Alumni Association seeks nominations for board of directors

June 29, 2015

PHOTO: MIT Alumni Association LogoMIT’s Alumni Association is calling for nominations for President-select and six Term Directors to join their prestigious Board of Directors. Members of the Board of Directors sit on the policy-making body for the Association and oversee the Association’s work in service to MIT and its alumni. Directors are expected to present a broad perspective on policies, procedures, and the long-range agenda for the Association as well as bring a breadth of experience and points of view. For consideration for the Board of Directors during the 2015-2016 period, nominations are due by August 3, 2015. For more information or to make a nomination, please see here.

Sports companies connect with CEE at the second annual STE@M Day

June 29, 2015

The second annual STE@M (Sports Technology and Education @ MIT) Day took place last month, hosting representatives from a variety of sports companies, along with sports-related foundations and MIT startups. The groups toured a combination of 14 labs across six departments within the Institute, including CEE. For the STE@M Day event, CEE Research Scientist Dr. Zhao Qin introduced activities in CEE’s Pierce Laboratory to a group of people from broad industrial and educational areas, such as affiliates with Nike, PGA, Eastman and Loughborough University. Qin introduced the representatives to his team’s recent material innovations with spider silk and demonstrated the working process of a multimaterial 3D printer. For the article, please see here.

J-PAL seeks to improve poverty policymaking

June 29, 2015

PHOTO: J-PALThe Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI) has bestowed a substantial grant to the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT. Named after the father of CEE alumnus Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel ‘78, J-PAL will use this funding to create the Government Partnership Initiative (GPI), which will work with governments to design, evaluate, and scale up programs that aim to reduce poverty. According to MIT President L. Rafael Reif, J-PAL’s work transforms research to action and Jameel’s “abiding commitment to serve the world's poorest people inspires us to accelerate our efforts and extend the reach of J-PAL's transformative insights.” For the article, please see here.

CEE alumnus’ social enterprise turns plastic waste to 3D printed filament

June 29, 2015

PHOTO: Sidhant Pai '14 works on ReFilBot, a machine used for transforming recycled plastic flakes into 3-mm 3-D printing filament.In 2012, CEE undergraduate Sidhant Pai ’14 recognized a gap in the 3D filament market for a recycled filament offering. The idea turned into a project and since then has become a social enterprise that empowers Indian urban waste pickers with the technology to turn plastic waste into 3-D printer filament. The company, Protoprint, markets the filament globally and provides consumers with an ethically sourced, recycled alternative to virgin plastic. “I think the best way to empower a community is to make them a primary stakeholder in the model,” Pai said. For the article, please see here. For a video on Protoprint, please see here.

ONE@MIT summer newsletter – We’re changing the world

June 22, 2015

PHOTO: Global SystemsEveryday, ONE@MIT is changing the world with innovative research and cutting-edge education. The electronic newsletter’s summer issue features a variety of exciting highlights, all of which emphasize CEE’s ongoing initiatives and provide a deeper understanding of the department’s future. Stories in the newsletter include a Q&A with Professor John Ochsendorf on the Collier Memorial, an in-depth look into the Kuwait-MIT Signature Project, a photo gallery from the 2015 Commencement festivities, and more. To access the newsletter, visit one.mit.edu.

Save the Date: Industry Jobs Panel for Postdocs and Graduate Students

June 22, 2015

PHOTO: Discussion PanelAfter a successful panel on academic jobs was held in the spring, the CEE postdoctoral committee is excited to follow up with an organized Lunch and Learn session on industry career paths. The event, open to postdocs and graduate students, will be Wednesday, July 15th at 12 p.m. in 1-131 and includes a panel discussion with PhDs at different stages in their careers who chose industry instead of academia. Please RSVP here.

Student Profile: Xiaojing “Ruby” Fu

June 22, 2015

PHOTO: Ruby FuCEE graduate student Ruby Fu says that, growing up, she was a witness to “a montage of environmental changes” in her native China. Environmental challenges always on her mind, Fu now works under advisor Professor Ruben Juanes developing a mathematical model to study methane bubble plumes that are escaping from the seafloor – a phenomenon that is proven to be a significant contributor to climate change.How much methane is being released into the ocean? What happens to these bubbles once they enter the water? Do they make it into the atmosphere?” Fu said. “These are the kinds of big-picture questions we are encouraged to answer in Course 1.” Fu’s research will help develop a more accurate atmospheric methane budget and predict climate change trends. Read the profile here.

