Baratunde Cola wins the 2017 Waterman Award, awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF):

Bara won the most prestigious award to young scientists and engineers given by the US, which very very few MIT faculty have ever won.

–Ed Bertschinger, MIT Department of Physics and Institute Community & Equity Officer (ICEO)

 

 

 

 

 

EVENT

Thursday, April 27, 2017
6:30-8:30 pm
MIT Student Center – W20-306

 

Come for dinner and to enjoy the visual art and performances of MIT and Wellesley students.

All visual, literary art and performance art is inspired by the ideals of Dr. King and/or other civil rights leaders in the past or current human rights activists in the US and the World. These ideals include freedom, justice, peace, equality, civil rights, human rights and/or social justice.


CONTEST

DEADLINE TO ENTER: Monday, April 24, 2017 [entry form]

 

Win cash prizes up to $250.00 each!

The Fifth Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. – Inspired Art and Performance Contest

Are you inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr or other civil rights leaders such as Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Cesar Chavez, Fannie Lou Hamer and Harvey Milk?

Express yourself by entering

  • visual art (painting, photography, sculpture, video)
  • performance art (music, song, spoken word, dance, theater)
  • literary work (poetry, short story, speech, play)

The contest is open to all MIT Undergraduates, Graduate Students, and Wellesley students cross registered at MIT this semester.

Your entry should be related to or inspired by any of the ideals of Dr. King and/or other civil rights leaders in the past or current human rights activists in the US and the World. These ideals include freedom, justice, peace, equality, civil rights, human rights and/or social justice.

Here is your chance to show off your creativity and artistic skills to the MIT community, have fun and win money!

Please send long literary entries (short stories, plays, speeches) to Tobie Weiner (iguanatw@mit.edu) prior to the contest.

 

WHEN

Sat, April 22, 2017
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM EDT

Add to Calendar

WHERE

MIT DUSP City Arena
105 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 9-255
Cambridge, MA 02139

View Map

 


The Spirit of Detroit: 1950 to 2050 is a one-day symposium which focuses on the City of Detroit’s past, present, and future. The symposium is an outgrowth of the work of Kenneth E. Reeves, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Scholar in the Department of Urban Studies & Planning at MIT. This year is the 50th anniversary of the Detroit 1967 riot, and the symposium focuses on Detroit’s heyday in the 1950’s and 1960’s and the city’s journey from 1967 into a potentially promising yet uncertain future. The symposium will feature knowledgeable speakers from Detroit on a morning panel and an afternoon panel to explore a wide range of topics on the city from 1950 to 2050. Camilo José Vergara, author of Detroit Is No Dry Bones: The Eternal City of the Industrial Age, will give a keynote address during lunch. The overarching goal of this event will be to look back in order to look forward.

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

REGISTER HERE

 

 

 From MIT News, 30 March 2017:

3Q: J. Phillip Thompson on revitalizing Central Brooklyn
Advisor to $1.4 billion state plan sees health care as foundation for “Vital Brooklyn.”

By Ken Shulman | School of Architecture and Planning

 

In early March, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced an ambitious $1.4 billion state plan to revitalize Central Brooklyn — a zone that experiences chronically high rates of unemployment, obesity, and murder. Called “Vital Brooklyn,” the initiative includes a $700 million investment in health care. J. Phillip Thompson, associate professor of urban studies and planning at MIT, was instrumental in shaping this comprehensive approach to health. An urban planner and political scientist who focuses on race, community development, and health, Thompson worked for New York’s Mayor David Dinkins in the early 1990s and has long worked with labor unions and community groups.   

 

Q: How did you become involved in the Vital Brooklyn project?

A: This initiative started in response to a proposal to close the Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn in 2015. The hospital workers’ union, Local 1199 (SEIU), and the New York State Nurses Association — along with an array of community organizations, churches, and elected officials — contacted me to put together a community health needs study and to help determine whether it made sense to close that hospital. I think they reached out to me because of my research interests and connection with MIT, and because I’d worked both with Brooklyn community groups and for the New York City government. I think they wanted “experts” they could trust to give them an opinion based on data analysis — who would be straight with them whether the news was good or bad.

Mariana Arcaya, now an assistant professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP), and about a dozen students from DUSP also participated in various stages of the research. From analyzing data, speaking with health experts, and surveying the various community groups, we saw that not only was there still a need for a hospital in the community, but that the hospital wasn’t delivering the services that this particular community needed most. For the short term, they needed better cardiovascular and ob/gyn departments. But the larger picture that emerged showed that this was a very sick community. And that most of its illnesses were chronic diseases that can be attributed to poverty and unemployment: asthma caused by mold in substandard housing; obesity due to poor food and fear of going to parks and public spaces for exercise because of violence from the drug trade; and all the ailments that stem from the stress of unemployment.

Q: Can a hospital respond to those conditions?

