Studying these cells could lead to new treatments for diseases ranging from gastrointestinal disease to diabetes.
Two new professorships-one honoring the late John F. Elliott's contributions to metallurgical science and engineering, the other a memorial to MIT's turn-of-the-century president James Mason Crafts-have been established by MIT.
Provost Mark S. Wrighton, at a December 1 luncheon, announced the establishment of the chairs and the names of the professors who will be the initial holders for five-year terms.
Linn W. Hobbs has been named the first holder of the John F. Elliott Professorship.
David H. Marks has been named the first holder of the James Mason Crafts Professorship.
The professorships have been endowed with resources stemming from MIT's involvement in founding American Superconductor Corporation, Professor Wrighton said.
Among those attending the luncheon were Frances Elliott, widow of Professor Elliott.
For more than 40 years, Professor Elliott, who died April 15, 1991, at the age of 70, was a leader in chemical-process metallurgy and in the specific field of steelmaking. Industries in many countries benefited from his research and his influence in this field has been multiplied by the work of his many students.
Professor Hobbs' research is in the area of ceramics and electron microscopy. He is widely recognized as a leading expert on the deleterious effects of electron microscopy on specimens being examined. He uses electron microscopy in his research on nuclear materials and high-temperature corrosion as well as in ceramics.
He was a National Merit Scholar at Northwestern University where he received the BS in materials science (1966) and a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University where he received the PhD in metallurgy and science of materials (1972). Professor Hobbs joined the MIT faculty in 1981.
Professor Crafts, a native of Boston, was an internationally respected scholar who made important contributions in the field of chemical research. He joined the MIT faculty in 1870, but four years later returned for reasons of health to Paris where he had spent many years in research. A few years later he and a colleague discovered what came to be known as the Friedel-Crafts reaction involving aluminum chloride. He returned to MIT in 1891.
Dr. Marks, the new James Mason Crafts Professor, is director of PEEER, Programs for Environmental Engineering Education and Research, in the School of Engineering. His main area of interest is in how large-scale infrastructure systems are organized and managed with special concern for the anticipation and mitigation of environmental and economic impacts. Much of this work is based on large-scale computer-based simulation and optimization modeling to help illuminate conflicts between the competing objectives of interest groups and governments.
Professor Marks, who holds the BS in civil engineering (1962) and the MS in environmental engineering (1964), both from Cornell University, and the PhD in environmental engineering (1969) from Johns Hopkins University, joined MIT in 1969. From 1985 to the summer of 1992 he was head of the Department of Civil Engineering, now Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Representing American Superconductor at the luncheon was one of its founders, Gregory Yurek, a former MIT professor.
A version of this article appeared in the December 9, 1992 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 37, Number 16).