CEE team designs model to help devise erosion-prevention strategies

June 22, 2015

PHOTO: GreeneryThroughout the last few decades, large swaths of aquatic vegetation have disappeared around the world, including in the United States. In response, a team of CEE researchers has developed a model to help scientists understand how and when sediments move through a region of aquatic vegetation, as well as identify locations where aquatic vegetation may be less prone to erosion. “Wetlands are very important because they protect our coastal areas, but they are eroding,” said CEE graduate student Qingjun “Judy” Yang SM ‘15. “With this [work], engineers can do modeling on how the stresses vary, and whether it would be helpful to plant vegetation here or there, based on the equation.” The findings were published in the journal Water Resources Research. For the MIT news article, please see here.

#CEEsummer Instagram contest’s call for summer 2015 photos

June 22, 2015

PHOTO: InstagramCEE is excited to announce an Instagram photo contest, and opportunity for everyone in the department to share summer experiences. Every picture you take, tag @MIT_CEE and #CEEsummer. Photos will be evaluated based on the following criteria: creativity, originality, and alignment with CEE’s vision of seeking to understand the world, invent and lead with creative design. There will be two winners selected at the beginning of next term – one in line with the above criteria and another for the person that submits the most photos! Our prizes include an American Express gift card and a FitBit. Follow #CEEsummer on Instagram. 

CEE professor reports on MIT’s Climate Change Conversation

June 22, 2015

PHOTO: MIT SealCEE Professor Roman Stocker, chair of the MIT Climate Change Conversation Committee, submitted the committee's findings on June 12 to the Conversation Leadership: Provost Marty Schmidt, MITEI Director Bob Armstrong, Environmental Solutions Initiative Director Susan Solomon, and Vice President for Research Maria T. Zuber. Zuber then shared the report with all of MIT. "By tackling this important assignment with energy, imagination and seriousness, they delivered to our community an exceptionally constructive and illuminating process for exploring the most effective strategies for climate action," she said. Discussions will continue into the fall when President Reif shares an Institute plan for various ways MIT can be a leader in addressing climate change. For the article, please see here.

Three new faculty members to join CEE in 2015-2016 academic year

June 22, 2015

PHOTO: New FacultyCEE is pleased to announce that three faculty members will join the department, come next fall. Admir Masic, currently an independent group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Germany, will join Pierce Laboratory. His work is experimental, focused on the characterization of structural and mechanical properties, including ageing and degradation over long time-scales. Benedetto Marelli joins CEE on November 1. Currently a postdoctoral research associate in the Biomedical Engineering Department at Tufts University, Marelli will strengthen the materials synthesis activities in Pierce Laboratory, and contribute to finding new ways to design and manufacture environmentally benign materials using synthetic biology and other approaches. Serguei Saavedra, of the department of environmental systems at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, will join Parsons Laboratory in January 2016. He brings expertise in theoretical ecology to the department, introducing a complementary strength to existing research and education.


 Ruben Juanes: Exploring subsurface energy, from academics to industry

June 15, 2015

Photo: RubenPart of the Institute since 2006, CEE Professor Ruben Juanes knew he wanted a future in the sciences since he was in middle school. Now, the majority of his research is dedicated to flows related to energy and the environment - particularly the simultaneous flow of multiple fluids through porous media. “MIT is a very stimulating place,” Juanes said, in a profile by the MIT Energy Initiative. “What really makes MIT special are the students.” To him, there’s nothing as fulfilling—from an academic perspective—as seeing students evolve and mature and become the world experts in their field. “That process, I must tell you, is magical.” For the article, please see here.

