Creating Air Quality Sensors in Delhi

June 24, 2016

tata air quality sensorPhD candidate and Tata Center for Technology Fellow David Hagan, and his advisor Professor Jesse Kroll, are working together to track pollution in Delhi, India -- one of the cities with the worst air conditions in the world. Kroll and Hagan are creating an inexpensive sensor that will record atmospheric chemistry and provide a positive user experience. Hagan envisions the data to be helpful in a variety of forms from HVAC system sensors to use in in-home monitoring systems. Read more on MIT News.

Fulbright 2016 Grant Awarded

June 24, 2016

Fulbright logoOmar Swei, a PhD candidate expected to graduate in February 2017, is the recipient of a 2016 Fulbright grant. Swei is one of eight MIT students and graduates to receive the prestigious grant. Swei will reside in Jordan and design new software to help transportation planners improve maintenance on the state-owned highway system. Read more on MIT News.

Researchers Produce New Silk-based Filtration Material

June 24, 2016

silk nanofibrilMIT and Tufts researchers revealed key nano-building blocks of natural silk to produce new naturally-based membrane filters that are more effective, less expensive, and greener compared to traditional products. This discovery could lead to new production methods and supply chain economics for water treatment facilities, food manufacturers, and life sciences organizations. The CEE researchers included Graduate Student Kai Jin; Postdoctoral Associate Shengjie Ling, and Markus J. Buehler, Department Head and McAfee Professor of Engineering. Professor David L. Kaplan contributed from Tufts University. Read more about their paper published in Nano Letters in MIT News.

CEE Offers Three New Minors, New Subjects for 2016-17

June 20, 2016

Professor John Ochsendorf advises on structural design and mechanics.Effective this fall, CEE will offer three new minors for MIT undergraduates, including minors in Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering Science, and Civil and Environmental Systems. CEE also is adding several new subjects for the coming year, including, one focused on ancient materials characterization, another on computational genomics, and the graduate level water resources management subject now will be made available to CEE undergraduates. “It's great to see the new curriculum updates in Course 1,” said CEESA President Tiffany Wang ‘17. “These new minors seem like a great way for students in other majors to incorporate their undergraduate programs with the domains of civil, environmental and systems engineering, and it brings more variety of backgrounds into the department.” Read more about these curricula changes on MIT News.

Martinez Appointed Vice-President, Association of Spanish Scientists in the USA (ECUSA)

June 20, 2016

Martinez Appointed Vice-President, Association of Spanish Scientists in the USA (ECUSA)On June 7, Research Scientist Francisco Martinez of CEE’s Laboratory for Atomistic & Molecular Mechanics (LAMM) was elected vice president of the Association of Spanish Scientists in the USA (ECUSA). ECUSA’s mission is to “promote the role of science, technology and their professionals in our society.” ECUSA highlights the exceedingly important work created by Spanish professionals in science and technology in the United States, and offers a large network for scientists to exchange ideas, interact, and participate in events together. Learn more about ECUSA on its website.

TREX Featured in Spring Issue of MIT Spectrum

June 20, 2016

Over this past January’s Independent Activities Period, undergraduates visited Hawaii’s Mt. Kīlauea to measure air quality using custom sensors they built themselves. CEE’s Traveling Research Environmental Experiences program (TREX) is featured in the spring 2016 edition of MIT Spectrum, highlighting MIT’s continuous dedication towards education for a better world, a core component of the recently-launched MIT Campaign, Building a Better World. TREX students travel each year during the Independent Activities Period (IAP) to the Big Island of Hawaii to analyze the risks of human exposure to volcanic smog or “vog”. New this coming academic year, the TREX program will become a requirement for MIT students electing the Environmental Engineering Science minor to extend hands-on fieldwork benefits to their study. Read more about the TREX program in Spectrum.

 

Research Associate Attanucci’s Research Informs New MIT Commuting Benefits

June 20, 2016

Between now and September, MIT will roll out the Access MIT pass, one of several new commuter benefits for Cambridge campus faculty and staff. The new benefits include free, unlimited subway and local bus usage, and increased subsidies for parking at MBTA stations and commuter rail tickets.

