News Archive 2017

School news from 2017.

THE HUMAN FACTOR | INNOVATION & OPPORTUNITY ARE LINKED

Interview with economic historian Anne McCants
   

"Economic history viewed on a very long timescale tells us that innovation and population size/density are highly correlated. A shorter time horizon tells us that population size alone is not enough. Rather, it is in populations where lots of people are both permitted and capable of 'having a go,' where innovation thrives best." More

21st C. CITIZENSHIP | SCIENCE COMMUNICATION

Bridging the gap between citizens and scientists

Alumni of the MIT SHASS Graduate Program in Science Writing inform the public about critical issues ranging from medical breakthroughs to climate change. More

BASIC RESEARCH

SHASS announces 10 Research Fund recipients for 2018

The SHASS Research Fund supports research in the areas of humanities, arts, and social sciences that shows promise of making an important contribution to the proposed area of activity. The School is pleased to announce ten recipients for 2018. More

Robin Wolfe Scheffler awarded 2018 Levitan Prize in the Humanities

Scheffler, the Leo Marx Career Development Professor in the History and Culture of Science and Technology, has been awarded the prestigious award that includes a $30,000 grant that will support his research into the factors that influenced the development of Boston’s booming biotech industry. More

21st C. CITIZENSHIP

Connecting through conversation

Whether in Cambridge or Shanghai, MIT senior Joshua Charles Woodard seeks to learn from others’ perspectives and challenge his own. More

RESEARCH | 21st C. CITIZENSHIP

Why some Muslim clerics become jihadists

In his new book, political scientist Richard Nielsen proposes a “blocked ambition” hypothesis. More

Why we should welcome warnings

At MIT event, experts call for a new approach to worst-case scenarios. More

Professor Chris Capozzola

Christopher Capozzola named a Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs fellow

MIT historian one of nine fellows selected by the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs to receive support for research under the project "The Living Legacy of the First World War." More

New era for MIT theater opens with Everybody, a morality play for our time

Everybody is a brand-new 2017 play based on the venerable 15th century English morality play, Everyman. As performed last week at MIT, Everybody at once updates a masterwork from the distant past, and represents the future — the great range of new arts opportunities that the new Building W97 is making possible at MIT. More

Stefan Helmreich awarded 2017 Staley Prize

“Some people call this the Pulitzer Prize of anthropology. The prize is selected by an anonymous committee of scholars. It's a very competitive process, there are very intense debates, and this book emerged as a unanimous favorite.” More

Welcoming We're Open sign

Mens et Manus America examines the rural American economy

Insights from four leaders working to revitalize rural areas
  More

MIT historian Craig Steven Wilder delivers 2017 Capps Lecture

Craig Steven Wilder, Barton L. Weller Professor of History, delivered the prestigious Walter H. Capps Memorial Lecture on Friday, November 3, 2017. More

Mens et Manus America examines current U.S. tax reform issues.

MIT professors James Poterba and Michelle Hanlon provide a primer on some key issues and challenges. More

Bridging the science-policy divide

For MIT senior Talia Weiss, physics and theater have provided a springboard for new interests in political science. More

21ST CENTURY CITIZENSHIP

Probing the behavior of an international bully

Political science doctoral student Ketian Zhang sheds light on China's use of coercion in foreign policy, hoping to span a deep divide. More

RESEARCH | 21ST CENTURY CITIZENSHIP

Nuclear and present danger

MIT security experts Vipin Narang, Jim Walsh, and Taylor Fravel discuss how to lower tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. More

TEACHING AND LEARNING

MIT-Haiti, Google team up to boost education in Kreyòl

Effort to create STEM lexicon, led by linguistics faculty Michele Degraff, is now available for global translation. More

SOCIAL INNOVATION

Course helps girls in Botswana avoid HIV and “sugar daddies”

Youth-to-youth program founded by MIT economist Joshua Angrist teaches girls about the increased odds of contracting HIV from older men. More

portrait of Edouard Louis

At MIT, author Édouard Louis examines the contexts for violence

The capacity to transform personal suffering into a meditation on the larger wounds society inflicts on the powerless and marginalized defines Louis’ literary voice. More

