Massachusetts Institute of Technology
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|Motto||Mens et Manus (Latin)|
|Motto in English||Mind and Hand1|
|Established||1861 (opened 1865)|
|Endowment||$12.4 billion (2014)2|
|President||L. Rafael Reif|
|Location||Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States|
|Campus||Urban, 168 acres (68.0 ha)6|
|Colors||Red, Gray and Light Gray7
|Athletics||NCAA Division III – NEWMAC, NEFC, Pilgrim League
Division I – EARC & EAWRC (rowing)
|Sports||31 varsity teams|
|Mascot||Tim the Beaver8|
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, MIT adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. Researchers worked on computers, radar, and inertial guidance during World War II and the Cold War. Post-war defense research contributed to the rapid expansion of the faculty and campus under James Killian. The current 168-acre (68.0 ha) campus opened in 1916 and extends over 1 mile (1.6 km) along the northern bank of the Charles River basin.
MIT, with five schools and one college which contain a total of 32 departments, is traditionally known for research and education in the physical sciences and engineering, and more recently in biology, economics, linguistics, and management as well. The "Engineers" sponsor 31 sports, most teams of which compete in the NCAA Division III's New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference; the Division I rowing programs compete as part of the EARC and EAWRC.
MIT is often cited as among the world's top universities. As of 2014[update], 81 Nobel laureates, 52 National Medal of Science recipients, 45 Rhodes Scholars, 38 MacArthur Fellows, and 2 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT. MIT has a strong entrepreneurial culture and the aggregated revenues of companies founded by MIT alumni would rank as the eleventh-largest economy in the world.10
- 1 History
- 2 Campus
- 3 Academics
- 4 Traditions and student activities
- 5 People
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
|“||...a school of industrial science [aiding] the advancement, development and practical application of science in connection with arts, agriculture, manufactures, and commerce.||”|
—Act to Incorporate the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
In 1859, a proposal was submitted to the Massachusetts General Court to use newly filled lands in Back Bay, Boston for a "Conservatory of Art and Science", but the proposal failed.1213 A proposal by William Barton Rogers a charter for the incorporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, signed by the governor of Massachusetts on April 10, 1861.14
Rogers, a professor from the University of Virginia, wanted to establish an institution to address rapid scientific and technological advances.1516 He did not wish to found a professional school, but a combination with elements of both professional and liberal education,17 proposing that:
"The true and only practicable object of a polytechnic school is, as I conceive, the teaching, not of the minute details and manipulations of the arts, which can be done only in the workshop, but the inculcation of those scientific principles which form the basis and explanation of them, and along with this, a full and methodical review of all their leading processes and operations in connection with physical laws."18
Two days after the charter was issued, the first battle of the Civil War broke out. After a long delay through the war years, MIT's first classes were held in the Mercantile Building in Boston in 1865.21 The new institute had a mission that matched the intent of the 1862 Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to fund institutions "to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes", and was a land-grant school.22a In 1866, the proceeds from land sales went toward new buildings in the Back Bay.23
MIT was informally called "Boston Tech".23 The institute adopted the European polytechnic university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date.24 Despite chronic financial problems, the institute saw growth in the last two decades of the 19th century under President Francis Amasa Walker.25 Programs in electrical, chemical, marine, and sanitary engineering were introduced,2627 new buildings were built, and the size of the student body increased to more than one thousand.25
The curriculum drifted to a vocational emphasis, with less focus on theoretical science.28 The fledgling school still suffered from chronic financial shortages which diverted the attention of the MIT leadership. During these "Boston Tech" years, MIT faculty and alumni rebuffed Harvard University president (and former MIT faculty) Charles W. Eliot's repeated attempts to merge MIT with Harvard College's Lawrence Scientific School.29 There would be at least six attempts to absorb MIT into Harvard.30 In its cramped Back Bay location, MIT could not afford to expand its overcrowded facilities, driving a desperate search for a new campus and funding. Eventually the MIT Corporation approved a formal agreement to merge with Harvard, over the vehement objections of MIT faculty, students, and alumni.30 However, a 1917 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court effectively put an end to the merger scheme.30
In 1916, MIT moved to a spacious new campus largely consisting of filled land on a mile-long tract along the Cambridge side of the Charles River.3132 The neoclassical "New Technology" campus was designed by William W. Bosworth33 and had been funded largely by anonymous donations from a mysterious "Mr. Smith," starting in 1912. In January 1920, the donor was revealed to be the industrialist George Eastman of Rochester, New York, who had invented methods of film production and processing, and founded Eastman Kodak. Between 1912 and 1920, Eastman donated $20 million in cash and Kodak stock to MIT.34
In the 1930s, President Karl Taylor Compton and Vice-President (effectively Provost) Vannevar Bush emphasized the importance of pure sciences like physics and chemistry and reduced the vocational practice required in shops and drafting studios.35 The Compton reforms "renewed confidence in the ability of the Institute to develop leadership in science as well as in engineering."36 Unlike Ivy League schools, MIT catered more to middle-class families, and depended more on tuition than on endowments or grants for its funding.37 The school was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1934.38
Still, as late as 1949, the Lewis Committee lamented in its report on the state of education at MIT that "the Institute is widely conceived as basically a vocational school", a "partly unjustified" perception the committee sought to change. The report comprehensively reviewed the undergraduate curriculum, recommended offering a broader education, and warned against letting engineering and government-sponsored research detract from the sciences and humanities.3940 The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the MIT Sloan School of Management were formed in 1950 to compete with the powerful Schools of Science and Engineering. Previously marginalized faculties in the areas of economics, management, political science, and linguistics emerged into cohesive and assertive departments by attracting respected professors and launching competitive graduate programs.4142 The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences continued to develop under the successive terms of the more humanistically oriented presidents Howard W. Johnson and Jerome Wiesner between 1966 and 1980.43
