Michael J. Tarkanian

  • Senior Lecturer
  • 2000, SB Materials Science and Engineering, MIT
  • 2003, SM Materials Science and Engineering, MIT

Materials Processing; Fracture, Fatigue, and Failure of Materials; Material Culture; Metallurgy

Michael J. Tarkanian

Recent News

2018 MADMEC Results

Technology that uses light to clean water filtration systems in real time won the 2018 MADMEC competition on Oct. 9. The team that developed the system, Fiat Flux, received the…  

How Native Civilizations Innovated to Conquer the Wilderness

Did Native Americans wear the world’s first sneakers? Not exactly. “We didn’t invent Chuck Taylors,” says Duane Blue Spruce, a museum project manager. “But we did invent the chemical processes” for making rubber. More than three millennia before Charles Goodyear …  

2018 MADMEC Proposals

The MADMEC Proposal deadline for 2018 is swiftly approaching!! Get your proposals in before 5pm on May 31 to make sure you solidify your spot in the event! You can win cash prizes for placing 1st, 2nd, or 3rd.  Materials science can provide solutions for energy storage, building…  

Hydrogel that extracts uranium from water wins MADMEC

An inexpensive hydrogel that can extract uranium from water to provide more fuel for nuclear power plants took home the grand prize from this year’s MADMEC competition on Oct. 10. A team of MIT materials science and engineering students, named A Salt Solution, won $10,000 for a prototype…  

3.042 Final Presentations

All are invited to the 3.042 final presentations, Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 2 pm in the Chipman Room (6-104). 3.042 is “Materials Project Laboratory,” which serves as the capstone design course in the course 3 curriculum. There are four teams this semester, presenting at the following…  

MADMEC Proposal Deadline

The 2017 MADMEC Proposal Deadline is May 31, 2017. You and your team can apply on the MADMEC website at …  

10th Annual MADMEC Competition Results

The annual MADMEC competition run by DMSE Senior Lecturer Mike Tarkanian recently finished up its 10th year. Five strong teams competed for cash prizes by inventing new and created solutions to sustainability problems. Team PolyClean won first place for its clear, super hydrophobic coating. …  



M. J. Tarkanian and Hosler, D., “America's First Polymer Scientists: Rubber Processing, Use, and Transport in Mesoamerica”, Latin American Antiquity, vol. 22. pp. 469-486, 2011.


D. Hosler, Tarkanian, M. J., and Hessler, K., “Aspects of Metallurgy of Calixtlahuaca. Recent Research on the Introduction, Production, and Use of Metal in Mesoamerica”, in Fifty-Third International Conference of Americanists, Mexico City, 2009.


M. J. Tarkanian and Hosler, D., “An Ancient Tradition Continued: Modern Rubber Processing in Mexico”, in The Sport of Life and Death: The Mesoamerican Ballgame, Charlotte: Thames & Hudson, 2001, pp. 116-121.


M. J. Tarkanian and Hosler, D., “La elaboracion de hule en en el antiguo Mesoamerica”, Arqueologia Mexicana, vol. 8. pp. 54-57, 2000.


D. Hosler, Burkett, S. L., and Tarkanian, M. J., “Prehistoric polymers: Rubber processing in ancient Mesoamerica”, Science, vol. 284. pp. 1988-1991, 1999.