Nonato says.

Then halfway through a computer engineering degree, Nonato found a linguistics program at the nearby State University of Campinas and began coursework there. Now, as a PhD student in linguistics at MIT, Nonato studies the indigenous Brazilian language Kĩsêdjê (keen-seh-jay), dividing his time between a Kĩsêdjê village on the outskirts of the Amazon rainforest and MIT, where he puzzles out the structure of the language.

Read more about Nonato on MIT News.

December 18, 2013

Your First Year in a Ph.D. Program

Usually we write about the end stages of the doctoral-student career as soon-to-be Ph.D.’s prepare for the job market. But this month we’d like to step back and offer advice to those just starting out in graduate school.

We believe early career planning is especially important in the current climate surrounding doctoral education. From all sides, Ph.D. students hear that their fields are in jeopardy, that research and teaching positions are shrinking, and that the doctoral path is one taken only by the rich or the financially foolish. That refrain is especially heard in the humanities, as typified by Jordan Weissmann’s recent blog post for The Atlantic, but he has also written about the lack of jobs and the decline of research opportunities for scientists. Others have aired similar concerns about fields such as computer science, particle physics, and the biomedical sciences. The challenges faced by Ph.D.’s seeking work outside of academe even made The New York Times recently in an article entitled “The Repurposed Ph.D.”

Continue reading the discussion in The Chronicle of Higher Educationphoto by Brian Taylor

December 18, 2013

Former MIT president Charles M. Vest dies at 72

Former MIT president Charles M. Vest — a tireless advocate for research and science, and a passionate supporter of diversity and openness — died last night of pancreatic cancer at his home in Washington. He was 72. As MIT’s 15th president, serving from 1990 to 2004, Vest led the Institute through a period of striking change and growth. A mechanical engineer by training, Vest was president of the National Academy of Engineering from 2007 until earlier this year.

During Vest’s presidency — the third-longest in the Institute’s 152-year history —MIT renewed its commitment to education and research through major innovations in both areas; developed strong ties with academic, government, and industry partners around the world; broadened the diversity of its people and programs; and transformed its campus with dramatic new buildings. MIT’s endowment nearly quadrupled during Vest’s tenure, growing from $1.4 billion to $5.1 billion.

“Through its own work, and especially through the lives and works of its graduates, a great university can strive to make the world well,” Vest wrote in 2004. “The knowledge we generate, the things we come to understand, and the devices we build can improve health, economies, security and the quality of life. MIT must continue to be optimistic in its vision of why we are here and what we can do.”

Continue reading the article on MIT News.

December 17, 2013

Science and Technology Policy Bootcamp over IAP

MIT Washington Office Director William Bonvillian’s Science and Technology Policy Bootcamp (IAP 17.910) will take place Monday, January 27th to Friday, January 31st, 2014 in MIT Room 56-114.  The course will compromise six classes over the four scheduled days followed by a faculty panel discussion.  This is an excellent introductory opportunity for those with little policy background. Contact for more information or visit the website. Organized but the MIT Science Policy Initiative; sponsored by an ODGE Graduate Student Life Grant.

December 17, 2013

Winter Break Airport Shuttle Dec. 19-22

The Parking and Transportation Office is offering a shuttle service to Logan Airport for the Winter Break.  Shuttles will be available from Thursday, December 19th to Sunday, December 22nd, 2013 at the scheduled times.  Advance reservations are required via the Parking and Transportation Office’s website.  The shuttle fee is $10, which will be billed to student bursar accounts or via employee payroll deductions.  Shuttles will depart from the Kresge parking lot at the scheduled time and will not wait for late arriving passengers.  Normal trip time from MIT to Logan Airport is about a half-hour, but please allow up to one hour for this trip.  Traffic, construction and Airport Security delays should be expected.

December 16, 2013

Heaps-Nelson honored for extraordinary teaching and mentoring

The School of Engineering has recently given awards to outstanding faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students.  Among these awards, Tom Heaps-Nelson (Engineering Systems Division) was given the School of Engineering Graduate Student Award for Extraordinary Teaching and Mentoring.  This award was established in 2006 to recognize an engineering graduate student who has demonstrated extraordinary teaching and mentoring as a teaching or research assistant. To see the rest of the School of Engineering awards, visit MIT News.

