Stories from the School—
in 02139 and around the globe.
Stories from the School—
in 02139 and around the globe.
"Humanity faces urgent challenges — challenges whose solutions depend on marrying advanced technical and scientific capabilities with a deep understanding of the world's political, cultural, and economic complexities."
— L. RAFAEL REIF, PRESIDENT OF MIT
In this short video Dean Melissa Nobles and others (including Winston Churchill!) show why the humanities, arts, and social sciences are essential to an MIT education — and to the Institute's innovation ecosystem.
"At MIT, we view the humanities, arts, and social sciences as essential, both for educating great engineers, scientists, scholars, and citizens, and for sustaining the Institute’s capacity for innovation. Why? Because the Institute’s mission is to advance knowledge and educate students who are prepared to help solve the world’s most challenging problems – in energy, health care, transportation, and dozens of other fields.
To do this, our graduates naturally need advanced technical knowledge and skills — the deep, original thinking about the physical universe that is the genius of the science and engineering fields. But the world’s problems are never tidily confined to the laboratory, workbench, or spreadsheet.
From climate change to poverty to disease, the challenges of our age are unwaveringly human in nature and scale; and engineering and science issues are always embedded in broader human realities, from deeply-felt cultural traditions to building codes to political tensions. So our students also need an in-depth understanding of human complexities — the political, cultural, and economic realities that shape our existence — as well as fluency in the powerful forms of thinking and creativity cultivated by the humanities, arts, and social sciences."
MIT philosopher and social theorist Sally Haslanger outlines the persistence of ideologies like racism or sexism that entrench injustice or privilege, and how we might best combat deeply embedded misconceptions that endure in our societies in defiance of evidence or reasoned argument. Watch
MIT Literature Professor Diana Henderson participates in a roundtable discussion about challenges for young scholars. Watch
The a filmed scene from the opera "Persona" — after the film by Ingmar Bergman — composed by Keeril Makan, libretto by Jay Scheib, music direction by Evan Ziporyn. Watch
Part of the MIT+150 celebration | Stewart Myers introduces the panelists as distinguished academics and practitioners who share their innovative application of finance theory to entrepreneurship. Watch
The first and only comprehensive, national high school research competition in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Organized by MIT students. Visit getinspired.mit.edu for more information. Watch
A performance by the MIT Radius Ensemble of “Scorpio,” a selection from 12 by Eun Young Lee. Recorded live at the Longy School of Music, Cambridge, MA on March 5, 2016 Watch
The ceremony to dedicate the Morris and Sophie Chang Building, MIT-E50, which houses the MIT-SHASS Department of Economics, including remarks by President Rafael Reif and Dean Melissa Nobles. Watch
With the move to Cambridge and the construction of the Main Group, MIT set out to create a building and an institution like no other. In doing so, the Institute tranformed the City of Cambridge over the last century. Hear stories from MIT’s century in Cambridge—including visions for the next 100 years—through a series of documentaries and video vignettes. Watch
This video provides a short overview of the science and data that show why children's native languages are necessary for learning to read and write — and everything else. Watch
Founded in 1972 by President Jerome Wiesner and his wife, Catherine Stratton, the Council for the Arts has supported a remarkable, flourishing arts culture at MIT by purchasing public art, awarding millions of dollars in grants, and developing relationships with Boston-area arts institutions like the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Institute of Contemporary Art. “Catalyst for the Arts at MIT” is a brief history of the Council, its efforts, and its powerful legacy. Watch
An interdisciplinary panel co-sponsored by the MIT Global Health and Medical Humanities Initiative and the MIT Prehealth Advising, Global Education and Career Development Office, with the support of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Anthropology program held on Oct. 28, 2014.
2010 McDermott Award winner Gustavo Dudamel conducts an open rehearsal with the MIT Symphony Orchestra, Friday, April 16, 2010. Dudamel is the Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Watch
Soon after the beginning of the financial crisis of 2008, sociologist Manuel Castells gathered a group of leading international intellectuals, including MIT historian Rosalind Williams, to think about the nature, causes, and implications of the crisis. “Metamorphosis” is a documentary about their insights.
