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Images from the past academic year.

Dear friends, While it’s still summer, all of us at MIT are very aware of how quickly the fall semester is approaching. It seems like the past year has been eventful enough to last us a while—between inaugurating a new MIT president and celebrating a soggy Commencement, we experienced a hurricane, a blizzard, the Marathon bombing and the death of MIT Officer Sean Collier, the arrival of new faculty and staff, many professional accomplishments, and the sad losses of our friends and colleagues Frederick J. McGarry, professor emeritus, Dr. Robert C. O’Handley, senior research scientist, and Patrick Kearney, long-time technical instructor. I’m reminded that while MIT is an engine of innovation and technology, it is, and always has been, a community of people who are dedicated to im-




Japan trip:






proving our world, through large and small endeavors. It seems fitting to devote this issue of Structure to celebrate the people who make DMSE a community of excellence. In the pages that follow, we’ve collected profiles of some members of our community: you are probably well-acquainted with Professors Sam Allen, Subra Suresh, and Ned Thomas, all of whom are retiring this year; you may have met Professors Silvija Gradečak, Alfredo AlexanderKatz, and Geoff Beach, who have received promotions this year; and I am happy to introduce Dr. Elsa Olivetti, who will be joining our faculty in January, and current students Sam Shames and Kathleen Alexander, two great examples of the exciting people in our community. Over the next year, DMSE will continue to grow and renew our resources, which means continually recruiting and bringing more excellent people—in both the student and faculty ranks—to MIT. We will have another search for new faculty; next year, we have two anticipated retirements, and we are always looking for strong candidates who will bring expertise in “frontier areas” of research or who will strengthen DMSE in traditional research areas. If you know of good candidates, please contact me and I will forward their names to the search committee. We are also excited by the early success of a new Departmental initiative to grow our base of fellowship support for our first-year graduate students. DMSE now commits to the full support of all incoming graduate students for their first term. This approach allows us to take a broad view of admissions based only on the excellence of the applicants, and without regard for details such as matching student interests to those of the faculty. It also allows all incoming students an invaluable opportunity to carefully “shop around” and identify a group for their subsequent thesis research, with less time pressure and more focus on finding a perfect environment to spur their success. In the first year of this program, our enrollments rose to record levels, and both we and the students are excited about the improved experience the program offers in launching their research careers. As the program continues, we are looking for help and support to fund it permanently; if you are interested in helping support graduate fellowships in DMSE, please do get in touch with me. For many years, our faculty have actively participated in distance learning initiatives and thus were in a very good position to contribute to MIT’s edX program. Last year Professor Michael Cima taught 3.091x Introduction to

Solid State Chemistry to more than 40,000 students as part of edX’s first group of classes, and 3.091x will be offered for the third time this fall. A new edX offering will be Professor Gene Fitzgerald’s 3.086x Innovation and Commercialization, which has already been cited by The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as a key resource for bringing innovation to market. If you are intrigued by the future of education, want to see how your Alma Mater is rolling out materials science and engineering courses for broader consumption, or even want to brush up on your basic MSE principles, I encourage you to check out these offerings (and the many more to follow) and enroll online for free this fall ( If you visit MIT next year, you may see the renovations in the Main Group in and around Building 8. These renovations will provide new facilities for our teaching activities in the processing and production of materials. These include a new forge (for metalworking) and foundry (for metal melting and casting) and a renovated Glass Lab (for glass blowing and working). These are all important areas for DMSE’s and MIT’s hands-on educational experience. In an issue of Structure devoted to the people of our community, I want to thank all of you, our friends and alumni, for the critical and continuing role you play in shaping the future of DMSE. With warmest wishes,

Chris Schuh 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Building 6-113 Cambridge, MA 02139-4307 617-253-6901 email: P.S. After this copy went to press, we learned of the untimely death of Mike Wargo, Sc.D. ’82. Many of you knew Mike—he was a student of Professor Gus Witt’s and also held research positions at MIT. He was involved in 3.091 almost from the beginning and received the John Wulff Teaching Award recognizing his contributions to it. At the time of his death, Mike was the Chief Exploration Scientist for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission. We are grateful to his wife Adele Morrisette and his family for directing his memorial gifts to the DMSE Endowed Fellowship Fund.

Around DMSE A P P O I N T M E N T S We are delighted to welcome Elsa Olivetti as the Thomas Lord Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. She will join our faculty in January 2014.

P R O M O T I O N S Effective July 1, Silvija Gradečak received tenure, and Alfredo Alexander-Katz and Geoffrey Beach have both been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor.

Elsa Olivetti completed her Ph.D. in our department in 2007, writing a thesis on “Nano-composite Electrodes for Solid-State Rechargeable Lithium Batteries,” supervised by Professors Donald R. Sadoway and Anne M. Mayes. Since completing her doctorate, she has been working in Elsa Olivetti MIT’s Materials Systems Lab, currently holding the position of Research Scientist. She holds a Bachelor of Science with Highest Distinction in Engineering Science and Materials Science from the University of Virginia.

Silvija Gradečak joined MIT as Assistant Professor in October 2006, and she was promoted to Associate Professor last year, and she has received tenure effective July 1. She holds a Ph.D. in Physics from the Interdisciplinary Center of Electron Microscopy, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and a Diploma in Physics from the Silvija Gradečak University of Zagreb, Croatia. She also held postdoctoral and research positions at the Institute of Quantum Electronics and Photonics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and in Professor Charles M. Lieber’s group at Harvard.