BASIC RESEARCH | 21st CENTURY CITIZENSHIP

Mens et Manus America examines data,
technology, and election integrity

Various concerns about the security of U.S. elections have arisen over the past twenty years, some more significant that others. While many studies have shown that voter fraud, for instance, is vanishingly rare in the U.S., what about the state of electoral administration, lost votes, and cyber attacks? On Oct. 16, two experts teamed up at MIT to share insights from their research on what is and isn't working in America's electoral system. More

portrait of MIT Professor Shigeru Miyagawa

THE HUMAN FACTOR | DIGITAL LEARNING

Interview: Shigeru Miyagawa on interdisciplinary approaches to digital learning

“ODL is actively reaching out to faculty across MIT to help them leverage digital learning to improve teaching and learning, and I am glad to be contributing to that." More

photograph of MIT economist Nancy Rose

Nancy Rose appointed department head of MIT Economics

Rose is not only a distinguished scholar, but also an accomplished public servant, having served in the US Department of Justice for two and a half years years. More

photograph of Thomas Derrah, actor

Remembering Thomas Derrah (1953-2017)

Renowned actor and beloved member of MIT Music and Theater Arts dies at 64 More

Led by Jing Wang, the New Media Action Lab increases the impact of NGOs across China.

The lab bridges the digital gap to improve social welfare for underserved populations in rural and urban China.   More

CORE

MIT named No. 2 university worldwide for the Arts and Humanities - 2018

At MIT, two schools — the School of Architecture and Planning, and the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences — and several centers are home to the arts and humanities. More

PLANETARY HEALTH

Citizen Science and the Wild workshop illuminates the value of multidisciplinary research.

Convened by MIT historian Harriet Ritvo, the workshop drew an unusual variety of MIT experts together, including historians of science, anthropologists, scientists, and museum professionals.  More

TEACHING AND LEARNING

Two sciences tie the knot

A new major combining computer science and economics will prepare students for designing the virtual marketplaces of the future. More

21st C. CITIZENSHIP | BASIC RESEARCH

Making sense of nuclear threats

MIT political scientist Vipin Narang explains the strategies of new nuclear powers. “We’re not talking about Cold War nuclear strategy any more. We’re talking about small states with small arsenals and itchy trigger fingers. It really changes how we think about nuclear risks and nuclear dangers as a result.” More

MIT SHASS welcomes Hari Kondabolu to campus

Hari Kondabolu is comic who the New York Times called “one of the most exciting political comics in stand-up today.” This event is sponsored by the MIT SHASS De Florez Fund for Humor. More

Entrance to W97 MIT Theater Building

The Next Act for MIT Theater

A warehouse at 345 Vassar Street has been converted into an ingenious 25,000-square-foot performing arts building for MIT and its flourishing Theater Arts program. The flexible space can accommodate diverse forms of stagecraft, productions, and new theater technologies.   More

TEACHING AND LEARNING

Increasing equity through educational technology

CMS/W Assistant Professor Justin Reich looks to transform educational settings by equipping teachers with the technology tools they need to best serve all students. More

TEACHING AND LEARNING

Political science debuts on MITx

“Democracy and Development: Perspectives from Africa” is the first MIT Political Science class produced exclusively for edX, the multi-university online education platform. More

John Durant plans a new era for the MIT Museum

Bridging science, technology, the arts, humanities, and the social sciences MIT Museum Director John Durant makes plans to engage the public with a new purpose-driven museum space. More

ARTS INNOVATION

"Imagination Off The Charts" debuts at MIT

A new documentary film, "Imagination Off the Charts: Jacob Collier Comes to MIT," highlights a Grammy-winning musician’s innovative relationship with MIT. The film debuts on Friday, Sept 8, Room 10-250, 7pm. More

INNOVATION

Play Labs announces first class of VR/AR/playful startups and demo session

First accelerator program on the MIT campus will showcase 12 startups across a mix of gaming, virtual reality, esports, and augmented reality technologies. More

TEACHING AND LEARNING

In search of a meaningful life

Popular MIT anthropology course offers contemplation and dialogue on life's big questions. More