"Poisons and Passion" — Professor of the Practice of Humanities Alan Lightman novelist, essayist, physicist, and educator, and was one the first people to receive dual faculty appointments in science and in the humanities. In this audio clip, Lightman discusses his former poisons and passions with Story Collider. Listen
A video from the MacArthur Foundation, about the Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction writer and MIT Professor of Writing, Junot Díaz, who was named a MacArthur Fellow for 2012. The Fellowship is a $500,000, no-strings-attached grant for individuals who have shown exceptional creativity in their work and the promise to do more. Watch
27 Sept 2012 — The Pultizer Prize-winning author and MIT Professor of Writing spoke to a standing-room-only audience at the Stata Center, taking many questions and reading from his new book This is How You Lose Her. Watch
Geologist and professor Kip Hodges PhD'82 calls on his skills as a writer to ask scientific questions, and to shape and share his research. In this video, he describes how knowledge of the humanities and arts helps conduct, convey, and sustain the work of science. Thumbnail photocredit: Arizona State University Watch
MIT's Pulitzer prize-winning composer John Harbison talks about his jazz roots, his opera "Great Gatsby" — and performs delicious jazz selections on piano. Performance Today©'s Fred Child interviews Institute Professor of Music, John Harbison, at the 2012 Aspen Music Festival. Watch
An architect of both the National and Massachusetts health care plans, Gruber has been interviewed extensively by the national and international media after the Supreme Court decision. Here are a few of the informative videos. Watch
MIT Musicians in Senegal
In January 2012, Rambax MIT traveled to Senegal to study sabar with the Mbaye family. Rambax student, Jess Kim '10, put together this 10-min video to document the group's tour, and to thank the sponsors who made the trip possible. Watch
The exotic history of amateur explanations of the universe. David Kaiser, head of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society, joins Tom Ashbrook on NPR's "On Point." Watch
Acclaimed multidisciplinary and performance artist Robert Lepage, winner of the 2012 McDermott Award, conducts a theater workshop with MIT students. Renowned as a director, filmmaker, playwright, and actor, Lepage is currently directing Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Watch
As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? MIT SHASS Professor Sherry Turkle studies how our devices and online personas are redefining human connection and communication—and asks us to think deeply about the new kinds of connection we want to have. Watch
"What he’s created makes our health care system understandable and entertaining." — From CBS Boston Watch
It is among the most significant questions in economics: Why do some nations become wealthy and powerful, while others remain mired in poverty? And why do some of those powers, from ancient Rome to the modern Soviet Union, expand and then collapse? Watch
New York Times classical music reporter Daniel J. Wakin discusses the Venezuelan music education program founded by José Antonio Abreu. — New York Times Watch
Professor Margaret MacVicar (1944–1991) was a physicist and outstanding educator who founded MIT's widely emulated Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), and served as MIT's first Dean for Undergraduate Education. In this video members of the MIT community remember Professor MacVicar and her enduring contributions to the Institute. Watch
The MIT Energy Initiative and the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship Program convene four journalists to tell the behind-the-scenes story on how energy stories get told—and spun. Watch
Jackee Budesta Batanda "Audits the Conventional Wisdom" of Washington's response to the anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda. In this series of videos, the MIT-SHASS Center for International Studies tours the horizon of the conventional wisdoms that animate U.S. foreign policy, and puts them to the test of data and history. Watch
Abbas Maleki on Iran-US relations. In this series of videos, the MIT-SHASS Center for International Studies tours the horizon of the conventional wisdoms that animate U.S. foreign policy, and puts them to the test of data and history. Watch
Hainmueller’s evolution as a political scientist can be seen as a long-term project to tie together qualitative and quantitative ways of thinking about politics and society. While he has always been “excited about using math tools to learn about the world,” Hainmueller has also been drawn to social and economic problems. Photocredit: Stuart Darsch Watch
In these videos John Dower shows the Visualizing Cultures program, launched at MIT in 2002 to explore the potential of the web for developing innovative image-driven scholarship and learning. Visualizing Cultures uses new technology and hitherto inaccessible visual materials to reconstruct the past—as people of the time visualized and imagined their own worlds. Watch
Much of the reporting on the eviction of occupiers from Zuccotti Park in December 2011, focused on what happens next: can the movement survive without a physical location? Sasha Costanza-Chock, Assistant Professor of Civid Media, in the MIT-SHASS Comparative Media Studies program, has been studying the protests. He talks to Brooke Gladstone at NPR's "On the Media," about what the future holds for the OWS movement, and about how the protestors are organizing digitally in new ways. Watch