Dr. Olivetti’s research is in characterizing and understanding sustainable materials systems, examining the economic and environmental implications of all aspects of the materials cycle, from selection to manufacturing to recycling or disposal decisions. She works with several research teams, including a consortium working on environmental assessment of electronics products and MIT’s Concrete Sustainability Hub. Earlier this year, she coauthored a paper that determined the “carbon footprint” of manufacturing running shoes. The study presented a “cradleto-grave” assessment, looking at five stages: materials, manufacturing, usage, transportation, and end-of-life, and found that the bulk of emissions comes from manufacturing. Such research helps manufacturers reduce waste by recycling scraps or by combining manufacturing steps.



Dr. Olivetti has taught subjects in DMSE, in the Sloan School, and in the MIT-Portugal Program. In the classroom, she uses examples from her research as case studies, giving students another perspective into materials selection and processing. As societal awareness grows and environmental guidelines are implemented, there will be increased demand for materials scientists with knowledge of sustainability and economic implications.

The Gradečak group studies semiconductor materials and low-dimensional systems for applications in optoelectronics, energy harvesting, and energy conversion. Their interdisciplinary research program is based on synthesis of materials with confined dimensions including two-dimensional films, one-dimensional nanowires/nanotubes, and zero-dimensional nanocrystals — and their assembly into functional devices for applications in nanophotonics and nanoelectronics. Recently, she led a team that developed a photovoltaic cell based on sheets of flexible graphene coated with a layer of nanowires; the approach could lead to low-cost, transparent and flexible solar cells for use on windows, roofs, or other surfaces. Her group has also collaborated on a solar cell design that embeds quantum dots in nanowires to improve efficiency. By serving as a freshman advisor, an undergraduate advisor, and teaching in the undergraduate core, Professor Gradečak has had a significant impact on DMSE education. Her research has been recognized with the ACS Nano Letters Young Investigator Lectureship, an NSF CAREER award, and a 3M Innovation Award.

Alfredo Alexander-Katz pursues research that is highly interdisciplinary and lies at the interface of materials, biology, physics, chemistry and medicine, addressing topics as diverse as understanding how blood clots help wounds heal or developing complex microchip structures.

Alfredo Alexander-Katz Professor

Alexander-Katz joined our faculty in Fall 2008 as Assistant Professor and has just been promoted to Associate Professor. He holds a B.S. in Physics from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (1998) and a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California at Santa Barbara (2004). He also held an NSF International Postdoctoral Fellowship in Munich and a post-doctoral research position at the École Superieure de Physique et Chimie Industrielle in Paris. He has taught in both the undergraduate and graduate curricula, earning praise from the students for addressing difficult topics well. He is the recipient of a DoE Early Career Award for “Biomimetic Templated Self‐Assembly of Light Harvesting Nanostructures”and an NSF CAREER Award on “Self-Healing under Flow.”

His group studies spin dynamics and spin-electronics in nanoscale magnetic materials and devices. They explore the fundamental underpinnings of new concepts in spinbased data storage, computation, and communications. Recently, they have developed new means of controlling current in chiral ferromagnetic thin films that may result in faster and more efficient data storage. Last year, Professor Beach was recognized with a School of Engineering Junior Bose Award for Excellence in Teaching. Since he joined our faculty, Professor Beach has taught 3.23 Electrical, Optical, and Magnetic Properties in the graduate core and, in the sophomore core curriculum, 3.022 Microstructural Evolution in Materials and 3.024 Electronic, Optical, and Magnetic Properties of Materials. Q U A R T E R C E N T U R Y C L U B Gerry Hughes, DMSE Facilities Manager, and Teri Chung, Financial Coordinator in the Administrative Services Office, were inducted into MIT’s Quarter Century Club this spring. We celebrate with them and thank them for their years of hard work and dedication!


Rachel A. Kemper, DMSE Communications Coordinator

Geoffrey S. Beach was promoted to Associate Professor and awarded the Class of ’58 Career Development Professorship. This chair was given to MIT by the Class of ’58 on their 25th reunion, and it recognizes Geoff Beach junior faculty for having an innovative and imaginative teaching style and exceptional promise of making important contributions in teaching and research.



Marc Harpin, Rhumba


Arlington Lithograph


Many thanks to those who contributed time, photography support, and text, including Prof. Sam Allen, Prof. Don Sadoway, Kathleen Alexander, Nathaniel Berndt, Elissa Haverty, Franklin Hobbs, Garrett Lau, Willie Lensch, Angelita Mireles, Sam Shames, Lisa Page Sinclair, Shoshana Spencer, Eric Thorsen, and Katie Smakula Zorzos.





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Professor Beach earned a B.S. in Physics at the California Institute of Technology (1997) and a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California, San Diego (2003). Prior to coming to MIT, he held a post-doc researching magnetization dynamics and spin-transfer torque in nanoscale magnetic structures at the University of Texas at Austin. Join us on LinkedIn MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE) Add us on Google+ MIT Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE)


I N T E R N A T I O N A L S E M I N A R I N M A T E R I A L S Each spring, the students and instructors in 3.003/3.004 Global Principles of Engineering Practice take a very longdistance field trip to Japan. The subject, taught by Professor Lionel Kimerling, provides students with a grounding in learning to integrate multidimensional, social–political–economic–technology content in the design of engineering solutions. This year, 28 students were enrolled in 3.003 and 20 made the trip to Japan — the largest group yet. The students were impressed by the open-ended, long-term approach of their Japanese colleagues in contrast to the specific and implementation-focused approaches they learn at MIT. As a result, they now see the value of cross-cultural collaboration in optimizing engineering solutions.



