Introducing MechE Connects

Mary Boyce“Enjoy this first issue of MechE Connects… I hope this venture opens dynamic new dialogues with our alumni and friends and connects a community engaged in lifelong learning.”

Mary C. Boyce, Gail Kendall Professor of Engineering

Dear Friends,

I am happy to introduce the first issue of MechE Connects. We see this publication as a platform linking more than 5,000 undergraduate and 6,000 graduate program alumni to the department. We also see it as a vehicle for sharing snapshots of the advances emerging from the labs, classrooms, and students of Mechanical Engineering @ MIT. With more than 70 faculty members, 450 undergraduates, 450 graduate students, and 60 postdoctoral associates/fellows pushing the frontiers of mechanical engineering, there is a lot of news to share.

We have maintained our U.S. News and World Report ranking as the number one mechanical engineering department at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Our research is bringing engineering solutions to a spectrum of global challenges, including clean and renewable energy technologies, next generation technologies for water purification and desalination, and breakthrough instrumentation and controls for medical treatment and biomedical exploration. We are designing systems for underwater exploration and environmental monitoring and materials and technologies for protection of our first responders and soldiers. We also are exploring and decoding optimized designs stemming from the biomimetics of fish swimming, clam burrowing, snail locomotion, and natural armor structures. These projects range from the fundamental engineering science underpinnings to the design and fabrication of new structures, devices, and systems.

This inaugural edition of MechE Connects features Professor Gang Chen. Together with colleagues, Gang has just solved a one-hundred-year-old physics challenge. But that is just a small part of his research portfolio. Gang led a  multi-department and multi-university team of researchers to win a DOE Engineering Frontier Research Center (EFRC)—the Solid-State Solar-Thermal Energy Conversion Center (S3TEC). S3TEC aims to advance fundamental science and engineering in the development of materials and devices to harness heat—from the sun and terresterial sources—and convert it into electricity via solid-state thermoelectric and thermophotovoltaic technologies.

MechE Connects will be disseminated twice a year by mail and on the Web, giving everyone with an internet connection the opportunity to stay current. As you read the web edition, we hope you will be inspired to view the websites linked to the content pages and to strengthen your connection to Mechanical Engineering @ MIT.

Enjoy this first issue of MechE Connects, and please drop us a line at with ideas for news or features. I hope this venture opens dynamic new dialogues with our alumni and friends and connects a community engaged in lifelong learning.

Boyce Signature

Mary Boyce, Gail E. Kendall Professor of Engineering
Head of Department