Videos of discussions and talks; collections of photographs; poster presentations. To celebrate the first 50 years of MIT’s graduate program in Linguistics, alumni, former faculty and postdoctoral scholars gathered at MIT on December 9-11, 2011. More than 200 people marked the occasion by participating in a discussion of some of the foundational questions investigated by its past and present members. Participants called it "an astonishing weekend of talks and other gatherings." Professor David Pesetsky writes, "Intellectually, it was first-rate and exciting; there were some fireworks (just as we'd hoped), and it was an emotional weekend. Collectively, this was the group that built the field." Watch
Part of the "Common Threads" video, produced for MIT's 150th anniversary celebration, this three-minute clip features the rise of science, and humanities, arts, and social sciences at MIT. Watch
Handel’s Messiah is an 18th century oratorio best known for the 'Hallelujah' chorus. This radio program interviews Ellen Harris, Professor of Music Emerita discussing why, 270 years after the work was first composed, it remains one of the most beloved choral works in all of Western music." Watch
"Things seem to be happening both much faster and much slower now, because the density of human presence on the planet speeds up environmental change, and slows down political change—creating a viscosity that makes history work differently.” Watch
Is local news a casualty of the digital age? A recent report from the FCC suggests that although the broad media landscape is more vibrant than ever, many local communities face a shortage of professional reporting, undermining journalism's watchdog rolel. This edition of the Communications Forum assesses the state of local journalism, paying special attention to the environment for news in New England. Watch
September 2011 | The series brings together faculty, students, local business leaders, state economic officials, and MIT technology and policy thinkers. The emphasis for the first forum was "Rebuilding the American Economy." Several leading MIT faculty review manufacturing topics, after which Ron Bloom, former Senior Counselor to the President, speaks. Robert Solow, Nobel laureate and MIT economist, leads a closing discussion. Watch
In this audio slide-show, James Howe, Professor of Anthropology, tells the story of how a Kuna village prepares for and conducts a great communal celebration, an event that can last up to four days, and embodies many of the Kuna's important values, beliefs, and ways of life. The photographs are from the exhibit of Howe's images which were exhibted recently at the Museo Interoceánico del Canal, Panama's premiere museum. Watch
Richard Locke, Class of 1922 Professor of Political Science and Management, and Head, MIT Political Science, discuses the department's focus on addressing the world's great challenges. Watch
MIT students perform the Finale of the Trio for Piano, Violin, and Horn by Johannes Brahms. Watch
Tirman's most recent book, The Deaths of Others, published by Oxford University Press, is a trenchant and passionate work that explores the fate of civilians in America's wars. Watch
MIT students and alums of the MIT Chamber Music Society play the first movement of the String Quintet in C major by Franz Schubert. Watch
Professor of History David Kaiser talks about the 1960s-era physicists who transformed the filed of quantum physics. In recent years, the field of quantum information science has catapulted to the cutting edge of physics. Long before the big budgets and dedicated teams, however, the ideas that now occupy the core of quantum information science were generated by a group of young counter-culture physicists. Watch
"Listening Faster — How Digital Humanities is Transforming Music Scholarship" is part of HyperStudio's humanities + digital conversations in collaboration with Harvard's metaLAB. Watch
Congratulations to our 2011 graduates and their families! The photographs were taken on June 3, 2011, at the School's Commencement Reception, by the photography team of MIT Technique. We hope you enjoy these souvenirs of a memorable day of celebration! View Gallery
Heather Paxson, Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, discusses what makes an artisan cheese. Watch
Hosted by the School's Political Science Department and Boston Review, moderated by Melissa Nobles, MIT Professor of Political Science. Joseph Carens argues that unauthorized immigrants who have lived in the US for a sustained period of time should be granted the right to remain in the country. Carens is joined by Carol Swain, Mathias Risse, and Jennifer Hochschild. Watch
March 16, 2011 | MIT experts discuss Japan's nuclear past, present, and future from a political and engineering perspective. The presentation includes an eyewitness account of the crisis and the Japanese government's response. Watch
Greek journalist Iason Athanasiadis offers a remarkably intimate photographic portrait of the Egyptian revolt from its epicenter in Tahrir Square, following the brutal attacks by government loyalists on protesters on January 25th. David Weinberg provides perspectives on US policy in the Middle East. Watch
To celebrate the birthday of Albert Einstein, the AMPs team turned to adjunct professor Alan Lightman, best-selling author of Einstein's Dreams, and the first professor at MIT to receive a joint appointment in the sciences and the humanities. In this interview excerpt, the physicist/author examines the role of art in education and our lives. Watch at MIT Tech TV
