MIT Course Demonstrates MIT Portugal's Integration of Education and Research

Saturday, 03 October 2009

By Maya Abou Zeid, Ph.D.

maya.zeidFrom 2007 to 2009, Maya was the lead MIT educational coordinator in MIT Portugal’s Transportation Systems focus area and worked with MIT and Portuguese faculty to organize and evaluate that group’s CTIS and PhD Programs. She earned her PhD in MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the summer of 2009. Her thesis was on transportation modeling; specifically, developing methods to measure travel well-being. Maya is now on the faculty of her undergraduate alma mater, the American University in Beirut.

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MIT Portugal Welcomes New Students as 2009-10 Academic Year Gets Under Way

Sunday, 20 September 2009

The MIT Portugal Program’s 2009–10 academic year has begun with numerous inaugural academic and team-building activities. Also, the start of classes for 143 new students.

ay_0910_start_2c.jpgThe new MIT Portugal students – who have embarked on Ph.D. and master’s studies in cutting-edge areas of bioengineering, advanced product design and manufacturing, and energy and transportation systems – reflect the truly international nature of the Program. In addition to 91 Portuguese students, many of whom claim international degrees or work/research experience, 52 (36 percent of the entering group) are international students who have arrived in Portugal from elsewhere in Europe, or from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, or the Americas.

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MIT Portugal-enabled Research Reveals “DNA of Concrete”

Thursday, 10 September 2009

A group of MIT researchers has accomplished something that has eluded other investigatiors: they have decoded the three-dimensional structure of the basic unit of cement hydrate. This noteworthy research was funded by the Portuguese cement manufacturer, Cimpor Corp., and was enabled through the MIT Portugal Program.

The findings were made public in a paper published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) during the week of Sept. 7, 2009.

In its work, the research team – which dubbed itself “Liquid Stone” – determined that concrete’s strength is a result of certain structural irregularities, rather than a neat geometric arrangement. It also found that the calcium-silica-hydrate in cement isn't really a crystal, as had been assumed; it turns out to be a hybrid that shares some characteristics with crystalline structures and some with the amorphous structure of frozen liquids, such as glass or ice.

One member of the MIT team, Franz-Josef Ulm, the Macomber Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, said, "We've known for several years that at the nano scale, cement hydrates pack together tightly like oranges in a grocer's pyramid. Now, we've finally been able to look inside the orange to find its fundamental signature. I call it the DNA of concrete.”

According to Prof. Ulm, "Now that we have a validated molecular model, we can manipulate the chemical structure to design concrete for strength and environmental qualities, such as the ability to withstand higher pressure or temperature.”

This story draws on a more detailed account by Denise Brehm published on the MIT News Office website.


FCT Call for Research Proposals Opened to Portuguese and MIT Researchers, Companies

Monday, 07 September 2009

New funding and research collaboration opportunities with the MIT Portugal Program are now open to Portuguese and MIT researchers, as well as companies.

The Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation (FCT) has opened a competition to fund research projects in the context of a mid-course strategic reexamination by the MIT Portugal Program that identified priority areas of research: sustainable energy and transportation systems; stem cell engineering for regenerative medicine; and materials and design-inspired products. The Call is open to proposals for joint research in these three areas, as well as in the fundamentals of engineering systems.

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Updated Abstracts e-Book Available from MPP 1st Annual Conference

Wednesday, 05 August 2009

One of the standout features of the MIT Portugal Program’s 1st Annual Conference, “Engineering for Better Jobs,” held at the Centro Cultural de Belém in Lisbon July 7, 2009, were the poster exhibitions depicting the broad range of research being conducted by 110 of the Program’s doctoral students and 30 of its researchers.

An updated edition of the icon Conference Abstracts e-Book is now available (PDF).  

Poster displayThe e-book – which was edited by Prof. Antonio M. Cunha, President of the School of Engineering at the University of Minho and co-lead of MIT Portugal’s materials and design-inspired group, and Olga S. Carneiro, Associate Professor at the Institute for Polymers and Composites at the University of Minho – is organized by research areas. For the work presented by MIT Portugal researchers, these include Bioengineering Systems; Materials and Design-Inspired Products; and Sustainable Energy and Transportation Systems. For doctoral students, the categories are Bioengineering Systems; Sustainable Energy Systems; and Transportation Systems. The book also lists abstracts for those Engineering Design and Advanced Manufacturing PhD students in the Leaders for Technical Industries course, as well as abstracts of the keynotes delivered at the conference.

icon MIT Portugal 1st Annual Conference Program

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