MIT's involvement in military research surged during World War II. In 1941, Vannevar Bush was appointed head of the federal Office of Scientific Research and Development and directed funding to only a select group of universities, including MIT.44 Engineers and scientists from across the country gathered at MIT's Radiation Laboratory, established in 1940 to assist the British military in developing microwave radar. The work done there significantly affected both the war and subsequent research in the area.45 Other defense projects included gyroscope-based and other complex control systems for gunsight, bombsight, and inertial navigation under Charles Stark Draper's Instrumentation Laboratory;4647 the development of a digital computer for flight simulations under Project Whirlwind;48 and high-speed and high-altitude photography under Harold Edgerton.4950 By the end of the war, MIT became the nation's largest wartime R&D contractor (attracting some criticism of Bush),44 employing nearly 4000 in the Radiation Laboratory alone45 and receiving in excess of $100 million ($1.2 billion in 2012 dollars) before 1946.36 Work on defense projects continued even after then. Post-war government-sponsored research at MIT included SAGE and guidance systems for ballistic missiles and Project Apollo.51
|“||...a special type of educational institution which can be defined as a university polarized around science, engineering, and the arts. We might call it a university limited in its objectives but unlimited in the breadth and the thoroughness with which it pursues these objectives.||”|
These activities affected MIT profoundly. A 1949 report noted the lack of "any great slackening in the pace of life at the Institute" to match the return to peacetime, remembering the "academic tranquility of the prewar years", though acknowledging the significant contributions of military research to the increased emphasis on graduate education and rapid growth of personnel and facilities.53 The faculty doubled and the graduate student body quintupled during the terms of Karl Taylor Compton, president of MIT between 1930 and 1948; James Rhyne Killian, president from 1948 to 1957; and Julius Adams Stratton, chancellor from 1952 to 1957, whose institution-building strategies shaped the expanding university. By the 1950s, MIT no longer simply benefited the industries with which it had worked for three decades, and it had developed closer working relationships with new patrons, philanthropic foundations and the federal government.54
In late 1960s and early 1970s, student and faculty activists protested against the Vietnam War and MIT's defense research.5556 The Union of Concerned Scientists was founded on March 4, 1969 during a meeting of faculty members and students seeking to shift the emphasis on military research toward environmental and social problems.57 MIT ultimately divested itself from the Instrumentation Laboratory and moved all classified research off-campus to the Lincoln Laboratory facility in 1973 in response to the protests.5859 The student body, faculty, and administration remained comparatively unpolarized during what was a tumultuous time for many other universities.55 Johnson was seen to be highly successful in leading his institution to "greater strength and unity" after these times of turmoil.60
MIT has kept pace with and helped to advance the digital age. In addition to developing the predecessors to modern computing and networking technologies,6162 students, staff, and faculty members at Project MAC, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the Tech Model Railroad Club wrote some of the earliest interactive computer video games like Spacewar! and created much of modern hacker slang and culture.63 Several major computer-related organizations have originated at MIT since the 1980s: Richard Stallman's GNU Project and the subsequent Free Software Foundation were founded in the mid-1980s at the AI Lab; the MIT Media Lab was founded in 1985 by Nicholas Negroponte and Jerome Wiesner to promote research into novel uses of computer technology;64 the World Wide Web Consortium standards organization was founded at the Laboratory for Computer Science in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee;65 the OpenCourseWare project has made course materials for over 2,000 MIT classes available online free of charge since 2002;66 and the One Laptop per Child initiative to expand computer education and connectivity to children worldwide was launched in 2005.67
MIT was named a sea-grant college in 1976 to support its programs in oceanography and marine sciences and was named a space-grant college in 1989 to support its aeronautics and astronautics programs.6869 Despite diminishing government financial support over the past quarter century, MIT launched several successful development campaigns to significantly expand the campus: new dormitories and athletics buildings on west campus; the Tang Center for Management Education; several buildings in the northeast corner of campus supporting research into biology, brain and cognitive sciences, genomics, biotechnology, and cancer research; and a number of new "backlot" buildings on Vassar Street including the Stata Center.70 Construction on campus in the 2000s included expansions of the Media Lab, the Sloan School's eastern campus, and graduate residences in the northwest.7172 In 2006, President Hockfield launched the MIT Energy Research Council to investigate the interdisciplinary challenges posed by increasing global energy consumption.73
In 2001, inspired by the open source and open access movements,74 MIT launched OpenCourseWare to make the lecture notes, problem sets, syllabuses, exams, and lectures from the great majority of its courses available online for no charge, though without any formal accreditation for coursework completed.75 While the cost of supporting and hosting the project is high,76 OCW expanded in 2005 to include other universities as a part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which currently includes more than 250 academic institutions with content available in at least six languages.77 In 2011, MIT announced it would offer formal certification (but not credits or degrees) to online participants completing coursework in its "MITx" program, for a modest fee.78 The "edX" online platform supporting MITx was initially developed in partnership with Harvard and its analogous "Harvardx" initiative. The courseware platform is open source, and other universities have already joined and added their own course content.79
Three days after the Boston Marathon bombings of April 2013, MIT Police patrol officer Sean Collier was fatally shot by the suspects, setting off a violent manhunt that shut down the campus and much of the Boston metropolitan area for a day.80 One week later, Collier's memorial service was attended by more than 10,000 people, in a ceremony hosted by the MIT community with thousands of police officers from the New England region and Canada.818283 On November 25, 2013, MIT announced the creation of the Collier Medal, to be awarded annually to "an individual or group that embodies the character and qualities that Officer Collier exhibited as a member of the MIT community and in all aspects of his life". The announcement further stated that "Future recipients of the award will include those whose contributions exceed the boundaries of their profession, those who have contributed to building bridges across the community, and those who consistently and selflessly perform acts of kindness".848586