December 16, 2013

Spring 2014 Course: Medicine for Managers and Entrepreneurs

Learn about basic medicine, startups in healthcare, and healthcare systems in general during the Spring 2014 Course Medicine for Managers and Entrepreneurs (15.S67).  The course will take place Thursdays from 4:00pm to 7:00pm in MIT Room E62-223.  Pre-registration is required.  Contact for more information.

December 16, 2013

Swiss Saint Nicholas Celebration on Dec. 16

Come and celebrate the upcoming holidays over delicious Swiss appetizers and baked goods at the Swiss Saint Nicholas Celebration on Monday, December 16th, 2013 at 7:00pm in the Muddy Charles Pub.  Chat with other peers and learn more about Switzerland and its culture.  Contact for more information.

December 13, 2013

Somerville Saferide: answers to your questions

The new Somerville Saferide runs seven days a week from 6:00pm to 2:30am Sunday through Wednesday and from 6:00am to 3:30am Thursday through Saturday.  Because the shuttle is new, early problems are still being worked out.  Feedback is much appreciated; you can send your feedback to  Below are a few common questions and answers compiled from student feedback:

Q: Where is the shuttle line on the MIT App?  It would be much better if the live tracking were there!
A: We agree completely!  The reason the new shuttle line is not yet on the app is because the amount of time and cost it would take to import the new line doesn’t make sense until the line is approved for continuance.  Don’t worry though!  For now, you can find the live tracking at the NextBus website and on the NextBus app.

Q: I noticed the bus doesn’t always show up on time.  What’s the deal?
A: The current NextBus predictions are accurate about 95% of the time, however the prediction algorithms get better as more data points are collected over time.  If the line is approved for the long-term the quality of predictions will be the same as all the other buses at MIT.

Q: How did you plan the route and direction?  Can you make changes?
A: Sure!  We can provide regular input to MIT Transportation to make changes and improvements as the line is trialed, so please let us know what you think.  That said, we do want you to know that the line’s route and stops were chosen using an algorithm that attempted to maximize the number of students within walking distance of the line and minimize the total time spent walking by students to pick-up locations.

Q: You’ve mentioned a couple of times about the line being “continued.” How does this work?
A: If we attain sufficient ridership numbers through the Fall term MIT will consider making the line permanent and cover the cost of service.  In other words, if you like the new shuttle line, please ride it.  If you don’t please let us know what’s wrong so we can improve it before the final decision.

December 13, 2013

The Reifs host Winterfest 2013 on Dec. 16

President Rafael Reif and Mrs. Christine Reif will be hosting Winterfest 2013, a celebration of the semester’s end with music and refreshments on Monday, December 16th, 2013 from 12:00pm to 2:00pm in the Walker Memorial.  As this is the first day of finals, feel free to just walk in, grab a bite, and continue studying for the last stretch of the year.

December 13, 2013

ODGE renovations

ODGE building 35 office makes temporary move Dec. 16 – Feb. 4

To allow for renovations in ODGE rooms 35-332 and 35-336, the staff for diversity, fellowships, and communications will temporarily move our operations as of December 16:

  • Diversity Initiatives staff Monica Orta and Amanda Stoll will be located in ODGE headquarters in 3-138
  • Manager of Graduate Fellowships Scott Tirrell will be located in 35-433
  • Communications Officer Heather Konar will be located in 35-433

Interoffice mail may continue to be sent to building 35-332 or 35-336, which will be checked daily.

Please note, in order to accommodate the move, the building 35 offices will be closed on Monday, December 16 and Tuesday, February 4. Staff members will return messages as possible. Many thanks for your patience as we upgrade our facilities!

December 12, 2013

Last Call for Marvin E. Goody Award Applications; Deadline Dec. 13

The Marvin E. Goody Award of $5,000 is awarded to an MIT graduate student in any department at MIT who is expecting to complete his or her Master’s thesis in June 2014.  The thesis research must explore new building methods and materials and combine good design with good building.  Submit an application form, resume, thesis proposal, two letters of recommendation, and a budget indicating the proposed use of funds.  The application deadline is Friday, December 13th, 2013, with the announcement of the winner on the following Friday, December 20th, 2013.  Visit this webpage for more information, or visit the headquarters of the Department of Architecture in MIT Room 7-337.

