Friday, January 06, 2006

January Is IAP at MIT

It's Independent Activities Period at MIT once again. Here are my picks for this year. The full list of courses is at

Mega Energy Projects
Peter Evans, Nicholas Alan McKenna
Tue Jan 10, Thu Jan 12, Tue Jan 17, Thu Jan 19, 10am-12:00pm, Building E51-149

Enrollment limited: first come, first served
Signup by: 09-Jan-2006
Limited to 40 participants.
Participants requested to attend all sessions (non-series)

Mega energy projects are complex, high impact projects that range from $1 to $20 billion dollars. They can yield important benefits but also generate strong resistance given their potentially large social, environmental and geopolitical impacts. This course will provide an integrated approach to understanding the growing trend toward mega energy projects worldwide. The course will draw on systems architecture, system dynamics, organizational theory and transaction cost economics to understand why these complex social and technical projects are often delayed and run over budget. It will also draw on theories of international relations, political economy, and transnational interest group politics to understand the broader forces that cause mega-energy projects to succeed or fail.
Contact: Peter Evans, E40-441, x4-1497,

MIT Campus Sustainability - Challenges and Responses
Steven Lanou, Robert Cunkelman
Tue Jan 10, 12-01:00pm, Building 56-114

Enrollment limited: advance sign up required (see contact below)
Signup by: 06-Jan-2006
Limited to 60 participants.
Single session event
Prereq: None

A presentation and discussion on MIT's campus environmental challenges and the programs and activities to minimize their impacts. Includes special presentation on MIT's green building program and innovative Stata Center "Bioswale" water recycling and stormwater management system by MIT Senior Engineer, Bob Cunkelman. Moderated by Steven Lanou (MCP '98), Deputy Director, Sustainability Program(Environmental Programs Office)
This workshop is part of the Environmental Writing Contest Initiative.
Contact: Nancy Boyce, E51-296,

A CEE Sampler
Peter Shanahan
No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Participants welcome at individual sessions (series)

An Introduction to Civil and Environmental Engineering

Civil and environmental engineers address the interactions between people and the built and natural environments. This lecture series provides an overview of the problems solved by civil and environmental engineers as well as some of the current research in MITs CEE department. If you are a freshman considering CEE as a major or anyone interested in learning a little more about our department and discipline, we welcome you to attend one or all sessions.
Contact: Jeanette Marchocki, 1-281, x3-7106,

Sponsor: Civil and Environmental Engineering

Transportation Issues for the 21st Century; Challenges for CEE
Professor Joseph Sussman
Transportation provides services vital to a functioning society and economic development, but also creates negative externalities such as air pollution and excessive energy use. These issues have both a technological and an institutional aspect. This lecture through several examples will illustrate some approaches to dealing with the opportunities and problems in the transportation realm.
Tue Jan 10, 04-05:00pm, Room 1-150

Seawalls: Are they Sons of Beaches or not?
Professor Ole Madsen
The evolution of the Town of Chatham, MA, beaches following the breach of Nauset Beach in January 1987 and subsequent construction of seawalls will be presented along with some experimental results on erosion and deposition in front of seawalls.
Thu Jan 12, 04-05:00pm, Room 1-150

Collapse of the Nicoll Highway
Professor Andrew Whittle
As Boston completes the Big Dig, the civil engineering community in Singapore is recovering from the catastrophic failure of an excavation for the new MRT Circle Line subway in April 2004 that killed four people. This talk will summarize the forensic investigations that have uncovered the underlying structural, geotechnical and construction causes of the failure.
Fri Jan 13, 04-05:00pm, Room 1-150

Issues in Technology and Policy Seminar Series
Renee Robins
No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Participants welcome at individual sessions (series)

Many policy issues involve the application, commercialization, and control of technologies. This annual seminar series explores selected issues in technology and policy, including examples from areas such as energy, telecommunications, and space exploration. This year the series includes a two-part workshop on "Complexity." Bring brown bag lunch; light refreshments provided.
Contact: Renee Robins, E40-381, x3-7662,

