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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

Professorial Help by Matt McGann '00

Thanks to the faculty.

While we continue working 7 days a week toward selecting the Class of 2010, I’d like to take an opportunity to thank the many awesome faculty members who have helped out with selection this year, including Alex Slocum, Steve Graves, Daniel Hastings, and Paul Gray. Each year, many brilliant professors assist in choosing the class. In previous years, these faculty members have included Wolfgang Ketterle, Patrick Henry Winston and Don Sadoway.

Speaking of Professor Sadoway, there was a nice article about him in the Boston Globe a week ago. Check it out:

…Sadoway, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, works to make metal smelters environmentally benign. He invents materials and batteries that will help the world transition from a fossil-fuel-powered world to an “electrochemical” world where energy will be produced and stored cleanly. He tries to incorporate ethics into engineering.

“People are beginning to realize that climate change is the number one problem facing humanity, and I want to be in the cadre of engineers and scientists who come up with solutions,” he said.

His latest attempt to help people through science lies on a table in his office: a thin blue square that produces about as much energy as a quadruple-A battery, but has the look and feel of a potato chip bag folded in half. The sLimcell as Sadoway calls the flimsy battery, is basically made of thin foils – a radical departure from traditional batteries, which are typically heavy and filled with liquids.

One day, powerful but lightweight batteries like the sLimcell prototype will set people free of power outlets and the gas pump, powering everything from laptops to electric cars, Sadoway said.

That, in turn, will allow environmentalism to move forward. Electric cars will no longer be limited by heavy batteries with brief lives, and a “green” choice won’t mean a sacrifice.

You can read more articles about how MIT is trying to improve the environment at Environment in depth.

56 responses to “Professorial Help”

  1. Siddharth says:

    so here’s the team stats for last thread:

    me: got 1st post and 100th post

    gm: got post 101.

    chris: got the last post, 153.

    can’t anybody beat us??


  2. Siddharth says:

    wow, that’s cool, but i have some comments:

    “He tries to incorporate ethics into engineering.”

    He can try, but nobody can succeed, engineers are evil by nature…. ;D

    and im assuming the potato chip bag is empty… but u can never be too sure w/ these things….

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hi Matt

    I was curious, do you know when you will be done with RA selection for domestic applicants? Also, do you have any idea when decisions will be online, or sent out in the mail?

  4. supermario says:

    hey siddhartha nice stats from last post, and i was just thinking about how fitting the title of this post is “professorial help” sounds a lot liek professional help which is surely what we all need after the 153 we put up last time.

  5. C Minh says:

    Hi hi, some of us seem to always live in the blogs. So surprised that you can manage so much time.

  6. gm says:

    Thanks Sidd. lol. Thanks Mr. McGann for the post, I never knew professors helped out with the selections!

  7. chris says:

    sidd, with such an invincible team…i dont think its possible smile

  8. richa. says:

    Hmmm… that’s interesting. I am curious to know more about this battery like will it require replacement from time to time? Will the electrode and the electrolyte (if being used) get exhausted?

  9. gm says:

    I have the same question exactly… how will the slimcell be recharged? Can it be recharged? How long does it last?

  10. Siddharth says:

    Hey all!

    This is Siddharth, NOT to be confused with the Siddharth Shah of “the 1st and 100th post” fame.

    Just thought I’d say “hi” to all of you, and “good luck”. Wonder if anyone’s online now…


  11. Siddharth says:

    Can’t believe people are jobless enough to live on this blog. I’ve got studies to do. Board exams around the corner (closer, actually =) ).

    Any compulsive commenters here who live in India. I’m guessing my namesake is an Indian who lives in the U.S. ?


  12. AnnaKot says:

    Hi everyone!

    quote supermario, “Sounds like MIT even has the solution for global warming”

    The solution is obvious smile – to stop harming the planet, ‘coz the reason for the thing is our own actions.

    ..but so many wonderful scient. solutions are just not integral to the vision of many-many people, whose profit depends on conventional means of energy, engeneering, etc.. People has plenty of solutions for global warming. And I am sure, MIT also has. But it’s one thing to have them, and another – to make them workable despite any economical and political structures. We could fly without much effort and fuel if they were applied freely smile) Could you believe that it’s possible? wink

    Sorry, supermario, it’s just close and a bit important to me. smile

  13. Anonymous says:

    I got a question on the financial aid application.

    MyMIT says there is a _postmark deadline_ on March 1.

    But the Financial Aid Page tells, that all applications MIT _receives_ after March 1 will probably not be considered.

