Monthly Archives: May 2014

May 30, 2014

Owens produces new algorithms to camouflage unsightly objects

If a bulky electrical box has to be placed at the edge of a public park, what’s the best way to conceal it so that it won’t detract from its surroundings? How about an air-conditioning condenser beside a historical building, or a portable toilet along a scenic trail?

At the conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition in June, researchers from MIT and several other institutions take a first stab at answering these types of questions, with a new algorithm that can analyze photos of a scene, taken from multiple perspectives, and produce a camouflage covering for an object placed within it.

According to Andrew Owens, an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science and lead author on the new paper, the problem of disguising objects in a scene is, to some degree, the inverse of the problem of object detection, a major area of research in computer vision.

Continue reading on MIT News.

May 30, 2014

MIT-CHIEF Business Plan Contest deadline Jul. 25

The MIT China Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (CHIEF) is holding a business plan contest with $20,000 in cash rewards for finalists.  Gain valuable feedback from prestigious judges and utilize mentorship services (for semifinalists).  Achieve direct access to accelerators, incubators, investors, industrial parks, and other valuable resources.  Submit your business idea online by Friday, July 25th, 2014 to enter this global competition!  Contact or visit the website for more information.

May 29, 2014

Yoon creates imaging system to monitor nervous systems

Researchers at MIT and the University of Vienna have created an imaging system that reveals neural activity throughout the brains of living animals. This technique, the first that can generate 3-D movies of entire brains at the millisecond timescale, could help scientists discover how neuronal networks process sensory information and generate behavior.

The team used the new system to simultaneously image the activity of every neuron in the worm Caenorhabditis elegans, as well as the entire brain of a zebrafish larva, offering a more complete picture of nervous system activity than has been previously possible. […]

Boyden’s team developed the brain-mapping method with researchers in the lab of Alipasha Vaziri of the University of Vienna and the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna. The paper’s lead authors are Young-Gyu Yoon, a graduate student at MIT, and Robert Prevedel, a postdoc at the University of Vienna.

Continue reading on MIT News.

May 29, 2014

Join the MIT Rowing Club! Season starts Jun. 9

Summer is coming, and that means it’s time to get out and row with a great team on a great river!  Join the MIT Rowing Club and practice from 6:00am to 8:00am starting Monday, June 9th, 2014 on the Charles River.  The club is open to all MIT community members at all skill levels.  There is even a program for complete beginners.  Coxswains are highly encouraged to join!  The club offers full coach-supervised training for novice coxes throughout the year.  Find out more on the website and get on the club’s mailing list (low volume) here.  Contact for more information.

May 28, 2014

Hirsch brings new way to watch 3D without 3D glasses

Over the past three years, researchers in the Camera Culture group at the MIT Media Lab have steadily refined a design for a glasses-free, multiperspective, 3-D video screen, which they hope could provide a cheaper, more practical alternative to holographic video in the short term.

Now they’ve designed a projector that exploits the same technology, which they’ll unveil at this year’s Siggraph, the major conference in computer graphics. The projector can also improve the resolution and contrast of conventional video, which could make it an attractive transitional technology as content producers gradually learn to harness the potential of multiperspective 3-D. […]

The MIT researchers — research scientist Gordon Wetzstein, graduate student Matthew Hirsch, and Ramesh Raskar, the NEC Career Development Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences and head of the Camera Culture group — built a prototype of their system using off-the-shelf components.

Continue reading on MIT News.

May 28, 2014

MIT-CHIEF China Trip – Apply by Jun. 30

The MIT China Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (CHIEF) is sponsoring a trip to China for entrepreneurs who are interested in building connections in China.  Up to 12 teams will be selected to join this trip, which will include visits to Guangzhou, Nanjing, Suzhou, and Beijing from Saturday, August 9th to Sunday, August 17th, 2014.  Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.  Apply online by Monday, June 30th, 2014.  For more information, email

May 27, 2014

Chhabra and Ramos receive Soros Fellowship

Congratulations to Arnav Chhabra and Azucena Ramos for receiving the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans! 30 fellowships are awarded each year, each up to $90,000 and supporting up to two years of graduate study, to immigrants or children of immigrants.

Chhabra is currently a graduate student in the HST department at MIT. Right now he is working on creating an on chip model of a liver that will replicate the pathophysiology of human livers to provide a noninvasive study of live function.