MIT's 168-acre (68.0 ha) campus spans approximately a mile of the north side of the Charles River basin in the city of Cambridge.6 The campus is divided roughly in half by Massachusetts Avenue, with most dormitories and student life facilities to the west and most academic buildings to the east. The bridge closest to MIT is the Harvard Bridge, which is known for being marked off in a non-standard unit of length – the smoot.8788 The Kendall MBTA Red Line station is located on the far northeastern edge of the campus in Kendall Square. The Cambridge neighborhoods surrounding MIT are a mixture of high tech companies occupying both modern office and rehabilitated industrial buildings as well as socio-economically diverse residential neighborhoods.8990
Each building at MIT has a number (possibly preceded by a W, N, E, or NW) designation and most have a name as well. Typically, academic and office buildings are referred to primarily by number while residence halls are referred to by name. The organization of building numbers roughly corresponds to the order in which the buildings were built and their location relative (north, west, and east) to the original center cluster of Maclaurin buildings.91 Many of the buildings are connected above ground as well as through an extensive network of underground tunnels, providing protection from the Cambridge weather as well as a venue for roof and tunnel hacking.9293
MIT's on-campus nuclear reactor94 is one of the most powerful university-based nuclear reactors in the United States. The prominence of the reactor's containment building in a densely populated area has been controversial,95 but MIT maintains that it is well-secured.96 In 1999 Bill Gates donated US$20 million to MIT for the construction of a computer laboratory named the "William H. Gates Building" that was designed by architect Frank O. Gehry. While Microsoft had previously given financial support to the institution, this was the first personal donation received from Gates.97
Other notable campus facilities include a pressurized wind tunnel and a towing tank for testing ship and ocean structure designs.9899 MIT's campus-wide wireless network was completed in the fall of 2005 and consists of nearly 3,000 access points covering 9,400,000 square feet (870,000 m2) of campus.100
In 2001, the Environmental Protection Agency sued MIT for violating Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act with regard to its hazardous waste storage and disposal procedures.101 MIT settled the suit by paying a $155,000 fine and launching three environmental projects.102 In connection with capital campaigns to expand the campus, the Institute has also extensively renovated existing buildings to improve their energy efficiency. MIT has also taken steps to reduce its environmental impact by running alternative fuel campus shuttles, subsidizing public transportation passes, and building a low-emission cogeneration plant that serves most of the campus electricity, heating, and cooling requirements.103
The MIT Police with state and local authorities, in the 2009-2011 period, have investigated reports of 12 forcible sex offenses, 6 robberies, 3 aggravated assaults, 164 burglaries, 1 case of arson, and 4 cases of motor vehicle theft on campus; affecting a community of around 22,000 students and employees.104
MIT's School of Architecture, now the School of Architecture and Planning, was the first in the United States,105 and it has a history of commissioning progressive buildings.106107 The first buildings constructed on the Cambridge campus, completed in 1916, are sometimes called the "Maclaurin buildings" after Institute president Richard Maclaurin who oversaw their construction. Designed by William Welles Bosworth, these imposing buildings were built of reinforced concrete, a first for a non-industrial – much less university – building in the US.108 Bosworth's design was influenced by the City Beautiful Movement of the early 1900s,108 and features the Pantheon-esque Great Dome housing the Barker Engineering Library. The Great Dome overlooks Killian Court, where commencement is held each year. The friezes of the limestone-clad buildings around Killian Court are engraved with the names of important scientists and philosophers.b The imposing Building 7 atrium along Massachusetts Avenue is regarded as the entrance to the Infinite Corridor and the rest of the campus.90
Alvar Aalto's Baker House (1947), Eero Saarinen's MIT Chapel and Kresge Auditorium (1955), and I.M. Pei's Green, Dreyfus, Landau, and Wiesner buildings represent high forms of post-war modernist architecture.111112113 More recent buildings like Frank Gehry's Stata Center (2004), Steven Holl's Simmons Hall (2002), Charles Correa's Building 46 (2005) and Fumihiko Maki's Media Lab Extension (2009) stand out among the Boston area's classical architecture and serve as examples of contemporary campus "starchitecture".106114 These buildings have not always been well received;115116 in 2010, The Princeton Review included MIT in a list of twenty schools whose campuses are "tiny, unsightly, or both".117
Undergraduates are guaranteed four-year housing in one of MIT's 12 undergraduate dormitories.118 Those living on campus can receive support and mentoring from live-in graduate student tutors, resident advisors, and faculty housemasters.119 Because housing assignments are made based on the preferences of the students themselves, diverse social atmospheres can be sustained in different living groups; for example, according to the Yale Daily News Staff's The Insider's Guide to the Colleges, 2010, "The split between East Campus and West Campus is a significant characteristic of MIT. East Campus has gained a reputation as a thriving counterculture."120 MIT also has 5 dormitories for single graduate students and 2 apartment buildings on campus for married student families.121
MIT has a very active Greek and co-op housing system, which includes 36 fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups (FSILGs).122 In 2012, 90% of all undergraduates lived on MIT-affiliated housing, 46% of the men in fraternities and 29% of the women in sororities.123 Most FSILGs are located across the river in the Back Bay owing to MIT's history there, and there is also a cluster of fraternities on MIT's West Campus.124 After the 1997 death of Scott Krueger, a new member at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, MIT required all freshmen to live in the dormitory system starting in 2002.125 Because FSILGs had previously housed as many as 300 freshmen off-campus, the new policy did not take effect until 2002 after Simmons Hall opened.126