    On which information should I rely? I waited for my parents’ tax return which I knew to be finished these days. Now, my application is ready to be sent.

    Will MIT not consider my finaid-application if it arrives on March 1 + 3-5 days?

    I have been wondering about the postmark deadline, since MIT sends finaid-decisions along with the admission notification, but the entry on MyMIT was explicit.

    Thanks in advance.


    What about sending a fax??

  14. Fadl says:

    Hi everyone! I never knew that so many people are involved in the admission process! A few weeks ago I was reading at MyMIT about a new super capacitor that might one day replace traditional alkaline batteries and now I find out that there another battery called sLimcell has also has been invented! It seems that inventions grow on trees at MIT!! smile

  15. Hey Everyone!

    Wow Matt, like others who have posted here, I had no idea professors took part in selection too. On what basis do you choose the professors who get to enter the selection committee? Just curious smile

    That article is amazing! I mean, the solution to global warming will probably come from the combined efforts of many of the world’s greatest minds, and what better place to look than MIT smile And that battery seems to have low power, but if it could be made into a Double-A type battery or stronger then it could most certainly replace regular ones!

    Once again, Good Luck to all RA applicants and Deferred EA Applicants…I’m sure the wait is killing us all! And Matt and the entire admissions team….THANK YOU for everything..really your hard efforts are what keep MIT Number 1 for us, and I’m sure you’d be happy to know that so you can keep up the good work!

    Abdulaziz (Aziz) Albahar

    P.S. Hey Fadl what part of the middle east are u from? I’m from Kuwait smile

  16. Nina says:

    A friend of mine told me that I live in an imaginary world. “Nowadays mathematician don’t solve great problems – they are just improving approximations. Nowadays engineers don’t find out new alternative and effective technologies – they just try to calculate more rapidly the equations of old ones. Nowadays musicians don’t write perfect symphonies. They just make noise”. I was very despaired and spent a few hours thinking and sobbing. I was totaly disappointed and completely sad. But then I read all this and…. believed that my “imaginary world” is REAL! And that everything is possible. So I just smiled and got back to work! Thank you! =) And.. one more thing – never give up your own world and your dreams!

  17. C Minh says:

    Is it difficult to produce such battery. I think the battery can be recharged for it is mentioned that it can be used for car.

  18. hahaha i am one of those who seem to live in the blogs wink

    P.S: I am kind of confused, there are 2 Siddharth? :S

  19. Shikhar says:

    MIT is doing so much its hard to keep track of it..:D

    Neways i think i am visiting myMIT too often coz in the last 8 days 4 of the interesting facts of the day had already been know to me…so point to note “shikhar saxena will spend lesser time at MyMIT”…:D

    Matt listen i wanted to ask that for people who have like already completed their class 12 and are applying after a gap year from India..Can they only send their class 10 and 12 external marksheet and skip the internal school ones (as basically the ICSE and ISC is the only educational recognition which a school student will in India schools do not give their own diploma)

  20. Shikhar says:

    The postmark deadline for the financial aid material is march 1 nuff said..

  21. Shikhar says:

    hehe i noticed you ask about compulsive commentar siddharth..well i have been one since may 2005..i mean even the above comment could have waited a long time but then i had nothing to say so asked..

  22. Siddharth says:

    yeah im the “real” Siddharth. the other guy always signs his name “Sid” at the end of his posts. but im the only one of us who’s actually WORTH anything raspberry

    Other Siddharth: u might want to pick a new posting name, maybe “Sid” (i think thats ur nickname), b/c u always sign ur posts “Sid” and i really do call myself Siddharth…. deal?

  23. Siddharth says:

    hey! who WOULDNT want to be confused with me??!!! what’re u trying to say, pal? ____ j/k :D ____ nice to meet u, O other Siddharth.

    i am not ur namesake; u r MY namesake (i.e., u were named after me, not the other way around). but yes, i am an indian in am :D

    enjoy exams. im going to be taking my last high school trimester exams ever tues-thurs. it’s gonna be a blast :(

    i love senior year, its so full of “last time i…” things :D

    and lots of new things, like senior privileges, which actually arent much to speak of…

  24. Siddharth says:

    When were you born? To decide who is whose namesake.


  25. Hi matt is good to see that a lot of ppl interested in the class of 2010. U cant imagine how nervous i am. The article about professor Sadoway shows that MIT is very concerned not only in science and technology but also the enviorment.

    “One day, powerful but lightweight batteries like the sLimcell prototype will set people free of power outlets and the gas pump, powering everything from laptops to electric cars, Sadoway said.”


