MIT-Imperial Exchange: An immersive academic and cultural experience

August 16th, 2017Undergraduate Student Life

By Milani Chatterji-Len This summer, I am participating in the MIT-Imperial Exchange, in which I am conducting research in the Environmental and Water Resource Engineering section of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. There is a diverse array of exciting ongoing projects in this section of the university; researchers are looking into everything from urban pipe networks to the effects of climate change. My work centers on hydrological simulation and prediction. Specifically, I am working on developing a model in MATLAB that can accurately and precisely predict wave propagation along a river reach in order to better forecast flood risk for communities that lack this information. A recent visit to Amsterdam served as a good reminder of the growing threat of flooding throughout the world, which will necessitate action to improve hydraulic flood models. Comprehending my project and developing the model from scratch has been a challenging experience. Before six weeks ago, I had never studied hydraulic modeling (although I did have experience in fluid mechanics). After carefully studying papers and receiving generous help from my professor and graduate students, I went from not knowing what a hydraulic model was to generating one myself. In the next two weeks I will continue to work on my model and make improvements. After testing it against data generated in the hydraulics lab in our building, I will perform analyses with the model to determine how sensors can best be calibrated for accurate estimations of river flow. I hope to write a report [...]

By Milani Chatterji-Len

This summer, I am participating in the MIT-Imperial Exchange, in which I am conducting research in the Environmental and Water Resource Engineering section of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. There is a diverse array of exciting ongoing projects in this section of the university; researchers are looking into everything from urban pipe networks to the effects of climate change.

My work centers on hydrological simulation and prediction. Specifically, I am working on developing a model in MATLAB that can accurately and precisely predict wave propagation along a river reach in order to better forecast flood risk for communities that lack this information.

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A recent visit to Amsterdam served as a good reminder of the growing threat of flooding throughout the world, which will necessitate action to improve hydraulic flood models.

Comprehending my project and developing the model from scratch has been a challenging experience. Before six weeks ago, I had never studied hydraulic modeling (although I did have experience in fluid mechanics). After carefully studying papers and receiving generous help from my professor and graduate students, I went from not knowing what a hydraulic model was to generating one myself.

In the next two weeks I will continue to work on my model and make improvements. After testing it against data generated in the hydraulics lab in our building, I will perform analyses with the model to determine how sensors can best be calibrated for accurate estimations of river flow. I hope to write a report by the end of my time at Imperial that incorporates everything I have worked on over this period of educational exploration.

While conducting research as an IROP student at Imperial College has been a learning experience, there’s a whole other side to the MIT-Imperial Exchange that requires an equal amount of attention.

Over the past five weeks of the IROP program, I have been trying to explore Europe as much as possible. With MIT students and other research students at Imperial, I have travelled all around the UK and visited cities in other parts of Europe. This weekend, I and other MIT students decided to stick around and relax instead of traveling. Not wanting to waste a weekend, we went exploring in our own backyard and bought tickets to a local football (not soccer) match!

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Me and three other MIT students waiting excitedly for the game to begin.

Weeks ago during the welcome afternoon tea held by Imperial’s IROP office, I had the chance to get to know a few students from Imperial College who had gone on exchange last year to MIT. In addition to telling us about the IROP experience, they raved about their favorite British football teams and suggested that we get tickets to see a local team. This past weekend turned out to be the perfect time to see a match, as tickets were still available and other MIT students were also free to go. We arrived at the stadium early and made our way to our seats, surrounded by a sea of fans wearing the striped blue and white jerseys of the home team, the Queens Park Rangers.

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The Queens Park Rangers (QPR) face off against the Reading Royals at the QPR home stadium.

As the game began, we heard welcome commentary from all around us. People in the stands were clearly all locals cheering for their favorite team, and they seemed to know everything about every player! It turned out to be an uneven game, with the home team winning 2-0. Even so, it was exciting to be surrounded by British football lovers chanting cheers that we couldn’t understand and routing for their home team.

For those 90 minutes, we too were converted into avid football fans, attempting to keep up with the action. Attending the football game was a dive into British culture that I will remember fondly. I hope I get the chance to attend another game one day in a packed UK Stadium!

