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News Briefs

NAS Inducts Four MIT Faculty

Four MIT faculty are among the 72 recently-elected members of the National Academy of Sciences. Professors Shafrira Goldwasser, Nancy H. Hopkins, Ronald L. Rivest, and Maria Zuber were selected for their achievements in original research. They join 55 other current MIT faculty as members of the prestigious group.

A professor in Course VI (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science), Goldwasser leads the Cryptography and Information Security Group in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, where her research is focused on complexity theory.

Hopkins, the Course VII (Biology) Amgen Professor, studies the genes necessary for early development in zebrafish and the role of these genes in the predisposition to cancer of adult zebrafish.

Rivest, the reason for the ‘R’ in RSA, was an inventor of the RSA public-key cryptosystem. Like Goldwasser, he is a founding member of the Cryptography and Information Security Group in CSAIL. He has done extensive work in cryptography and algorithmic research.

Zuber is the department head for Course XII (Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences). Her research ranges from the modeling of geophysical processes to the development and implementation of space-based laser ranging systems.

Including the newly elected members, 123 members of the NAS have had affiliations with MIT.

Also newly elected to the NAS are 18 foreign associates, including former MIT Dean of Science Robert J. Birgeneau, who is now the president of the University of Toronto.

Hopkins, the chair of the School of Science committee that released a 1999 report on the status of women faculty at MIT, commented on the large number of women faculty selected for the NAS. “It’s a fluke of small numbers, but it’s a pretty spectacular fluke,” Hopkins said. She added that this was the “result of hiring terrific women and giving them the resources to do science.”

According to the NAS web site, the NAS is a private group that was chartered by Congress in 1863 with a mandate to advise the federal government on scientific issues.

-- Kelley Rivoire

MIT Undergrad Robbed Near Sidney-Pacific

An MIT undergraduate was the victim of an unarmed robbery outside the Sidney-Pacific Graduate Residence early on Friday morning, according to an MIT Police report.

The victim, who wished to remain anonymous, said that he noticed five black males following him as he walked home from Central Square. He said he ran towards the dormitory, where he is not a resident, but was kicked by the suspects before he was able to get there. The victim gave the suspects ten dollars on demand, after which the suspects took his wallet. The police report said that the victim’s credit cards and an additional $13 were taken.

The victim said that he was bumped on his head and suffered a bruise to his face, though he does not remember being hit. He said that he pressed the blue emergency call button outside Sidney-Pacific, summoning the MIT Police. He was taken to MIT Medical, and medical tests did not find any serious injuries.

John Di Fava, director of office security and campus police services, said that the installation of additional lighting near Sidney Pacific is an ongoing project. He also said he hopes to move an ATM into the dormitory.

Di Fava recommends that residents use common sense when going out at night. He said that the Cambridge Police has been cooperative with MIT Police efforts to lower crime in the area, allowing MIT Police to share data with the Cambridge Police and having additional patrols in the Central Square area.

Residents of Sidney-Pacific were concerned about the robbery, but said that the robbery did not cause changes in their daily activities.

Adrian K. C. Lee G said that he has the Cambridge Police phone number stored in his cell phone and arranges his schedule to avoid walking alone late at night.

Benjamin Estevez G said that though he was surprised by the robbery, he was “not really worried.”

Anthony H. Kim G said “I don’t pay much attention” to the crime in the area, but added that he tries to be careful when out in the area.

-- Kelley Rivoire