The subject is designed to provide a foundation for both the undergraduate core laboratory sequence and for professional engineering practice. Through labs and case studies, the students learn basic science of materials for systems design, data analysis, design process, statistical quality control, real problem definition, and tradeoff optimization. University of Tokyo students are enrolled in a similar class, taught by Professor Kazumi Wada, and they collaborate on their final projects which are presented in Japan. “To be able as an undergraduate to have a chance to solve an engineering problem and compare ideas and discuss solutions with someone from an entirely different

3.003/3.004 students and staff toured Nippon Steel with their hosts from the University of Tokyo. culture is a priceless experience. I have gained the confidence to discuss matters of international importance among those with different backgrounds from my own,” said Rachel Clark ’15. Besides presenting their projects, the group had time to tour some sites and to spend time in Tokyo with their hosts. They traveled by subway and train, toured Nippon Steel, attended a tea ceremony, visited a bamboo garden, and saw the Great Buddha of Kamakura. Lisa Page Sinclair, Administrative Assistant to Professor Kimerling, was a trip chaperone. Of her first trip to Japan, she said, “I didn’t give the students enough credit in the beginning — they were excited, couldn’t wait to get on the subway! They represented MIT very well.”

Hiking in the bamboo garden.

Student Profiles S A M S H A M E S Sam Shames, current Division 2 National Collegiate Wrestling Association champion in his weight class, says that wrestling brought him to MIT. As MIT doesn’t even have a varsity wrestling team, just a club sport, that is a surprising statement, but he credits his experience as a wrestler with teaching him both how to work hard and how goals are achievable. Sam just completed his junior year, writing his S.B. thesis a year early. He was first attracted to materials science by the description of the Freshman PreOrientation Program (FPOP), which mentioned the 3D Printers in the Lab for Engineering Materials, “I was like, ‘What is a 3D Printer? That doesn't sound like it's a real thing; I want to check this out.’ So then I applied for the FPOP and saw the 3D Printer and all the cool materials science that people were doing and was really blown away.”

Sam with his MADMEC team’s entry for the first design challenge.

He explains that, “Materials are everywhere and, when you think about it, every single major problem that society faces today is in some sense a materials problem. And there are so many different classes of material from biomaterials and polymers to metals and ceramics that you can do just about anything.”

Sam’s involvement with wrestling began in sixth grade, in self-defense from an older brother who was pursuing the sport. He continued through high-school in Newton, MA, winning state and New England championships. He clearly remembers setting himself goals of achieving championships, and says that his coaches and drill partner forced him to improve, and this taught him that “hard work is one of the most rewarding things you can do.”

He has become a great ambassador for materials science, as a TA in 3.012 Fundamentals of Materials and a UROP in Professor Jeff Grossman’s lab working on a solar thermal fuel project. He is also an MIT tour guide, writes for The

Sam Shames ’14, at center above, won the Division 2 National Wrestling Championship at 125lb! He placed third nationally in his freshman year, second his sophomore year, and won it all this year.

Tech, plays cello, and says he is an “aspiring Renaissance man.”

Sam’s Tech columns about education have led to his joining MIT’s Task Force on Concepts and Learning Pathways ( He is the first student on this committee that addresses the current and future role of online education. Online education “has the potential to change the way students learn, and to create more inspiring ways of engaging students than traditional lectures can,” Sam says. As a high school senior, Sam had the opportunity to withdraw from classes for a semester to work on a project, building a biodiesel processor. “I got a sense of ownership over my education where all of a sudden I realized ‘I could just go learn this on my own,’ and it made me more invested. I think that online education can make that central to every class.” His future plans are to go to grad school, perhaps studying abroad to experience another educational system, and he hopes to keep working on online education.

K A T H L E E N A L E X A N D E R Kathleen Alexander, ’11, is pursuing a Ph.D. in Professor Chris Schuh’s group, studying microstructural defects in materials. Specifically, she is using computational materials science to model the energy landscapes of grain boundaries towards the goal of advancing the field of grain boundary engineering, a technique that has shown promise for vastly improving performance properties, such as corrosion and cracking resistance, of metals. Kathleen’s early goals were to work in recycling technologies, with an ambition to “eradicate landfills from the planet.” After completing a high-school project of writing a business model for a recycling and compost company, she realized that an education in science and engineering would allow her to understand the underlying issues and address them more completely. She came to MIT in 2008 as a transfer student from a community college in Sacramento, California, and she completed the Course III S.B. in three years, including a year in the Cambridge-MIT Exchange. During her final semester as an undergraduate, Kathleen designed a project to model plasma arc gasification of municipal solid waste and investigate this technology as a potential means of waste management. This was a fulfilling and rewarding project as it allowed her to work on her early interests.

and 'general'. Special grain boundaries have desirable materials properties such as high corrosion resistance and resistance to intergranular cracking while general grain boundaries have undesirable properties and are a source of failure in materials systems.

This fall, she will have both a Department of Energy fellowship for computational materials science and a Hertz Fellowship. She is excited by the DoE fellowship which requires that she take four math and computer science subjects, in addition to the DMSE required core. These additional subjects will give her different perspective on her research than she might have had otherwise. She will also complete a DoE summer internship in 2014 or 2015. When she isn’t working towards her degree, Kathleen and her husband, a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University, spend their time swing dancing, sky diving, hiking, or scuba diving. Though unsure if her future career will be in industry, academia, or a combination of both, Kathleen intends to continue pursuing research projects related to the development and implementation of sustainable technologies that will have a high impact on the movement towards global sustainability and to be a leader in inspiring the next generation to pursue careers in science and engineering. “I’m open-minded about where I’ll end up. I could see myself in either academia or industry. One of my dreams is working on how materials flow through an economy.”