MIT is chartered as a non-profit organization and is owned and governed by a privately appointed board of trustees known as the MIT Corporation.127 The current board consists of 43 members elected to five-year terms,128 25 life members who vote until their 75th birthday,129 3 elected officers (President, Treasurer, and Secretary),130 and 4 ex officio members (the president of the alumni association, the Governor of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Secretary of Education, and the Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court).131132 The board is chaired by John S. Reed, the former chairman of the New York Stock Exchange and Citigroup.133134 The Corporation approves the budget, new programs, degrees and faculty appointments, and elects the President to serve as the chief executive officer of the university and preside over the Institute's faculty.90135 MIT's endowment and other financial assets are managed through a subsidiary MIT Investment Management Company (MITIMCo).136 Valued at $9.7 billion in 2011, MIT's endowment is the sixth-largest among American colleges and universities.137138
MIT has five schools (Science, Engineering, Architecture and Planning, Management, and Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences) and one college (Whitaker College of Health Sciences and Technology), but no schools of law or medicine.139c While faculty committees assert substantial control over many areas of MIT's curriculum, research, student life, and administrative affairs,141 the chair of each of MIT's 32 academic departments reports to the dean of that department's school, who in turn reports to the Provost under the President.142 The current president is L. Rafael Reif, who formerly served as provost under President Susan Hockfield, the first woman to hold the post.143144
MIT is a large, highly residential, research university with a majority of enrollments in graduate and professional programs.145 The university has been accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges since 1929.146147 MIT operates on a 4–1–4 academic calendar with the fall semester beginning after Labor Day and ending in mid-December, a 4-week "Independent Activities Period" in the month of January, and the spring semester beginning in early February and ending in late May.148
MIT students refer to both their majors and classes using numbers or acronyms alone.149 Departments and their corresponding majors are numbered in the approximate order of their foundation; for example, Civil and Environmental Engineering is Course 1, while Linguistics and Philosophy is Course 24.150 Students majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), the most popular department, collectively identify themselves as "Course 6". MIT students use a combination of the department's course number and the number assigned to the class to identify their subjects; the introductory calculus-based classical mechanics course is simply "8.01" at MIT.151d
The four-year, full-time undergraduate program maintains a balance between professional majors and those in the arts and sciences, and is selective, admitting few transfer students145 and 7.7% of its applicants in the 2013–2014 application season.154 MIT offers 44 undergraduate degrees across its five schools.155 In the 2010–2011 academic year, 1,161 bachelor of science (abbreviated SB) degrees were granted, the only type of undergraduate degree MIT now awards.156157 In the 2011 fall term, among students who had designated a major, the School of Engineering was the most popular division, enrolling 63% of students in its 19 degree programs, followed by the School of Science (29%), School of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences (3.7%), Sloan School of Management (3.3%), and School of Architecture and Planning (2%). The largest undergraduate degree programs were in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6–2), Computer Science and Engineering (Course 6–3), Mechanical Engineering (Course 2), Physics (Course 8), and Mathematics (Course 18).152
All undergraduates are required to complete a core curriculum called the General Institute Requirements (GIRs).158 The Science Requirement, generally completed during freshman year as prerequisites for classes in science and engineering majors, comprises two semesters of physics, two semesters of calculus, one semester of chemistry, and one semester of biology. There is a Laboratory Requirement, usually satisfied by an appropriate class in a course major. The Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) Requirement consists of eight semesters of classes in the humanities, arts, and social sciences, including at least one semester from each division as well as the courses required for a designated concentration in a HASS division. Under the Communication Requirement, two of the HASS classes, plus two of the classes taken in the designated major must be "communication-intensive",159 including "substantial instruction and practice in oral presentation".160 Finally, all students are required to complete a swimming test; non-varsity athletes must also take four quarters of physical education classes.158
Most classes rely on a combination of lectures, recitations led by associate professors or graduate students, weekly problem sets ("p-sets"), and tests. Although keeping up with the pace and difficulty of MIT coursework has been compared to "drinking from a fire hose",161162 the freshmen retention rate at MIT is similar to that at other national research universities.163 The "pass/no-record" grading system relieves some of the pressure for first-year undergraduates. For each class taken in the fall term, freshmen transcripts will either report only that the class was passed, or otherwise not have any record of it. In the spring term, passing grades (A, B, C) appear on the transcript while non-passing grades are again not recorded.164 (Grading had previously been "pass/no record" all freshman year, but was amended for the Class of 2006 to prevent students from gaming the system by completing required major classes in their freshman year.165) Also, freshmen may choose to join alternative learning communities, such as Experimental Study Group, Concourse, or Terrascope.164
In 1969, Margaret MacVicar founded the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) to enable undergraduates to collaborate directly with faculty members and researchers. Students join or initiate research projects ("UROPs") for academic credit, pay, or on a volunteer basis through postings on the UROP website or by contacting faculty members directly.166 A substantial majority of undergraduates participate.167168 Students often become published, file patent applications, and/or launch start-up companies based upon their experience in UROPs.169170
In 1970, the then-Dean of Institute Relations, Benson R. Snyder, published The Hidden Curriculum, arguing that education at MIT was often slighted in favor of following a set of unwritten expectations, and that graduating with good grades was more often the product of figuring out the system rather than a solid education. The successful student, according to Snyder, was the one who was able to discern which of the formal requirements were to be ignored in favor of which unstated norms. For example, organized student groups had compiled "course bibles—collections of problem-set and examination questions and answers for later students to use as references. This sort of gamesmanship, Snyder argued, hindered development of a creative intellect and contributed to student discontent and unrest.171172
