Translating Thought to Print with Bio-Inspired Synthetic Spider Webs

May 18, 2015

PHOTO: Scientists at MIT have developed a systematic approach to research the structure of spider silk, blending computational modeling and mechanical analysis to 3D-print synthetic spider webs.Over the years MIT research has explored the mysteries of spider silk, all in the effort to design synthetic resources that mimic its extraordinary properties. Until recently, understanding of the properties has been largely limited to individual silk fibers. Now, in a paper published in Nature Communications, a CEE team relayed its systematic approach to researching the silk’s structure - blending computational modeling and mechanical analysis to 3D-print synthetic spider webs. “This is the first methodical exploration of its kind,” says Professor Markus Buehler, CEE department head and the study’s lead author. “We are looking to expand our knowledge of the function of natural webs in a systematic and repeatable manner, which may lead to new designs for lightweight structures.” For the story, please see here. For a LinkedIn article by Buehler, please see here.

CEE Senior Awarded Donaldson Prize for Excellence in Literary Studies

May 18, 2015

PHOTO: Not sureCEE senior Marisa Fryer, a dual major in Course 1 and Literature, was awarded the 2015 Peter S. Donaldson Prize for Excellence in Literary Studies on May 11, 2015. This annual prize is awarded to a graduating literature major that excels academically and is an engaging participant in the literary community at MIT. “I loved every minute spent with the literature department over the last four years,” said Fryer. “The professors at MIT have inspired me to explore interests that I didn't even know I had.” For more information on Institute awards in the arts, please see here. 

CEE Graduate Student Receives MechE’s Outstanding TA Award

May 18, 2015

On May 14, CEE graduate student Anna Tarakanova and two other TA’s received the award for Outstanding Teaching Assistant from the department of Mechanical Engineering (ME). This semester, Tarakanova taught in the 2.002 course, Mechanics and Materials II, with CEE Professor Pedro Reis and two ME professors. “Anna Tarakanova, along with the two other TAs Khalid Jawed and Hussain Karimi, went above and beyond their regular tasks and expectations and were instrumental to development of a number of digital education tools,” said Reis. “Being involved in the successful development of these tools was a phenomenal achievement indeed.” 2.002 is a core class, and one of the most demanding classes to TA in the curriculum, he continued. Tarakanova was officially presented the award May 15th. 

Herbert Einstein Wins Award for Outstanding Contributions to Rock Mechanics

May 18, 2015

PHOTO: Herbert EinsteinThis spring, CEE Professor Herbert Einstein received an award at the International Congress for Rock Mechanics (ISRM) in Montreal for “outstanding contributions to rock mechanics”. The award is in recognition of Einstein’s many contributions over the years, and particularly the recent Shale symposium. The symposium, hosted by Einstein, was a three-day event featuring discussions on basics and slopes, tunnels and mines, and hydrocarbon extraction. For more information on the ISRM, please see here.

Joe Sussman to Present Informal Seminar and Discussion on Philadelphia Amtrak Derailment

May 18, 2015

PHOTO: AmtrakOn May 19, CEE Professor Joe Sussman will present a discussion entitiled, “The Amtrak Accident on the Northeast Corridor: A Systems Perspective.” As a world-leading authority in the domain of high-speed rail, Sussman will present this informal seminar in relation to the recent Philadelphia Amtrak derailment as well as discuss the overall nature of the railroad. Please join us in 1-131 at 4pm on Tuesday for a stimulating and educational conversation. For more information, please contact cee-communications@mit.edu.

CEE Presents Big Engineering to Alumni in NYC

May 18, 2015

PHOTO: Gonzalez PresentsOn May 6, CEE department head Markus Buehler and five additional faculty members traveled to New York City for an alumni event entitled "Building a More Resilient NYC Through Big Engineering." More than 60 CEE alumni attended to listen to the discussion on Course 1 research and the way educational programs can transform urban lives through innovations in transportation, energy resource management, air quality and public health. Daniel Zarrilli SM '99, director of the New York City Office of Recovery and Resiliency, launched the evening with a speech. “OneNYC is ambitious and sets clear and aggressive goals,” he said. “Its initiatives will prepare New York City for the future — how we live, work, learn, and play, raise our children, and enjoy all our city has to offer.” The CEE speakers included Professors Jesse Kroll, Saurabh Amin, Carolina Osorio, Marta Gonzalez and Lydia Bourouiba. For the MIT news story, please see here.

Terrascope Students Presented “Bazaar of Ideas” for Energy Solutions

May 8, 2015

Photo: Bazaar of IdeasOn May 5, freshmen from MIT’s Terrascope learning community presented a variety of technologies for reducing global energy. During the spring semester, the students worked in teams to develop prototypes, models and examples of real solutions for energy reduction. This year’s projects included a device to extract heat from a shower’s wastewater stream and heat up incoming cold water; a vertical wind turbine built partially from urban trash, for use in poor Cairo neighborhoods; and a system that exposes uranium-binding polymer to seawater and retrieves it from the ocean. The subject was co-taught by CEE Professor Charles Harvey. For more information, please see here.