Sponsor: Technology and Policy Program

An Introduction to Complexity
Bill Nuttall Cambridge University
This 2-part workshop provides a wide-ranging and fast-moving introduction to the science of complexity and its application to problems found in physics, ecology, geology and organizations. The goals are to help participants recognize signs of complexity in seemingly unstructured phenomena and to introduce concepts of complexity that can be used in designing physical or social processes.
Tue Jan 10, Wed Jan 11, 12-02:00pm, Building E51-149, Note: two-part workshop

Electric Power Networks: Challenges and Opportunities
Marija Ilic Visiting Professor from Carnegie-Mellon
Public needs in the electric power sector are evolving. This seminar will examine evolution to new technologies and more flexible organizational structures from a systems engineering perspective, including the technical and regulatory issues surrounding the maintenance of reliable, affordable and high quality electricity service as existing infrastructure is gradually replaced with distributed small scale technologies.
Wed Jan 18, 12-01:30pm, Building E51-149

International Space Cooperation? Visions of the Future
Dava Newman Director, Technology and Policy Program
Space exploration offers great opportunity for international cooperation. Will we realize the ideal? After decades of nation-based competition resulting in a 'space race' during the Cold War, we are now in a globalized world. This seminar will address opportunities and challenges for international space cooperation, including differing perspectives between the US, Europe, Russia, Japan & China, and visions for the future.
Wed Jan 25, 12-01:30pm, Building E51-149

MyAmazon.Com? Personalization and Privacy in the Marketplace
Frank Field Senior Research Scientist, CTPID
New online retailing technologies have equipped firms with tools that move us toward a "mass market of one," where marketing and advertising are migrating to individually-targeted sales strategies applied across the mass market. As these techniques spread, some nagging public policy issues remain not only unaddressed, but increasingly hard to frame. This talk will address why this is so, and what might be done about it.
Tue Jan 31, 12-01:30pm, Building E51-149, Note: Tues. seminar this week

The Materials Science of Renewable Energy: Materials Fundamentals in Fuel Cells, Solar Cells, and Batteries
David Danielson, Josh Hertz, Elsa Olivetti, Ken Avery
No limit but advance sign up required (see contact below)
Signup by: 25-Dec-2005
Participants welcome at individual sessions (series)
Prereq: None

This course will provide a foundation for understanding materials issues underpinning three key electronic and electrochemical renewable energy devices: fuel cells, solar cells, and batteries. The operating principles, terminology, and dominant technologies will be reviewed, materials limitations will be discussed, and current research approaches will be presented. Characterization methods for these materials and devices will be presented in both classroom and hands-on settings.
Contact: David Danielson, 13-4138, x3-3157,

Plasma Science and Fusion Center IAP Series
Jeffrey Freidberg, Peter Catto, Steve Wukitch
No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Participants welcome at individual sessions (series)

This series introduces plasma physics research and areas of related interest at the Plasma Science and Fusion Center. See URL below.
Contact: Paul Rivenberg, NW16-284, x3-8101,

Sponsor: Plasma Science and Fusion Center

Star Trek: Magnetic Fusion's New Journey
Miklos Porkolab
In Cadarache, France, the world is about to embark on the largest international science project ever undertaken, building the International Tokamak Experimental Fusion Reactor (ITER), a high temperature, self-heated burning plasma experiment. This talk will present recent advances in high temperature plasma physics research on existing tokamak facilities and discuss some of the remaining physics issues surrounding ITER.
Tue Jan 10, 11am-12:00pm, Building NW17-218

The Future Prospects of Fusion Plants
Farrokh Najmabadi UC San Diego
Tue Jan 10, 02-03:00pm, Building NW17-218

America the Powerless: Facing our Nuclear Energy Dilemma
Alan Waltar Director of Energy, DOE Pacific Northwest National Lab
America once provided clear global leadership in the development of civilian nuclear power. However, a set of concerns--including a fear of radiation, waste disposal, nuclear proliferation, risk phobia and the environmentalist movement--essentially stopped nuclear power growth in the U.S. during the 1980s and 1990s. The tide is now turning and the prospects for a nuclear renaissance appear to be quite strong.
Wed Jan 11, 11am-12:00pm, Building NW17-218