MIT's graduate program has high coexistence with the undergraduate program, and many courses are taken by qualified students at both levels. MIT offers a comprehensive doctoral program with degrees in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields as well as professional degrees.145 The Institute offers graduate programs leading to academic degrees such as the Master of Science (MS), various Engineer's Degrees, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), and Doctor of Science (ScD); professional degrees such as Master of Architecture (MArch),173 Master of Business Administration (MBA),174 Master of City Planning (MCP),175 Master of Engineering (MEng),176 Master of Finance (MFin) and Master of Science in Real Estate Development (MSRED),;177 and interdisciplinary graduate programs such as the MD/PhD (with Harvard Medical School).178179
Admission to graduate programs is decentralized; applicants apply directly to the department or degree program. More than 90% of doctoral students are supported by fellowships, research assistantships (RAs), or teaching assistantships (TAs).180
MIT awarded 1,547 master's degrees and 609 doctoral degrees in the 2010–11 academic year.156 In the 2011 fall term, the School of Engineering was the most popular academic division, enrolling 45.0% of graduate students, followed by the Sloan School of Management (19%), School of Science (16.9%), School of Architecture and Planning (9.2%), Whitaker College of Health Sciences (5.1%),e and School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (4.7%). The largest graduate degree programs were the Sloan MBA, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Mechanical Engineering.152
|U.S. News & World Report183||7|
MIT places among the top ten in many overall rankings of universities (see right) and rankings based on students' revealed preferences.188189190 For several years, U.S. News & World Report, the QS World University Rankings, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities have ranked MIT's School of Engineering first, as did the 1995 National Research Council report.191 In the same lists, MIT's strongest showings apart from in engineering are in computer science, the natural sciences, business, economics, linguistics, mathematics, and, to a lesser extent, political science and philosophy.192193194195196
In 2014, Money magazine ranked MIT as #3 in the US "Best Colleges for Your Money", based on its assessment of "the most bang for your tuition buck", factoring in quality of education, affordability, and career outcomes.197 As of 2014[update], Forbes magazine rated MIT as the #2 "Most Entrepreneurial University", based on the percentage of alumni and students self-identifying as founders or business owners on LinkedIn.198
The university historically pioneered research and training collaborations between academia, industry and government.199200 In 1946, President Compton, Harvard Business School professor Georges Doriot, and Massachusetts Investor Trust chairman Merrill Grisswold founded American Research and Development Corporation, the first American venture-capital firm.201202 In 1948, Compton established the MIT Industrial Liaison Program.203 Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, American politicians and business leaders accused MIT and other universities of contributing to a declining economy by transferring taxpayer-funded research and technology to international – especially Japanese — firms that were competing with struggling American businesses.204205 On the other hand, MIT's extensive collaboration with the federal government on research projects has led to several MIT leaders serving as presidential scientific advisers since 1940.f MIT established a Washington Office in 1991 to continue effective lobbying for research funding and national science policy.207208
The Justice Department began an investigation in 1989, and in 1991 filed an antitrust suit against MIT, the eight Ivy League colleges, and eleven other institutions for allegedly engaging in price-fixing during their annual "Overlap Meetings", which were held to prevent bidding wars over promising prospective students from consuming funds for need-based scholarships.209210 While the Ivy League institutions settled,211 MIT contested the charges, arguing that the practice was not anti-competitive because it ensured the availability of aid for the greatest number of students.212213 MIT ultimately prevailed when the Justice Department dropped the case in 1994.214215
MIT's proximityg to Harvard University ("the other school up the river") has led to a substantial number of research collaborations such as the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and the Broad Institute.216 In addition, students at the two schools can cross-register for credits toward their own school's degrees without any additional fees.216 A cross-registration program between MIT and Wellesley College has also existed since 1969, and in 2002 the Cambridge–MIT Institute launched an undergraduate exchange program between MIT and the University of Cambridge.216 MIT has more modest cross-registration programs with Boston University, Brandeis University, Tufts University, Massachusetts College of Art, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.216
MIT maintains substantial research and faculty ties with independent research organizations in the Boston area, such as the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Ongoing international research and educational collaborations include the Singapore-MIT Alliance, MIT-Politecnico di Milano,216217 MIT-Zaragoza International Logistics Program, and projects in other countries through the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) program.216218
The mass-market magazine Technology Review is published by MIT through a subsidiary company, as is a special edition that also serves as an alumni magazine.219220 The MIT Press is a major university press, publishing over 200 books and 30 journals annually, emphasizing science and technology as well as arts, architecture, new media, current events, and social issues.221
The MIT library system consists of five subject libraries: Barker (Engineering), Dewey (Economics), Hayden (Humanities and Science), Lewis (Music), and Rotch (Arts and Architecture). There are also various specialized libraries and archives. The libraries contain more than 2.9 million printed volumes, 2.4 million microforms, 49,000 print or electronic journal subscriptions, and 670 reference databases. The past decade has seen a trend of increased focus on digital over print resources in the libraries.222 Notable collections include the Lewis Music Library with an emphasis on 20th and 21st-century music and electronic music,223 the List Visual Arts Center's rotating exhibitions of contemporary art,224 and the Compton Gallery's cross-disciplinary exhibitions.225 MIT allocates a percentage of the budget for all new construction and renovation to commission and support its extensive public art and outdoor sculpture collection.226227
The MIT Museum was founded in 1971 and collects, preserves, and exhibits artifacts significant to the culture and history of MIT. The Museum now engages in significant educational outreach programs for the general public, including the annual Cambridge Science Festival, the first celebration of this kind in the United States. Since 2005, its official mission has been, "to engage the wider community with MIT’s science, technology and other areas of scholarship in ways that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century".228
