Professor Heald profiled in MIT News’ Spotlight 

May 3, 2016

Colette Heald describes her current work as “trying to understand the sources, transformation, and impact of gases and particles in the atmosphere, which is very dynamic with a lot of chemical compounds that interact.”“There’s Something in the Air,” a feature about Professor Colette Heald, was a headline story in MIT News Spotlight on April 28 describing her atmospheric chemistry career. The article describes her route to MIT and notes her global recognition last year as recipient of the prestigious AGU James Macelwane Medal. The article describes her current work as aiming “to understand the sources, transformation, and impact of gases and particles in the atmosphere…affecting ecosystems, air quality, and even the climate itself.” Another major area of her research is the complex interaction between the atmosphere and the biosphere. Read the entire MIT News story.

Professor Hemond and co-author win book award

May 3, 2016

Book with MedalProfessor Harry Hemond and co-author Liz Fechner were awarded the 2015 Texty Textbook Excellence Award in the Physical Sciences category for edition III of their recent book, Chemical Fate and Transport in the Environment, published by Elsevier/Academic Press. The award is given annually by the Text and Academic Authors Association at the organization’s annual conference; the next award will be presented in San Antonio, TX, on June 24, 2016.

IJAM Paper receives accolades

May 3, 2016

International Journal of Applied MechanicsResearch Scientist Zhao Qin and McAfee Professor of Engineering and Department Head Markus Buehler received a Most Cited Paper Award for their co-authored paper, “Robustness-Strength Performance of Hierarchical Alpha-Helical Protein Filaments” published in the International Journal of Applied Mechanics (IJAM). It was selected by the editor-in-chief as the journal's inaugural Most Cited Paper Award among all papers published between 2009 and 2015. This paper has been previously selected as the cover story and also has also received accolades as the best paper award of the journal in 2010. The research shows that by using the hierarchical nanostructures found in biology's construction materials, engineers can create synthetic materials with new properties, such as combining exceptional strength and robustness.

Earthquake relief effort for residents of Ecuador and Japan

April 26, 2016

The Red Cross

Professor Otto X. Cordero and other Ecuadorian-natives of the MIT community are helping lead recent earthquake relief efforts by publicizing groups accepting donations. Speaking about the recent Ecuadorian quakes, Professor Cordero says “Many of these towns have only basic infrastructure where people usually make a living from tourism and fishing. Their lives have been devastated and turned upside down. The situation is still very dire and will be for some time.” Read the MIT News story for ways to give. 

How to make cities more efficient

April 26, 2016


New research shows how to identify buildings where retrofitting for energy efficiency will have the biggest impact on a city’s overall greenhouse gas emissions. The findings, which require only minimal information about the buildings and their energy use, was developed by Professors Marta González and Franz-Josef Ulm and six others. The results are being reported in the journal Interface, published by the Royal Society in the U.K.  Read the MIT News story.

Prof. Bourouiba describes importance of fundamental mechanistic understanding in epidemiology at Beyond 2016: MIT’s Frontiers of the Future

April 25, 2016


On April 12, Professor Bourouiba spoke at MIT’s forward-looking symposium, Frontiers of the Future. She told the audience that among the problems the world faces is the emergence — and sometimes the re-emergence — of deadly infectious diseases, which were thought to be history by now. Understanding and controlling or mitigating these disease trends require bridging a divide of disciplines, she said, between the microbiology-level study of the disease agents themselves, and the ecology or population-level epidemiology dynamics of spread. At this intermediate scale, physical processes are ubiquitous and can open the way in rooting epidemiology in physical sciences and microbiology to improve infectious disease control and mitigation. Read the MIT News story.

Fred Salvucci talks transportation on NPR’s Here and Now

April 25, 2016


Senior Lecturer Fred Salvucci’s recent interview by NPR Here and Now host Jeremy Hobson aired Wednesday, April 13. The feature, “Public Transportation In America: How It Stalled And Where It’s Going,” describes how fifty years ago the money Massachusetts received for new equipment of both commuter rail and rapid transit, and the renovation and expansion of the track and infrastructure, all came from funding the Commonwealth got in lieu of the interstate highway funds for the Inner Belt and Southwest expressway that were not accepted by the state. Salvucci cautioned that we cannot repeat that process today, because current funds are needed for existing infrastructure to be repaired and upgraded. He added, “What’s been missing for a couple of decades really is the serious kind of bipartisan support for building infrastructure.” Listen to highlights of the radio report.