Deveau, Senior Lecturer in Music and Theater Arts, and Artistic Director of the Rockport Chamber Music Festival (now Rockport Music) appears on Channel 5 in a show about the Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport Music's acclaimed new venue. Deveau's leadership over the past decade was instrumental in creating the Center, which opened in June 2010. More
Part of the MIT+150 celebration | Mitsui Professor of Economics, James Poterba moderates a panel of fellow distinguished economists to reflect on MIT's unique contributions to the field, and MIT's role as a place of research, teaching, and influence in the larger world. Watch
Lesley Stahl talks with Natasha Schüll, Leo Marx Career Development Professor of Science, Technology, and Society, about her research into immersive, interactive gambling machines and gambling addiction. Watch
Sherry Turkle, Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology, talks to Stephen Colbert about her new book, Alone Together, which documents the sometimes-detrimental effects of technology on our human relationships and social lives. Watch
Difficult as it is to look beyond the acute misery of Haiti’s current crisis, Paul Farmer proposes that aid agencies and others concerned with rebuilding focus on the nation’s “chronic problems.” There’s no shortage of recovery ideas, he says, but these will go nowhere if they do not also advance the long-neglected, basic rights of Haitians. Watch
Peter A. Diamond, Institute Professor of Economics, delivered his Prize Lecture on 8 December 2010 at Aula Magna, Stockholm University. He was introduced by Professor Bertil Holmlund, Chairman of the Economic Sciences Prize Committee. Diamond won the 2010 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.
Watch Presentation in Stockholm
In the second of a two-part interview, Daron Acemoglu, Charles P. Kindleberger Professor of Economics, talks with Chrystia Freeland of Reuters about the historical roots of economics & political success. Watch
Three distinguished scholars engage in sustained conversation about the value, nature, and mission of the humanities disciplines in the digital age. David Thorburn, MIT Professor of Literature and MacVicar Faculty Fellow Director, MIT Communications Forum; Alison Byerly, Provost & Executive Vice President and Professor of English & American Literatures, Middlebury College; and Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor, and Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology, Harvard University Watch
Unique stories from members of the MIT community: “How do you use the diverse backgrounds of students, faculty, administrators, so that MIT becomes a better place...from a research output perspective?"
MIT Stories at "Inventing our Future"
According to Andrew J. Bacevich, Washington stubbornly sticks to national security policies that don’t work, are devoid of moral considerations, sap the Treasury, and and rob future generations. In a talk that leads to a candid give and take with his audience, Bacevich describes a national security consensus that has, over time, “thrust us into a situation which is really akin to permanent war.” Watch
Gara LaMarche believes the nation’s charitable organizations have lost “moral clarity,” growing more concerned with “the fix, the intervention, than about reasons for doing or caring about what is right." Introduced by Dean Deborah Fitzgerald. Watch
In the first installment of a video interview for Carnegie Hall's Sound Insights series, Evan Ziporyn, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music, speaks about how he immersed himself in Balinese music and culture in his early 20s, and how it influenced his compositions for Gamelan, and his musical direction. Watch
From the earliest days of Comparative Media Studies (CMS), there has been discussion about how new media shape learning and catalyze novel forms of expression and engagement. Over the years, as Henry Jenkins and the five panelists in this video attest, the CMS community has refined and broadened its study of the impact new technologies have on education, culture and politics. Watch
Tools developed by Martin Wattenberg and his associate Fernanda Viégas, have changed the way people look at and use visualizations, by empowering and equipping users with the methodology needed to ask different questions. In this lecture hosted by the HyperStudio, Wattenberg (whose background is in math and computer science) asks how the humanities have influenced the evolution of data visualization and then answers with several examples from his own work. This lecture was part of HyperStudio's humanities+digital conference on visual interpretations. Watch
Former MIT Professor of Economics, Paul Krugman PhD '77, spoke to a standing-room only audience in the Stata Center on February 5, 2010 about learning from our own history to help fix the current economic crisis. More
Cultural anthropology is a social science that explores how people understand, and act in, the world. But what, exactly, do Cultural Anthropologists do? How do they approach their research? In this short film, three members of the School's Anthropology section, Stefan Helmreich, Erica James, and Heather Paxson, talk about their current fieldwork. Watch
From MIT World - In the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake, four panelists with strong personal and professional ties to Haiti share their insights about the different paths to rebuilding and reconstructing the country. Watch
Celebrating 73 summers at Tanglewood in the Berkshire Hills of Lenox, Massachusetts, the 2010 season comes to a close with the Labor Day Weekend Jazz Festival, featuring the Donal Fox Quartet with cellist Maya Beiser. In this BSO video podcast, Fox discusses his "Piazzolla to Bach Project," which will premiere at Seji Ozawa Hall, September 5, 2010. Watch