Hydrodynamic Instabilities in Astrophysics and at High Energy Density
Paul Drake Laboratory for Astrophysical Simulations
In the evolution of both astrophysical systems and high-energy-density laboratory systems, hydrodynamic instabilities naturally evolve. The speaker will discuss the instabilities that appear in both environments, using examples taken from experiments aimed at Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF), from astrophysical systems, and from experiments using high-energy-density systems to address issues in astrophysics.
Wed Jan 11, 02-03:00pm, Building NW17-218

Radiation and Modern Life: Fulfilling Marie Curie's Dream
Alan Waltar Director of Energy, DOE Pacific Northwest National Lab
Radiation has been harnessed over the past hundred years to provide an astonishing array of benefits to modern life. Agriculture, medicine, industry, transportation, space exploration, public safety, environmental protection and electrical production have all been affected. In the U.S. alone, well over $400 billion is added to our economy annually from the applications of radiation, as well as over 4 million jobs.
Thu Jan 12, 10-11:00am, Building NW17-218

Out of Gas - The End of the Age of Oil
David Goodstein California Institute of Technology
The world will start to run out of cheap, conventionally-produced oil much sooner than most people expect, possibly within this decade. This talk will discuss the reasoning that leads to that conclusion and the likely consequences if it is correct. Cosponsored with the PSFC by Physics Department and the Energy Council.
Thu Jan 12, 02-03:30pm, Building 4-370

ITER-Relevant Research on Alcator C-Mod Tokamak
Bob Granetz
Despite its compact size, many of Alcator C-Mod's engineering and plasma parameters are comparable to those planned for ITER. This enables C-Mod to address a number of the physics issues relevant to ITER and to provide valuable input to ITER's design.
Fri Jan 13, 10-11:00am, Building NW17-218

Stable under Pressure: High Beta Plasmas in the (Almost) Levitated Dipole Experiment
Darren Garnier Columbia University
Fri Jan 13, 11am-12:00pm, Building NW17-218

Tour of PSFC Fusion Experiments
Tour guide to be announced
The PSFC is exploring fusion through two different devices. The Alcator C-Mod tokamak is a well tested approach that has produced decades of progress towards achieving fusion energy. The Levitated Dipole Experiment is a brand new approach, only been in operation since August. Come see what makes these experiments unique.
Fri Jan 13, 01-02:00pm, Buildings NW17-218 and NW21

The Fundamentals of Photovoltaics: Scientific, Engineering, Economic, Policy, and Market Dimensions
David Danielson, Adam Lorenz, Tonio Buonassisi
No limit but advance sign up required (see contact below)
Signup by: 05-Jan-2006
Participants welcome at individual sessions (series)
Prereq: None

The aim of this course is to provide a broad overview of the scientific, engineering, economic, and policy drivers and challenges for traditional and next-generation photovoltaic technologies. The course will consist of a series of lectures featuring guests from the MIT community and beyond and tours of a local solar energy manufacturing plant and a PV installation at MIT. The technical emphasis of the course will be strong but balanced, to expand the horizons of both individuals with scientific & engineering as well as non-technical backgrounds.
Contact: David Danielson, 13-4138, (617) 512-2646,

Sponsor: Energy Club

Photovolatics (PV): Basics and Context
Tonio Buonassisi (Research Scientist at Evergreen Solar)
Wed Jan 11, 07-08:30pm, Building 3-442

PV Materials & Technologies
Tonio Buonassisi (Research Scientist at Evergreen Solar)
Wed Jan 18, 07-08:30pm, Building 3-442

MIT PV Installation Tour
Steve Lanou
We will tour one of MIT's new PV installations.