Prof. Serguei Saavedra’s quantitative ecology research is April 2016 cover story in the journal, Ecology

April 25, 2016

Ecology April 2016 cover

Professor Serguei Saavedra, working with a team of European ecology researchers, highlighted some of the major processes shaping Poland’s Bialoweiza  Forest’s delicate biodiversity. The paper, Seasonal Species Interactions Minimize the Impact of Species Turnover on the Likelihood of Community Persistence, is the cover story of this month’s issue of the journal, Ecology. Bialoweiza Forest is one of the last and largest remaining parts of the immense primeval forest that once stretched across the European Plain. The results show for the first time how seasonal interaction changes can be coupled to the long-term persistence of ecological communities, explains Saavedra. Read the MIT News story.

Chocolate-inspired theory predicts thickness of coatings

April 12, 2016

chocolate coatingResearchers in Professor Pedro Reis’s lab, in collaboration with a team from EPFL in Switzerland, have developed a rapid fabrication technique and a theory that accurately predicts the final thickness of a shell of a known material given the original rheological properties of the material and the geometry of the mold used for the coating. Inspired by the making of chocolate confections like hollow chocolate eggs and bonbons, the fabrication technique and theory may lead to application innovations for artificial vesicles, smart skins, and protective and packaging films on curved components. Read the MIT News article and view the video

CEE grad student advanced to the MIT IDEAS Global Challenge finals

April 8, 2016

MIT IDEAS Global Challenge Innovation ShowcaseCongratulations to CEE graduate student Mark Membreño who made it to the final rounds of the MIT IDEAS Global Challenge Innovation Showcase on Saturday for his Bolivia GSAP toilet idea. Although he did not win the competition, his idea supports innovation and entrepreneurship as a positive public service, the mission of the annual challenge. To learn more about the challenge and winners, visit the ideas-competition website

Summer research to examine Italian art, archeology and architecture (ONE-MA3) as prereq for fall subject

April 8, 2016

Pompeii ruinsProfessor Admir Masic will conduct two weeks of fieldwork in Italy this summer with undergraduates who sign up to join him as a prerequisite for a new fall special subject, Heritage Science and Technology (1.S993). The participants will travel to Privernum, Pompeii and Turin from June 19 to July 2 for this unique in-field, hands-on opportunity to research ancient structures and materials. Read the MIT News story.

Professor Kausel inaugurated into Chilean Academy of Engineering

April 8, 2016

Prof. Eduardo KauselProfessor Eduardo Kausel was recently elected into the Chilean Academy of Engineering as Corresponding Member. Department Head Markus J. Buehler congratulated Prof. Kausel on this honor saying, “This achievement is a recognition of decades of contributions to engineering research, and to the excellent mentoring of students. We are very proud of you.”

CEE Professors to speak at MIT’s Frontiers of the Future

April 8, 2016

MIT Frontiers of the FutureProfessor Lydia Bourouiba was selected as one of 13 MIT faculty to present at MIT’s Frontiers of the Future from 1:30-3:30 pm on Tuesday, April 12 in Kresge Auditorium as part of the MIT2016 celebration. Professor John Ochsendorf, Chair of the MIT2016 Steering Committee and Colloquium Co-Chair, will offer closing remarks. Read more

Professor Kausel publishes biomechanics paper

April 8, 2016

Prof. Kausel publishes biomechanics paperProfessor Kausel recently published his first biomechanics paper in Stem Cell Reports: “Integrated Analysis of Contractile Kinetics, Force Generation, and Electrical Activity in Single Human Stem Cell-Derived Cardiomyocytes.” The paper measures and predicts how strongly cardiomyocytes made from stem cells beat, including the contractile force of each cell.Kausel was responsible for the mechanical model in the paper. Learn more.

CEE ranks high in 2016 QS World University Rankings

March 29, 2016

PHOTO: department ranked first place in the Civil and Structural Engineering subject and third place in the Environmental Sciences subject in the 2016 QS World University Rankings. The rankings are determined based on six key areas: academic peer review, faculty/student ratio, citations per faculty, employer reputation, international student ratio and international staff ratio. These particular rankings are considered to be one of the three most influential and widely observed university measures. For more information, please see here.

Otto X. Cordero receives award from the Simons Foundation

March 29, 2016

PHOTO: Otto CorderoProfessor Otto X. Cordero has been selected by the Simons Foundation to receive a 2016 Simons Early Career Investigator in Marine Microbial Ecology and Evolution Award, with funding for his project entitled, “Systems Ecology of Particle-Attached Microbial Communities in the Ocean”. These awards help launch the careers of outstanding investigators who use quantitative approaches to advance our understanding of marine microbial ecology and evolution. More information.