In conversation with MIT music luminaries, John Harbison and Tod Machover, and moderator Maria Hinojosa, Dudamel describes El Systema, the remarkable music education system in Venezuela that set him on his path, and continues to inspire his work in the U.S. and around the world. Watch
Associate Professor of Political Science Gabriel Lenz has studied how much a candidate's appearance affects an election’s outcome, and the answer is “a lot.” In this audio clip, Lenz speaks with WBUR’s Deborah Becker. Listen
In conversation with William Uricchio, Henry Jenkins returns to reflect on his time at MIT and offers insights into MIT culture, the state of digital cultures and new media, and why the humanities are an invaluable part of an MIT education. Watch
Daniel Nocera, The Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy and Professor of Chemistry, is swimming upstream in the energy research world. While many scientists work on how to scale up wind, geothermal, or biomass systems, Nocera is focusing on “personalized” energy units that can be manufactured, distributed and installed economically. Watch
As an MIT Museum audience peppers him with queries ranging from the barter system to development, trade relations, and the role of intuition in economics, Nobel Prize-winner Robert Merton steers listeners to his areas of expertise—financial engineering and innovation, and risk management. Watch
Adapted by the Mary Shelley novel by Ricardo Pitts-Wiley with Bill Pett and Jim Brown. Directed by Visiting MLK Artist Ricardo Pitts-Wiley and cast with MIT students. Following the performance, a panel of MIT scholars discussed the novel, addressing questions such as what it is about Frankenstein that fascinates us. Watch
Featuring Carol Saivetz and Bakyt Beshimov Watch
Presented by the MIT Communications Forum | Hosted by James Paradis with respondent Peter Donaldson. Should we view the last 500 years or so of Western culture as a strange interlude, defined by printed page and other artifacts that once dominated the landscape but are now fading in relevance? Watch
This CIS series continues with an analysis of the defense budget—the largest since World War II. Is it a rational response to the threats and the dangers that the United States faces—or not? Benjamin Friedman is a PhD student at the MIT Department of Political Science. He is a member of the Center's Security Studies Program and is a research fellow in defense and homeland security studies at the Cato Institute. Watch
The School's distinguished Music faculty offers MIT students subjects in performance, composition and theory, jazz, world music, and music history. Listen to a sample of great performances by MIT's student musicians. Listen
This MIT Libraries' exhibit explores one of the most important and controversial publications of the eighteenth century, Diderot's Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonne des sciences, des arts et des metiers. Watch
...and how can we recover?
Nobel Prize-winning economist, vice chairman of the Urban Institute Board of Trustees, and MIT Professor Emeritus, Robert Solow, explains in a four-part video series why a stateside housing slump turned into a global economic crisis, why the bailout was necessary, and how we can recover. More
"The arts at MIT, like science and engineering at MIT, are on the cutting edge of their disciplines, they are serving the students—and in the way they are serving the students, ultimately, they are going to be serving the entire society." — Alan Brody, Playwright and Professor of Theater Arts Take a look!
In June 2009, NASA created the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee and charged it with conducting "an independent review of ongoing U.S. human space flight plans and programs, as well as alternatives, to ensure the Nation is pursuing the best trajectory for the future of human space flight – one that is safe, innovative, affordable, and sustainable." Watch
Who knew that one of the world's greatest scientists also worked as a gumshoe on London’s mean streets, or that this same absent-minded professor helped England fix its monetary policy from an office in the Tower of London?Levenson brings all sorts of surprises to light in his sleuthing of a little known but significant episode in British history involving Sir Isaac Newton. Watch
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Wayne Marshall, appeared in a PBS four-part series on Latin Music in the USA. Click below to watch the series and a bonus clip of Wayne on the connection between Panama and Jamaica. More
The collapse of print and other traditional news and the rise of celebrity culture have contributed to the sharp decline of in-depth stories involving race and society, say these speakers in an illuminating discussion replete with personal anecdotes. Juan Williams, News Analyst for NPR, Political Analyst, Fox News Channel; J. Philip Thompson, MIT Associate Professor of Urban Politics, Department of Urban Studies and Planning; David Thorburn, MIT Professor of Literature and Director of the MIT Communications Forum. Watch
In a career that spanned seven decades, Nobel laureate and Institute Professor Paul A. Samuelson transformed his field, influenced millions of students, and turned MIT into an economics powerhouse. He was the first American to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, in 1970. This video records the memorial service held in MIT's Kresge Auditorium on April 10, 2010, to celebrate his life and career.