December 12, 2013

Resource Spotlight: MIT spouses&partners

The transition to a new community – particularly one as uniquely demanding as MIT – poses a number of difficulties to the spouses and partners of MIT students, faculty, and staff. MIT spouses&partners provide a wealth of resources for those new to MIT and the Boston area, but it’s not just for new arrivals: through weekly meetings, interest groups, and events, MIT spouses&partners cultivates a thriving community that helps to forge friendships, cultivate camaraderie, and create a valuable network for its membership that encompasses both personal support and professional opportunities.

Read more

December 12, 2013

Apply today: Graduate Women at MIT seeks new officers and executives

GWAMIT is currently recruiting conference co-chairs, event leads, and committee members for the Spring Empowerment Conference to be held in March 2014.  Those interested in being more involved should consider applying to be an executive for the 2014 term (January to December).  The Empowerment application is available online and is due on Monday, December 16th, 2013The Executive application is also available online and is due Sunday, January 5th, 2014.  After submitting an executive application, please email to schedule a brief one-to-one interview with a current executive board member.  Contact or visit for more information.

December 11, 2013

Communicating Science Workshop for Graduate Students; Apply by Dec. 20

Learn how to communicate complex technical information to a variety of audiences at the Communicating Science Workshop for Graduate Students, to be held on the Harvard University Campus on Monday January 13th, and Friday, January 24th, 2014, from 8:30am to 1:30pm.  The event will feature panels and talks from experts in science writing and communication.  Each participant will produce an original piece of science writing and have it reviewed by peers and by one of the experts present at the event.  Space is limited.  Apply online by Friday, December 20th, 2013.  Contact for more information.

December 11, 2013

Family Day at the List Visual Arts Center on Dec. 14

Come to Family Day at the List Visual Arts Center (E15 Upper Atrium) on Saturday, December 14th, 2013 from 12:00pm to 4:00pm.  Learn about block printing by creating wintery cards from your own design.  Also, enjoy a family-friendly tour of the galleries at 2:00pm.  The event is free and open to all, but best for those who are 3 or older.  No registration is necessary.  Contact for more information.

December 10, 2013

Resource Spotlight: REFS

Feeling stressed? Sensing conflict between you and your fellow students, a professor, your advisor, a lab partner, or someone else in your life? Your department’s REFS Program may be able to help. REFS (Resources for Easing Friction and Stress) is a graduate student run peer support system that provides guidance, mentorship, and mediation in a confidential, informal setting. Your department’s REFS can advise you directly, put you in touch with other MIT support providers, or make thoughtful referrals.

Read more

December 10, 2013

Heubel’s research is advancing X-ray technology

X-rays transformed medicine a century ago by providing a noninvasive way to detect internal structures in the body. Still, they have limitations: X-rays cannot image the body’s soft tissues, except with the use of contrast-enhancing agents that must be swallowed or injected, and their resolution is limited. But a new approach developed by researchers at MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) could dramatically change that, enabling the most detailed images ever — including clear views of soft tissue without any need for contrast agents. The work was presented by MIT postdoc Shuo Cheng during the 13th International Workshop on Micro and Nanotechnology for Power Generation and Energy Conversion Applications (PowerMEMS 2013), which was held from December 3 to 6 in London.

The new technology “could make X-rays ubiquitous, because of its higher resolution, the fact that the dose would be smaller and the hardware smaller, cheaper, and more capable than current X-rays,” says Luis Velásquez-García, a principal research scientist at MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratories and senior author of the PowerMEMS paper. The research, which also included MIT postdoc Frances Hill and graduate student Eric Heubel, was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Read the article on MIT News.

