MIT Reports to the President 1995-96


This eventful year saw a number of changes within the academic and administrative leadership of MIT.

While many of these changes were cause for celebration, one brought great sadness. James J. Culliton, Vice President for Administration, died on June 3, 1996, at the age of 58 after a difficult battle with a rare affliction, multiple myeloma. Mr. Culliton held major responsibilities in personnel, finance, and administration at MIT for more than 20 years. He brought great humanity to the management of MIT: not only did he foster the careers of the many people who reported to him over the years, he cared about each of them. An articulate advocate of the public value of scientific and technological research, his approach to resolving complicated issues between the research universities and the federal government was highly respected on both sides. Within MIT, his was consistently a voice of reason and wisdom.

Robert A. Brown, Warren K. Lewis Professor of Chemical Engineering and Head of Chemical Engineering since 1988, was appointed Dean of the School of Engineering. Dr. Brown fills the vacancy created when Joel Moses, Dugald C. Jackson Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, was appointed Provost in June 1995. John B. Vander Sande, Cecil and Ida Green Distinguished Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Associate Dean of Engineering, had served as acting dean in the interim.

J. David Litster, Vice President and Dean for Research, assumed additional responsibility as Dean for Graduate Education. Professor Litster, a physicist recognized internationally for his pioneering experimental and theoretical studies of phase transitions in unusual states of matter, will hold the title of Vice President for Research and Dean for Graduate Education. Frank E. Perkins, Dean of the Graduate School since 1983, returned to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Alan Brody, the noted playwright who has been Professor of Theater at MIT since 1988, was named Associate Provost for the Arts. Professor Brody, Class of 1960 Fellow for 1993-95, had been chair of the Music and Theater Arts Section in the School of Humanities and Social Science since 1990. He succeeds Ellen T. Harris, Professor of Music, who was the first person to hold the post at MIT. After spending six years as associate provost, Professor Harris decided to return to full-time scholarship and teaching, beginning with the writing of a long-planned book about the music of George Frideric Handel.

Ann J. Wolpert, executive director of library and information services at the Harvard Business School since 1993, was named Director of the MIT Libraries. The previous director, Jay K. Lucker, retired in September after 20 years at MIT. Ms. Wolpert brings 30 years of experience in library and information science to her new position. David Ferriero, Associate Director of Public Services in the Libraries, accepted the position of University Librarian and Vice Provost for Library Affairs at Duke University, beginning in the fall of 1996. The Libraries have initiated a search for Mr. Ferriero's replacement.

New department or academic program heads announced during the past year were: Robert C. Armstrong, Head of Chemical Engineering; Peter Child, Head of Music and Theater Arts; Edward F. Crawley, Head of Aeronautics and Astronautics; Suzanne Flynn, Head of Foreign Languages and Literatures; and David E. Hardt, Engineering Co-Director of the Leaders for Manufacturing Program.

Among other key changes in the administration were the appointments of David G. Woodbury, Sr., as Head of the Administrative Division at Lincoln Laboratory; J. Daniel Nyhart, as Acting Registrar for 1996-97, succeeding David S. Wiley who retired as Registrar in the spring of 1996; R. Bruce Journey as the first full-time publisher of Technology Review; and Margaret R. Bates as Dean for Student Life in the Office of Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs.

The honors and achievements of MIT faculty and staff are so numerous that I mention only some of the individual efforts and awards that have brought distinction to the Institute.

Mario J. Molina, Professor of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, along with two of his scientific colleagues, was awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize in chemistry for identifying chemical reactions, initiated by chloroflurocarbons, that can damage the ozone layer that shields us from the ultraviolet radiation of the sun. This work led ultimately to a landmark international agreement to phase out this entire class of chemicals.

Three members of the MIT family were recipients of the National Medal of Science. Announced by President Clinton, these awards are the nation's highest science and technology honors. The recipients are: Institute Professor
Hermann A. Haus, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Research Laboratory of Electronics; Alexander Rich, William Thompson Sedgwick Professor of Biophysics, Department of Biology; and Institute Professor Emeritus Paul A. Samuelson. Their selection for the honor brings to 20 the number of MIT faculty who have received the National Medals of Science or Technology.

