News & Awards: Winter 2019

Departmental News

- Evelyn Wang, Gail E. Kendall (1978) Professor and director of MIT’s Device Research Laboratory, has been named head of the MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering. Her leadership team includes Professor Pierre Lermusiaux, associate department head for research and operations, and Associate Professor Rohit Karnik, associate department head for education.

- In September, the MIT-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program celebrated its 50th anniversary with a two-day event in Woods Hole.

- A group of alumni gathered in the Department of Mechanical Engineering’s Undergraduate Office on September 5, 2018 for the unveiling of a memorial plaque honoring the life of Peggy Garlick, former Undergraduate Officer for MechE.

Alumni (from left to right) Michael Ambrogi ’85, Steven Kosowsky ’83, John Sununu ’86, SM ’87, and Larry Butkus ’85 at the unveiling of a memorial plaque for MechE Undergraduate Officer,  Credit: Tony Pulsone

- In October, MechE hosted the first-ever Rising Stars in Mechanical Engineering Workshop which introduced thirty-four of the brightest women graduate students, post-docs, and early-career researchers from across the nation to the world of academia.

Participants from the Rising Stars in Mechanical Engineering Workshop in October. Credit: Tony Pulsone

Research News

- A fabrication technique described in the journal Advanced Materials and developed by Associate Professor Rohit Karnik could be integrated into manufacturing to make large-scale membranes that filter out small molecules and salts. (Potential Image)

- A team of researchers led by Professor Nicholas Makris produced wide-ranging acoustic images of cod shoals. The images, which were reported in the journal Fish and Fisheries, could help researchers identify populations on the brink of collapse.

- A new design from Professor Yang Shao-Horn and Professor Douglas Hart could greatly extend the shelf life of single-use metal-air batteries for electric vehicles, off-grid storage, and other applications. Their findings are reported in the journal Science.

- In a Science Advances study, Professor Nicholas Fang used the ancient art of kirigami to manipulate light at the nanoscale, potentially opening up new possibilities for the creation of new light-based communications.

- Associate Professor Jeehwan Kim has developed an efficient method for making single-atom-thick, wafer-scale materials. These 2D materials, described in the journal Science, could be used to make an electronic device within an hour.

Jeehwan Kim, an associate professor in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, has developed a technique to harvest 2-inch diameter wafers of 2-D material within just a few minutes. Image: Peng Lin

- Professor Roger Kamm has developed a microfluidic chip containing the first 3-D human tissue model of the interface between motor neurons and muscle fibers. The chip, which was described in the journal Science Advances, could help researchers test ALS drugs.

Faculty Awards

- The National Science Foundation awarded Domitilla Del Vecchio one of the first “Understanding the Rules of Life” awards for her research on the principles of modular organization in resource-limited biological circuits.

- Professor John B. Heywood received the 2018 Society of Automotive Engineers Excellence in Oral Presentation Award.

- Associate Professor Alexandra Techet has been named a Fellow by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

- The American Society of Mechanical Engineers honored Professor Alexander Slocum with the 2018 Ruth and Joel Spira Outstanding Design Educator Award.

- Associate Professor Xuanhe Zhao received a Materials Today Rising Star Award.

- Associate Professor Asegun Henry received the American Society of Mechanical Engineers 2018 Bergles-Rohsenow Young Investigator Award in Heat Transfer for introducing and formulating phonon transport based on correlation instead of scattering.

Student Awards

PhD candidate Krithika Ramchander has been awarded a J-WAFS fellowship to develop a low-cost, point-of-use water filter for rural communities in India.

- Using a yo-yo design he developed in class 2.008, Design and Manufacturing II, senior Alex Hattori won second place in the 3A division at the 2018 World Yo-Yo Contest in Shanghai.

- At the fifth annual Mechanical Engineering Research Exhibition on September 28, 2018, graduate students gained valuable practice presenting their research. Awards were given to students Daniel Gonzalez, Chu Ma, Mo Chen, Cameron McBride, and Carson Tucker.

Alumni News

- Derek Straub MEng '15, Additive Manufacturing Lead at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory, has been named to Manufacturing Engineering Magazine's 30 Under 30 list.

- Shreya Dave '09, SM '12, PhD '16 was named one of MIT Technology Review's 35 Innovators Under 35.

- Meredith Silberstein '05, SM '08, PhD '11 and Ethan Crumlin '05, SM '07, PhD '12 were selected for the US Department of Energy's 2018 Early Career Research Program

In Memoriam

- Shih-Ying Lee, a longtime mechanical engineering professor and expert in process control, measurement, and instrumentation, passed away peacefully on July 2, 2018. Lee '43, SCD '45 had recently celebrated his 100th birthday in April.

- Colt Richter ’16 passed away in July 2018. Richter loved to fly, served as a volunteer emergency medical technician at MIT, sung in the Ohms a cappella group, and was on the Presidential Advisory Cabinet.

- George Nicholas Hatsopoulos, senior lecturer emeritus in mechanical engineering and MIT Corporation life member emeritus passed away in September 2018 at the age of 91. Hatsopoulos '49, SM '50, ME '54, SCD '56 received The John Fritz Medal which is often regarded as the highest honor in engineering.

Photo: Jim Harrison