Kathleen describes her research in grain boundary structure-property relations and grain boundary engineering: I believe that this area of research will have great impact on how we use and consume materials. Grain boundaries are one of the most important microstructural features in governing materials properties; however, a grain boundary is a complex defect, and a minimal description of a grain boundary requires specification of 5 parameters. Within the vast grain boundary configuration space spanned by these 06


5 parameters, it has been observed that grain boundaries can, roughly, be broken down into two categories, 'special'

Potential energy landscape of a grain boundary. Atomic configuration images generated with AtomEye. From K. Alexander and C. Schuh, “Exploring grain boundary energy landscapes with the activation-relaxation technique,” Scripta Mat., 68, 937–940, 2013.



about activities taking place in DMSE please visit

W U L F F L E C T U R E We were delighted that Jennifer Lewis, Sc.D. ’91, was this year's Wulff Lecturer. She presented “Printing Functional Materials” to a captivated audience in 26-100 and she explained her research in creating functional materials in planar and three-dimensional forms. The potential applications include printed electronics, self-healing materials, and tissue engineering scaffolds. Professor Lewis recently joined the faculty of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Her research group focuses on the directed assembly of soft functional materials. The Wulff Lecture is named for Professor John Wulff, a materials scientist who was famous for his entertaining, illuminating, and thought-provoking lectures. G M C A C T I V I T I E S Career talks This year, GMC has sponsored events at which students and alumni/ae share their experiences in both their academic and their career paths. “The Bridge between Ph.D. and Future Career” featured Kevin Gotrik of the Ross Group, Rodolfo Camacho-Aguilera of the Kimerling Group, Marco Bernardi of the Grossman Group, and Matthew Smith of the Gradečak Group. They discussed various career-hunting experiences, including how they are choosing a career path, the imporA R T I N T H E L A B In recent months, DMSE has hosted two artworks. The MIT seal, below, is currently on view in the Lab for Advanced Materials. The piece was

to learn more

tance of recommendations, and what graduate experiences, besides research, were important in helping determine their future careers. Alumni Talk “The Road to Professor” was presented by Professor Polina Anikeeva who shared her career path stories on becoming a professor and discussed various research experiences. She discussed publications, the post-doc experience, and the role of the advisor or mentor. MLB Materials Lectures, the Basics (MLB) is a regular event in which grad students give quick presentations on their research. In the “Quals Edition,” three fifteen-minute talks on the DMSE core classes are followed by five minutes of questions. This MLB is intended to be especially useful to anyone taking the written qualifying exam, and also fun for everyone else. This year’s presenters were Satoru Emori for 3.23 Electrical, Optical, and Magnetic Properties of Materials, Jean-Philippe Peraud for 3.21 Kinetic Processes in Materials, and John Maloney for 3.22 Mechanical Behavior of Materials. Faculty Lunches The GMC organizes several informal lunches between faculty members and graduate students over the course of summer. They hope this helps the DMSE community to get to know one another outside of a lab or classroom environment. This year’s lunches are with Professors Sam Allen, Caroline Ross, and Antoine Allanore.

made from a single sheet of mulberry paper by Brian Chan, MechE ’02, S.M. ’04, Ph.D. ’09. Ken Stone, Architecture ’72 and Director of the Hobby Shop, made the case from reclaimed materials, and Peter Houk of the Glass Lab etched the glass. “I am MIT, as I am in MIT, just like a lot of other people are” by Amalia Pica is shown at right, during its visit to the Lab for Engineering Materials earlier this year. The piece, part of an exhibition at the List Visual Arts Center, is intended to be nomadic. During the exhibition, it visited our department, administrative offices, the library, and other locations.

Awards and Honors F A C U L T Y H O N O R S Professor Alfredo Alexander-Katz has received an Early Career award from the U.S. Department of Energy for “Biomimetic Templated Self-Assembly of Light Harvesting Nanostructures.” This funding supports outstanding young scientists and helps them advance research related to energy issues. Professor Sam Allen received MIT’s Arthur C. Smith Award for meaningful contributions and devotion to undergraduate student life and learning. He was also recognized by the Mentor Advocate Partnership with the Making the Difference Award in recognition of his dedicated years of outstanding service and commitment to MIT. Professor Polina Anikeeva has been selected to receive the inaugural award from the MIT Mildred S. Dresselhaus Fund. This newly-established award honors Millie and her contributions to MIT and will be given to a faculty member every two years. The funds for this award are from Professor Dresselhaus’s Kavli Award, which she donated to help MIT support women and junior faculty performing research in areas related to electrical engineering, computer science, or physics. Earlier this year, Professor Anikeeva received an NSF CAREER Award for “Optoelectronic Neural Scaffolds: Materials Platform for Investigation and Control of Neuronal Activity and Development.” These awards support junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and integration of education and research.



Professor Angela Belcher is the winner of the 2013 $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize. The Lemelson-MIT Program celebrates innovation through financial awards, outreach activities, and publications; this annual prize honors an outstanding mid-career inventor who is dedicated to improving our world Photo: Lemelson-MIT through technological invention. Professor Belcher is allocating a portion of her award to the development of outreach programming

focused on getting others, especially youth, excited about science — a life-long cause of hers. Professor Lorna Gibson received the Ruth and Joel Spira Award for Excellence in Teaching. For the past several years, she has taught the undergrad core subject 3.032 Mechanical Behavior of Materials and an undergraduate/graduate elective 3.054/3.36 Cellular Solids: Structure, Properties, Applications. She is consistently recognized by students and colleagues as one of our very best instructors, and she truly cares about students’ learning and overall experiences. Professor Gibson is the perfect example of what it means to be not only an exceptional educator, but also a guiding figure students know they can look to for life lessons. The Spira Award rotates among five departments in the School of Engineering; this is the first time it has been received by a DMSE faculty member.