A: Not on its own. These hospitals all lose money. Typically, when a hospital is losing money, they try to make up the difference by doing things such as performing more heart surgeries, because Medicaid reimburses these surgeries at an advantageous rate. But this makes sense only if you look at each hospital individually. Medicaid is a giant insurance program and the state is the insurer. And it’s not in the state’s interest — or good for its fiscal bottom line — to have more heart surgeries. What’s good for their bottom line is to keep people out of hospitals and out of emergency rooms.

We believe that the only way we can improve community health — and save the state some money — is to build a primary care network throughout the community where people can see a doctor or nurse on a regular basis and get a prescription for medication for high blood pressure or diabetes. It is equally important to aggressively go after the conditions that are responsible for the community’s poor health. We need a comprehensive integrated plan to address social problems. You can’t improve public health unless you consider housing, for example. And you can’t improve housing without looking at unemployment. And you can’t reduce unemployment without looking at the local economy and schools.

It is equally essential that we empower the community to control the process of implementation. That means instead of having contractors and laborers from outside the community build the housing, you hire workers from the community. You establish training and educational support so people can be trained rapidly and become qualified for construction jobs and for work in the community health clinics. We also have to learn to identify underutilized assets in these communities and stop looking at them simply as poor communities. Hospitals and other industries in these communities buy billions of dollars in goods and services from all over the world. Why not have them buy some of them from local vendors? Who does your laundry? Who grows your food? Later, we can start to look at creating more complex local businesses like manufacturing.

Q: And public safety? How does the plan promote that?

A: If you want to solve the problem of fear, of people being afraid of going to the park to exercise, you need to address the issue of felons. This is one of the most difficult issues in the community. What do you do with these people who no one wants to hire? How do you keep them from committing crimes, terrorizing the neighborhood? How do you keep them from returning to prison? In Cleveland, University Hospitals created an industrial laundry, a worker-owned business that deliberately hires ex-felons. This is a way to improve the conditions in communities beset with crime. We believe this idea is replicable in Brooklyn. And we’ve already been contacted on this idea by hospitals in Wilmington, Delaware, and Hartford, Connecticut. Sometimes when you do the right thing, you can improve conditions in a community and save the state money. We believe it’s possible to be fiscally conservative, politically radical, and morally correct, all at the same time.

 

 

 From MIT Technology Review March/April 2017 issue:

Research physicist Sekazi Mtingwa, the first African-American to win the American Physical Society’s Robert R. Wilson Prize for Achievement in the Physics of Particle Accelerators, has a history of helping others overcome obstacles in science.

Mtingwa, who was born in Georgia as Michael Von Sawyer, says his elementary school classmates joked that “I would be like the German scientists in the white lab coats that we saw in our schoolbooks who were named ‘Von this’ or ‘Von that,’” he says.

Growing up as the son of a Lockheed assembly line worker and a licensed practical nurse, Mtingwa attended segregated schools until the 10th grade. That same year, the Georgia State Science Fair was integrated—and his project won first place in biology. Among his prizes were books on science, mathematics, and engineering. “Three of them were introductions to Einstein’s theory of special relativity, which were so captivating that I decided that physics was the thing for me,” he recalls.

Mtingwa earned bachelor’s degrees in both physics and math from MIT and master’s and PhD degrees in theoretical high-energy physics from Princeton. As a grad student, he changed his name to a phrase in Bondei, a Tanzanian language: Sekazi (male hard worker) Kauze (inquisitive) Mtingwa (literally “breastbone,” but the word refers to someone who can overcome many problems).

He held a research post at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, where he and a colleague developed a theory of particle beam dynamics, “intrabeam scattering,” that standardized the performance limitations on a wide class of modern accelerators. He also worked at the Argonne National Laboratory and held faculty positions at North Carolina A&T State University and Morgan State University before serving at MIT as the Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professor of Physics from 2001 to 2003. In 2006, he returned to MIT as lead physics lecturer in the Concourse Program and faculty director of academic programs in the Office of Minority Education.

“The most important thing I learned at MIT was the value of mentoring, both as mentee and mentor,” says Mtingwa, who helped found Project Interphase (now Interphase EDGE), a summer program that prepares incoming MIT students.

He also helped establish the National Society of Black Physicists, the African Physical Society, and the African Laser Centre, which is based in South Africa. In 2011, he and his wife, W. Estella Johnson, who have two daughters, cofounded Triangle Science, Education & Economic Development, a consulting company in North Carolina that supports underrepresented minorities in STEM fields.

By Alice Waugh

 

 

Because nurses are at the forefront of patient interactions, it seems only fitting that nurse scientists lead the charge in genomic research that can be translated from the bench to bedside and be the agent for change in health policy related to genomic screening recommendations worldwide. –Jacquelyn Taylor

Jacquelyn Taylor and her colleagues have published “Genome Sequencing Technologies and Nursing: What are the Roles of Nurses and Nurse Scientists? in Nursing Research, the top research journal for nurse scientists.