Check out a video: Redesigned 1.101 class innovates for a better future Boston

March 29, 2016

PHOTO: 1.101: Introduction to Civil and Environmental EngineeringIn the fall semester of 2015, a group of Course 1 students enrolled in 1.101: Introduction to Civil and Environmental Engineering Design – all with the goal to innovate Boston challenges and design real-world solutions. Under the direction of Professor Pedro Reis, the students divided into four groups with the following projects: (1) increasing energy generation by the aerodynamic of passing vehicles driving through a tunnel, (2) designing a sound damping wall near a freeway, (3) constructing a light well for new dorm, and (4) studying the wind tunnel effect in urban layouts. “The project-based design components of Course 1 are about having students recognize that by the technical training they are receiving, they can dream up their own ideas and work on projects that can have an impact to society,” said Reis. Watch the video.

CEE Research Speed Dating: Joining efforts to build a more sustainable future

March 29, 2016

PHOTO: A presentation during the 2016 CEE Research Speed Dating Day eventApproaching a global challenge from the bottom up often results in transformative large-scale impact. The annual CEE Research Speed Dating event, held this year on Feb. 18, brought together 27 CEE faculty, researchers, and students, and more than 120 other attendees, to present research, stimulate conversation, and evoke community networking. “For new faculty like me, this event is a great opportunity to fully immerse ourselves in our department and to exchange ideas in an interdisciplinary context,” said event co-organizer and CEE Assistant Professor Admir Masic. Read the article.

Markus J. Buehler awarded 2016 Outstanding Young Scientist Award

March 29, 2016

PHOTO: Markus BuehlerDepartment Head and McAfee Professor of Engineering Markus Buehler was selected as the 2016 recipient of the Outstanding Young Scientist Award (OYSA) of the NANOSMAT Society.  The NANOSMAT Society is an international organization focused on materials related to nanoscience, engineering and nanotechnology, and hosts a series of international conferences. The OYSA award recognizes professional career achievements for those up to 45 years old. Specifically, Buehler was selected for his significant contributions in making nanotechnology sustainable and scalable for large-volume materials applications and for the development and application of new modeling, design and manufacturing approaches for advanced materials. Earlier this year, Buehler was also elected a Fellow of the NANOSMAT Society. More information.

CEE and MIT Water Club to host Israeli water expert Seth Siegel

March 29, 2016

PHOTO: BookOn April 15, the department and MIT Water Club will host writer, lawyer, activist, and serial entrepreneur Seth Siegel – author of the New York Times bestselling book Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World. The event will feature a presentation by Siegel, followed by an opportunity for Q&A. Join us from 3-4 pm in 4-231 for this exciting event. More information on Siegel.

Frank Perkins, professor emeritus, dies at 82

March 15, 2016

PHOTO: Frank E. PerkinsFrank E. Perkins, professor emeritus of CEE, former CEE department head, associate provost and dean for graduate education at MIT, died March 5 at age 82 following a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease. The major portion of Perkins’ career was spent at MIT, where he was appointed to the faculty in 1966. He subsequently served as head of CEE; associate provost; and, for 12 years, as dean for graduate education. His principal research and teaching interests were in the areas of hydraulics, hydrology, and water resource analysis, with special emphasis on the development of computer models. He also conducted research on water resources development in several South American countries, and on issues of dam safety in the United States. Read more about Prof. Perkins here.


MIT Water Night winners

March 15, 2016

PHOTO: MIT Water ClubOn March 11, the fourth annual MIT Water Night on Friday took place in MIT's Walker Memorial with over 200 attendees. The night featured a keynote from Dr. Matt Silver (MIT '01, CEO Cambrian Innovation), prize awards in five poster categories, and the launch of the CEE-sponsored Freshman Challenge. For the Freshmen Challenge, participants reviewed the posters at the event, chose one that most suited their interests, and proposed an idea or concept for future research or collaborations that would springboard off the posters presented. View photos from the event here.

Markus Buehler published in Nature Reviews Materials

March 15, 2016

PHOTO: Markus BuehlerIn the upcoming April publication of Nature Reviews Materials, Department Head Markus Buehler and a team of researchers will be featured for their comparative analysis of the composition, structure and mechanics of a set of representative biological interfaces in nacre, bone and wood. Ultimately, the team reveals how these interfaces might incite the development of advanced bioinspired composites as a result of their unusual mechanical characteristics. The article can be read here.

 Joanna Moody selected to participate in Eno Future Leaders Development Conference

March 15, 2016

PHOTO: TransportationGraduate student Joanna Moody was selected by the Board of Regents of the Eno Center for Transportation to participate in the 24th annual Eno Future Leaders Development Conference (LDC) in Washington, DC, June 5-9. Each year, the LDC gives 20 of the nation’s top graduate students in transportation a first-hand look at how national transportation policies are developed. Additionally, Moody will have the opportunity to meet with government officials, leaders of associations, and members of Congress and their staff to see how the nation's transportation policies are debated, shaped, formed, and ultimately adopted and applied. More information.