January/February 2023

Dear members of the MIT community and friends,

It has been an exciting and eventful start to the year for our engineering community. Earlier this month, seven MIT researchers and fourteen alumni were elected to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest honors bestowed upon an engineer. I find myself truly inspired by this talented group of individuals — all leaders in their fields — who have conducted groundbreaking research and developed transformative solutions across a range of disciplines, including machine learning, biomechanics, space technology, and supply chain management.

In January, MIT welcomed its 18th president, Sally Kornbluth. Since assuming her new role, President Kornbluth has embarked on a listening tour, meeting with students, faculty, and staff across the Institute. I look forward to celebrating President Kornbluth’s inauguration this May.

Recently, three members of our faculty were called to serve in leadership roles of national importance. Professor Evelyn Wang, former head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, was appointed by the US Senate as director of the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). Professor Daniel Hastings, associate dean of engineering for diversity, equity, and inclusion and head of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, was named by Vice President Kamala Harris to serve on the National Space Council’s Users Advisory Group. Finally, Professor Angela Belcher, head of the Department of Biological Engineering, was appointed to the National Security Commission on Emerging Biotechnology by the Senate and House Armed Services Committees. It is thrilling to see MIT faculty members shaping the future of energy research, the space enterprise, and our understanding of new biotechnologies at a national level.

Leadership is at the core of our mission in the School of Engineering. In this issue of The Infinite, you’ll see that leadership on full display as you’re introduced to a team of engineers who are advancing LED technology, a group of graduate students using AI to benefit patients everywhere, and several other leaders in our community. You’ll also meet a staff member who dedicated nearly three decades to the fab at MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL).

I am looking forward to seeing all the ways members of the MIT community continue to serve as leaders in the coming year.


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Anantha P. Chandrakasan

Dean, MIT School of Engineering
Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

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MIT community members elected to the National Academy of Engineering for 2023

Seven researchers, along with 14 additional MIT alumni, are honored for significant contributions to engineering research, practice, and education.

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New sensor uses MRI to detect light deep in the brain

Using a specialized MRI sensor, researchers in the MIT Department of Biological Engineering can map how light spreads in opaque environments. With further development, it could also prove useful for monitoring patients who receive light-based therapies for cancer.

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Rescuing small plastics from the waste stream

Chemical engineering PhD student Alexis Hocken is working with manufacturers to keep their products from (literally) falling through the cracks in the recycling process.

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Engineers invent vertical, full-color microscopic LEDs

A study from researchers at the MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering and MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering suggests stacking light-emitting diodes instead of placing them side by side could enable fully immersive virtual reality displays and higher-resolution digital screens.

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2022-23 Takeda Fellows: Leveraging AI to positively impact human health

New graduate fellows are working on health records, robot control, pandemic preparedness, brain injuries, and more.

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Bilge Yildiz wins Rahmi M. Koç Medal of Science

Yildiz, the Breene M. Kerr Professor in the Departments of Nuclear Science and Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering, received an award recognizing scientists of Turkish origin who have made outstanding contributions to their fields.

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Unpacking the “black box” to build better AI models

MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Professor Stefanie Jegelka seeks to understand how machine-learning models behave, to help researchers build more robust models for applications in biology, computer vision, optimization, and more.

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Engineering in harmony

MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics major and accomplished tuba player Frederick Ajisafe relishes the community he has found in the MIT Wind Ensemble.

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Staff Spotlight: Vicky Diadiuk ’73, ScD ‘78

After 27 years overseeing the fab at MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL), Diadiuk retired earlier this year. She reflects on the culture of collaboration and collegiality at MTL.