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Seventeen With MIT Ties Earn NAE Membership: Four Professors Among MIT's Inductees for 2002

By Jennifer DeBoer


The National Academy of Engineering [NAE] elected 74 new members last week, including 17 with ties to MIT.

“It was something of a surprise to me,” said Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering James C. Keck, after finding out from a colleague on Friday. “I’ve been retired for some ten years, and it’s very nice to be remembered like this.”

Professor of Chemistry and Material Science and Engineering Klavs F. Jensen, who learned of his selection the day before the official announcement was made, was also pleasantly surprised.

“It’s gratifying to be recognized by your peers,” Jensen said.

Other MIT faculty and staff inducted into the NAE include Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Berthold K.P. Horn SM ’70, Department Head and Professor of Material Science and Engineering Subra Suresh ScD ’81, and Artificial Intelligence Lab Research Affiliate Richard M. Stallman.

Winners attribute success to MIT

Jensen cited MIT as one of the reasons he was able to accomplish the work that led to his induction into the NAE. “It makes you appreciate what a great place it is to be,” Jensen said. “It gives you the opportunity to do the kinds of work that leads to this kind of recognition.”

Jensen also gave credit to the MIT community for its supportive atmosphere. “You benefit from the students and the colleagues,” he said.

Keck, whose work with internal combustion engines was recognized after his retirement from teaching, was not surprised to learn of the high proportion of MIT-affiliated inductees.

“It’s nice to know that you’re affiliated with such a premier institution,” Keck said.

Keck spent 25 years at MIT doing the research that earned his induction. “One kind of always hopes that one’s work will be recognized,” Keck said. “I was very pleased.”

Twelve other alums elected

In addition to those with current ties to MIT, twelve alumni were elected to the NAE. Alumni included Rakesh Agrawal ScD ’60, Frank S. Bates SM ’79, Chung “Morris” Chang ’52, Ross B. Corotis ’67, Henry Cox ScD ’63, Robert E. Dickinson SM ’62, Robert E. Fontana, Jr. ’71, Cherry A. Murray ’73, Neil E. Paton PhD ’69, Stephen M. Pollock SM ’60, Murray B. Sachs ’62, and David W. Thompson ’77.

Academy honors top engineers

Membership in the NAE is an honor awarded to those who have made “important contributions to engineering theory and practice” and those who have demonstrated “unusual accomplishment in the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology,” according to the NAE Web site.

NAE membership now totals 1,857 active members and 250 members emeriti in the U.S., in addition to 158 international members. New members are elected by current NAE members each year.