MIT was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1934 and remains a research university with a very high level of research activity;38145 research expenditures totaled $718.2 million in 2009.229 The federal government was the largest source of sponsored research, with the Department of Health and Human Services granting $255.9 million, Department of Defense $97.5 million, Department of Energy $65.8 million, National Science Foundation $61.4 million, and NASA $27.4 million.229 MIT employs approximately 1300 researchers in addition to faculty.230 In 2011, MIT faculty and researchers disclosed 632 inventions, were issued 153 patents, earned $85.4 million in cash income, and received $69.6 million in royalties.231 Through programs like the Deshpande Center, MIT faculty leverage their research and discoveries into multi-million-dollar commercial ventures.232
In electronics, magnetic core memory, radar, single electron transistors, and inertial guidance controls were invented or substantially developed by MIT researchers.233234 Harold Eugene Edgerton was a pioneer in high speed photography and sonar.235236 Claude E. Shannon developed much of modern information theory and discovered the application of Boolean logic to digital circuit design theory.237 In the domain of computer science, MIT faculty and researchers made fundamental contributions to cybernetics, artificial intelligence, computer languages, machine learning, robotics, and cryptography.234238 At least nine Turing Award laureates and seven recipients of the Draper Prize in engineering have been or are currently associated with MIT.239240
Current and previous physics faculty have won eight Nobel Prizes,241 four Dirac Medals,242 and three Wolf Prizes predominantly for their contributions to subatomic and quantum theory.243 Members of the chemistry department have been awarded three Nobel Prizes and one Wolf Prize for the discovery of novel syntheses and methods.241 MIT biologists have been awarded six Nobel Prizes for their contributions to genetics, immunology, oncology, and molecular biology.241 Professor Eric Lander was one of the principal leaders of the Human Genome Project.244245 Positronium atoms,246 synthetic penicillin,247 synthetic self-replicating molecules,248 and the genetic bases for Lou Gehrig's disease and Huntington's disease were first discovered at MIT.249 Jerome Lettvin transformed the study of cognitive science with his paper "What the frog's eye tells the frog's brain".250
In the domain of humanities, arts, and social sciences, MIT economists have been awarded five Nobel Prizes and nine John Bates Clark Medals.241251 Linguists Noam Chomsky and Morris Halle authored seminal texts on generative grammar and phonology.252253 The MIT Media Lab, founded in 1985 within the School of Architecture and Planning and known for its unconventional research,254255 has been home to influential researchers such as constructivist educator and Logo creator Seymour Papert.256
Spanning many of the above fields, MacArthur Fellowships (the so-called "Genius Grants") have been awarded to 38 people associated with MIT.257 Four Pulitzer Prize–winning writers currently work at or have retired from MIT.258 Four current or former faculty are members of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.259
Allegations of research misconduct or improprieties have received substantial press coverage. Professor David Baltimore, a Nobel Laureate, became embroiled in a misconduct investigation starting in 1986 that led to Congressional hearings in 1991.260261 Professor Ted Postol has accused the MIT administration since 2000 of attempting to whitewash potential research misconduct at the Lincoln Lab facility involving a ballistic missile defense test, though a final investigation into the matter has not been completed.262263 Associate Professor Luk Van Parijs was dismissed in 2005 following allegations of scientific misconduct and found guilty of the same by the United States Office of Research Integrity in 2009.264265
The faculty and student body highly value meritocracy and technical proficiency.266267 MIT has never awarded an honorary degree, nor does it award athletic scholarships, ad eundem degrees, or Latin honors upon graduation.268 However, MIT has twice awarded honorary professorships: to Winston Churchill in 1949 and Salman Rushdie in 1993.269
Many upperclass students and alumni wear a large, heavy, distinctive class ring known as the "Brass Rat".270271 Originally created in 1929, the ring's official name is the "Standard Technology Ring."272 The undergraduate ring design (a separate graduate student version exists as well) varies slightly from year to year to reflect the unique character of the MIT experience for that class, but always features a three-piece design, with the MIT seal and the class year each appearing on a separate face, flanking a large rectangular bezel bearing an image of a beaver.270 The initialism IHTFP, representing the informal school motto "I Hate This Fucking Place" and jocularly euphemized as "I Have Truly Found Paradise," "Institute Has The Finest Professors," "It's Hard to Fondle Penguins," and other variations, has occasionally been featured on the ring given its historical prominence in student culture.273
MIT has over 380 recognized student activity groups,274 including a campus radio station, The Tech student newspaper, an annual entrepreneurship competition, and weekly screenings of popular films by the Lecture Series Committee. Less traditional activities include the "world's largest open-shelf collection of science fiction" in English, a model railroad club, and a vibrant folk dance scene. Students, faculty, and staff are involved in over 50 educational outreach and public service programs through the MIT Museum, Edgerton Center, and MIT Public Service Center.275
The Independent Activities Period is a four-week long "term" offering hundreds of optional classes, lectures, demonstrations, and other activities throughout the month of January between the Fall and Spring semesters. Some of the most popular recurring IAP activities are the 6.270, 6.370, and MasLab competitions,276 the annual "mystery hunt",277 and Charm School.278279 More than 250 students pursue externships annually at companies in the US and abroad.280281
Many MIT students also engage in "hacking", which encompasses both the physical exploration of areas that are generally off-limits (such as rooftops and steam tunnels), as well as elaborate practical jokes.282283 Recent high-profile hacks have included the abduction of Caltech's cannon,284 reconstructing a Wright Flyer atop the Great Dome,285 and adorning the John Harvard statue with the Master Chief's Spartan Helmet.286
MIT sponsors 31 varsity sports and has one of the three broadest NCAA Division III athletic programs.287288 MIT participates in the NCAA's Division III, the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference, the New England Football Conference, the Pilgrim League for men's lacrosse and NCAA's Division I Eastern Association of Women's Rowing Colleges (EAWRC) for women's crew. Men's crew competes outside the NCAA in the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges (EARC). In April 2009, budget cuts lead to MIT eliminating eight of its 41 sports, including the mixed men’s and women’s teams in alpine skiing and pistol; separate teams for men and women in ice hockey and gymnastics; and men’s programs in golf and wrestling.289290