On June 14, MIT announced the launch of Access MIT, a new series of commuter benefits for MIT faculty and staff. Benefits include free unlimited subway and local bus usage, increased subsidies for parking at MBTA stations and commuter rail tickets, and a shift to pay-per-day parking at many lots on campus. Access MIT stemmed from initial research conducted by the Transit Lab and CEE Research Associate John Attanucci. Attanucci says, “with this new approach, commuters will be able to drive one day then ride the T the next. By having options, we can begin changing the way people think about commuting.” Read more on MIT News.

Professor Bourouiba's Research on the Fluid Dynamics of Disease Transmission Featured by Nature

June 20, 2016

Lydia Bourouiba of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge uses mathematical modelling to study how sneeze droplets travel.Professor Lydia Bourouiba and her team's work on mathematical modeling and novel experimental investigations of infectious disease transmission appeared as a Nature News Feature. The feature discusses the novel methods and fundamental fluid dynamics modeling insights used by Professor Bourouiba to understand the process of transmission, particularity focusing on respiratory disease transmission. Various members of the medical community, including the former director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases at the United States Centers for Disease Control, commented on the work's importance for filling in key gaps in our current understanding of respiratory pathogens and transmission. Read the article here.

Jim Long Recipient of Infinite Mile Award

June 8, 2016

Jim Long (left), Parsons Lab administrative assistant, was congratulated by School of Engineering Dean Ian Waitz for receiving the 2016 Infinite Mile Award for Excellence.  On May 25, Parsons Lab administrative assistant James (Jim) Long was awarded an Infinite Mile Award at the School of Engineering’s 16th annual awards ceremony. The Infinite Mile Awards recognize staff who surpass expectations in three categories: excellence, diversity and community, and institutional cooperation. Long was recognized for excellence, which is described as a staff member who stands out “because of their high level of commitment and because of the enormous energy and enthusiasm they bring to their work.”

Professor Ochsendorf and CEE Alumnus Matthew DeJong Presented at Venice Biennale

June 8, 2016

The Venice Architecture Biennale, held every two years at the sprawling Arsenale (above) and Giardini grounds on the city’s eastern tip, opens this weekend. This year’s focus on architecture’s ability to address global challenges — including numerous installations and projects from MIT faculty, students, and alumni — may indicate a paradigm shift for architecture, participants say.On May 28, the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale opened, displaying work from architects and designers who have responded to a charge to “report from the front” on major challenges and issues facing humanity around the globe. Among the participants at the opening were Professor John Ochsendorf and CEE alumnus and Cambridge University senior lecturer Matthew DeJong SM '05 PhD '09. Ochsendorf and DeJong are a part of two projects that demonstrate the structural, economic, and environmental benefits of compression vaults. Ochsendorf says, “It’s exciting to be here, but it’s also very exciting to have a chance to showcase our research over 15 years coming to fruition and having a chance to share that with the world.” The biennale extends through Nov. 27. Read more on MIT News.

Agriculture, Innovation, and the Environment Short Course

June 8, 2016

Agriculture, Innovation, and the Environment Short CourseFrom June 13 to 17, 2016, the CEE department and the MIT Professional Education program will be offering a new short course, Agriculture, Innovation, and the Environment.  The instructors include Professors Robert S. Langer, Martin Polz, John Lienhard, Lydia Bourouiba, Benedetto Marelli, Daniel Cziczo, Dennis McLaughlin, Markus J. Buehler, and Ruben Juanes, as well as the Deputy Administrator of the USDA Sally Schneider, Daniel Schmoldt of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and world-leading researchers from MIT, Abel Sanchez, Ross Alter, and others. The new course will focus on three areas of agricultural innovation; a) macro / micro aspects of environmental impacts including climate, weather, and microbiological, b) the application of advanced technologies, such as new materials, in agricultural processes, and c) the use of data and modeling to improve yield by enhanced precision and predictive power. The topics range from big picture and motivation to specific topics such as water-soil interactions, biomaterials in agriculture and environment, and foliar disease. Please share with colleagues and register for the course here.