Space is limited, so please sign up early! Email Dave Danielson,, to sign up.
Tue Jan 24, 10am-12:00pm, TBD

PV Manufacturing & Installation
Adam Lorenz (MIT Alum - Research Engineer @ Evergreen Solar)
Wed Jan 25, 07-08:30pm, Building 3-442

Evergreen Solar Manufacturing Plant Tour
David Danielson, Adam Lorenz, Tonio Buonassisi
We will have a guided tour of Evergreen Solar's PV manufacturing plant in Marlborough, MA. We will arrange for carpooling. Space is limited, so sign up early! Email Dave Danielson,, to sign-up.
Thu Jan 26, 11am-02:00pm, Evergreen Solar

PV Economics, Policy, and Markets
Michael Rogol
Wed Feb 1, 07-08:30pm, Building 3-442

Out of Gas - The End of the Age of Oil
David Goodstein California Institute of Technology
Thu Jan 12, 02-03:30pm, Building 4-370

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up

The world will start to run out of cheap, conventionally-produced oil much sooner than most people expect, possibly within this decade. This talk will discuss the reasoning that leads to that conclusion and the likely consequences if it is correct. It may be possible, with considerable difficulty, to substitute other fossil fuels for the missing oil, but if we do that we may do irreparable damage to Earth's climate. And even then we would start to run out of all fossil fuels, including coal, probably within this century. Can civilization survive if that happens? We will consider the possibilities.
Contact: Paul Rivenberg, NW16-284, x3-8101,

What is the $100 Laptop and How Can I Participate?
Walter Bender, Mako Hill, David Cavallo
Thu Jan 12, 06-09:00pm, Building e15-283a

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Single session event

The MIT Media Lab has launched a new research initiative to develop a $100 laptop -- a technology that could revolutionize how we educate the world's children. In this workshop, we will describe the current state of the hardware and software and brainstorm as to how MIT community members can contribute to the project. Pizza will be served.
Contact: Walter Bender, E15-208, x3-7331,

IDEAS Competition - Seminars on Success
Alison Hynd
Enrollment limited: first come, first served
Participants welcome at individual sessions (series)
Prereq: None

The IDEAS Competition is an invention and enterpreneurship competition with community service at its core. IDEAS encourages teams to develop and implement projects that make a positive change in the world. Each year, at least six teams win IDEAS awards of $2500, $5000, and $7500 to develop and implement their projects. This series is designed to help your team succeed in the IDEAS Competition through information sessions, project consulting, and workshops.
Contact: Alison Hynd, 7-133, x8-0691,

Sponsor: Edgerton Center
Cosponsor: Public Service Center

How to Win the IDEAS Competition!
Alison Hynd
Past winners and IDEAS staff offer insights and strategies for succesful project development and applications. Learn more about the Competition, get answers for your questions, and learn about the differences between winning projects and the rest.
Thu Jan 12, 06-08:00pm, Building 4-402

IDEAS Competition Project Consulting
Alison Hynd
Thinking of entering IDEAS this year? Come and meet with IDEAS staff and mentors to brainstorm ideas, get feedback on your project plans, and to get help accessing the resources you need.

Won the Competition in a previous year? This is a great opportunity to consult with the IDEAS staff and get continuing support for your project.

Creativity: It's All In Your Head
Ruth Levitsky, Toastmasters@MIT, Cherylle Garnes, Ray Valvano, Kevin Carlson, David Marshall
Sat Jan 14, 10am-12:30pm, Building E51-372

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Signup by: 13-Jan-2006
Limited to 40 participants.
Single session event

Most people stopped being creative by the third grade. In this interactive team presentation you will learn tips, techniques and games to sharpen, enhance and spark your creativity in all areas of your life.
Contact: Ruth Levitsky, Toastmasters@MIT, E52-252, x3-3399,

It's All About the Interface: Speech Recognition That Works for Both Human and Computer
Mary Ziegler, Kimberly Patch, President, Redstart Systems
Tue Jan 17, 11am-01:00pm, Building 3-133

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up

Although it has been possible to use speech to control a desktop computer for the past decade or so, the technology has not lived up to its potential for speeding and simplifying computer use. Kim Patch, President of Redstart Systems, will talk about why this is and why it doesn't have to be. She'll also demonstrate Utter Command -- a speech interface that addresses classic interface challenges including speedy access to folders, files and Web sites, command consistency across programs, break reminders, and managing time.
Contact: Mary Ziegler, 7-143, 258-9328,