The Institute's sports teams are called the Engineers, their mascot since 1914 being a beaver, "nature's engineer". Lester Gardner, a member of the Class of 1898, provided the following justification: "The beaver not only typifies the Tech, but his habits are particularly our own. The beaver is noted for his engineering and mechanical skills and habits of industry. His habits are nocturnal. He does his best work in the dark."291
MIT fielded several dominant intercollegiate Tiddlywinks teams through 1980, winning national and world championships.292 MIT has produced 188 Academic All-Americans, the third largest membership in the country for any division and the highest number of members for Division III.288
The Zesiger sports and fitness center (Z-Center), which opened in 2002, significantly expanded the capacity and quality of MIT's athletics, physical education, and recreation offerings to 10 buildings and 26 acres (110,000 m2) of playing fields. The 124,000-square-foot (11,500 m2) facility features an Olympic-class swimming pool, international-scale squash courts, and a two-story fitness center.288
MIT enrolled 4,384 undergraduates and 6,510 graduate students in 2011–2012.152 Women constituted 45 percent of undergraduate students.152295 Undergraduate and graduate students were drawn from all 50 states as well as 115 foreign countries.296
MIT received 17,909 applications for admission to the undergraduate Class of 2015; 1,742 were admitted (9.7 percent) and 1128 enrolled (64.8 percent).123 19,446 applications were received for graduate and advanced degree program across all departments; 2,991 were admitted (15.4 percent) and 1,880 enrolled (62.8 percent).297
The interquartile range on the SAT was 2090–2340 and 97 percent of students ranked in the top tenth of their high school graduating class.123 97 percent of the Class of 2012 returned as sophomores; 82 percent of the Class of 2007 graduated within 4 years, and 93 percent (91 percent of the men and 95 percent of the women) graduated within 6 years.123298
Undergraduate tuition and fees total $40,732 and annual expenses are estimated at $52,507 as of 2012. 62 percent of students received need-based financial aid in the form of scholarships and grants from federal, state, institutional, and external sources averaging $38,964 per student.299 Students were awarded a total of $102 million in scholarships and grants, primarily from institutional support ($84 million).123 The annual increase in expenses has led to a student tradition (dating back to the 1960s) of tongue-in-cheek "tuition riots".300
MIT has been nominally co-educational since admitting Ellen Swallow Richards in 1870. Richards also became the first female member of MIT's faculty, specializing in sanitary chemistry.301 Female students remained a very small minority (less than 3 percent) prior to the completion of the first wing of a women's dormitory, McCormick Hall, in 1962.302303 Between 1993 and 2009, the proportion of women rose from 34 percent to 45 percent of undergraduates and from 20 percent to 31 percent of graduate students.152304 Women currently outnumber men in Biology, Brain & Cognitive Sciences, Architecture, Urban Planning, and Biological Engineering.152295
A number of student deaths in the late 1990s and early 2000s resulted in considerable media attention to MIT's culture and student life.305306 After the alcohol-related death of Scott Krueger in September 1997 as a new member at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity,307 MIT began requiring all freshmen to live in the dormitory system.307308 The 2000 suicide of MIT undergraduate Elizabeth Shin drew attention to suicides at MIT and created a controversy over whether MIT had an unusually high suicide rate.309310 In late 2001 a task force's recommended improvements in student mental health services were implemented,311312 including expanding staff and operating hours at the mental health center.313 These and later cases were significant as well because they sought to prove the negligence and liability of university administrators in loco parentis.309
As of 2013[update], MIT had 1,030 faculty members, of whom 225 were women.3 Faculty are responsible for lecturing classes, advising both graduate and undergraduate students, and sitting on academic committees, as well as conducting original research. Between 1964 and 2009, a total of seventeen faculty and staff members affiliated with MIT were awarded Nobel Prizes (thirteen in the last 25 years).314 MIT faculty members past or present have won a total of twenty-seven Nobel Prizes, the majority in Economics or Physics.315 As of October 2013[update], among current faculty and teaching staff there are 67 Guggenheim Fellows, 6 Fulbright Scholars, and 22 MacArthur Fellows.3 Faculty members who have made extraordinary contributions to their research field as well as the MIT community are granted appointments as Institute Professors for the remainder of their tenures.
A 1998 MIT study concluded that a systemic bias against female faculty existed in its School of Science,316 although the study's methods were controversial.317318 Since the study, though, women have headed departments within the Schools of Science and of Engineering, and MIT has appointed several female vice presidents, although allegations of sexism continue to be made.319 Susan Hockfield, a molecular neurobiologist, was MIT's president from 2004 to 2012 and was the first woman to hold the post.144
Tenure outcomes have vaulted MIT into the national spotlight on several occasions. The 1984 dismissal of David F. Noble, a historian of technology, became a cause célèbre about the extent to which academics are granted freedom of speech after he published several books and papers critical of MIT's and other research universities' reliance upon financial support from corporations and the military.320 Former materials science professor Gretchen Kalonji sued MIT in 1994 alleging that she was denied tenure because of sexual discrimination.319321 In 1997, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination issued a probable cause finding supporting James Jennings' allegations of racial discrimination after a senior faculty search committee in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning did not offer him reciprocal tenure.322 In 2006–2007, MIT's denial of tenure to African-American biological engineering professor James Sherley reignited accusations of racism in the tenure process, eventually leading to a protracted public dispute with the administration, a brief hunger strike, and the resignation of Professor Frank L. Douglas in protest.323324
MIT faculty members have often been recruited to lead other colleges and universities. Founding faculty member Charles W. Eliot was recruited in 1869 to become president of Harvard University, a post he would hold for 40 years, during which he wielded considerable influence on both American higher education and secondary education. MIT alumnus and faculty member George Ellery Hale played a central role in the development of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and other faculty members have been key founders of Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in nearby Needham, Massachusetts. Former MIT alumnus and Assistant Professor Hans Mark served as Chancellor of The University of Texas system from 1984 until 1992.