Students trek to MIT.nano construction site

June 15, 2015

Photo: ClassIn mid-April, students of the CEE 1.011 Project Evaluation and Management course took to the field in an unprecedented way – they journeyed to the building site of MIT.nano to see, firsthand, the decision-making that goes into large-scale construction and transportation endeavors. Organized by CEE Professor Joseph Sussman, the field trip was executed in an effort to give the students a glimpse into a real-world, complex construction project. “I tell students: ‘You saw the PowerPoint in class, now put on a hard hat and reflective vest and go where things are happening to a get a real idea of how projects work,’” said Sussman. The construction of MIT.nano, the Institute’s planned nanoscale-research center, is located in the heart of campusFor the article, please see here.

Save the Date: Are blue mussels declining in the Gulf of Maine?

June 15, 2015

Photo: Save the DateOn Tuesday, July 7 from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in E38-300, MIT Sea Grant funded researcher Cascade Sorte will present a seminar entitled, “Are blue mussels declining in the Gulf of Maine: Population dynamics across space and time”. Using a broad range of approaches, Sorte and her team compared abundances between Cape Cod and northern Maine, and between historical and contemporary surveys, to assess mussel population dynamics. Through their research, they uncovered evidence of population declines while also indicating ways in which abundances and population trajectories vary across space and time in the Gulf of Maine.

Elsevier’s inaugural “Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge” now accepting proposals

June 15, 2015

Photo: GreenTo encourage researchers to come up with new solutions, Elsevier is holding its first ever “Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge” - open to individuals or organizations operating in the not-for-profit and for-profit sectors from all countries. Projects in any field of green or sustainable chemistry are accepted, as long as they as they are applicable for use in developing countries. Submit your proposal by September 14, 2015. For more information, please see here.

Recent CEE graduate receives $5,000 to develop sustainable compost toilets

June 15, 2015

Photo: Elaine Kung '15 (second from left) and D-Lab instructor Libby Hsu (far right) with other members of the MIT and Salvadoran team in front of a newly completed compost toilet. In August, with support from MIT Tau Beta Pi, Kung will continue work she began with a D-Lab team on the redesign of a compost toilet for the Salvadoran rural health organization ASAPROSAR.CEE graduate Elaine Kung '15 has been awarded $5,000 by the MIT engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi to continue her inspiring work on the design of compost toilets in El Salvador. In January, Kung traveled to Santa Ana to work on their compost toilet design and involve community members in an exploration of different materials and construction techniques. "It's really meaningful to be able to continue the work I did with D-Lab over the fall semester and IAP, because it helps ensure that this project will be able to have a greater impact and be sustainable in the long term,” she said. Her goal is to reduce the production cost for compost toilets, and make them more affordable for the local community. For the article, please see here.

Lydia Bourouiba’s and the mechanics of rain splatter

June 15, 2015

Photo: LydiaThe connection between rain and contagion has long been a point of interest for scientists, including fluid dynamics expert and CEE professor Lydia Bourouiba. In 2014, she coauthored a study that employed high-speed videography to demonstrate the path of pathogens after projection by sneezes or coughs. She later used this same technique, as well as combined experimental and theoretical approaches, to elucidate the mechanisms of rain-induced pathogen transport between leaves - particularly the role of their surface and compliance in shaping the fluid dynamic processes at play. According to a profile on Bourouiba’s work published in Nautilus, the images and accompanying physics created by her and her team subsequently revealed, in depth, the mechanisms of rain splatter and ultimately can assist in the control of crop epidemics. For the article, please see here.

Breaking down urban social networks

June 15, 2015

PhotoUntil now, studies of human interactions through mobile communication and social media have always been conducted at the country scale. Ultimately, they conclude that social networks are primarily determined by geographic proximity. Now a new study, led by a CEE team of researchers, finds urban social networks are not determined geographically, but socially. The study was published this week in Scientific Reports. “I was interested to investigate the relationship of social networks and human distance with the built environment and urban transportation,” said CEE Professor Marta González, co-author of the paper. For the article, please see here.

New PhDs celebrated at annual luncheon

June 9, 2015

PHOTO: 2015 CEE PhDsFollowing the MIT Hooding Ceremony the morning of June 4, CEE celebrated its incredible doctoral graduates with a luncheon for grads, their friends and families, and CEE affiliates. Department Head Markus Buehler, who conferred hoods with MIT Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart to the graduating CEE PhD's during the hooding ceremony, gave a toast that honored the department’s new alumni and wished them well in their post-MIT years. To see a photo album of the event, go to the CEE Flicker page.

