Research shows the success of a bacterial community depends on its shape.
Two Ford chairs and a professorship in recognition of teaching have been announced by the School of Engineering.
Professors Philip M. Gschwend of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earll Murman of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics have been named Ford Professors of Engineering.
Professor Gschwend's research involves assessing the fates of organic compounds in the environment. His work has focused on the occurence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and halogenated solvents in ground water and sea water, on the sorption and volatilization phenomena affecting such chemicals, and on transformations such as dehalogenations.
He has won his department's outstanding teacher award as well as the 1995 Bose Award for Teaching Excellence, and he is co-author of the text Environmental Organic Chemistry. Professor Gschwend came to MIT as a postdoctoral associate in chemical engineering in 1979; he was subsequently hired in 1981 as an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and was promoted to associate professor in 1986, won tenure in 1987 and achieved the rank of full professor in 1993. He holds the BS from Caltech (1973) and the PhD from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (1979).
A researcher in the field of computational fluid dynamics, Professor Murman is a former head of his department and director of Project Athena. His career includes service on several other MIT and government committees as well as with the Lean Aircraft Initiative. He holds the BSE (1963), the MA (1965) and the PhD (1967) from Princeton and worked as a research scientist for several companies before joining the MIT faculty as a professor of aeronautics and astronautics in 1980.
Others who were recently named to Ford chairs, which recognize contributions to recipients' disciplines and the School of Engineering, are Professors Barbara Liskov and Alan Oppenheim of the electrical engineering and computer science (see MIT Tech Talk, November 6, 1996) and Harry Asada of mechanical engineering (MIT Tech Talk, February 12).
The newest School of Engineering Professor of Teaching Innovation is Anthony Patera, professor of mechanical engineering. The chair recognizes teaching excellence and supports initiatives in research and teaching programs. From 1989-94, Professor Patera was co-director of the MIT Supercomputer Facility, which aimed to make supercomputer cycles available for undergraduate and graduate education. He was also involved in setting up the Hypermedia Teaching Facility, and he received the Den Hartog and Spira awards for excellence in teaching in 1987 and 1994, respectively. Professor Patera's research interests are in computational methods, numerical analysis, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, optimization, and parallel processing.
After receiving the SB (1978) and SM (1980) in mechanical engineering and the PhD (1982) in applied mathematics, all from MIT, he became an assistant professor at the Institute. He was promoted to associate professor in 1985, received tenure in 1988 and became a full professor in 1991.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 26, 1997.