As of 2014[update], former provost Robert A. Brown is president of Boston University; former provost Mark Wrighton is chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis; former associate provost Alice Gast is president of Lehigh University; former dean of the School of Science Robert J. Birgeneau was the chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley (2004–2013); former professor John Maeda was president of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD, 2008-2013); former professor David Baltimore had been president of Caltech (1997–2006); and former professor Suh Nam-pyo is president of KAIST.
In addition, faculty members have been recruited to lead governmental agencies; for example, former professor Marcia McNutt was the director of the United States Geological Survey,325 urban studies professor Xavier de Souza Briggs is currently the associate director of the White House Office of Management and Budget,326 and biology professor Eric Lander is a co-chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.327 In 2013, faculty member Ernest Moniz was nominated by President Obama and later confirmed as United States Secretary of Energy.328329 Former Professor Hans Mark served as Secretary of the Air Force from 1979 to 1981. Alumna and Institute Professor Sheila Widnall served as United States Secretary of the Air Force between 1993 and 1997, making her the first female Secretary of the Air Force and first woman to lead an entire branch of the U.S. military in the Department of Defense.
Based on feedback from employees, MIT was ranked #7 as a place to work, among US colleges and universities as of 2013[update].330 Surveys cited a "smart", "creative", "friendly" environment, noting that the work-life balance tilts towards a "strong work ethic", but complaining about "low pay".331
Many of MIT's over 120,000 alumni have had considerable success in scientific research, public service, education, and business. As of 2014[update], 27 MIT alumni have won the Nobel Prize, 47 have been selected as Rhodes Scholars, and 61 have been selected as Marshall Scholars.332
Alumni in American politics and public service include former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke, former MA-1 Representative John Olver, former CA-13 Representative Pete Stark, former National Economic Council chairman Lawrence H. Summers, and former Council of Economic Advisors chairwoman Christina Romer. MIT alumni in international politics include Foreign Affairs Minister of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India Raghuram Rajan, former British Foreign Minister David Miliband, former Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Chalabi.
MIT alumni founded or co-founded many notable companies, such as Intel, McDonnell Douglas, Texas Instruments, 3Com, Qualcomm, Bose, Raytheon, Koch Industries, Rockwell International, Genentech, Dropbox, and Campbell Soup. According to the British newspaper, The Guardian, "a survey of living MIT alumni found that they have formed 25,800 companies, employing more than three million people including about a quarter of the workforce of Silicon Valley. Those firms collectively generate global revenues of about $1.9 trillion (£1.2 trillion) a year. If MIT were a country, it would have the 11th highest GDP of any nation in the world."333334335
Prominent institutions of higher education have been led by MIT alumni, including the University of California system, Harvard University, New York Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, Carnegie Mellon University, Tufts University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Northeastern University, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Purdue University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, KAIST, and Quaid-e-Azam University. Nearby Berklee College of Music, the largest independent college of contemporary music in the world, was founded and led by MIT alumnus Lawrence Berk for more than three decades.
More than one third of the United States' manned spaceflights have included MIT-educated astronauts (among them Apollo 11 Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin), more than any university excluding the United States service academies.336 Alumnus and former faculty member Qian Xuesen was instrumental in the PRC rocket program.337
Noted alumni in non-scientific fields include author Hugh Lofting,338 sculptor Daniel Chester French, Boston guitarist Tom Scholz, the British BBC and ITN correspondent and political advisor David Walter, The New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize Winning economist Paul Krugman, The Bell Curve author Charles Murray, United States Supreme Court building architect Cass Gilbert,339 Pritzker Prize-winning architects I.M. Pei and Gordon Bunshaft.
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, SM 1972 (Management)
Former Federal Reserve Bank chairman Ben Bernanke, PhD 1979 (Economics)
Physicist Nobel laureate Richard Feynman, SB 1939 (Physics)
Economics Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, PhD 1977 (Economics)
Biologist, suffragist, philanthropist Katherine Dexter McCormick (left), SB 1904 (Biology)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, SB 1975 (Architecture), SM 1976 (Management)
Architect I. M. Pei, BArch 1940 (Architecture)
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- Stratton, Julius A. (2005). Mind and Hand: The Birth of MIT. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. ISBN 9780262195249.
- Vest, Charles M. (2004). Pursuing the Endless Frontier: Essays on MIT and the Role of Research Universities. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. ISBN 9780262220729.
- Wildes, Karl L.; Lindgren, Nilo A. (1985). A Century of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, 1882–1982. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. ISBN 9780262231190.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Massachusetts Institute of Technology.|
- Texts on Wikisource:
- "Massachusetts Institute of Technology". Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921.
- "Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The". Encyclopedia Americana. 1920.
- "Massachusetts Institute of Technology". The New Student's Reference Work. 1914.
- "Massachusetts Institute of Technology". New International Encyclopedia. 1905.
- George Fillmore Swain (July 1900). "Technical Education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology". Popular Science Monthly 57.
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