Carolina Osorio Wins EmTech TR35 Award

May 8, 2015

PHOTO: Carolina OsorioCEE Professor Carolina Osorio Pizano won the MIT Technology Review EmTech Colombia TR35. This annual award is given to young innovators less than 35 years old for work that promises to revolutionize the world of technology and business in the future. The EmTech Colombia TR35 awards cover a wide range of sectors including biotechnology, the development of new materials, energy, software and Internet transport. The award’s objective is to recognize the development of new technologies, or creative application of existing technologies, that address real-world challenges. For more information, please see here. 

Students Present 1.011 Prototype Posters

May 8, 2015

PHOTO: Poster SessionOn May 7, the 1.011 course Project Evaluation and Management, taught by CEE Professor Joseph Sussman and CEE graduate student Harsha Ravichandran ’13, hosted a poster day for faculty, staff and students to see the students’ term projects. The course, recently updated to include project evaluation as well as project management, became a CI-M class this semester with communications intensive content and requires the students to create a poster for their term projects. The class took advantage of the new flat screen television installed that very morning to show posters two at a time, in addition to the displays hung around the room. Sussman said that he plans to make this poster event a continuing part of 1.011 in the years going forward.

Save the Date: Capstone Presentations, Spring Awards & Ice Cream Social

May 8, 2015

PHOTO: Save the DateAs the end of the semester nears, the department will be hosting a myriad of activities open to the CEE community. On Friday, May 15 there will be the senior capstone presentations at 4 pm in 32-141, followed by the festive spring awards ceremony at 5:15. This ceremony will feature 13 awards, designated for undergraduates, graduates and staff. After the ceremony, we invite you to join us for an ice cream social at 6 pm. We hope to see you at one or more of these events! 

Herbert Einstein Hosts Shale Symposium

May 8, 2015

PHOTO: Shale SymposiumCEE Professor Herbert H. Einstein is pleased to announce the upcoming "Shale Symposium,” hosted by himself and the International Congress for Rock Mechanics. This three-day symposium is subdivided into a collection of sessions, featuring discussions forming around the following topics: basics and slopes, tunnels and mines, and hydrocarbon extraction. Two keynotes, as well as a large number of papers by world-leading experts, will be presented during each session. This symposium will take place in Montreal from May 10-13. For more information, please see here.

Sustainability of the Built Environment

May 8, 2015

Photo: Al HamraSpecializing in mechanics, the durability of construction materials, and sound design, CEE Professor Oral Buyukozturk has catalyzed several CEE multidisciplinary ventures – all to advance sustainable designs for infrastructure. One project he leads, the Sustainability of Kuwait’s Built Environment, was announced in 2013 as the first Kuwait-MIT Signature Project. The team’s mission is to enhance the development of innovative solutions and methodologies for the sustainability of Kuwait’s built environment in extreme conditions. “To my knowledge, this is a unique program of this scope, dealing with issues of this size,” Buyukozturk said. “The challenge is getting everybody working together toward sustainability — not just talking about it, but creating solutions.” For the full story, please see here.

Cheahuychou Mao Receives Award for Distinguished Achievement in Research

May 8, 2015

PHOTO: RibbonMIT freshman Cheahuychou “Chou” Mao received the Freshmen Award for Distinguished Achievement in Research for her UROP work, conducted under the supervision of CEE Professor Oral Buyukozturk and Research Scientist Dr. Kunal Kupwade-Patil. Mao employed sophisticated experimental equipment to explore the concept of partially replacing volcanic ash in the traditional Portland cement. She examined the early and late age curing of hardened cement paste, combining natural Pozzolanic volcanic ash and Portland cement with advanced micro-characterization techniques. “Chou quickly grasped advanced concepts, demonstrated high level understanding, and delivered an excellent performance directly contributing to our research,” said Buyukozturk. Mao says the interdisciplinary nature of her research allows her to further comprehend the importance of applying material science in civil engineering as a way to produce innovations.

CAFÉ@ONE Hosting Coffee Cart for Students

May 8, 2015

PHOTO: CAFE@ONEIn celebration of the end of term, the Course 1 team will host its very own CAFÉ@ONE on Tuesday, May 12 for undergraduates and Wednesday, May 13 for graduate students. Join us in 1-050 from 10am-1pm and claim your CEE-crafted beverage! Seasonal options include an iced TREX 2015 coffee, sourced straight from the Big Island, and a ONE@MITea – as well as some tasty snacks! Stop by for an iced drink and take a minute to relax during this very busy time. For pictures from the last CAFÉ@ONE event, please see here. 