Growing up with a love for math and science and a passion to become a doctor, Ramos attended Smith College with a focus on becoming a physician-scientist. She is currently enrolled at Harvard Medical School and her main goal is to bring about major scientific change, contributing to the collective knowledge of the world and empowering underprivileged communities.

May 27, 2014

Student Invention Showcase May 30

Come to Inventions: 2014 Student Showcase, opening Friday, May 30th, 2014 at the MIT Museum, and see various student inventions developed across MIT.  This exhibition taps into MIT’s value of creativity, ingenuity, and practical problem-solving for real-world issues.  Take the first look at the ideas, research, and students developed in courses, clubs, and labs across MIT.  From the SproutsIO smart-phone application to air quality sensors, to an interface that converts everyday objects into musical instruments, this exhibition will cover a range of participatory concepts that will shine a light into our future.

May 27, 2014

Chancellor’s update on sexual assault prevention

This past week, Chancellor Barnhart sent out a community update on the status of her campus-wide sexual assault prevention work. After listening to the voices of students, faculty, and staff, she has identified unifying themes with respect to the issue, such as students’ desires for clear definitions of what behavior constitutes sexual assault and confusion about students’ rights and options for advice and support. More than 30 percent of the undergraduate and graduate student body has participated in Barnhart’s spring online survey, and she anticipates more responses up until the closing of the survey at the end of May. 

Based on data from the survey and other community input, Barnhart is planning new improvements for sexual assault prevention programs to be implemented at MIT this coming fall. These improvements span from education and outreach to policy, procedures, and processes. If anyone has questions, would like to be involved, or would like to contribute to the cause and communicate with Chancellor Barnhart directly, they can do so at 

Photo by U.S. Pacific Fleet.

May 23, 2014

Dahlman expands the power of RNA interference

RNA interference (RNAi), a technique that can turn off specific genes inside living cells, holds great potential for treating many diseases caused by malfunctioning genes. However, it has been difficult for scientists to find safe and effective ways to deliver gene-blocking RNA to the correct targets.

Up to this point, researchers have gotten the best results with RNAi targeted to diseases of the liver, in part because it is a natural destination for nanoparticles. But now, in a study appearing in the May 11 issue of Nature Nanotechnology, an MIT-led team reports achieving the most potent RNAi gene silencing to date in nonliver tissues.

“There’s been a growing amount of excitement about delivery to the liver in particular, but in order to achieve the broad potential of RNAi therapeutics, it’s important that we be able to reach other parts of the body as well,” says Daniel Anderson, the Samuel A. Goldblith Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, and one of the paper’s senior authors.

The paper’s other senior author is Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT and a member of the Koch Institute. Lead authors are MIT graduate student James Dahlman and Carmen Barnes of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals.

Read the article on MIT newsphoto courtesy Aude Thiriot/Harvard

May 23, 2014

2014-2015 GCWS Graduate Courses at MIT

The 2014-2015 Graduate Consortium in Women’s Studies seminars are courses that are open to graduate students across disciplines; Masters and PhD students are eligible to apply as well as advanced undergraduate students doing work in a discipline related to the course topics.  There is an application process for GCWS courses.  Applications are accepted until the enrollment deadline and are reviewed by the seminar instructors immediately following.  The Fall application deadline is Thursday, August 21st, 2014.  Please call or email the GCWS at or visit the website for more information about application procedures, member institution cross-registration policies, credit questions, or the specifics of the classes being offered.

May 23, 2014

Explore the Franklin Park Zoo May 24!

Explore the Franklin Park Zoo on Saturday, May 24th, 2014 at 11:00am.  The group will meet at the zoo entrance at this time to start an unforgettable journey through the animal kingdom!  Registration is open.  Tickets are $8 for adults and $2 for children ages 2 to 12.  Children younger than 2 years old are free.  Contact for more information.

May 22, 2014

Wright and others win IDEAS competition, improve quality of life

The annual MIT IDEAS Global Challenge awards ceremony awarded $79,500 to 13 student-led teams to further develop inventions and ideas intended to solve pressing environmental and health challenges in developing countries.

CleanData-CleanWater, a $10,000 winner last night, plans to use its earnings to manufacture 1,000 of its sensors, which gather previously unavailable data on water filter usage in developing countries.

The sensors fit on a filter’s tap and track how long the tap stays up or down, measuring the frequency and duration of use. The company plans to integrate the sensors into a new line of ceramic pot water filters being installed across Ghana by the company Pure Home Water, a previous IDEAS winner.

