Research shows the success of a bacterial community depends on its shape.
The Executive Committee of the MIT Corporation has approved the promotions of 10 associate professors to full professor, effective July 1. Those promoted are:
SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING
Dr. Dennis B. McLaughlin in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Professor McLaughlin received the BSEE degree (1966) from Purdue University and MSE (1967) and PhD in hydrology (1985) from Princeton University. He was a systems and consulting engineer with several companies from 1967-75 and a principal with Resource Management Associates of Lafayette, CA from 1975-83. He came to MIT as a lecturer in 1983, became an associate professor in 1985 and was granted tenure in 1991. Dr. McLaughlin's career path has been different from most. His undergraduate and master's level background is in electrical engineering, but after five years of practicing control theory in the defense industry, he exported his systems expertise to the water resource and environmental systems field. His research is problem driven. He has developed and introduced methods of control theory to solve hydrologic problems, particularly those related to contaminant transport in groundwaters.
Dr. William J. Dally in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Professor Dally received the BS degree (1980) from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, MS (1981) from Stanford University and PhD (1986) from the California Institute of Technology. He was appointed ITT Career Development Assistant Professor in 1986, promoted to associate professor in 1989 and given tenure in 1992. Dr. Dally is regarded as one of the most influential computer architects of his generation. He is an iconoclastic researcher who enjoys challenging conventional wisdom, looking for new ways of doing things rather than making incremental improvements. Yet despite his focus on a long-term research agenda, he has had significant impact not only on the research community but on industry as well. His research contributions run the gamut from novel digital design techniques to new techniques for implementing high-level programming languages. The work for which he is most well known is the design of interconnection networks for massively parallel processing machines.
Dr. Ian W. Hunter in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Professor Hunter received his degrees from the University of Auckland in New Zealand-the BSc (1974), MSc (1975), DCP (1976) and PhD (1980). He was a postdoctoral fellow at McGill University from 1980-83, a research fellow at McGill in 1984-85, and an assistant and associate professor from 1985-94, when he came to MIT as an associate professor. At MIT, Dr. Hunter has become one of the major intellectual focal points of biomedical engineering research. He has developed a microsurgical robot for retinal surgery and an associated eye system based on mechanical finite element models. He has contributed to an understanding of human joint dynamics and developed a variety of actuator technologies.
Dr. Emanuel M. Sachs in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Professor Sachs received three degrees from MIT, the SB (1975), SM (1976) and PhD (1983). He was a principal investigator with Arthur D. Little, Inc., from 1980-85 and a consultant with Solarex Corp. in 1985-86. He was a part-time lecturer at MIT in 1986, became an assistant professor in 1987, an associate professor in 1991 and received tenure in 1992. Dr. Sachs' expertise is in design and manufacturing. He is recognized internationally as one of the leading authorities in the field of rapid prototyping-an emerging and perhaps the fastest-growing area in manufacturing. He has developed an important new manufacturing technique known as Three Dimensional Printing, a process for manufacturing and tooling functional parts directly from computer models by adding layers of powder and selectively binding material in consecutive layers. He also is known for his seminal contributions in the area of VLSI fabrication process control as well as for his pioneering work on the growth of silicon for photovoltaics applications.
SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCE
Dr. Alec Marantz in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy. Professor Marantz received the BA degree (1978) from Oberlin College and PhD (1981) from MIT. He was a National Science Foundation Fellow from 1978-81, a junior fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard University from 1981-84, and an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1984-90, when he came to MIT as a tenured associate professor. Dr. Marantz is regarded as one of the most influential linguists of his generation. The emergence of the important and lively subfield of morpho-syntax is largely his creation. As an example of the breadth and depth of his intellectual interests, he recently broadened his research agenda to include cognitive neuroscience, where his goal is the unification of linguistics and brain science.