    Keep up the good work matt. I asume u are preparing a Question Omnibus wink Here is my question: Has international selection already started?

  26. Jason Murray says:

    That’s the kind of stuff that makes me want to go to MIT. It’s where the coolest stuff is being invented that will revolutionize the world ten years from now.

  27. Drew says:

    I think its great that the professors have some say in who will have the opportunity to enter their classrooms, because in fact it will be them that will have to deal with our lunacy on a weekly basis for the next four years.

    The slimcell battery sounds like a very interesting concept that also has a very promising future.

    On the comments about global warming I would like to play devil’s advocate for a second. I know that CO2 and other gases do probably have some effect on the global temperature, but there are very few ways in which this change can be tested on a global scale. The world has gone through major climatic changes in our species history, and it is difficult for myself to throw out the possibility that this warm spell is instead a result of one of these natural climatic changes. A warm age, in place of an ice-age.

  28. Fadl says:

    Hi everyone! Nina I totally believe in your ‘imaginary world’. Just one look at all the things that have been invented at MIT recently will prove that this ‘world’ is real. That is one of my dreams; to one day invent something that will help mankind. I know it sounds a bit false but believe me its true! I wish everyone the best of luck (yeah I have to end with that too Abdulaziz) smile

    PS: Abdulaziz I currently live in the UAE but am from Lebanon.

  29. Nina says:

    I’m so happy that there are other students that are sharing my “world”. I hope I will be accepted and meet at MIT a lot of them! Good luck to all of you! And, Fadl, go on dreaming! And I hope you’ll make your dreams come true! =)

  30. Chris H says:

    Hey, Anonymous…..I do not believe that Financial Aid decisions are mailed out with admission letters. That comes in April. A Financial Aid Status accompanies our admission letter…..Let’s all be presumptuously positive.

  31. Ivan Ivanov says:

    Luck on your English exam Siddharth!

  32. Sid says:

    Hey Siddharth and Siddhartha. I’m the one whose callname’s SID. BTW me siddhartha too (Siddhartha Verma, that is). So that makes 3 of us!!!!!

  33. Mridul says:

    Oh Great!

    You know that’s why I chose MIT ’cause I want to work for the enviornment. And MIT seems to be the best place.

    I’ve heard that Cambridge is the most eco-friendly place in Boston; Is it right?

    And by the way, Mr. Bush is getting concerned about the enviornment, he told the people to remove “Addiction to Oil”.

    And tomorrow, he’ll be here, in India.

    Anyway, here I provide some cool links for you guys about energy.






    And of-course you’ll find more links and ideas on my blogsite

    Seeya dere.

  34. Sid says:

    Done deal! But you still haven’t told me when you were born. So we can sort out the issue civilly!


  35. Fadl says:

    Thx Nina! I too hope that we get accepted to MIT! Maybe one day we may even invent something and inspire those who come after us! smile

    Don’t worry Mridul it will definitely be environment friendly!

  36. Nina says:

    Fadl, if it is not too rude, may I ask you for your e-mail? I’m interested in your ambitions and dreams.

  37. Hey!

    Great post Fadl, I’m sure everyone on these blogs believes in the same thing and in the same world, which is NOT imaginary and is occurring in front of us smile

    Many Lebanese people apply to MIT, and a good number of them are accepted so I hope that reflects a good chance for you wink My MIT Regional counselor for an interview was a Lebanese guy who rejected Harvard! He was a very nice guy…so what part of the UAE do you live in? Dubai? Sharjah? Ajman? Abu Dhabi? If it’s Dubai then man you’re lucky wink Hehe anyways I don’t want to turn this into a personals post!

    Good Luck to all RA Applicants AND to the admissions staff…you guys sound like you need it!

    Abdulaziz (Aziz) Albahar

    P.S. you can call me aziz smile

  38. chris says:

    whoah…im confused now? Whoose the one i’ve been talking to? And has that always been the same person??…lol

  39. Bren says:

    So Siddharth, did u enjoy the poem about the Chimney Sweeper’s? I bet I can get a higher grade than u on the Physics exam, since you are in the lower fifth of our class wink good luck anyway…MIT is AWESOME!