If broadly implemented, the sensors could help inventors and investors gauge the effectiveness of thousands of filters worldwide, said Natasha Wright, a graduate student in mechanical engineering. “We hope to transform the way clean water is delivered across the developing world,” she said in accepting her team’s prize.

Read the article on MIT newsphoto courtesy Yuri Vaysgant

May 22, 2014

2014 United Nations ECOSOC Youth Forum; apply by May 23

The 2014 United Nations ECOSOC Youth Forum will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, 10 AM – 6 PM on June 2nd and 3rd. The forum’s objective is to bring young voices to the discussion addressing the challenges for meeting the Millennium Development Goals and shaping the future development agenda. Youth representatives will have an opportunity to listen to and engage in an interactive discussion among themselves and member states at five featured working sessions. The Ministers of Youth and Sports, youth delegates, youth representatives from Member States, the Children and Youth Major Group, National Youth Councils, and regional youth organizations and networks will all be attending the forum. The opportunity to attend is by invite only. If invited, the application deadline is 5 PM Friday, May 23rd. For more information, visit the event website.

May 22, 2014

Out of this World with Leonard Nimoy and Sarah Hicks May 23 & 24

Guest conductor Sarah Hicks, Principal Pops Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra, makes her Boston Pops debut leading an “out of this world” program on Friday May 23rd and Saturday May 24th 8 PM at Symphony Hall in Boston. Featuring music inspired by outer space, it will be hosted by the legendary original Mr. Spock, Leonard Nimoy. Music will include Holst’s The Planets (performed alongside a film by astronomer Jose Francisco Salgado, PhD, featuring NASA visuals), the theme from Star Trek, the classical works (Also Sprach Zarathustra and Blue Danube Waltz) popularized in 2001:A Space Odyssey, and John Williams’s music from Star Wars, E.T., and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

College Card tickets and $20 under 40 tickets ($20 tickets for patrons under 40 years of age) are available. To learn how to purchase and redeem these tickets or to learn more about the performance, visit the BSO event website. Tickets are also available at the Box Office and through SymphonyCharge (888-266-1200).

May 21, 2014

Sengeh and Peters awarded Lemelson-MIT National Collegiate Student Prizes

The Lemelson-MIT Program today announced winners of the Lemelson-MIT National Collegiate Student Prize Competition (NCSPC), a nationwide search for the most inventive undergraduate and graduate students. The Lemelson-MIT Program awarded $50,000 in prizes, with winning undergraduate teams receiving $10,000 in two categories and graduate student winners receiving $15,000 in two categories. The winners of this year’s competition were selected from a diverse and highly competitive applicant pool of students spanning 26 universities across the country.  The graduate winner for the “Cure it!” reward (technology-based inventions that can improve healthcare) was David Sengeh.  Sengeh is designing the next-generation of wearable, mechanical interfaces that improve comfort and mobility for amputees.  The graduate winner for the “Use it!” reward (technology-based invention that can improve consumer devices and tools) was Ben Peters.  Peters has invented critical technology that enables the production of a new breed of machine tool: a high resolution, reconfigurable molding surface.

Read the article on MIT newsphotos courtesy Allegra Boverman

May 21, 2014

Future Faculty Workshop – Apply by June 2

The 2.5-day Future Faculty Workshop will seek to provide mentorship to aspiring underrepresented minority senior graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.  The workshop will take place from Sunday, July 20th to Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 in the MIT Endicott House.  Applicants from chemistry, chemical engineering, polymer science, materials science, and related departments are encouraged to apply.  The workshop attendance will be limited to 20-25 students.  Early submissions are welcomed, and the deadline for all applications is Monday, June 2nd, 2014.  Applications are available here.  For more information, visit this website or contact /

May 21, 2014

Graduate Hillel Shabbat Dinner May 23

Come to the Graduate Hillel Shabbat Dinner on Friday, May 23rd, 2014 from 7:30pm to 10:00pm in the Sidney Pacific Multipurpose Room.  Enjoy a delicious Shabbat dinner with an awesome community of MIT graduate students.  Please RSVP by sending an email to

May 20, 2014

Morton researches better chemotherapy

MIT researchers have devised a novel cancer treatment that destroys tumor cells by first disarming their defenses, then hitting them with a lethal dose of DNA damage.

In studies with mice, the research team showed that this one-two punch, which relies on a nanoparticle that carries two drugs and releases them at different times, dramatically shrinks lung and breast tumors. The MIT team, led by Michael Yaffe, the David H. Koch Professor in Science, and Paula Hammond, the David H. Koch Professor in Engineering, describe the findings in the May 8 online edition of Science Signaling.