SOCIAL INNOVATION

How J-PAL thinks globally and acts locally

Can an antipoverty program work in different settings? A new report presents a user’s guide to a tough issue. More

RESEARCH TO POLICY | CITIZENSHIP

J-PAL North America partners with local governments to tackle homelessness and reduce incarceration

Selected cities and counties will receive funding and technical support from J-PAL to test innovative strategies in the fight against poverty. More

RESEARCH TO POLICY | CITIZENSHIP

Investigating the trap of unemployment

MIT Economics PhD student Aicha Ben Dhia studies France’s labor market from the perspective of local job-seekers. More

HEALTH OF THE PLANET

Bolstering public support for state-level renewable energy policies

Analysis shows the design and framing of renewable energy policies can strengthen public support — or opposition. More

RESEARCH TO POLICY

A simple solution for terrible traffic

Cities plagued with terrible traffic problems may be overlooking a simple, low-cost solution: High-occupancy vehicle (HOV) policies that encourage carpooling can reduce traffic drastically, according to a new study co-authored by MIT economists. More

TEACHING AND LEARNING

Preschoolers learn from math games — to a point

Games found to improve conceptual math skills, but gains may not carry over to primary school. More

HUMAN HEALTH

Hospitals that spend more on emergency care yield better outcomes

A study co-authored by MIT economists finds that investing more in inpatient care relative to longer-term nursing facilities reduces mortality rates. More

actress from Einstein's Dream play

TEACHING AND LEARNING

Practicum: Directing Einstein's Dreams

Neerja Aggarwal, SB ’17, MEng ’18, discusses the rewards and challenges of directing Einstein's Dreams, an adaptation of the acclaimed novel by MIT faculty member and author, Alan Lightman.  More

TEACHING AND LEARNING

MIT Chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society inducts 74 graduates of the Class of 2017

The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s oldest academic honor society, this year admitted 74 graduating seniors into the MIT chapter, Xi of Massachusetts. More

21ST CENTURY CITIZENSHIP

Mens et Manus America Initiative | Portal 

This non-partisan MIT initiative convenes research-informed lectures and discussions to explore the major, long-term social, political, and economic issues brought to light in the 2016 US presidential election. We are asking: What can MIT do to help address current challenges in the U.S., and bolster the health of our democracy? Join us as we frame the issues and generate ideas for making a positive impact. More

BASIC RESEARCH

Song of the Human: A musical work inspired by Shigeru Miyagawa's research

New work by composer Pete M. Wyer draws inspiration from MIT linguistic scholar Shigeru Miyagawa's hypothesis on the origins of human language: "Human speech can be quite musical — there's pitch, rhythm, tone and dynamics — and if one removes words, what's left is the song of the human, and it's remarkably similar to birdsong."  More

Starr Forum
Security, Privacy, and the Internet

Discussion will consider government agencies and tradeoffs across security-civil liberties; firms like Google and Facebook and tradeoffs across functionality/utility of information enabled features and privacy; as well as some hacker related discussion. More

ART + TECH INNOVATION

Gamma Sonification: MIT students make music from particle energy 

Midway through Keeril Makan's “Introduction to Composition” class, three MIT nuclear engineering students had invented a technique to sonify, or create sound, from the energy of the decaying atom. More

21ST CENTURY CITIZENSHIP

At MIT, Arlie Hochschild discusses U.S. political divisions and finding common ground

The event centered on Hochschild's most recent book, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right (The New Press, September 2016). More

Andreas Wiedemann receives Horowitz Foundation grant 

Wiedemann is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science, and studies political economy and comparative politics with a focus on rich democracies. More

ARTS INNOVATION

Seeking Big Answers: What is Art?