  40. Brent says:

    sorry I meant to post as “brent”. you may be better in english , siddharth

  41. Fadl says:

    Hey thx for the encouragement Aziz! I hope that we both get accepted and meet at MIT and laugh at all these anxious days that we sat there waiting for our acceptances! Best of luck to everyone and hopefully we’ll meet soon. smile

    PS: Nina I don’t like to post my email cuz last time I did on a web site (not this one) I got a lot of junk mail cuz of it smile

  42. Nina says:

    ok, Fadl. sorry for being that curious. I hope you’re not angry at me. Well, I have to back my lugage because I’ll go skiing for a couple of days. =) I hope when I got back there will be a decision about the online decision! =) have a nice week and happy weekend! =)

  43. The below information is only up to my knowledge and please confirm the information.

    Hi anonymous first of all I think it is never late to send the financial aid application in march. In the application booklet I received it is clearly mentioned that if a applicant is able to send the financial AID application by march 1 MIT will indicate the position of their applications and in some cases they will let them know their financial aid with the admission discussion (If he/she is admitted). If you submitted your application after march 1 it will not be possible for them to send the situation of your financial aid. And also they said that the applications after “April” 1 may be denied.

    Then SIDDARTH in ben’s blog I am also unable to track my financial aid application I just send an e-mail with my full name and MIT ID to the financial aid office and found that my application had reached there safely.

  44. Siddharth says:

    i need to do that… but first i gotta ace an english exam today :D

    wish me luck!

    hopefully i wont need it, but its still good to have :D

  45. Dear Mr. McGann

    Although I am aware that you have nothing to do with FinAid, I was hoping that you could hep me, as Mr. Barkowitz seems busy.

    As an international student, will it be alright if my Aid app. is sent in after the deadline, as you ask for the tax return forms, which darent sent out before April, the deadline being Marth 1st?

    Because there is almost no possibility of me and my mother being able to finish it by tomorrow, and sending it.

  46. Leon says:

    The large consumption of fossil fuels affects not only the environment(green house effect that probably contributed to the series of hurricanes last summer) but also the politics in the world(developed nations vs. the Middle East). Personally I think the best alternative is solar energy since it’s the origin of almost all energy on earth, and it’s not polluting. With the current research harvesting of that energy will become more efficient at the same time as the efficiency in storage and usage of electric energy increases. If interested, visit

  47. Fadl says:

    Hi everyone! Nina of course I’m not angry why would I be??? Your request was perfectly fine. smile

    Matt thank you again for all the effort you put into your job t really shows!

    As always good luck to everyone! smile

  48. EDWINKIM says:

    siddarth,engineers are not evil its the reality they are trying to manipulate that stinks.

  49. nina ,im glad to you,re a serious dreamer ,who believes they can be realised.ibelong to the same pool.

  50. Olga says:

    @ gm

    I know this is from the post before, but I have to agree with you on the counting money question on the AMC 12! I figured it was just to make sure that we know how to add and subtract along with all our other crazy methods smile

  51. Dan S. says:

    Hey Matt. You may not remember me but I’ve e-mailed before and you’ve answered a few of my questions on your blog. Well, I’m a junior, and I’ve looked into some summer programs and other cool math/science programs. I’ve looked via the internet, and also ones that I received some information about in the mail. Many of them seem interesting, MITES especially (I applied to MITES). Some other ones I found interesting are a science one at Penn State, a mini-course summer program at Brown, and a few other math ones I found online. The problem is most of the programs cost in the thousands. My parents and I cannot afford these costs. My stepdad was unemployed for a while due to health issues and my mother was out of work due to knee surgery. I will definitely be applying to MIT this fall and I understand these programs aren’t of GREAT importance, but they are important and I truly find them interesting. Considering I cannot afford these programs (unless I get accepted to MITES which is free), would you suggest I not worry about participting in them? I just don’t want to seem like I don’t involve myself. Thanks.


  52. Anonymous says:

    I must say, that picture is quite intriguing.

    Tells so much about the professor; really!

  53. Adnan Esmail says:

    It would be exciting to work with Professor Sadoway in a UROP!

    Electrochemistry, in specific green solutions, has always been a field that has captivated my attention.

    On a separate note, how do these professors assist in choosing the classes? Are they part of the decision comittees? Do they outline desirable attributes?

  54. susan says:

    is MIT trying to send out the decision letters before pi day this year?

  55. Nina says:

    Well, I have just entered home and log in MyMIT to check the news. =) I had great time skiing and… full with hope and completely relaxed I’ll just keep on waiting! =)

  56. Nina says:

    to edwin kim maina : it’s great that there are so many dreamers!!! =)

    to fadl: thanks! =) I mean, sometimes I’m too shy and… a little bit nervous. that’s why I always think that peapole are angry at me, or I’m too rude.