For this project, Hammond and her graduate student, Stephen Morton, devised dozens of candidate particles. The most effective were a type of particle called liposomes — spherical droplets surrounded by a fatty outer shell.

Read the article on MIT news.

May 20, 2014

Climate Change talk by Jiten Yumnam May 20

On Tuesday, May 20th at 7 PM in room 4-237, the Boston & MIT Chapters of AID (Association for India’s Development) present Climate Change: False Solutions & Impacts on Communities, a talk by Jiten Yumnam from the Centre for Research & Advocacy, Manipur (CRAM). CRAM promotes indigenous peoples’ self-determined rights and development over their land, resources, and territory for conservation and management of natural environments using a human rights based approach to development. Jiten Yumnam, a human rights and environmental activist and journalist will be sharing his experience of working in Manipur and across Northeastern India. He will also talk about land, forest, water and community rights over natural resources and discuss the impact to local communities and environments. This event is free and open to all. For more information, visit the AID website or the event page on Facebook.

May 20, 2014

Transportation Club BBQ May 22

Join the transportation community at MIT to celebrate the end of the semester!  Come to the Transportation Club end-of-the-year BBQ on Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 at 5:00pm at the Kresge BBQ pits.  This is also a chance to meet the new members of the Transportation Club executive board.  Start the summer off right with the Transportation Club!  Contact for more information.

May 19, 2014

Sethi, Duval, and Warsinger keep crops cool

Several MIT Sloan students landed awards—including the $100,000 grand prize—at the first Agricultural Innovation Prize competition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison last month.

Coolify, a startup founded by MIT Sloan students Rajat Sethi, MBA ’15, and Santiago Arias Duval, MBA ’14, and MIT mechanical engineering PhD student David Martin Warsinger, as well as Harvard Kennedy School student Ananth Raj Gudipati, took top honors for its plan for a micro cold storage unit that would reduce food waste in rural India.

Another MIT Sloan-based team, Love Grain, co-founded by Aleem Ahmed and Caroline Mauldin, both MBA ’15, won $25,000 for its gluten-free food company that relies on a grain grown in Ethiopia. Sethi, Ahmed, and Mauldin are all enrolled in MIT Sloan’s dual degree program with the Harvard Kennedy School.

The 2014 Agricultural Innovation Prize was sponsored by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture and in partnership with the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and was administered by students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The two-day competition challenged all U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to develop innovative ways to improve global food systems.

Continue reading the article on MIT Sloan newsphoto courtesy Wisconsin Institute for Discovery

May 19, 2014

Deadline EXTENDED to May 30: Present in the Grad-Alumni poster session

Would you like to share your research with MIT alumni?  Do you want to meet successful graduate alumni and learn about their experiences after MIT?  Come to the Grad-Alumni poster session and present your research at MIT!  You will be able to practice your presentation skills in front of a general audience, network with alumni, and even find someone who can give further insights on your projects!  All presenters will get a $10 Starbucks/Amazon gift card as well as feedback from attending alumni.  Free appetizers and an open bar will be provided for all the presenters and attendees.  If you are interested, please register as a presenter online before Friday, May 30, 2014.  Have your poster ready on time and take the opportunity to present it on Saturday, June 7th, 2014.  For questions, email

May 19, 2014

Yoga and Kinetic Art at the MIT Museum May 22

Practice yoga with kinetic sculptor Anne Lilly in the galleries at the MIT Museum on Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.  Explore movement and breathing and how it connects to kinetic art.  The event costs $10 and requires pre-registration online.  Also, please bring a yoga mat and comfortable clothing.  Contact for more information.

May 18, 2014


Lester welcomed into Energy Points Advisory Board

MIT Professor Richard K. Lester (former MIT Hugh Hampton Young Fellow) is internationally known for his leadership in energy research. His most recent book, Unlocking Energy Innovation: How America Can Build a Low-Cost, Low-Carbon Energy System (co-authored with David Hart), proposes innovation strategies to address the great 21st century energy-related challenges of global climate change, worldwide energy supply insecurity, and rapidly expanding global energy demand. He recently joined the advisory board at Energy Points which provides source energy intelligence software. Organizations use its SaaS platform to manage and optimize their energy supply chains. It is the only company to analyze source energy—measuring total energy use from the source through the site of consumption, while accounting for resource risk and environmental impact. The Energy Points platform functions as a calculation engine for source energy. It takes customers’ on-site energy consumption data and maps it to a database of geospatial source energy data and analytics, conducting a full energy lifecycle analysis of electricity, water, fuels, and materials. By quantifying source energy the company is able to measure these different resources with a single energy metric, enabling decision-making across them. Read the full article at 3BL Media.