CEE Placed #1 in QS 2015 World University Rankings

May 8, 2015

PHOTO: QS World University RankingsMIT’s Civil and Environmental Engineering department ranked first place in the civil engineering subject and sixth place in the environmental subject in the 2015 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.

David Simchi-Levi Receives Ford 2015 Engineering Excellence Award

May 8, 2015

PHOTO: Simchi LeviCEE Professor David Simchi-Levi, along with three PhD students and 5 colleagues from Ford, received the Ford 2015 Engineering Excellence Award for “Identifying Risks and Mitigating Disruptions in the Ford Supply Chain.” In a three-year research engagement with Ford Motor Company, Simchi-Levi and his team developed a novel risk-exposure model that assesses the impact of a disruption originating anywhere in a firm's supply chain. Their approach, said Simchi-Levi, defers the need for a company to estimate the probability associated with any specific disruption risk until after it has learned the effect such a disruption will have on its operations. Simchi-Levi’s research was done with two former PhD students and a current systems engineering PhD student.

David Simchi-Levi to Guide New Global Risk Advisory Group

May 4, 2015

PHOTO: NASAOn April 27, 2015 the MIT Forum for Supply Chain Innovation announced the launch of a Global Risk Advisory Group with Infosys – initiated with the mission to assist select businesses across multiple sectors identify, quantify and mitigate operational and financial risks. CEE Professor David Simchi-Levi’s analytics research in risk will be combined with multinational corporation Infosys’ industry expertise. “Through this collaboration with Infosys and the Global Risk Advisory Group, we can help industries better understand and expose their risk by sharing our data science research, and collaborate to focus on the most effective mitigation strategy,” Simchi-Levi said. For the full story, please see here.

New MIT Program Promising Innovation in Water and Food Made Possible by CEE Alumnus

May 4, 2015

PHOTO: Hassan Jameel, the son of MIT alumnus Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel ’78 (right), and MIT President L. Rafael ReifMIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI) and Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS) launched a new program today entitled, “J-WAFS Solutions,” which will provide start-up funding for projects that identify technological advances in the improvement of food supplies and clean water needs. CEE alumnus Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel ’78, chairman and president of ALJCI, established J-WAFS in 2014 with the aim to spearhead research on water and food supplies.“ ALJCI is excited to catalyze the efforts of the J-WAFS lab at MIT via this five-year grant,” said Jameel. “I firmly believe that a well-governed strategic alliance between research and business can provide the powerful combination necessary to deliver practicable humanitarian solutions able to progress to commercial viability.” J-WAFS Solutions plans to move the selected technologies into commercialization over the next five years. For the full story, please see here.

Postdoctoral Networking Dinner Connects Scholars and Faculty

May 4, 2015

PHOTO: NetworkingOn April 29, 2015 the CEE Postdoctoral Committee hosted the second in a series of networking dinners for CEE postdoctoral scholars and faculty, aimed at expanding professional networks, helping career development and exchanging ideas and experiences. This initiative is in response to feedback from a postdoctoral survey where 75 percent of the respondents expressed interest in networking. The CEE faculty members who shared their wisdom this time around were Professors John Williams, Carolina Osorio, Saurabh Amin and Colette Heald. This initiative will be repeated on a quarterly basis. Other events in response to the survey include an academic jobs panel for CEE postdocs held in March and an industry jobs panel planned for July of 2015.

New Perspectives for Computation, Transformation and Material Applications in the 2015 Active Matter Summit

May 4, 2015

PHOTO: Active Matter SummitOn April 24, 2015 CEE Department Head Markus Buehler and Professor Pedro Reis presented in the two-day Active Matter Summit (AMS) – a conference led by researchers as well as government, public institution and industry leaders. “Combining small building blocks to build dynamical large-scale systems, and merging the concepts of material and structures, is a frontier of civil engineering that provides new opportunities for design and sustainability,” said Buehler, who presented his work on the study of materials by design. Reis’ lecture focused on his work on smart, morphable surfaces that can be used to enhance the aerodynamic performance of structures by actively switching and tuning complex topography on demand. Also speaking in the conference was artist Tomás Saraceno, whose fascination with researching the morphology of spider webs has merged with Buehler’s. For more information on the event, please see here.

CEE Professor Joseph Sussman Inducted into 2015 Class of ITS America’s ITS Hall of Fame

May 4, 2015

PHOTO: Prof. Joe SussmanIn celebration of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America’s (ITS America) 25th anniversary, CEE Professor Joseph Sussman has been selected as a member of the 2015 Class of ITS America’s ITS Hall of Fame. Sussman’s involvement with the ITS movement dates back to the late 1980s - before the official organization’s launch. In 1992, he continued on to become the only academic member of a 5-person writing team that initiated the first ITS Strategic Plan for the U.S. Sussman will be honored during the ITS America’s Annual 25th Anniversary Reception on Tuesday, June 2 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. For more information on ITS America, please see here. 