The UN Millennium Report: An International Response to Global Environmental Challenges
Dr. Matthew Gardner, Ms. Xanat Flores
Tue Jan 17, 12-01:00pm, Building 56-114

Enrollment limited: advance sign up required (see contact below)
Signup by: 13-Jan-2006
Limited to 60 participants.
Single session event
Prereq: none

Dr. Matthew Gardner, Executive Director of the MIT Earth Science Initiative, will present an overview of the UN Millennium Report which identifies environmental challenges as well as recommendations for action on global environmental issues.
Ms. Flores Xanat Flores, PhD Candidate, Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory,(CEE) will report on an MIT response to the Millennium Report: the SODIS (SOlar DISinfection) Bags Project which focuses on creating simple and inexpensive solutions to purify water in rural communities in developing countries by using solar radiation to disinfect microbially contaminated water.
This workshop is part of the Environmental Writing Contest Initiative.
Contact: Nancy Boyce, E51-296,

Nuclear Energy and National Security
Mujid Kazimi
Tue Jan 17, Thu Jan 19, Tue Jan 24, Thu Jan 26, 01:30-04:30pm, Building 32-141

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Participants welcome at individual sessions (series)

Series of eight lectures on the promise and challenge posed by nuclear energy development to national security. First lecture each day covers Elements of Proliferation Resistance of Nuclear Energy and introduces the uninitiated to the basic concepts involved. Second lecture each day offers broad Perspectives on Security Issues and Nuclear Power Development for the more informed audience. Speakers: Prof. George Apostolakis; Adm. Frank (Skip) Bowman, NEI President; Prof. John Deutch; and Prof. Ernest Moniz. Students and the MIT community are invited to attend any part or all of the program.
Contact: Dr. Walter Kato, 24-214, 253-8643,

Design for Demining (Landmine Removal) Informational Open House
Andrew Heafitz
Wed Jan 18, 12-01:00pm, Building 4-402
Wed Jan 18, 01-02:00pm, Building 4-402

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Repeating event. Participants welcome at any session

SP.776 Design for Demining (landmine removal) is holding an Open House for students interested in taking this spring term design class. Pizza for the first 30 students. Presentations and demos at 12:00 and 1:00. Come try out actual protective equipment and tools!

Landmines persist in many countries. This is an exciting chance to invent things that could really change or save people's lives. The class runs like a real development firm. You can invent brand new things, or work on established projects, help blast test them and deploy them with professional deminers around the world. The class includes a field trip to the US Army's Demining Training Center, (no live landmines), and visits by deminers to evaluate our work. This is real product design! Students from all majors are welcome. Come to the Open House to find out more.
Contact: Andrew Heafitz,

Designing Telematic Sculpture for Mediated Conversation
Judith Donath, Karrie Karahalios
Mon Jan 16 thru Thu Jan 19, 10:30am-12:30pm, Building E15-335

Enrollment limited: advance sign up required (see contact below)
Signup by: 16-Jan-2006
Limited to 15 participants.
Participants requested to attend all sessions (non-series)

We have been commissioned to create a set of telematic sculptures that will be publicly exhibited as part of the the ISEA festival in San Jose in August 2006. These human scale artworks will exist in a cafe where they will enable remote users to communicate with patrons of the cafe.

This course will explore the design of these telematic sculptures. We will cover topics including facial cognition, non-linguistic speech components, and expressive animation. We will create prototypes of several designs, including the remote interface used to control them, the physical design of the sculpture, and its interactive components.
Contact: Judith Donath, E15-392, x3-5098,

The Future of Materials Science
Joseph Walish
Mon Jan 16 thru Fri Jan 20, 01-02:30pm, Building 35-410 Chipman Room

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Participants welcome at individual sessions (series)
Prereq: none