Professor Buyukozturk an­d CEE Researchers Redesigning Concrete

June 8, 2016

“If we can replace cement, partially or totally, with some other materials that may be readily and amply available in nature, we can meet our objectives for sustainability,” MIT Professor Oral Buyukozturk says.A team of CEE professors and graduate students, led by Professor Oral Buyukozturk, are redesigning the most commonly used human-made material in the world: concrete. Specifically, the researchers are focusing on replacing cement paste with a sustainable and longer-lasting alternative. “If we can replace cement, partially or totally, with some other materials that may be readily and amply available in nature, we can meet our objectives for sustainability,” Buyukozturk says. Research involved investigating biological materials, and combining knowledge gathered from existing cement paste design tools, to create a general, bioinspired framework for engineers to design cement, “from the bottom up.” The research group includes lead author and graduate student Steven Palkovic, graduate student Dieter Brommer, research scientist Kunal Kupwade-Patil, Professor Admir Masic, and Department Head and McAfee Professor of Engineering Markus Buehler. Read more on MIT News.

Bone-inspired Materials by Design

June 8, 2016

Bone Inspired DesignMIT engineers in collaboration with colleagues from Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy are achieving functional diversity in materials by combining a few pure components as building blocks to create diverse structures. The researchers selected bone to investigate these multifunctional composite design principles. The team used pure polymers and 3D printing to create new synthetic materials with a wide range of properties and applications. The research is described in a paper, “Bone-Inspired Materials by Design: Toughness Amplification Observed Using 3D Printing and Testing,” published in the journal Advanced Engineering Materials by lead author Flavia Libonati, a CEE Research Affiliate and Assistant Professor from Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy. Co-authors included graduate student Grace Gu; Research Scientist Zhao Qin; Professor Laura Vergani from Polytechnic University, and Markus Buehler. View the news announcement here.

Professor Ochsendorf, Samantha Harper, and Rebecca Heywood Receive Institute Awards

June 8, 2016

MIT Awards ConvocationProfessor John Ochsendorf, graduate student Rebecca Heywood SB ’12 SM ’16, and graduating senior Samantha Harper ’16 received individual awards at the MIT Awards Convocation on May 10. Professor Ochsendorf was awarded the 2016 Gordon Y Billard, given annually for “special service of outstanding merit performed for the Institute.” Rebecca Heywood received the John S.W. Kellett (1947) award which recognizes an MIT individual or group for a commitment to creating a more inclusive environment at MIT, including but not limited to, improving the experience for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), and questioning individuals. Samantha Harper received the Laya and Jerome B. Wiesner Student Art award, presented annually for outstanding achievement in, and contributions to, the arts at MIT. Samantha started a new theater group on campus to give students the opportunity to express themselves in a new way. View a full list of 2016 recipients here.

Professors Heald, Juanes, and Polz Receive J-WAFS Seed Grant Funding

May 25, 2016

J-WAFS' 2015 grantees present their ongoing research at the poster session of the J-WAFS Food and Water Conference, held April 27-28 at MIT.The Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS) released its second round of seed grant recipients, which includes funding for three CEE professors. Professor Heald was awarded a grant for her project "Air Pollution Impacts on Global Crop Yields,” Professor Martin Polz received one for "Bacterial Viruses as Pathogen Control Agents in Aquaculture Systems," and Professor Ruben Juanes gained support for "Gravity Fingering during Water Infiltration in Soil: Impact on the Resilience of Crops and Vegetation in Water-stressed Ecosystems.” J-WAFS helps fund research that focuses on supply, safety, and environmental sustainability of the planet’s water and food systems with the potential for significant impact. Read more on MIT News.

Department Head Markus Buehler Awarded the 2015 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology

May 25, 2016

Professor Markus BuehlerOn May 21, Department Head and McAfee Professor of Engineering Markus J. Buehler received the 2015 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize in Theory for his work in molecular nanotechnology. He was acknowledged at the awards ceremony for his research enabling new multiscale models in hierarchical systems. Buehler's signature achievement, said the Institute, is the application of molecular and chemical principles in the analysis of mechanical systems, with the aim to design materials that provide a defined set of functions. “It’s an incredible honor to receive such an esteemed award. I owe this to the outstanding students and postdocs whom I had a pleasure to work with over the years, my colleagues, as well my own mentors,” said Buehler. Read the MIT News story. Read more on MIT News.

CEE Grilled Cheese During Finals Week

May 19, 2016

grilled cheeseOn May 17, CEE students took time during a busy finals schedule to enjoy grilled cheese with classmates, professors, and staff. The grilled cheese sandwiches were cooked and served by Professors Eltahir, Marelli and Buehler and the CEE Academic Programs Office.