SCHOOL OF SCIENCE
Dr. John P. Grotzinger in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. Professor Grotzinger received the BS degree (1979) from Hobart College, MS (1981) from the University of Montana and PhD (1985) from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He was a postdoctoral fellow with Lamont-Doherty in 1985-86 and a research scientist with the Geological Survey of Canada in 1986. He became an assistant professor at MIT in 1988, associate professor in 1991 and received tenure in 1992. Professor Grotzinger's research is in the areas of sedimentation, stratigraphy and tectonics. He is especially interested in using the stratigraphic record to understand the large-scale processes that operated during the early history of the earth. He and a colleague have undertaken a major survey of rapid periods of evolutionary change and mass extinctions that have demonstrated that the "Cambrian explosion" of life was compressed into a far shorter interval than previously thought.
Dr. Daniel H. Rothman in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. Professor Rothman received the AB degree (1979) from Brown University and PhD (1986) from Stanford University. He was a visiting assistant professor at MIT in 1986, became an assistant professor that same year and was promoted to associate professor in 1990, receiving tenure in 1991. In 1992-93 he held visiting appointments at The University of Chicago and the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris. Dr. Rothman is best known for his fundamental work on discrete lattice-gas models of fluid dynamics, including multiphase flow, hydrodynamic interfaces, flow through porous media, and hydrodynamic aspects of phase transitions. Recent contributions include physical models of scale invariance in geological problems related to the formation of sedimentary rocks.
Dr. Edmund Bertschinger in the Department of Physics. Professor Bertschinger received the BS degree (1979) from the California Institute of Technology and PhD (1984) from Princeton University. He was a research associate at the University of Virginia from 1983-85 and a research fellow at the University of California at Berkeley from 1985-86, when he became an assistant professor at MIT. He was Class of 1956 Career Development Professor from 1990-92, became an associate professor in 1991 and received tenure in 1992. An outstanding theoretical astrophysicist and a leader in the study of cosmology, Dr. Bertschinger's major accomplishments deal with understanding the large-scale structure of the universe. He and a colleague have developed a method that recovers the three-dimensional velocity and mass fields of the local universe using the observations of one-dimensional (radial) Doppler velocities and distances of galaxies. His contributions to cosmology include his analytic, self-similar treatment of the growth of voids in the expanding universe.
Dr. Mehran Kardar in the Department of Physics. Professor Kardar received the BA degree (1979) from Cambridge University in England and PhD (1983) from MIT. From 1983-86 he was a junior fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows, and a summer visiting research collaborator at Brookhaven National Laboratories. He became an assistant professor at MIT in 1986, was Class of 1948 Career Development Professor from 1990-92, and was promoted to associate professor in 1990. He was a visiting professor at Katholieke Universiteit, Belgium, in 1989, a visiting research collaborator at the IBM Research Laboratories in 1990 and a visiting professor at Oxford University in 1994. A leading theoretical physicist, Dr. Kardar's research has focused on the statistical mechanics and dynamics of surfaces, membranes and interfaces. His work centers around problems in statistical mechanics in which fluctuations and scaling behavior arise from either nonlinearities or randomness.
Dr. John L. Tonry in the Department of Physics. Professor Tonry received the AB degree (1975) from Princeton University and both the MA (1976) and PhD (1980) from Harvard University. He was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study from 1980-82 and a Bantrell Research Fellow at the California Institute of Technology from 1982-85. He became an assistant professor at MIT in 1985 and associate professor in 1990. Widely known for his work in astronomy and astrophysics, and for his ability to find new solutions to complex problems, Dr. Tonry's major accomplishment is the development and application of a new method of measuring extragalactic distances. Although the extragalactic distance scale is the single most important quantity in cosmology, its value has remained uncertain to a factor of two for several decades. Dr. Tonry's method is to compare the apparent fluctuations in the surface brightness of galaxies. These arise from statistical fluctuations in the numbers of bright stars per unit solid angle, and so are proportional to the relative distances of the galaxies.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 15, 1996.