May 18, 2014

Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras Concert May 18

Widely regarded as one of the country’s finest youth orchestra programs, BYSO’s mission is to encourage musical excellence in a professional and supportive environment and to make programs accessible to underserved communities through financial assistance and outreach. Thanks to BYSO’s strong commitment to music education, MIT students are being offered a very special ticket discount for both of the upcoming concerts at Kresge Auditorium. Both on Sunday May 18, the first will be the Young People’s String Orchestra and the Junior Repertory Orchestra at 1 PM, and the second will be the Boston Youth Symphony, the Brass/Low Brass ensemble, and Sammy Andonian on the Violin at 6PM. Discounted tickets for MIT students are only $5. Please contact Chiara Marsoner at to take advantage of this special offer. Photo by Richard Selwyn.

May 16, 2014

Kushman develops computer system that automatically solves word problems

Researchers in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, working with colleagues at the University of Washington, have developed a new computer system that can automatically solve the type of word problems common in introductory algebra classes.

In the near term, the work could lead to educational tools that identify errors in students’ reasoning or evaluate the difficulty of word problems. But it may also point toward systems that can solve more complicated problems in geometry, physics, and finance — problems whose solutions don’t appear in the back of the teacher’s edition of a textbook.

According to Nate Kushman, an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science and lead author on the new paper, the new work is in the field of “semantic parsing,” or translating natural language into a formal language such as arithmetic or formal logic. Most previous work on semantic parsing — including his own — has focused on individual sentences, Kushman says. “In these algebra problems, you have to build these things up from many different sentences,” he says. “The fact that you’re looking across multiple sentences to generate this semantic representation is really something new.”

Continue reading the article on MIT newsphoto courtesy Jose-Luis Olivares

May 16, 2014

Minority Graduating Students’ Luncheon Jun. 6

Come to the Minority Graduating Students’ Luncheon on Friday, June 6th, 2014 immediately following Commencement in Morss Hall, Walker Memorial.  Celebrate our students and their special day as we share good food, music, and camaraderie. Sponsored by the Offices of the Dean for StudentLife, Dean for Undergraduate Education, and Dean for Graduate Education.

May 16, 2014

Billiards Study Break May 17

Get away from campus for a short while and join the Black Graduate Student Association for a study break session at Jillian’s and Lucky Strike.  This study break is going to take place on Saturday, May 17th, 2014 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at Jillian’s and Lucky Strike on 145 Ipswich Street.  Enjoy free food, drinks, and several fun games of pool with your fellow MIT students.  The event is limited to 23 guests, so RSVP soon!  Contact for more information.

May 16, 2014

Animal Craze Petting Zoo at Westgate May 17!

Come to the baby animal petting zoo on Saturday, May 17th, 2014 from 4:00pm to 5:30pm on the Westgate Lawn.  Celebrate the spring season with fun animals, pony rides, and face painting.  Bring a helmet for pony rides!  Contact for more information.

May 16, 2014

Free Concert featuring MIT Student Bands May 16

Get ready to rock with the Live Music Connection!  LMC is concluding its spring concert series with an epic show on Friday, May 16th, 2014 at 7:00pm in 20 Chimneys (3rd Floor of the Student Center).  LMC is a group of students who have united to bring live music back to campus and to promote musicianship within the community.  Check out the LMC website to learn more about the club, follow LMC on Facebook, and contact for more information.

May 15, 2014

Should MIT form a new systems and statistics institute? Send thoughts by Jun. 9

Provost Marty Schmidt wrote the MIT community on May 15 to seek input on the formation of a new entity at MIT that will focus on complex and socio-technical systems, information and decision systems, and statistics. The proposed organization would incorporate many of the people and programs of the Engineering Systems Division, the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems. The recommendation to form this new entity is the result of deliberations of four faculty committees led by Professor Munther Dahleh, Professor Karen Willcox (Mission), and others. The committees included 39 faculty members from all five MIT Schools and worked under the leadership of Professor Dahleh, who is Acting Director of the Engineering Systems Division, and Director-designate for the proposed new organization.