This summer, MIT CEE undergraduates Abby Harvey and Milani Chatterji-Len are working in research labs at the Imperial College of London as part of the MIT International Research Opportunities Program (IROP).

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Summer in Santiago: Collaborating on Urban Mobility

August 4th, 2017Undergraduate Student Life

By Christine Langston During my first week and my fourth week here in Santiago, I attended two ‘talleres,’ or workshops, put on by the Chilean Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunication (MTT, not to be confused with MIT) and a consulting firm. These workshops brought about 30 transportation industry professionals together to discuss ways we could innovate and solve problems related to urban mobility. We sat at tables of six people and were lead through different thought and brainstorming exercises. For example, at my table I met a representative from one of the largest energy companies in Chile, a regional director of a public transportation activist group, and a few MTT employees. These workshops were important collaboration efforts between the private and public sectors and between the geographically divided communities of Santiago. I call Santiago a city, but it is really considered a Providence with 32 ‘comunas,’ or communities. There exists an overarching government, but it has been described to me as weak when getting policy and infrastructure implemented. This is the view from the 15th floor of the office building where the MTT workshop or 'taller,' took place. When its clear in Santiago, you can see the stunning Andes mountains! Infrastructure like the Metro system is actually managed by the federal government of Chile (under MTT), not the municipal governing body. As this is the case, these workshops are useful to bring professionals from a variety of comunas together to cultivate and develop a new to Santiago style of discussion. Before [...]

By Christine Langston

During my first week and my fourth week here in Santiago, I attended two ‘talleres,’ or workshops, put on by the Chilean Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunication (MTT, not to be confused with MIT) and a consulting firm.

These workshops brought about 30 transportation industry professionals together to discuss ways we could innovate and solve problems related to urban mobility. We sat at tables of six people and were lead through different thought and brainstorming exercises. For example, at my table I met a representative from one of the largest energy companies in Chile, a regional director of a public transportation activist group, and a few MTT employees.

These workshops were important collaboration efforts between the private and public sectors and between the geographically divided communities of Santiago. I call Santiago a city, but it is really considered a Providence with 32 ‘comunas,’ or communities. There exists an overarching government, but it has been described to me as weak when getting policy and infrastructure implemented.

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This is the view from the 15th floor of the office building where the MTT workshop or ‘taller,’ took place. When its clear in Santiago, you can see the stunning Andes mountains!

Infrastructure like the Metro system is actually managed by the federal government of Chile (under MTT), not the municipal governing body. As this is the case, these workshops are useful to bring professionals from a variety of comunas together to cultivate and develop a new to Santiago style of discussion.

Before this workshop, I knew I enjoyed working with people and participating in interdisciplinary conversations with a variety of perspectives, simply because I find other people interesting. I found these workshops to be fun and refreshing, as I listened to and worked with different people. This experience confirmed my former belief that I think considering a variety of voices and experiences from stakeholders is key to designing better solutions.

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This is a photo of me and Lauren Johnson (Course 2 ’19) in front of Neputne’s fountain, close to the center of Santiago. Lauren and I live together in an apartment and its been so fun to have her as an adventure buddy.

As an engineer, I’ll take this perspective with me in to my career. It has made me discover my interest in designing more inclusive cities, a theme identified by the World Bank as an important topic in Urban Development.

In today’s world, urbanization can exacerbate the inequality in our cities, and we need groups of diverse stakeholders to come together, collaborate, and innovate. I think we need more conversations and workshops like the ones I’ve attended in Santiago to be taking place across the world; and I’m glad I have been able to participate in the ones here this summer.

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Here I’m standing in front of Palacio de la Moneda, the palace where the President works in Santiago. My office is only a few blocks away.

Christine Langston is a rising junior at MIT in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and is interested in systems engineering, specifically how technology can improve cities in the areas of transportation, business, and sustainability. She is spending the summer in Santiago, Chile while interning at the Chilean Agency of Economic Development through MISTI (MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives).