Two faculty members were elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS): Richard O. Hynes, Professor of Biology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, and Director of the Center for Cancer Research; and Robert T. Sauer, Whitehead Professor of Biochemistry and Associate Head of Biology. The NAS was established by Congress in 1863 to act as an official advisor to the federal government in matters of science and technology. Election to membership is one of the highest honors accorded to scientists. Their election brings to 104 the number of MIT faculty members in the NAS.

Professor Hynes also was elected to the Institute of Medicine in recognition of his major contributions to health and medicine. Established in 1970 as a unit of the NAS, the Institute is broadly based in the biomedical sciences and health professions, as well as related aspects of the behavioral and social sciences, administration, law, the physical sciences, and engineering. Of the 519 active members of the Institute, 21 are from MIT.

David D. Clark, a Senior Research Scientist in the Laboratory for Computer Science, was elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. His election brings to 94 the number of MIT faculty (active and emeriti) and staff who are members of NAE.

Six faculty members were inducted as Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences: Boris Altshuler, Professor of Physics; Thomas H. Jordan, Robert R. Shrock Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Head of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences; Alan P. Lightman, John E. Burchard Professor of Science and Writing and Head of the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies; James M. Poterba, Professor of Economics and Associate Head of Economics; Gerald J. Sussman, Matsushita Professor of Electrical Engineering in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; and David A. Vogan, Professor of Mathematics.

Institute Professor Mildred S. Dresselhaus, an award-winning solid state physicist dedicated to improving career prospects for young scientists, was named president-elect of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The AAAS is the world's largest general science organization, with about 143,000 members and 300 affiliated science and engineering societies. It also publishes the weekly journal Science. Professor Dresselhaus is the ninth woman to be elected as AAAS president-elect. She will become president of AAAS in 1997, and then chairman of the Board of Directors in 1998.

Three members of the faculty were appointed MacVicar Faculty Fellows in recognition of their outstanding ability as teachers, their major innovations in education, and their dedication to helping others achieve teaching excellence. The new fellows are: Rick L. Danheiser, Professor of Chemistry and Associate Head of Chemistry; Michael F. Rubner, TDK Professor of Materials Science and Engineering; and Robert J. Silbey, Class of 1942 Professor of Chemistry.

Gian-Carlo Rota, Professor of Applied Mathematics and Philosophy, was selected as the 1996-97 recipient of the James R. Killian, Jr., Faculty Achievement Award, which recognizes extraordinary professional accomplishments and service to MIT. The selection committee's citation described Professor Rota as a "leading innovator and theorist in the transformation of combinatorics from a disparate collection of facts and techniques unworthy of serious mathematical consideration into an active, systematic and profound branch of modern pure and applied mathematics." Over the years, Professor Rota's services to the academic community, within MIT and beyond, have included the presidency of the Massachusetts chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, chair of the mathematics section of AAAS; chair of the MIT Freshman Advisory Council, and a continuing enthusiasm for teaching undergraduate subjects in mathematics.

Anne E. C. McCants, Associate Professor of History and Class of 1957 Career Development Professor in the History Section, was named the 1996-97 recipient of the Harold E. Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award. This award is given annually to a junior faculty member in recognition of exceptional teaching, research, and scholarship. The selection committee described Professor McCants as "an energetic, creative and effective teacher." During one three-year period, she created nine new history subjects, and has greatly invigorated teaching about the pre-industrial world. In addition to her significant research and teaching activities, Professor McCants has served the MIT community as the faculty resident at Green Hall, as an advisor to students, and as a member of many Institute committees.

The Gordon Y Billard Award, which recognizes individuals who have performed special service of outstanding merit to MIT, went to John M. Fresina, Director of the Safety Office, and Robert M. Randolph, Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs. For more than 30 years, Mr. Fresina has approached his mission as an educator rather than an enforcer and, in doing so, has been a teacher to us all. A wise counselor and advisor to students at all levels, Dean Randolph also has overseen the chaplaincy and the creation of the Religious Life Center.