MIT’s Collier Memorial to Honor Fallen Police Officer Unveiled

May 4, 2015

PHOTO: Collier MemorialOn April 29, 2015 MIT unveiled a permanent memorial in honor of Police Officer Sean Collier, who was killed in the line of duty on April 18, 2013. The Collier Memorial, located between the Stata Center and the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, was constructed by central collaborators J. Meejin Yoon, head of the department of architecture, and CEE Professor John Ochsendorf, along with Suffolk Construction. “It’s made of 32 stones, each weighs about 12,000 pounds on average,” Ochsendorf said. “They’re locked together in a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. Our goal was to show the best of MIT for Sean Collier.” More than 3,000 people attended the commemoration of the memorial. For a gallery of images from the event, please see here. To watch a documentary on the structure’s construction, please see here.

CEE Associate Professor Colette Heald Promoted to Tenure

May 4, 2015

PHOTO: Prof. Colette HealdProfessor Colette Heald has been promoted to associate professor with tenure, effective July 1, 2015. “This promotion is a recognition of Colette’s very significant scholarly accomplishments and impacts, her service to MIT and the broader scientific community, and her contributions to our educational programs and the education of our students,” wrote Professor Markus Buehler, CEE department head, in a message to the community. Heald’s work in biosphere-atmosphere interactions, aerosol sources and transformations and the connections between atmospheric chemistry and climate has led to groundbreaking studies that involve the observation of the atmosphere from scales including ground stations, aircraft campaigns and satellite sensors with global models of chemistry and climate. In a recent study, Heald demonstrated how ozone can collude with climate change to curb crop yields and threaten global food security. To learn more about Heald’s research, please visit her lab’s website.

 

Clean Earth Hackathon Solves Sustainability Challenges

April 24, 2015

Photo: Clean Earth HackFrom Friday, April 17 to Sunday, April 19, more than 70 members of the MIT and non-MIT communities converged to devise solutions for real-world environmental challenges in the inaugural MIT Clean Earth Hackathon. Sponsored by CEE and the Office of Sustainability at MIT, eight companies challenged the event’s participants with a myriad of sustainability problems. Attendees then broke up into groups according to their desired challenge, worked throughout the weekend to develop  solutions and presented their final product Sunday evening to a panel of judges. “Teams organized themselves around complementary skills and talents,” said CEE Department Head Markus Buehler. “Their solutions epitomized what ‘Big Engineering’ is all about — producing large-scale impact on people and sustainability, covering a spectrum of activities from environment to systems to infrastructure.” Four winning teams were each awarded $1,000. For the full story, please see here.

All Ears MIT Takes on Climate Change

April 24, 2015

Photo: PodcastIn a new All Ears MIT podcast, four MIT faculty members, including CEE professors Andrew Whittle and Dan Cziczo, discussed the historical and scientific significance behind the earth’s warming climate, as well as deliberated mitigation methods for the global temperature. Cziczo, also an associate professor in EAPS, relayed his research analyzing the effects of clouds in a progressively warming climate. Whittle, a geotechnical engineer, followed with his experience serving on the panel that assessed New Orleans’ hurricane protection systems after Katrina, and the safety review of Boston’s Big Dig tunnel system. To listen to the podcast, please see here.

Atmospheric Research Representative Visits D.C.

April 24, 2015

Photo: Dan CziczoThis May, an advisory board for the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) will meet with meet with house and senate representatives in Washington DC, in a consultation to focus on the promotion of increased funding in the geosciences. According to CEE and EAPS Associate Professor Dan Cziczo, an MIT representative to UCAR and an active member of the UCAR President's advisory board, this is one area that has been specifically targeted for cuts at the National Science Foundation (NSF). “Our hope is to show how everyday life - from transportation to farming to health and safety - are affected by research in the geosciences," said Cziczo. For more information, please see here.

CEE Alumnus Contributes Drones to Boston Marathon

April 24, 2015

Photo: 2015 Boston MarathonBoston officials declared the 2015 Boston Marathon, held on Mon. April 20, a “no drone zone” the week before the event, employing an anti-drone technology developed by MIT CEE alumnus Brian Hearing ’97 to ensure the 30,000 marathon runners’ protection. Brian Hearing, co-founder of Washington, D.C.-based Drone Shield, explained the sensors would alert Boston police officers via email or text message if an incoming drone was nearby. According to Hearing, the two-year-old company volunteered its technology, and anticipates a paid contract for the 2016 marathon. For more information, please see here.