Provost Schmidt is seeking additional input from the MIT community to help him decide whether or not to proceed with this significant new organization. He has provided the cover letter, executive summary, and reports of the four recent faculty committees for review. The recommendations of the prior committees can also be reviewed and are included in the report. June 9, 2014 is the deadline for sending feedback to Provost Schmidt by email at Photo by Pablo Sanchez.

May 15, 2014

Lewandowski fights malaria with magnets

Even though malaria kills more than 600,000 people every year, it’s often difficult to tell who has got it. For a proper test, you need skilled health care workers and sensitive chemicals. Both are often difficult to obtain in hard-hit regions like sub-Saharan Africa.

Now John Lewandowski, a graduate student in mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, thinks he has the answer. He helped invent a battery-powered machine that uses magnets and lasers to identify malaria-infected blood, and cofounded a company, Disease Diagnostic Group (DDG), to develop it.

The small device, called the Rapid Assessment of Malaria (RAM), is portable and easy to use in the field; testers do not need specialized medical training. Each test can be done in about one minute, and cheaply — for about 25 cents. Importantly, it can also detect malarial infections in people who do not yet show symptoms of the disease.

Continue reading the article in The Boston GlobeAP photo

May 15, 2014

Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman speaks about education reform May 19

The MIT Office of Digital Learning presents Carl Wieman, a Nobel Laureate, educator, and MIT alum who will discuss his work on education reform on Monday, May 19th, 2014 from 11:00am to 12:00pm in MIT Room 3-270.  He will discuss how cognitive psychology research illuminated what it means to “think like a scientist or engineer” as well as how those abilities are developed.  He will also show comparitive data on the learning of expertise that results from different teaching methods in college courses.  This event is free and open to the public.  Light snacks and refreshments will be served.  For more information, visit this website.  This event is part of the ODL’s seminar series xTalks, which focuses on facilitating awareness, deep understanding, and transference of educational innovations at MIT and elsewhere.

May 15, 2014

2014 Student Leader Awards Ceremony May 16

Every spring, the Student Activities Office in collaboration with offices throughout the Division of Student Life honors select students and groups through the Student Leader Awards.  These awards are intended to recognize and honor their accomplishments and hard work while paying tribute to their efforts in developing community.  Please join us for this awards ceremony celebrating leadership and student life on Friday, May 16th, 2014 at 12:00pm in Walker Memorial.  Contact for more information.

May 15, 2014

Greek Movie Night May 16

Join the Hellenic Students’ Association for Greek Movie Night on Friday, May 16th, 2014 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.  The location will be posted online.  This movie night will feature a screening of the Greek movie Christmas Tango.  Based on the novel by Yannis Xanthoulis, an unexpected meeting between the sixty-five-year-old Lazaros Lazarou and a young man on Christmas day brings back hidden memories from 1970 when a sensual tango at a Christmas celebration at an army camp in Evros was the focus for the intersection of four lives: an introverted soldier; a harsh lieutenant; a strict and very conservative colonel; and the colonel’s wife.  The movie will have English subtitles.  Food and beverages will be provided.  Contact for more information.

May 14, 2014

Ge examines how tiny particles may pose big risk

Thousands of consumer products — including cosmetics, sunscreens, and clothing — contain nanoparticles added by manufacturers to improve texture, kill microbes, or enhance shelf life, among other purposes. However, several studies have shown that some of these engineered nanoparticles can be toxic to cells.

A new study from MIT and the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) suggests that certain nanoparticles can also harm DNA. This research was led by Bevin Engelward, a professor of biological engineering at MIT, and associate professor Philip Demokritou, director of HSPH’s Center for Nanotechnology and Nanotoxicology.

The researchers found that zinc oxide nanoparticles, often used in sunscreen to block ultraviolet rays, significantly damage DNA. Nanoscale silver, which has been added to toys, toothpaste, clothing, and other products for its antimicrobial properties, also produces substantial DNA damage, they found.

The research was funded by MIT’s Center for Environmental Health Sciences, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. Other authors of the study are MIT graduate student Jing Ge, Harvard graduate student Joel Cohen, and Harvard postdoc Georgios Pyrgiotakis.