Professor Sadoway at the University of Toronto, being hooded by the Chairman of Engineering Science, Prof. Mark Kortschot and shaking hands with the Chancellor, the Honourable Michael H. Wilson, while David Naylor, the President, looks on. Professor Don Sadoway received the Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa, from the University of Toronto in recognition of his pioneering research and outstanding contributions to higher education and sustainable energy. Professor Sadoway is proud of his U of T education, B.A.Sc. ’72, M.A.Sc. ’73, and Ph.D. ’77, and Christina Amon, Engineering Dean, said, “Don Sadoway represents the very best about engineering — a curiosity about how the world works, a desire to change ‘what was’ into ‘what could be’, and a passion to inspire his students to share that curiosity and desire.”

Professor Subra Suresh has recently been celebrated with honorary degrees: he received the honorary degree Doctor of Science from Dartmouth College in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to science and engineering and his role as a visionary leader in the global scientific community. He also received the 2013 Robert Fletcher Award from Dartmouth. In Hangshou, China, he received the Honorary Doctoral Degree and certificate of honour and badge from Zhejiang University. In July, he was honored by the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, his alma mater. Professor Suresh received the Alan Cottrell Gold Medal from the International Congress on Fracture. Professor Suresh is the author of Fatigue of Materials, a book that has been cited thousands of times and translated into Chinese and Japanese. Professor Harry Tuller was elected Vice President/President Elect of the International Society of Solid State Ionics at the SSI meeting held in Kyoto. He sees a need for educating the public, government agencies, industry, and universities on the critical need for clean energy and the strategic contributions that the field of Solid State Ionics can make. S T U D E N T A W A R D S Undergraduate Students Shannon L. Taylor received an award for Outstanding Senior Thesis, for “An Investigation of the Mechanical and Physical Properties of Copper-Silver Alloys and their Use in Pre-Columbian America,” advised by Professor Heather Lechtman. Shannon’s senior thesis is an outstanding body of research that provides a major and unique contribution to establishing the materials and cultural foundations of ancient American metallurgies. At the same time, the research results determine fundamental mechanical and physical properties exhibited by copper-silver alloys that are not available in the pubShannon with a copper-silver ingot. lished literature. In

Photo: Allegra Boverman.

the fall, Shannon will begin her Ph.D. studies in materials science and engineering at Northwestern. This spring, Shannon presented her research on techniques for characterization of art and archeological objects at an MIT Libraries presentation on the use of conservation science in preserving cultural heritage. Samuel Shames also received an Outstanding S.B. Thesis Award for “Modeling Trabecular Microstructure Evolution via Genetic Algorithm,” advised by Professor W. Craig Carter. Sam invented the problem by synthesizing concepts from two disparate sources: he was intrigued by Professor Gibson’s work on the phenomenon of bone remodeling (in which a trabecular bone dynamically adjusts its microstructure in response to its stress state), and computational modeling work that he had done previously with Professor Carter. He independently came up with the original idea of developing a genetic algorithm (i.e., a computational method of finding optima) that would generate bone microstructures and optimize them. Sam is a junior and this summer he is doing research on solar thermal fuels with Professor Jeff Grossman’s group. Garrett C. Lau received the Horace A. Lubin Award for DMSE Community Service. During his senior year, Garrett served as SUMS Vice President. In that role, he was a driving force in many DMSE community events, including the Freshman PreOrientation Program, recruiting, and outreach with grammar school students. Before he enrolls in the materials science and engineering doctoral program at Northwestern, Garrett will backpack Garrett demonstrates superthrough central Europe this conductivity, FPOP 2012. summer. The Joseph M. Dhosi Outstanding Internship Award was presented to Astera S. Tang, for “Yielding Behavior in Nanostructured (Ultrafine Grained) FCC Metals,” advised

by Professor Michael Demkowicz. Astera’s internship focused on investigating the mechanical properties of ultrafine-grained FCC metals. During her internship, she carried out tensile test on TWIP steels with different grain sizes and found that below a grain size of 1μm there is a transition from uniform flow upon yielding to non-uniform flow accompanied by formation of Lüders bands. Astera was unfailingly professional in all her duties, including providing timely and exhaustive updates on her work. In the fall, Astera will begin graduate studies at MIT. Miriam E. Zachau Walker was named Outstanding Senior, class of 2013. She is graduating with a 5.0 and plans to teach physics at a charter school in the Detroit area. Erica L. Lai received the Professor Julian Szekely Award for the Outstanding Junior, class of 2014. This summer, Erica will do an internship at the Center for Functional Nanomaterials at Brookhaven National Laboratory. The Outstanding Sophomore, class of 2015, is Carolyn M. Joseph. Over the summer, Carolyn is interning with ExxonMobil Development Company in the Materials Selection and Corrosion Control group in Houston. Evelyn Zuniga ’13 won MIT’s Albert G. Hill Prize for a minority undergraduate junior or senior student who has maintained high academic standards and made continued contributions to the improvement of the quality of life for minorities at MIT. Next year, Evelyn will pursue the MPhil in Micro- and Nanotechnology Enterprise at the University of Cambridge. Allan Blanchard ’13 was awarded the Ronald E. McNair Scholarship for a black undergraduate who has demonstrated academic excellence and community service. The award honors the MIT alumnus astronaut who died in the Challenger explosion. Allan has accepted a job at Ambri, the liquid-metal battery company. Colleen Loynachan has been awarded the Barry Goldwater Scholarship. Her goal is to conduct research in a biomolecular materials group developing materials and devices for clinical applications.