Jonathan Gruber, Associate Professor of Economics, and seven MIT alumni and alumnae were selected as National Science Foundation Presidential Faculty Fellows. The awards program was introduced in 1992 to strengthen the relationship between research and teaching in science and engineering.

Vera Kistiakowsky, professor emeritus of physics, and Stephanie J. Bird, Special Assistant to the Provost, were among 25 persons elected to the first group of Fellows of the Association of Women in Science (AWIS). The new award of AWIS Fellow was created - on the 25th anniversary of the organization - to honor individuals who forward its goals through commitment to the AWIS mission, and support of women in science through scholarship, leadership, education, mentoring, or service. Professor Kistiakowsky and Dr. Bird were cited for their "demonstrated exemplary commitment to the achievement of equity for women in science and technology."

The Institute was saddened this year by the deaths of several longtime friends and colleagues, including James J. Culliton, whose exceptional service to MIT is noted earlier in this report.

Warren Ambrose, professor emeritus of mathematics, died December 4, 1995, in Paris. Professor Ambrose, who was 81, retired in 1985 and had lived in Paris since 1989. He was recognized for his research in differential geometry, partial differential equations, and probability theory. He was also known for his commitment to political and social causes, particularly in Argentina and Chile when those countries were ruled by military regimes.

George Bekefi, professor emeritus of physics, died of leukemia on August 17, 1995. Professor Bekefi, who was 70, had retired in the summer of 1995, after 38 years on the faculty. He was widely known for his contributions in the field of plasma physics, particularly in the production of extremely high-powered microwave generators and in the development of free-electron lasers that are used as power sources in high-frequency bands. Dr. Bekefi also was highly regarded as a teacher, and was known for his enthusiasm and dedication to undergraduate and graduate students alike.

Professor George S. Boolos of the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, president of the Association for Symbolic Logic, died May 27, 1996, at the age of 55 from pancreatic cancer. A prominent logician and philosopher, Professor Boolos was internationally known as one of the originators of provability logic. He had been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for 1996 to complete a book on Gottlob Frege, one of the founders of modern symbolic logic, and he had been recently appointed Rockefeller Professor of Philosophy at MIT.

Herbert S. Bridge, professor emeritus and an internationally known space scientist who played a key role in mapping the solar winds that flow through interplanetary space, died August 30, 1995, after a long illness. As associate director and later director of the MIT Center for Space Research, he was one of the pioneers in the exploration of the solar system from unmanned spacecraft. Professor Bridge's combined interests in high-energy particles and mountaineering took him to high-altitude laboratories throughout the world.

Former Boston Mayor John F. Collins, who held visiting and consulting professorships at MIT for 13 years after he left office, died November 23, 1995, of pneumonia at the age of 76. Mayor Collins, widely regarded as one of the most successful and progressive mayors in the city's history, was appointed a visiting professor on January 2, 1968, the day after he completed his second term in office. Later in his tenure at MIT, Mr. Collins concentrated his efforts in the Sloan School, where he held the title of consulting professor.

Stuart H. Cowen, Vice President for Financial Operations at MIT at the time of his retirement in 1987, died on June 29, 1994, at the age of 72. In addition to his service as vice president, Mr. Cowen held several important posts in the financial operations area at MIT, including associate director for research contracts in the Division of Sponsored Research, director of fiscal planning, and comptroller.

Herbert H. Dow II, a Life Member of the Corporation, died suddenly on January 26, 1996, following heart surgery in Houston. Mr. Dow, who received the SB degree from MIT in 1952 in general engineering, spent his career with the Dow Chemical Company, retiring as vice president in 1992. He had been a director of the company since 1953. Long active in MIT affairs, Mr. Dow had been a member of the Corporation Development Committee since 1969. He was first elected to the Corporation in 1983 and had been a Life Member since 1993.

David Durand, a professor emeritus of management who was an early adherent of applying statistical methods - especially sampling - to problems in corporate finance and other fields, died February 26, 1996, at the MIT infirmary of aplastic anemia. Before coming to MIT in 1953, he was associated with the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University. He also did consulting work for the Twentieth Century Fund and taught part-time at Columbia University.

