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MIT grad student nabs $30,000 prize

Andrew Heafitz, an MIT graduate student, has been selected as the recipient of the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT student prize for inventiveness. Heafitz, a 32-year-old doctoral candidate in Mechanical Engineering, invented a low-cost kerosene-liquid oxygen rocket engine with a solar-car motor booster as part of his master's thesis. The engine will likely become the basis of a rocket launched by MIT. He currently is working on an aerial surveillance camera the size of a soda can that will be tested by the Army and further developed by his start-up TacShot. The Lemelson prizes were established by Jerome Lemelson, a controversial inventor who filed several patent infringement suits in his lifetime against auto manufacturers, semiconductor makers and others.

Andrew Heafitz, an MIT graduate student, has been selected as the recipient of the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT student prize for inventiveness. Heafitz, a 32-year-old doctoral candidate in Mechanical Engineering, invented a low-cost kerosene-liquid oxygen rocket engine with a solar-car motor booster as part of his master's thesis. The engine will likely become the basis of a rocket launched by MIT. He currently is working on an aerial surveillance camera the size of a soda can that will be tested by the Army and further developed by his start-up TacShot.

The Lemelson prizes were established by Jerome Lemelson, a controversial inventor who filed several patent infringement suits in his lifetime against auto manufacturers, semiconductor makers and others.