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New Research from Professor Elfatih Eltahir shows intense heat waves could harm South Asia

August 2nd, 20172017 News in Brief

New research from Breene M. Kerr Professor Elfatih Eltahir shows that deadly heat waves could harm South Asia, the home to one-fifth of the world’s population. The research suggests that climate change may cause summer heat waves with fatal levels of heat and humidity, and that these heat waves may occur in the next few decades. The findings were published in Science Advances. Read more on MIT News.

New research from Breene M. Kerr Professor Elfatih Eltahir shows that deadly heat waves could harm South Asia, the home to one-fifth of the world’s population. The research suggests that climate change may cause summer heat waves with fatal levels of heat and humidity, and that these heat waves may occur in the next few decades. The findings were published in Science Advances. Read more on MIT News.

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ONE-MA3 gives students hands-on fieldwork experience in the context of cultural heritage

July 31st, 20172017 News in Brief

Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Professor Admir Masic, and teaching assistants Linda Seymour and Chad Loh, led a group of ten students around Italy for the second annual summer fieldwork program on Materials in Art, Archeology, and Architecture (ONE-MA3). The program provides students with the opportunity to explore ancient technologies directly in the field to inform their work in the fall class 1.057 (Heritage Science and Technology). In addition to getting hands-on fieldwork experience and discussing with experts current challenges of the field, the group was also granted special access to restricted laboratories and areas of the ancient sites and museums that were not open to the public. Read more on MIT News.

Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Professor Admir Masic, and teaching assistants Linda Seymour and Chad Loh, led a group of ten students around Italy for the second annual summer fieldwork program on Materials in Art, Archeology, and Architecture (ONE-MA3). The program provides students with the opportunity to explore ancient technologies directly in the field to inform their work in the fall class 1.057 (Heritage Science and Technology). In addition to getting hands-on fieldwork experience and discussing with experts current challenges of the field, the group was also granted special access to restricted laboratories and areas of the ancient sites and museums that were not open to the public. Read more on MIT News.

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Professor Dara Entekhabi receives Dave and Lucille Atlas Remote Sensing Prize from American Meteorological Society

July 31st, 20172017 News in Brief

Bacardi and Stockholm Water Foundations Professor Dara Entekhabi was recently awarded the Dave and Lucille Atlas Remote Sensing Prize from the American Meteorological Society for his scientific and technical leadership in providing remote sensing data and in their use to address basic questions in hydrological science. The Remote Sensing Prize is awarded every two years to individuals in recognition of developments in the science and technology of remote sensing, and its advancement to knowledge of the earth, oceans and atmosphere.

Bacardi and Stockholm Water Foundations Professor Dara Entekhabi was recently awarded the Dave and Lucille Atlas Remote Sensing Prize from the American Meteorological Society for his scientific and technical leadership in providing remote sensing data and in their use to address basic questions in hydrological science. The Remote Sensing Prize is awarded every two years to individuals in recognition of developments in the science and technology of remote sensing, and its advancement to knowledge of the earth, oceans and atmosphere.

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MISTI video highlights students’ research on Venice’s rising sea levels

July 31st, 20172017 News in Brief

Edmund K. Turner Professor in Civil Engineering Andrew Whittle and Professor of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences Paola Rizzoli led a research camp for MIT students, including CEE graduate student Paige Midstokke, rising senior Clio Macrakis and rising junior René García, to collaborate with Italian students on the MOSE megaproject. MOSE is a large infrastructure project that involves installation of mobile flood gates to control flooding in the city of Venice and suite of associated projects to preserve the health of the unique environment of the Venetian lagoon. Midstokke and García are featured in a new MISTI video about the project. Watch the video here.

Edmund K. Turner Professor in Civil Engineering Andrew Whittle and Professor of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences Paola Rizzoli led a research camp for MIT students, including CEE graduate student Paige Midstokke, rising senior Clio Macrakis and rising junior René García, to collaborate with Italian students on the MOSE megaproject. MOSE is a large infrastructure project that involves installation of mobile flood gates to control flooding in the city of Venice and suite of associated projects to preserve the health of the unique environment of the Venetian lagoon. Midstokke and García are featured in a new MISTI video about the project. Watch the video here.

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