Ever wondered whats next in materials research? Thinking about graduate school but dont know what to do? The Future of Materials Science seminar series aims to answer these and other questions as a group of distinguished speakers lecture on nanotechnology, biotechnology, computational materials science, and other interesting topics. Please join us as we explore this exciting field of research.
Contact: Joseph Walish, 13-5095, x8-6135,

Humans and Technology Symposium
Mary Cummings, Stacey Scott, Enlie Wang
Mon Jan 23 thru Fri Jan 27, 09am-05:00pm, Building 33-116

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Participants welcome at individual sessions (series)
Prereq: none

The Humans and Automation Laboratory ( is hosting a week-long symposium to raise awareness of human-centered technology design, research methods, and practices. The goal of the symposium is to expose professionals and students from all disciplines to the benefits of human-centered research and practices. This symposium will also provide researchers and practitioners from various related fields such as Human Factors, Human-Computer Interaction, Science and Technology, etc., to gain an awareness of the states of the art in an informal and collaborative environment.
Contact: Stacey Scott, 33-407, x8-5046,

Power Up!: Strategies for Getting Energy Information
Angie Locknar, Chris Sherratt
Tue Jan 24, 10-11:00am, Building 14N-132

Enrollment limited: first come, first served
Single session event

Information on energy is everywhere! How do you find what you need and keep on the cutting edge of what is published? Attend this hands-on session to find out.
Contact: Angie Locknar, 14s-134, x3-9320,

The State of the World Economy
Olivier Blanchard, Robert Solow
Tue Jan 24, 01-02:00pm, Building E51-325

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Single session event

A tour of the world, and the main macroeconomic issues of the day, from growth in China, to the slump in Europe, to the current account deficit in the United States.
Contact: Denise MacDougall, E52-252, x3-3971,

The Economics of E-Retail
Sara Ellison
Thu Jan 26, 10:30-11:30am, E51-372

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Single session event

This talk is meant as an introduction to some of the interesting economic questions that arise in e-retailing with many real-world examples.
Contact: Denise MacDougall, E52-352, x3-3971,

Battling the Hydra: The Al Anbar Insurgency from the Perspective of a U.S. Marine
Colonel G. H. Bristol
Mon Jan 30, 10am-02:00pm, Building E38-714

Enrollment limited: first come, first served
Limited to 20 participants.
Single session event

Operation IRAQI FREEDOM is one of the most complex operations faced by US Armed Forces. The Al Anbar Province is the most volatile area in Iraq. Facing Sunni disenfranchisement, a kaleidoscopic insurgency, and triple border incursions and tension, the Marine Corps battles a "three block war" daily.

The class details the 2004-2005 year in a combat zone of the 1st Marine Division. Topics include organization for combat, intelligence architecture and collection, tactical success and failure, insurgency analysis, effects-based targeting, and combined operations with Iraqi Security Forces.

Col. George H. Bristol, USMC is Commandant of the Marine Corps Fellow at SSP. A 30-year Marine Corps officer, he was the G-2 for 1st Marine Division during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM II.
Contact: Colonel G. H. Bristol, E38-670, x8-9440,

The First Families in Space - Presentation & Discussion
Joseph Palaia 4Frontiers Corporation, Mars Foundation, Mars Society, Bruce Mackenzie, Martha Adams
Mon Jan 30, 01-02:00pm, Building 33-116

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Single session event

Audience discussion of the raising of the first children on Mars or elsewhere in space. What ethical questions arise from proposing to raise children in a (possibly) unsafe environment? What physical support is needed? What kind of robotics and remote assistance will be needed from Earth? What is the minimum satisfactory number of adults and children? Is a nuclear family the best family model? Finally - what impact will this have on our society here on Earth?
Contact: Joseph Palaia, (508) 561-2232,

Google, or Google Scholar: That is the Question!
Amy Stout, Kate Gyllensvard
Wed Feb 1, 03-04:00pm, Building 14N-132

Enrollment limited: first come, first served
Limited to 30 participants.
Single session event

Is Google the best tool to search for scholarly information? Or is Google Scholar? Are there other choices? Search these databases and more to find out. The results may surprise you!
Contact: Angie Locknar, 14s-134, x3-9320,


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