CEE salutes its recent graduates

June 9, 2015

PHOTO: CommencementCongratulations to all of the new graduates from the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering! On June 5, the new CEE graduates gathered with families and friends as well as CEE faculty, staff and alumni for an afternoon party following MIT’s Commencement exercises. In addition, Professor Oral Buyukozturk was afforded the pleasure of congratulating his daughter, Selda Buyukozturk, on her SB in Material Science during commencement. Also present for the festivities was former CEE department head Peter Eagleson ‘56, to watch his grandson, Andre Kessler, receive his SB in Mathematics. To read more about the Commencement experience, please see here.

CEE alumni gather for end-of-the-year breakfast

June 9, 2015

PHOTO: 2015 CEE Alumni BreakfastOver 50 CEE alumni, staff and faculty came together for an alumni breakfast hosted in Maseeh Hall on June 4. The event featured a buffet-style breakfast, a networking session for all attendees, and a variety of CEE students and affiliates demonstrating their work in the department. “It was inspiring to connect with alumni from different chapters of CEE,” said Department Head Markus Buehler. To see a photo album of the event, go to the CEE Flicker page.

CEE member elected to MIT’s board of trustees

June 9, 2015

PHOTO: MITOn June 3, the MIT Corporation’s board of trustees elected eight term members to each serve for five years, effective July 1st. One of the new members is CEE graduate Donald E. Shobrys ’75, co-director and mentor for the MIT Venture Mentoring Service. Shobrys has held a fruitful career since his graduation from CEE, and remains highly active in the Institute. In the past, he has worked for Exxon and Chesapeake Decision Sciences. Currently he serves on the Joint Advisory Committee and Development Committee and is president of the MIT Alumni Association. For the article, please see here.

Using desalination to address drought

June 9, 2015

PHOTO: Carlos RivaCEE alumnus Carlos Riva ’75 is CEO of Boston-based Poseidon Water - a company that plans to develop what will be the largest seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. The project is expected to deliver water when it comes online late in 2015 to parched businesses and residents in San Diego County, where there is a drought state of emergency. “There’s an opportunity to develop new strategies and new sources around water,” RIva said, to the MIT News. From better conservation to the use of treated wastewater and seawater desalination, “I think the solutions to the problems of water scarcity are going to involve an ‘all of the above’ strategy.” For the article, please see here.

CEE highlighted in latest edition of the MIT Spectrum

June 9, 2015

PHOTO: Summer 2015 SpectrumFour CEE faculty members were featured in the latest edition of the MIT Spectrum. Associate Professor Colette Heald, a speaker at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, was highlighted for a recent study in which she identified the interaction of rising temperatures and air pollution as a threat to global food security. Andrew Whittle, professor, describes his efforts to increase the world’s water supply through the elimination water loss by leaks with the use of wireless sensors in water pipes. Professor Dara Entekhabi is featured for spearheading the science team behind NASA’s SMAP – a satellite that produces global high-resolution observations of soil moisture from space. Assistant Professor Carolina Osorio discusses her work optimizing transportation agencies’ planning and operations decisions to lessen congestion and provide more efficient fuel consumption and fewer emissions. For the full edition, please see here.

2015 CEE Capstone Prize Winners

June 1, 2015

Photo: Khouri, Prof. Eltahir, PagonakisOn May 15, four Course 1 students - Michael Eck, Michelle Dutt, Noor Khouri and Dimitrios Pagonakis - presented their senior capstone projects to an audience of faculty, staff and students for subsequent selection for the prizes. Two winners were selected by the panel of judges based on his/her presentation performance and the impact of the innovation. Khouri ’15 won for her work devising a computational tool that can be used to design ciliated microchannels with enhanced mixing performance in microfluidic devices. Pagonakis ’15 won with his research which produced a new algorithmic script and framework to help engineers and architects find the least volume structure solution for any load bearing arch design regardless of construction material quality. The work could lead to the use of cheaper, more available materials like lower-grade concrete in the design of stronger, more sustainable arched structures due to optimized geometric compression.