Engineering for the Ecological Age: Lessons from History
John Ochsendorf, a structural engineer, “fell in love with archaeology” during college. His senior thesis at Cornell involved a 600-year-old Incan suspension bridge made entirely out of grass. Ochsendorf learned that this apparently primitive structure owed its astonishing longevity to regular rebuilds by the l
Keynote Presentation: Academic Perspectives
Very simply stated, systems biology attempts to “capture the dynamic nature of living systems.” To accomplish this, says Hood, you “have to bring together the flavors of biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering and physics,” among others. It’s a vast area to tackle. But with tools like the internet and digital
Bioengineering at MIT: Building Bridges Between the Sciences, Engineering and Health Care (Part Two
Glycomics, the study of sugars’ role in living systems, is a relative newcomer to the revolution in molecular biology. In fact, Ram Sasisekharan remembers how colleagues told him “not to work on carbohydrates -- that it was useless.” But his research has shown that glycans, observed as long chains or intricat
Nanotechnology and the Study of Human Diseases
Subra Suresh fleshes out the promise of nanotechnology, at least in regard to our understanding of disease. His talk, which focuses on malaria and its impact on red blood cells, demonstrates how the fields of engineering, biology and medicine are converging.
To function properly, he explains, a red blood cel
Biological Large Scale Integration
Though Stephen Quake’s research is confined to the smallest of scales, his achievements have already made a large impact on the study of biology. Quake’s area of microfluidics involves fabricating tiny devices akin to those a plumber uses, but useful on the molecular level. Quake modestly describes his “plumbing
Inspired by the vast potential of bioengineering, ordinary people are seeking their inner Frankenstein -- doctor, not monster. Two speakers who know their way around Petri dish and beaker discuss the possibilities and pitfalls of do-it-yourself biology with an MIT Museum crowd.
Showing ads from a 1980 Omni magazine,
Recent History of Boston Transportation
Frederick Salvucci’s perspective on transportation development is an amalgam of civil engineering, history, economics, policy, and not least, the direct impact on people’s lives. Here he surveys the evolution of transportation in Boston and beyond from the 1830s to the present.
Salvucci covers si
The Mysterious Field of Engineering Systems
One of the nation’s revered technology leaders dispenses anecdotes and wisdom on the slippery subject of engineering systems (or systems engineering). Norm Augustine just can’t get a handle on the discipline: “No one agrees on what it is, or what it does.” After years in industries like Lockheed Martin, Augusti
MIT Perspective on Engineering Systems
The field of systems engineering has only recently emerged, and as this symposium demonstrates, defies precise definition. But MIT has taken this evolving area to heart, nurturing a new division and encouraging a raft of ventures that in their execution, may help shape the field for the next century.
An MIT freshman in 1
Looking Ahead to 2020
Real-world practitioners of systems engineering/engineering systems describe how the young discipline has shaped their very large enterprises.
For the past 10 years, David Lehman has been incorporating key systems engineering ideas within MITRE Corporation. Successes include getting project leaders to think
Energy from sources other than fossil and nuclear fuels is to a large extent free of the concerns about environmental effects and renewability that characterise those two sources. Each alternative source supplies energy continually, whether or not we use it. This unit considers one of these alternative sources, geothermal energy derived from the interior heat of the Earth, and the potential for this alternative to supplant fossil and nuclear fuel use to power social needs fast enough to avoid t
The Power of Competition: How to Focus the World’s Brains on your Innovation Challenges
Cooperation may be making us “a little bit too nice” when it comes to innovation, suggests Fiona Murray. She believes there’s nothing like competition for injecting energy into the process of solving key innovation problems, whether in business or society.
Murray is convinced competition make ventures “more ef
Leadership and Entrepreneurship
While their ventures couldn’t be more dissimilar -- engineering high tech defense gear for soldiers, and running an exclusive online boutique -- this panel’s entrepreneurs share some common experiences and lessons.
Moderator David Fialkow would “love to tell you I’m wicked brilliant, analytical, clairv
Automotive Lightweighting as a Strategic Opportunity for India’s Automotive Industry
Suppose you could leapfrog 100 years of experience in the automotive industry and begin a new manufacturing epoch. The strategic change you would make is to lightweight the vehicle, observes Charles Fine. Although steel has been the material of choice for many automotive components since the dawn of the automotive age, th
Autism: What Do We Know? What Do We Need?
“I’ll give you the 30,000 foot view of autism.”
Remarking that autism today, in terms of interest and funding, is like cancer was 20 years ago,
Dr. Thomas Insel provides the latest medical and scientific views on this complex developmental brain disorder. The formal definition of autism includes three main componen
Energy from sources other than fossil and nuclear fuels is to a large extent free of the concerns about environmental effects and renewability that characterize those two sources. Each alternative source supplies energy continuall, whether or not we use it, and most have their origins in energy generated outside the Earth, yet the potential of each is limited by its total supply set against its rate of use. The Sun will radiate energy until it ceases thermonuclear fusion, in around 5 billion yea
Living with Catastrophic Terrorism: Can Science and Technology Make the U.S. Safer?
After the terrorists attack of September 11, three Academies-the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine-sponsored a major study of the role that science and technology might play in countering the threat of catastrophic terrorism in the United States. This study involved a committee of 24 expe
Beyond the Bench: Preparing MIT Students for the Challenges of Global Leadership
MIT produces students who are “deep, entrepreneurial, passionate, diverse and active,” says Phillip Clay, the kind of talented individuals who should play major parts on the world stage. MIT has begun a drive to ensure that its students fulfill their promise. Central to this mission, Richard Samuels says, is
Computers with Commonsense: Artificial Intelligence at the MIT Round Table
Visiting the San Diego Zoo’s orangutans and chimpanzees inspires Patrick Henry Winston to ponder what makes humans different from our primate cousins. His field of artificial intelligence extends that question to thinking about how humans differ from computers. Winston’s goal is to “develop a computational theo
Sustainable Accessibility: A Grand Challenge for the World and for MIT
Transportation systems, as we know them today, will simply not sustain the worlds’ growing population. Imagine a projected population of nine billion individuals. If this future population had mobility patterns like drivers in the United States, there would be a staggering 7.6 billion motor vehicles, using 440 million barre