Read the article on MIT newsPhoto courtesy Christine Daniloff

May 14, 2014

Conflict Management Training in June – Apply by May 19

Do you want more ease in your interactions with other people, or perhaps more confidence in dealing with authority figures?  The Three-Tier Conflict Management Training program will be held in June.  With skills modules in negotiation, reflective listening, dealing with emotions in difficult conversations, and inter-cultural communication – among others – you’ll come away with plenty of tools to help you manage the challenges of your life and work.  The training is tiered at 15-hour, 30-hour, and 40-hour levels and will take place over the course of two weeks.  Tier 1 consists of 15 hours of conflict management training from Monday, June 9th to Thursday, June 12th for those interested in learning more about their own orientation towards and engagement in conflict.  Tier 2 will be held from Monday, June 16th to Thursday, June 19th and will cover conflict coaching, active bystander intervention, facilitation, and boundary-setting when supporting others.  Tier 3 is the entire 40-hour training held from Friday June 13th to Friday, June 20th and will feature coaching by professional mediators.  To participate in Tier 3, attendance is required at Tiers 1 and 2.  For Tier 2, attendance is required at Tier 1.  There is no charge for current students.  Applications are due by Monday, May 19th, 2014 at midnight.  Successful applicants will be notified by Friday, May 23rd at 5:00pm.

May 14, 2014

Malaysian End of Term Gathering May 16

Take a break from projects, papers, or whatever work you have and join Mitmasa for some fun and relaxation on Friday, May 16th, 2014 from 7:00pm to 9:30pm in MIT Room 3-133.  Watch a Malaysian Comedy Movie and have a good laugh with us.  Bid a fond farewell to our graduating Mitmasa members.  Admission to the movie night is free, but an RSVP is required.  Email or to RSVP.

May 14, 2014

Yoga to De-stress and Relax May 15

Come to a special yoga class designed to help you relieve finals stress on Thursday, May 15th, 2014, from 5:00pm to 6:00pm in the Eastgate Penthouse.  This class is sponsored by the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education and is free for students and spouses.  Join Qi Zhai Metzler (an MIT spouse and certified yoga instructor) to learn how yoga and meditation can help you to relax tense muscles and focus better.  Beginners are always welcome.  Wear comfortable clothes, bring a mat or a large towel, and please RSVP by emailing  For more information about the benefits of yoga, visit this website.  If the weather is permitting, the class will be held outside on the Eastgate lawn.  Other classes will be held on May 16th at 5:00pm, May 22nd at 5:00pm, and May 23rd at 5:00pm.

May 13, 2014

MSRP/CONVERGE Alumni Become NSF Graduate Research Fellows

Nine of the 2013 MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP) alumni and a CONVERGE alum have been awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships to begin their graduate programs:

  • Kristin Dettmers – incoming MIT Math PhD student
  • Roberto Falcon – incoming Berkeley student
  • Edward Guzman – incoming Harvard student
  • Julie Hofstra – incoming CalTech student
  • Brett Lopez – incoming MIT Aero/Astro PhD student (CONVERGE alumnus)
  • Kemi Oyewole – incoming MIT Economics PhD student
  • Kristina Pardo – incoming Princeton student
  • Monica Perez-Cuevas – incoming GA Tech student
  • Angel Santiago-Lopez – incoming GA Tech student
  • Cesar Torres – current UC Berkeley PhD student

The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions.  Professor Patricia Ordoñez of the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras and Dr. Frances Carter-Johnson of Evaluation and Assessment Solutions, have worked with the MSRP interns for the past 7 years on crafting strong NSF applications.  Congratulations to the awardees!

May 13, 2014

Resonating MIT: Amplifying Sonic Atmospheres May 13-17

The MIT Program in Art, Culture, and Technology (ACT) and the MIT Center for Art, Science, and Technology (CAST) present Resonating MIT, the culmination of a semester-long interdisciplinary collaboration that deploys sonic interventions to amplify unexplored spatial atmospheres on MIT’s historic campus.  This event is featuring visiting artists Stephen Vitiello, Scanner, and the Either/Or ensemble, as well as sonic installations on campus by students from MIT courses 4.373 and 21M.351.  Tuesday, May 13th will feature 4.373 student installations and live performances from 7:00pm to 10:00pm.  Thursday, May 15th will feature the student installations final review from 9:30am to 12:30pm.  On Friday, May 16th, Stephen Vitiello and Scanner will give a performance at 7:00pm in MIT Room E15-001.  Saturday, May 17th will feature new works at 8:00pm in MIT Room 14W-111 by MIT undergraduate composers from 21M.351.  Resonating MIT proposes that listening and resonating are unique methods for understanding space and place, using art as a catalyzer to amplify transdisciplinary exchange.  This event is free and open to the public.  For more information, visit the ACT website.