Samuel Shames won second prize in the Dewitt Wallace Prize for Science Writing for the Public section of the Ilona Karmel writing prizes. In his essay, “Nature’s Legos,” he described how amino acids are powerful and versatile building blocks.

Shannon Taylor, Arfa Aijazi, and Rachel Davis were all included in Business Insider’s list of the fourteen most impressive students at MIT this past academic year. The 2013–14 SUMS Officers are President Colleen Loynachan, Vice President Caitlin Sample, Career Development Chairs Erica Lai and Jennie Zheng, Recruitment Chair Victoria Enjamio, Publicity Chair Mary Elizabeth Wagner, Secretary/Historian Frances Lenahan, and Lounge Chair Mina Healey. Graduate Students Reid C. Van Lehn received the John Wulff Award for Excellence in Teaching for his work as a Teaching Assistant in 3.091. According to Professor Cima, current 3.091 instructor, Reid “is incredibly dedicated to his students... [and] is a stellar teacher!” Satoru Emori was the recipient of the Graduate Student Teaching Award for his work as a TA in 3.23 Electrical, Optical, and Magnetic Properties of Materials. His teaching evaluations were the highest for a 3.23 TA over the past fourteen years. He plans to graduate this fall. Charles Edward Sing received the Best Ph.D. Thesis Award for “Blood Clotting Inspired Polymer Physics.” His advisor was Professor Alfredo Alexander-Katz. His work has been published in Biophysical Journal as a communication, and a more complete study was published in Macromolecules. After a postdoctoral appointment at Northwestern University, he will be an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign in the Chemical Engineering Department. Kathleen C. Alexander and Jessica Gabrielle Swallow received the awards for First-Year Graduate Student Exceptional Performance. Kathleen C. Alexander also received the Best Paper Award for a First- or Second-Year Student for “Exploring Grain Boundary Energy Landscapes with the ActivationRelaxation Technique.” Her advisor is Professor Chris Schuh. Ahmed F. Al-Obeidi was the recipient of the Graduate Student Community Service Award. For the last four years, he has volunteered as a tutor and a “Future Engineer” instructor for low-income youth in Cambridge’s Area IV neighborhood. He also designed and developed the programming for Tutoring Plus’s “Future Engineer” Program.

Each year, Ahmed leads the staff in developing challenging engineering projects for youth. Additionally, he engages other MIT students and professors in the program, giving students the opportunity to visit the campus or participate in an experiment in an MIT lab. Alexandra Toumar was named an MIT Graduate Woman of Excellence. Presented by the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education, the awards were made to 47 women at MIT, all of whom were nominated and selected based on their leadership and service contributions at the Institute, their dedication to mentoring, and their drive to make changes to improve the student experience.

For his image depicting desalination using graphene, David Cohen-Tanugi was a finalist in the Spring MRS “Science as Art” contest. William Woodford received a Gold Medal at the Spring MRS meeting in San Francisco for his work on “Mesoscale Mechanical Failure of Batteries.” Billy has begun a postdoc at MIT. Kathleen Alexander will receive a Hertz Foundation Fellowship Award, starting in the Fall term of 2013. The GMC Officers for 2013–14 are President Chris Heidelberger; Vice President Kunal Mukherjee; Treasurer Corentin Monmeyran; Secretary Dina Yuryev; Academic Committee: Michelle Sing, Gye Hyun (Alan) Kim, and Kelsey Stoerzinger; Athletics Chair Jessica Swallow; Social Chairs Thomas Batcho, Scott Grindy, Danielle Raad, and Mike Campion; Alumni Committee: Ben Grena and Mike Gibson; Coffee Hour Chair Alex Toumar; DCGS Representatives: Paul Rekemeyer, Alan Lai, and Nancy Twu; GSC Representatives: Sabrina Yang, Frank Fan, and Sasha Ting-Yun Huang; Outreach Committee: Sema

Ermez and Tim Milakovich; Publicity Chair Denis Loginov; and MRS Student Chapter President Ryan Iutzi. S T A F F A W A R D S Angelita Mireles is a winner of a School of Engineering Infinite Mile Award for Excellence. Angelita joined DMSE as Academic Administrator in 2006, returning to the office where she had worked while she was an MIT student. Angelita’s devotion to DMSE and to her job is obvious to all Associate Dean Cindy Barnhart who meet her; she is presents Angelita Mireles with the Infinite Mile Award for always accessible and Excellence. ready to pitch in and help, whether it’s during the work day, in the evening, or on the weekend. Her job entails working with departmental and Institute committees on academic policies and procedures, leading the DMSE recruiting and admissions programs, and serving as a sympathetic ear and problemsolver for our students. This is her second Infinite Mile award and we are delighted that her hard work and dedication are recognized by others at MIT. A L U M N I N E W S MRS and TMS have selected Megan Brewster, Ph.D. ’11, from GE Global Research, as the 2013–2014 MRS/TMS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow. Dr. Brewster will serve a one-year term working as a special legislative assistant on the staff of a member of Congress or congressional committee. Michael E. McHenry, Ph.D. ’88, presented the IEEE Magnetics Society Distinguished Lecture Series, “Nanocomposite Magnets for Power Electronic Applications.” He is now Professor of Materials Science and Engineering with an appointment in Physics at Carnegie Mellon. His research involves rapid solidification processing, plasma and solution synthesis of nanoparticles, magnetic field of processing materials, structural characterization by x-rays and electron microscopy and magnetic properties characterization as a function of field, temperature and frequency.