From feature in the Yale School of Nursing webpage (6 March 2017):

Yale School of Nursing’s Jacquelyn Taylor PhD, PNP-BC, RN, FAHA, FAAN serves as the guest editor for the March issue of Nursing Research’s special issue on Omics. It is in that capacity that Taylor, herself an award-winning genomics researcher, offered the above thesis in a commentary about the future of genomics and precision health and, specifically, the important role that nurse scientist and nurse clinicians have in the rapidly evolving healthcare environment.

According to Taylor, who penned the commentary along with colleagues from Emory University, Columbia University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, genomic sequencing is quickly becoming a routine standard of care.

READ MORE

 

 

Kenneth Reeves
MLK
Visiting Scholar of Urban Studies and Planning 

Detroit – July 23rd, 1967

This year will be the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit riot, also known as the 12th Street riot. In 1967, Detroit had a large population of home-owning black middle-class and blue-collar residents, and the city was synonymous with the American Dream. This was due in large part to strong unions, high employment, and a thriving auto industry. How then did a police raid on a blind pig, an after-hours bar, cause four days of mayhem which irreparably harmed Detroit from 1967 to the present day? Despite the many rationals that were used to explain the riot, the causes are socially, economically, and racially complicated. I will take a vivid eyewitness approach to examining the riot, which erupted three blocks from my childhood home. Additionally, I will share my analysis of Detroit stemming from monthly visits to the city over the past two years. We will discuss the future of Detroit in the aftermath of this crisis, and we will extrapolate the lessons learned from Detroit to other American cities like Ferguson and Baltimore. In essence, we will be looking back to look in order to forward.

This talk will be accessible to a general audience.

If you are able to attend, please reply to Shauna Bush-Fenty (sfenty@mit.edu) with any dietary restrictions, accessibility considerations or other needs.

The Intersection of 12th Street and Clairmount, Saturday, July 23, 1967. Courtesy of the Detroit Free Press

From “Ta-Nehisi Coates on Creating Black Superheroes,” The New York Times (2 March 2017):

When Marvel Comics announced in September 2015 that Ta-Nehisi Coates would be writing a new Black Panther series, the timing could not have been more fortuitous. That same month, Mr. Coates, who writes regularly for The Atlantic, was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” and, two months later, a National Book Award for nonfiction for Between the World and Me, his passionate letter to his son about being black in America.

The momentum for the hero was also tremendous. Issue No. 1 of Black Panther hit stores last April and went on to sell more than 300,000 copies, according to Marvel. He then made his big screen debut in May, with “Captain America: Civil War,” and was played by Chadwick Boseman, who will reprise the role in a solo film next year. In July came Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, a collected edition of the first four issues of the comic. It was followed, in November, by World of Wakanda, a companion series in which Mr. Coates introduced two more newcomers to the roster of comic-book scribes: the feminist writer Roxane Gay and the poet Yona Harvey. This April comes a new series, Black Panther and the Crew, a team comprising only black heroes, written by Mr. Coates and Ms. Harvey.

Mr. Coates answered questions about the success of Black Panther, his approach to writing, the members of the Crew and what’s next.

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Black and White: Photography from the Chesapeake Bay watershed by Bill Emory
“zoning” – 23 February 2017

William Harris, Sr., along with attorney Kim Rolla, presented “The Facts on Gentrification, Zoning, and Form-Based Code” at the Jefferson School in Chesapeake Bay.

Aerospace engineer Aprille Joy Ericsson ’86, a mission manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and an alumna of MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, recalled Wednesday how a conversation with Martin Luther King Jr. affected a Hollywood actress’s career decision — and in turn helped to inspire Ericsson and many others of her generation to enter the world of aerospace engineering.

Nichelle Nichols, the actress who played Lieutenant Uhura on the original Star Trek series, was not under contract, Ericsson explained in her keynote talk at MIT’s 43rd annual celebration of King’s life and work. “King shared with her that Star Trek was one of the few TV shows he would let his children watch, primarily because of her role as chief technical officer on the Starship Enterprise,” which was so different than most portrayals of African-American women on television. After her conversation with King, Nichols reconsidered her plans to leave the show. She went on to provide a role model that Ericsson said helped propel her and many others into a career in the space program.

“Space travel has become a routine part of our daily lives,” though it remains a dangerous occupation, Ericsson said. Recalling the daring commitment that President John F. Kennedy made, launching the U.S. toward landing on the moon, “I believe that challenge is before us again,” she said.

Ericsson graduated from MIT just four months after the first space shuttle disaster, the Challenger accident in 1986. She earned her doctorate at Howard University and soon after went to work for NASA. “I followed my dream to explore space,” she says. But that road was not without its obstacles. “Discrimination affects us all,” she said. And yet, “inclusion of women and minorities” in working teams of all kinds, “is imperative. When I work with science and engineering teams, I know that each one on that team is important.”

“We scientists are agents of change,” she said. “Let’s embrace [Star Trek creator] Gene Roddenberry’s vision of diversity in space. We must work together across the differences of skin color, gender, and religion. … We are making this journey together, in a drive to make this world a better place.”

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