Samuel Jay Keyser, Editor-in-Chief of Linguistic Inquiry, has shared a campus with Noam Chomasky for 40+ years via the School's renowned Department of Linguistics and Philosophy. The two colleagues recently sat down to discuss ideas on language evolution and the human capacity for understanding the universe. Listen to the conversation
Seamus Heaney was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. He has resided in Dublin since 1976 and, every two years, visits Cambridge where he teaches at Harvard University. Heaney's recent books include selected poems Opened Ground: Poems 1966-1996) (1998), an acclaimed translation of Beowulf (2000) and his selected prose Finders Keepers (2002). All are published in America by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Watch
Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, and Special Assistant to the Chancellor, Jay Keyser, believes that the MIT hacker is to be admired for pulling off the collegiate world's cleverest and most elegant pranks. In this video, Keyser describes some of his favorite hacks, and burrows into the psychology of hack culture at MIT. Watch
In an energetic talk delivered prior to the 2008 U.S. presidential election, Jonathan Gruber provides a useful breakdown of the two candidates’ remedies for the nation’s troubled health care system. His detailed analysis of the key issues around health care is invaluable as the health care debate continues. Watch
This preview of a 2009 documentary presents J-PAL’s investigation of health problems of India's rural poor, and the programs J-PAL and local NGO partners are creating to bring relief. Watch
In this short video, Wyn Kelley, Senior Lecturer in Literature, discusses the powerful themes that make Herman Melville's Moby-Dick alive for the 21st century. "Everyone was on that ship!" she says. Watch
This panel discussion at the Starr Forum of May 2009 is a clear guide to current U.S.-Iranian relations, presented by moderator Barry Posen (Director of the School's Security Studies Program), and panelists Suzanne DiMaggio, Jim Walsh, and Stephen Heintz. Under the Obama administration, the U.S. is moving toward a better relationship with Iran; panelists explain that achieving real diplomacy will paradoxically require both patience and a sense of urgency. Watch
The MIT Center for International Studies undertakes research, teaching, international education, and public and policy engagement on a broad range of global issues. Major programs include: MISTI, which sends 300 students annually to internships in labs in 10 countries; the Security Studies Program; the Program on Emerging Technologies, which researches the effects of globalization; the Jerusalem 2050 project; and the Persian Gulf Initiative, which focuses on Iran and Iraq. Watch
Stephen Colbert interviews Junot Díaz, Professor of Writing, and Pulitzer Prize winning author of "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" Watch
What is the legacy of the Apollo program, and how can it help us meet the challenges of our own time? This short, beautiful film, produced by the MIT AMPS team, kicked off MIT’s "Giant Leaps" event, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing, and envision the future of spaceflight. Watch
Institute Professor of Music John Harbison talks about composing music, finding a balance between the inner and outer ear, and creating art at MIT. Watch
President Susan Hockfield states that science journalism “is absolutely indispensable.” As we confront global warming and health pandemics, science reporting must be sustained, Hockfield says, “in its rightful place, at the top of the profession and in the thick of the national conversation.” Dismal economic times are a challenge to this aspiration, as journalists on the panel attest. Watch
Esther Duflo and her colleagues and students are taking the measure of a wide range of anti-poverty programs. Applying scientific methodology, the School's Poverty Action Lab team is approaching the projects of well-intended governments and NGO's (non-government organizations) with a fresh eye. Watch
In a talk that weaves philosophy, history, religion and some classic rabbinic banter, Sir Jonathan Sacks calls for a “paradigm shift in understanding of religion” in the face of globalization, which threatens to pull the world apart in tribal and religious strife. Says Sachs: The “three great institutions of modernity — science, economics and politics — cannot answer the key questions... which are 'Who am I' and 'Why am I here.'" Watch
Many writers long to see their work appear in The New Yorker magazine. Miraculously, Jamaica Kincaid got her start in print generating “Talk of the Town” pieces for the magazine, back in the (good old) days when those pieces ran without bylines. Kincaid, who celebrates times “when the sheer doing of something was enough,” reads some of her “TOT” pieces and other examples of her early work, offering tips and asides to aspiring writers in her audience. Watch