Transitions Sam Allen, Chair of the MIT Faculty and POSCO Professor of Physical Metallurgy, retired on July 1, 2013. Sam came to MIT in 1970 as a graduate student in what is now DMSE and joined the MIT Sam Allen, at his birthday and faculty in 1979. His thesis work on phase retirement party this summer. separation led to the Allen-Cahn equation and to a series of highly influential publications that changed the basic understanding of phase transformation and phase transitions. In recent years, he has collaborated with colleagues on 3D printing and shape-memory alloys. Sam was one of the first to teach a freshman advising seminar at MIT and has taught 3.A04 Modern Blacksmithing at Physical Metallurgy continually since 1986. In DMSE, he has served as an undergraduate advisor, has taught subjects in both the undergraduate and graduate core curricula, which led to two co-authored textbooks, The Structure of Materials and Kinetics of Materials, and was DMSE Executive Officer and Acting Department Head. Since 2011 he has been Chair of the Faculty, and, in the past year, has been an advisor and guide through the presidential search, the 2030 Planning Process, and the campus response to Officer Collier’s death. Over the course of his career, Sam’s relationships as teacher, advisor, mentor, and friend have been recognized by MIT with the Capers and Marion McDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising and with the Arthur C. Smith Award for meaningful contributions and devotion to undergraduate student life and learning. Sam and his wife Anne will retire to Maine where he will continue to sail, build wooden boats, and pursue other creative activities.



Subra Suresh, Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering, became President of Carnegie Mellon University on July 1 and officially became Emeritus Professor at MIT on the same date. Professor Suresh came to MIT in 1979 to pursue a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering; he joined the DMSE faculty in 1993 and served as Department Head

from 2000 to 2006 and then as Dean of Engineering from 2007 to 2010. Professor Suresh’s research interests are wide-ranging, multi-disciplinary, and influential: by modeling the mechanical properties of structural and functional materials, he aims to discover connections between cellular nanomechanical processes and human disease states. He has held appointments in Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Biological Engineering, and Health Sciences and Technology.

We wish Subra the very best at Subra Suresh, during the 2010 Commencement procession. CMU.

Ned Thomas, current dean of the George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice University and former Head of our department, has also joined the emeritus ranks. Ned joined the DMSE faculty in 1989 as the first Morris Cohen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and was the founder and director of the MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnology. He served as director of the Program in Polymer Science and Technology and deputy director of the Microphotonics Center. As an educator and administrator, Ned takes great joy in developing hands-on opportunities for students, like MADMEC and the ISN Soldier Design Competition. His research with Professor Yoel Fink in optical properties led to the founding of OmniGuide, Inc., manufacturers of flexible fibers used in surgeries in very delicate areas like the spine and skull. Professor Thomas collaborates with faculty in many disciplines, and he pursues new research ideas almost as enthusiastically as he pursues his hobby of fishing. Ned and his family have embraced life in Texas, though they return often to New England.

Ned Thomas at the NAE dinner in 2009.

Obituaries F R E D E R I C K J . M C G A R R Y, 1 9 2 7 - 2 0 1 3 Frederick McGarry, Professor Emeritus of Polymer Engineering in DMSE and the Department of Civil Engineering, died March 27, 2013 after a long illness. He was 86. Professor McGarry was associated with MIT for 52 years. He first came to MIT as a student in a joint undergraduate degree program with Middlebury College. In 1950, he earned an A.B. in Physics and Math from Middlebury and an S.B. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT. He then received an S.M. in Mechanical Engineering – Materials from MIT in 1953. Professor McGarry’s first appointment at MIT was in the Materials of Construction Division in the Department of Civil Engineering, and he joined DMSE in 1975, as a direct result of MIT’s concentrating and strengthening its efforts in polymer education and research. He taught many subjects over the years, notably in polymer engineering, behavior of plastics, and fracture of materials. Throughout his career, he had many research collaborations inside and outside MIT, including with colleagues at Dow Corning, Dow Chemical, Monsanto, American Cyanamid and BF Goodrich. His research centered on polymer engineering, including fiber-reinforced composites. Of his many pioneering contributions in this field, perhaps the most notable was the development of rubber toughening in thermosetting resins, a vital part of modern composites technology. In addition to his research and education roles, Professor McGarry served as Secretary of the Faculty, Director of the Program in Polymer Science and Technology, Chair of the ROTC program, and Director of the Summer Session (now the Professional Education Program). Over the course of his career, he participated in multiple international programs, including in the 1960’s the MIT Inter-American Program in Civil Engineering, which examined a collabo-

rative initiative to solve engineering problems common to the U.S. and Latin American countries. Professor McGarry, who was born and raised in Vermont, lived for many years in Weston, Massachusetts. He was widowed in 1971 when his wife and the mother of their six daughters, Alice R. McGarry, passed away. They met and married when she was a graduate student at Harvard. He leaves his longtime partner, Norma Webb, and his six daughters, Martha McGarry Miller of New York, New York, Alice Aldridge of Weston, Massachusetts, Joan McGarry Cole of Newport Beach, California, Carol McGarry of Sherborn, Massachusetts, Susan McGarry and Janet McGarry Bassett of San Francisco, California. He also leaves four grandchildren and his older brother, John J. McGarry of Scottsdale, Arizona. Professor McGarry was a long-time member of the St. Botolph’s Club in Boston, where he had many friends. He loved skiing in Vermont, travel, and classical music and held season tickets at Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Handel & Haydn Society for many years. After his retirement, he and Norma spent winters in Florida. Gifts may be made to MIT for the Frederick J. McGarry (1950) Memorial Fund. Checks should be payable to MIT and mailed to Bonny Kellermann ’72, Director of Memorial Gifts; 600 Memorial Drive, W98-500; Cambridge, MA 02139. Please include a note stating that your gift is in memory of Frederick J. McGarry. R O B E R T C . O ’ H A N D L E Y, 1 9 4 2 - 2 0 1 3 We are saddened to announce the death on March 9 of Bob O’Handley, a friend and colleague. In 1981, Bob came to MIT as a Research Scientist working with Professor Nick Grant on applications of metallic glasses. Prior to coming to MIT, he was an NRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Michelson Laboratory in China Lake, CA, (1971–74), then worked for four