May 13, 2014

Variable Annuities Seminar May 14

MIT Federal Credit Union is hosting a Variable Annuities Seminar on Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 at 5:30pm in the Stata Center (Room 144) and on Thursday, May 15th, 2014 at 12:00pm in MIT Room 66-144.  Learn about the retirement income stream that variable annuities can provide as well as the benefits of tax deferred growth and the investment options available through variable annuities.  Register at the MITFCU website.  Contact for more information.

May 13, 2014

MIT Comedy Night May 13

Another MIT Comedy Night is taking place on Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 at 8:00pm in the Thirsty Ear Pub at Ashdown House.  The headliner will be Will Smalley, a Boston Comedy Festival finalist.  The event will be hosted by Wes Hazard and will feature Shawn Carter, Cam MacNeil, Steve McConnon, Jere Pilapil, and Niraj Shah.  Snacks and soda will be provided.  A 21+ government ID and MIT ID are required for entry.  Please have your IDs ready to show at the door.  Contact for more information.

May 12, 2014

MIT Chile Club aims to build a lasting network

The new MIT Chile Club has provided a great way for Chileans at MIT to meet one another during its first year of operation. But, according to outgoing president Augusto Ruiz-Tagle, MBA ’14, its purpose extends far beyond the social. One of the reasons he and several other graduate students formed the club in February 2013 was to create an enduring network to benefit their homeland and business activities there. Ruiz-Tagle is confident that the club is well on its way to achieving that goal.

“We created this community and this network of relationships to last when you go back to Chile,” he said.

Continue reading on the MIT Sloan website.

May 12, 2014

Grad community supports MIT Strong team

The MIT Strong team, comprised of students, faculty, staff, and alumni, ran in the Boston Marathon on April 21 in honor of Officer Sean Collier. To support and cheer on the team, the Office of the Dean of Graduate Education provided a space for community members to leave messages for the runners. These messages, ranging from personal thank-yous to words of inspiration, represented the unity of MIT’s campus in encouraging the team and commemorating the life and legacy of Officer Sean Collier. Learn more about MIT Strong. Read more

May 12, 2014

Develop robotics workshop as a NASA Space Grant Fellow!

The MIT Museum is seeking an individual to develop an advanced robotics workshop for students in grades 6-12.  This project will include NASA-related research at MIT.  Pre- and post-robotics workshop activities will also be designed for use by educators in their classrooms.  Successful candidates should have 2+ years of experience in programming and teaching with LEGO Mindstorms (NXT and/or EV3 models).  Candidates must also be open to group work.  This will be a temporary part-time position from May to August with a pay of $15-18/hour.  A full job description is available online.  Contact for more information.

May 12, 2014

Texas Culture Night May 12

Come learn about life and culture near the border from some of MIT’s native Texans!  Texas Culture Night is taking place on Monday, May 12th, 2014 at 6:00pm in the Sydney-Pacific Seminar Room.  Refreshments will be provided.  Contact for more information.

May 9, 2014

Margulies and Chaim look for fast way to measure DNA repair

Our DNA is under constant attack from many sources, including environmental pollutants, ultraviolet light, and radiation. Fortunately, cells have several major DNA repair systems that can fix this damage, which may lead to cancer and other diseases if not mended.

The effectiveness of these repair systems varies greatly from person to person; scientists believe that this variability may explain why some people get cancer while others exposed to similar DNA-damaging agents do not. A team of MIT researchers has now developed a test that can rapidly assess several of these repair systems, which could help determine individuals’ risk of developing cancer and help doctors predict how a given patient will respond to chemotherapy drugs.

The new test, described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of April 21, can analyze four types of DNA repair capacity simultaneously, in less than 24 hours. Previous tests have been able to evaluate only one system at a time.

Graduate students Carrie Margulies and Isaac Chaim; technical assistants Siobhan McRee and Patrizia Mazzucato; and research scientists Vincent Butty, Anwaar Ahmad, Ryan Abo, and Anthony Forget also contributed to the research, which was funded by the NIH and NIEHS.

Read the article on MIT newsphoto courtesy Aprotim Mazumder

May 9, 2014

Traditional Backgammon Tournament May 10

Come to the Traditional Backgammon Tournament! Taking place on May 10th in the Chipman Room (6-104), it’s sure to be a blast. Have a good time with friends playing one of the oldest two-player games in history. Compete and win prizes! All are welcome. Photo by Blinde 8.