December 10, 2013

Hult Prize at MIT on Dec. 12

Are you interested in launching a social venture, winning $1 million, and meeting Bill Clinton?  Join the Hult Prize Initiative taking place at MIT Sloan (E51-345) on Thursday, December 12th, 2013  at 6:00pm.  This year, the competition will be focused on healthcare, specifically non-communicable diseases in urban slums.  The Hult Prize is a start-up accelerator for budding young social entrepreneurs emerging from the world’s universities.  Named as one of the top five ideas changing the world by Former President Bill Clinton and TIME Magazine, the annual competition for the Hult Prize aims to identify and launch the most compelling social business ideas—start-up enterprises that tackle grave issues faced by billions of people.  Sign up for the pitch competition online.  For more information, contact

December 9, 2013

MSRP alum Gamboa interviews groundbreaking scientist and alumna Villa-Komaroff

As a part Roadtrip Nation, a movement that empowers people to travel the country and speak with leaders from across disciplines, MSRP alum Jackie Gamboa joined two other inquisitive travelers for a journey from California to Massachusetts. In the course of their trip, Gamboa and her fellow travelers met with MIT graduate alum Lydia Villa-Komaroff – the third Mexican-American woman to earn a PhD in the United States and co-founder of SACNAS, the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science.

View a video of this inspiring interview online at Roadtrip Nation’s website.

December 9, 2013

alumni to the corp

GSC seeks grad students to serve on Title IX and hazing prevention

The Graduate Student Council is looking for graduate students willing to participate in one of two student groups: the Title IX Student Working Group or the Hazing Prevention and Education Committee.  Apply to either by Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 by sending an email with resume and a brief statement of interest (in PDF format) to the past year, the Institute has worked to introduce a number of new initiatives to address sexual misconduct at MIT.  Among those initiatives is a revised Sexual Misconduct Policy, designated Title IX Coordinators throughout the Institute, and the creation of the position Title IX Investigator, dedicated to investigating allegations of misconduct and developing educational efforts.  Apply to become a part of this group, and assist in creating educational messages and material related to Title IX and Sexual Misconduct, provide advice on the best way to reach students and disseminate information, think through “big picture” issues such as assessing the campus climate, and create better tools to better assess unique issues affecting undergraduate and graduate students.  The time commitment is somewhat variable, but most likely will involve a bi-monthly meeting with some sub-committee work as needed.

The Hazing Prevention and Education Committee is looking for a grad student to serve in this group.  Monthly meeting times are all at 3:00pm on December 12th, January 9th, February 6th, March 6th, April 3rd, May 1st, and May 29th.  This committee reviews status and feedback-gathering processes for updated hazing policy (work completed), reaches out to people via education and an outreach curriculum, and maintains the MIT hazing prevention website, Hazing consortium proposal, Hazing Reporting Form, Hazing Compliance E-Form, and the Hazing Investigation Protocol.

December 9, 2013

Nominations for MLK Awards due Dec. 13

On Thursday, February 6th, 2014, MIT will mark the 40th anniversary celebration of its annual Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast and program.  The program works to honor Dr. King’s legacy by recognizing a broad range of committed people who embody his ideals in service to the community.  Consider nominating an individual or group for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award, which is given annually to students, alumni, staff, and faculty who embody the spirit of Dr. King’s work. This year, the program will also give a special Lifetime Achievement Award to an individual or group that has displayed a commitment of service to others and dedication to positive social changes in their community.

MIT alumni/ae, undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff are all eligible for nomination for the Leadership Award or the Lifetime Achievement Award.  Consideration will be given to both individuals and groups, including living groups and student and professional associations.  Past recipients of the MLK, Jr. Leadership Award are also eligible for the Lifetime Achievement Award.  Nomination letters should be submitted by Friday, December 13th, 2013 to Acia Adams-Heath at or in MIT Room NE18-901.  Please indicate whether your nomination is for the MLK Leadership Award or for the MLK Lifetime Achievement Award.  The MLK celebration subcommittee of the Committee on Race and Diversity will select awardees, and recipients will be announced at the celebratory breakfast on Thursday, February 6th, 2014.  If you have any questions, please contact Mrs. Adams-Heath, Professor John de Monchaux, or Ms. Tobie Weiner.

December 6, 2013

GSC Winter Arts Gala Dec. 11

Join the GSC and the Grad Arts Forum for their end-of-semester Winter Arts Gala on Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 at the Copley Society on Newbury Street from 7:30pm to 10:00pm.  Eat canapes, drink Chardonnay, listen to live jazz, and enjoy two floors of fine art by local emerging artists.  This is a free event, but space is limited, and you must be 21 or older to register.  Register here.  Contact for more information.