years at Allied Chemical Corporation on their amorphous metals development program, and then moved to IBM’s Watson Lab for a three-year position as Staff Scientist. Bob’s primary research focus was ferromagnetism and applications of ferromagnetic materials. In addition to ferromagnetic metallic glasses, his work focused on surface and thin-film magnetism, magnetic thin-film devices, active materials, and applications of materials in energy absorption and energy harvesting. Bob’s research projects engaged an impressive number of faculty colleagues as collaborators, including Nick Grant, Keith Johnson, Gretchen Kalonji, Manny Oiveria, Carl Thompson, Sam Allen, Caroline Ross, Yet Chiang, David Paul, Steve Hall, and Jagadeesh Moodera.

P A T R I C K A . K E A R N E Y, 1 9 3 2 – 2 0 1 3 Patrick A. Kearney, who joined MIT in 1960 and held a number of staff positions before becoming a technical instructor in the Course III undergraduate core, died on June 9. He was 81.

All of Bob’s degrees were in physics: After receiving a B.A. from Marist College (1965), he taught for two years as a Marist Brother in a New York City high school and then changed his career plan, completing an M.S. and Ph.D. at the Polytechnic University (formerly the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn). Bob’s publications include nearly 200 articles in refereed journals, 20 patents, scores of conference proceedings, invited lectures, and review articles. He is the author of the textbook Modern Magnetic Materials: Principles and Applications (Wiley, 1999), an outgrowth of the graduate class, 3.45 Magnetic Materials, that Bob developed and taught alternate years since 1990. He contributed to DMSE’s educational programs through classroom and laboratory teaching and research supervision of undergraduate and graduate students. Many visitors, including three Fulbright Scholars, were hosted in Bob’s laboratory over the years. Bob retired in 2008, at which time he continued an active research role at Ferro Solutions, a wireless power transfer, sensors, and energy harvester company he co-founded in 2002, but was able to dedicate his energy to his family and to studying classical piano.

He was known for being exceptionally generous with his time and expertise, giving advice and assistance to generations of graduate students in their thesis research and teaching undergraduates the fine points of sample preparation and equipment use. The acknowledgments section of many theses written over more than four decades reflect the gratitude that students felt for his help in the laboratory and for providing a welcoming environment.

We send our sympathies to his wife Carol, his three children and their spouses, and his seven grandchildren. To make an expression of sympathy, please contact DMSE Headquarters. Donations to Lazarus House, 412 Hampshire Street, Lawrence, MA 01841 or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105, would be appreciated. 14


Pat first worked as a technician working with Professor W. David Kingery and Professor Robert L. Coble and the ceramics research groups in what is now DMSE. Although he officially retired in 2002, he continued his affiliation with DMSE, first as a part-time lecturer and then assisting with custom equipment design and construction in Professor Yet-Ming Chiang’s lab until earlier this year.

His dedication to students was recognized by MIT with the James N. Murphy Award for contributions to community life. He was proud of his work, frequently bringing his grandson to MIT to show him the labs. Pat is survived by his sons, Stephen A. Kearney and Patrick J. Kearney, daughters Mary P. Kearney and Deborah A. Kearney, and many other family members and friends. His wife Mary E. (Flynn) Kearney predeceased him. Donations in Pat’s memory may be made to Sisters of Poor Clare, 920 Centre St,. Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; to Mass Vest-A-Dog, P.O. Box 48, Walpole, MA 02081; to St. Joseph’s Indian School, P.O. Box 300, 1301 N. Main Street, Chamberlain, SD 57325; or to a charity of your choice. Expressions of sympathy sent to DMSE Headquarters, 6-113, will be forwarded to the family.

D M S E 6-113, 77 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02139-4307




Incoming freshmen and their parents often ask what a materials scientist or engineer does, and they are given a long answer that lists many disciplines and employers. While most Course III graduates wind up working in some area of science and engineering, or in medicine, law, and finance, you will also find our grads working as musicians, high-school teachers, ski instructors, brewers, and authors. Every few years, MIT surveys alumni/ae on how well their studies have prepared them for their chosen careers. In the most recent MIT survey, 69% of respondents indicate that their career is directly related to their degree, and 80% say that their studies were good preparation for their current career. We want to know what our graduates are doing, both in their professional and in their personal lives. If you receive an MIT survey, please take the time to complete it and also make sure your Infinite Connection alumni record is up to date (




Our website and social media feeds have information on upcoming events and current news: we can be found on Twitter at mit_dmse, on Facebook at mit.dmse, and on Google+ at MIT Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE). Our LinkedIn Group is restricted to alumni, faculty, current students, and staff, and we hope it can become a valuable resource for our community: search for MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE) and ask to be added. From time to time, we organize events on campus or in connection with a conference: watch for notice of these in your area. Other opportunities include participating as advisors to undergraduates enrolled in the Course III internship program or as mentors for MADMEC teams. Please contact Bruce Siegal, our Development and Alumni Officer at, to learn more. As always, we would love to see you if you are in Cambridge or Boston — drop by and take a look at the current projects and see old friends.

Structure summer 2013  

Newsletter for alumni and friends of MIT's Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE)

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