Robley D. Evans, professor emeritus of physics, winner of the 1990 Enrico Fermi Award and a pioneer in studying the effects of radium on the human body, died of respiratory failure on December 31, 1995, in Paradise Valley, Arizona, where he lived in retirement. Professor Evans was a founder of the field of nuclear medicine and established the standard, used throughout the world, for the maximum permissible body burden of radium.

Thomas S. Kuhn, professor of philosophy and history of science from 1979 to 1983 and the Laurence S. Rockefeller Professor of Philosophy from 1983 until 1991, died on June 17, 1996. He had been ill with cancer in recent years. Professor Kuhn's theory of scientific revolution became a profoundly influential landmark of 20th-century intellectual history. He was the winner of the George Sarton Medal in the History of Science in 1982, and the holder of honorary degrees from many institutions.

Jerry McAfee, former chairman and CEO of Gulf Oil Corporation and Life Member Emeritus of the MIT Corporation, died of congestive heart failure at his home in Pittsburgh on October 14, 1995. Dr. McAfee was elected to the MIT Corporation in 1977. Previously he had been a member of the Corporation Visiting Committee on Chemical Engineering and a member of the national sponsoring committee for the chemical engineering building. He became a Life Member Emeritus in 1991.

Hajime Mitarai, the president of Canon, Inc., of Tokyo, who was elected to the MIT Corporation in June of 1995, died August 31, 1995, at the age of 56. His death was attributed to complications from pneumonia. After graduating from high school in Tokyo in 1957, Dr. Mitarai came to the United States for his education, something unusual for a Japanese citizen in those days. He actively supported MIT, having served as president of the MIT Association of Japan since 1990.

Carl F. J. Overhage, a physicist and electrical engineer who led a research group in the Airborne Division at the Radiation Laboratory during World War II and headed Lincoln Laboratory from 1957 to 1964, died August 7, 1995. Dr. Overhage's time at the Laboratory's helm was marked by several notable achievements, including the successful completion of work on the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system of continental air defense; the establishment of the MITRE Corporation to operate the system for the government; and the reorientation of the laboratory's technical programs toward research and development in new fields that included radar, radio physics and astronomy, space surveillance, and ballistic missile defense.

Institute Professor Emeritus Francis O. Schmitt, internationally recognized as a pioneer in modern biological research and in the study of the brain, died October 3, 1995, at the age of 91. As professor of biology, Dr. Schmitt headed MIT's department from 1942 to 1955, when he returned to teaching and research. It was at this time that he was appointed Institute Professor, in recognition of his exceptional contributions to the scholarly, educational, and general intellectual life of the Institute.

Prescott A. Smith, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering, died April 19, 1996, in Concord following a stroke. Professor Smith received the SB degree in mechanical engineering from MIT in 1935 and returned to the Institute in 1945 as an assistant professor and director of the Machine Tool Laboratory, now the Materials Processing Center. He was promoted to full professor in 1969 and retired in 1975. Professor Smith followed the footsteps of his father, the late professor Robert H. Smith, who joined the mechanical engineering faculty in 1882 and retired in 1932. Together, father and son served MIT for a total of 80 years.

Julian Szekely, Professor of Materials Engineering and widely known as an expert in the development of mathematical models in materials processing operations, including analysis of the economic, technological, and environmental factors involved in the production of various materials, died of cancer on December 7, 1995. As an example of his pioneering work in mathematical modeling, he developed the first comprehensive mathematical model of fluid-flow, electromagnetic and heat transfer phenomena for the refinement and solidification of metals, as well as the first quantitative analysis of plasma torches and innovative approaches to circuit board attachment problems.

Charles Fayette Taylor, Sr., professor emeritus of mechanical engineering, died June 22, 1996, at his home in Weston, of pneumonia and congestive heart failure. Professor Taylor, who was 101, joined MIT in 1926 after working with Orville Wright on the design of the "Whirlwind" engine that powered the historic flights of Charles Lindbergh and Robert Byrd. Founding Director of the Sloan Laboratory for Aircraft and Automotive Engines in 1933, he shaped the scientific framework for engine design and operation still in use today. During the years after World War II, he was active in efforts to encourage African-Americans in the Boston area to pursue higher education.

MIT Reports to the President 1995-96