December 6, 2013

Register for the 18th European Career Fair at MIT by Dec. 8

Discover the many opportunities that companies, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations from Europe have to offer at the 18th European Career Fair at MIT.  The Fair will take place from Saturday, February 1st to Monday, February 3rd, 2014.  It is the largest career fair of its kind in the United States with more than 100 participating organizations and more than 5,000 registered candidates.  Take this opportunity to meet employers face to face and stand out from the crowd!  Those who register for the event will become part of a searchable database where employers can view a resume and schedule interviews even before meeting at the fair.  Register for the Fair by Sunday, December 8th, 2013.  For questions, email

December 6, 2013

Resource Spotlight: The Chaplains at MIT

Representing an array of religions and denominations from around the world, the Chaplains at MIT serve as spiritual advisers to the MIT community. For many, spiritual wellbeing is key to a productive, purposeful life, and can be a great source of comfort amidst the many demands and challenges the Institute presents. Even for those who are not practicing a particular religion, MIT’s chaplains are a great source of wisdom and warmth, and are willing to listen to students and other community members who are feeling overwhelmed, lost, or stressed.

Read more

December 5, 2013

Global Health India MedTech Hack-a-thon: Apply by Dec. 9!

Apply online for the Global Health India MedTech Hack-a-thon at Glocal Healthcare Ltd., Kolkata, India by Monday, December 9th, 2014!  The hack-a-thon will take place from Friday, January 24th to Sunday, January 26th, 2014, from dusk on through the dawn.  CAMTech and IMES will jointly support air and all travel expenses for one student.  This event will bring together inventive, forward-thinking minds to change the status quo in health care.  Specifically, the goal of the hack-a-thon is to gather engineers, physicians, entrepreneurs, scientists and designers to pitch problems impacting healthcare, develop solutions over a two-day period, and then present demos of solutions at the end to a panel of judges.  Those who are accepted will be alerted around Wednesday, December 11th, 2013.  For more information, contact Robert Fadel at

December 4, 2013

Wang is developing a system to warn programmers about compilers

Compilers are computer programs that translate high-level instructions written in human-readable languages like Java or C into low-level instructions that machines can execute. Most compilers also streamline the code they produce, modifying algorithms specified by programmers so that they’ll run more efficiently. Sometimes that means simply discarding lines of code that appear to serve no purpose. But as it turns out, compilers can be overaggressive, dispensing not only with functional code but also with code that actually performs vital security checks.

A classic example, explains Xi Wang, a graduate student in EECS and first author on the new paper, is the assumption that if a program attempts to store too large a number at a memory location reserved for an integer, the computer will lop off the bits that don’t fit. “In machines, integers have a limit,” Wang says. “Whenever you exceed that limit, the input value basically wraps around to a smaller value.”

Read the article on MIT News.

December 4, 2013

BGSA Monthly Community Lunch on Dec. 7

The Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA) is hosting their Monthly Community Lunch on Saturday, December 7th, 2013, from 12:00pm to 1:30pm in MIT Room 50-105.  The entire MIT community is welcome to attend this free event. Take the opportunity to make connections with your fellow MIT students and alumni. Professional Chef Wheeler Del Torro will present a brief lecture on the food served. Contact for more information.

December 3, 2013

Resource Spotlight: Community Wellness at MIT Medical

It’s no secret that the MIT environment is a demanding one: a great deal is expected of students, faculty, and staff. Maintaining physical and emotional health is essential to getting the most out of the MIT experience. Community Wellness at MIT Medical exists to offer support to all members of the MIT Community, offering classes, events, workshops, and both individual and group consultation – in addition to facilitating several ongoing groups, such as “Making Peace with Food” and groups for new and expectant parents.

Read more

December 2, 2013

Choi and Ulissi investigate the speed of molecules in nanotubes

Like a pea going through a straw, tiny molecules can pass through microscopic cylinders known as nanotubes. This could potentially be used to select molecules according to size — for example, to purify water by allowing water molecules to pass through while blocking salt or other substances.

Now, researchers at MIT, Seoul University in Korea and Ursinus College in Pennsylvania have found that such tubes are more selective than had been thought: Molecules of a precise size can zip through five times faster than those that are a bit smaller or larger. The new findings are published in the journal Nature Communications by MIT professor Michael Strano, graduate students Wonjoon Choi and Zachary Ulissi, and three others. Read the rest of the article on MIT News.