PhD student Rebecca Millsop uses philosophy to take on contentious questions about how we define art. The starting point of her quest came from an unlikely place: biology. More

SOCIAL INNOVATION

Building empathy through computer science and art

CSAIL PhD student Danielle Olson creates immersive media to help users understand each other’s backgrounds and feelings. More

TEACHING AND LEARNING | SOCIAL INNOVATION

Breaking down walls between the ivory tower and prison

The MIT Prison Initiative provides an academic framework for undergraduates and local inmates to explore the human condition. More

TEACHING AND LEARNING

"Mens et manus" goes global

MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives program will send students to six continents this summer. More

TEACHING AND LEARNING

Testing the metrics

MIT researchers refine yardstick for measuring schools and teachers. More

TEACHING AND LEARNING

Entering the animal world

In a history seminar, engineering students explore shifting ideas about animal intelligence and human uses of animals throughout the ages. More

TEACHING AND LEARNING

In search of a meaningful life

Popular MIT anthropology course offers contemplation and dialogue on life's big questions. More

SOCIAL INNOVATION

MIT launches Election Data and Science Lab

The lab is dedicated to improving elections, using research, evidence, and analysis. Founded by Charles Stewart III, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science, the Lab will address multiple audiences of academic researchers, election practitioners, and the general public. It will serve a unique and independent role as it applies scientific principles to empirical questions about the administration of American elections.  More

BASIC RESEARCH

Nine MIT-SHASS Research Fund recipients announced for 2017

The SHASS Research Fund supports research in the areas of humanities, arts, and social sciences that shows promise of making an important contribution to the proposed area of activity. The School is pleased to announce nine recipients for 2017.  More

A.R. Gurney, playwright and author

A.R."Pete" Gurney, Jr., acclaimed playwright, author, and longtime MIT SHASS professor, dies at 86.

An MIT SHASS humanities and literature faculty member for 36 years, Gurney was known as an outstanding teacher and inspiring mentor. More

21ST CENTURY CITIZENSHIP

Breaking through gridlock: productive conversations in a polarized world 

A Mens et Manus America conversation with Jason Jay. "We have to have conversations if we are going to effect change," said Jay, who outlined findings from his new book. "We change larger conversations by changing one conversation at a time." More

photo of Jamelle Bouie, Slate editor

21ST CENTURY CITIZENSHIP

Race and Racism in the 2016 Election

Slate chief political correspondent Jamelle Bouie joins MIT’s Seth Mnookin to explore how race and ethnicity framed the election. More

21ST CENTURY CITIZENSHIP

Mens et Manus America examines the politics of misinformation

Exploring current U.S. social, political, and economic challenges: Professor Adam J. Berinsky joined Professor Ezra Zuckerman Sivan to share political science and sociological research about the impact of rumors and falsehoods on America's political process. Agustín Rayo, associate dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences moderated. More

SHASS opens call for 2017 Levitan Teaching Award nominations

A quick email is all it takes to nominate your favorite SHASS instructor, TA, or professor. More

David Pesetsky honored by MIT Linguistics alums and colleagues

More than 100 faculty colleagues, current and former students, and guests gathered at the Stata Center on February 11, 2017 for a daylong linguistics workshop organized as a tribute to the research and teaching of MIT linguist David Pesetsky. Attendees came from as far away as Korea, Russia, and Turkey to honor Pesetsky, the Ferrari P. Ward Professor of Modern Languages and Linguistics and head of MIT's Department of Linguistics and Philosophy. More

Junot Díaz inducted into American Academy of Arts and Letters

The American Academy of Arts and Letters has announced the names of 14 new inductees, including Junot Díaz, a Pulitizer prize-winning author, and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at MIT. More

Alan Lightman receives inaugural Humanism in Literature Award

The Humanist Hub names Lightman its first ever awardee for Humanism through Literature. More

THE HUMAN FACTOR | HUMAN-CENTERED ROBOTICS

David Mindell on the human dimension of technological innovation

“The new frontier is learning how to design the relationships between people, robots, and infrastructure...The new success of robots will depend on how well they situate into human environments; as in chess, the strongest players are often the combinations of human and machine. I increasingly see that the three critical elements are people, robots, and infrastructure — all interdependent." More

THE HUMAN FACTOR | THE COSTS OF WAR

Political theorist John Tirman on immigration, collaboration, and the hidden costs of war

"It is remarkable that we do not measure the costs of war in any meaningful way. The costs come in many shapes and sizes: mortality and disability, loss of livelihoods and homes, displacement, the destruction of clean water resources and sanitation facilities, the disruption of education for children, ecological devastation, and many others. All wars produce these results, yet no country, including the United States, has the will to understand and calculate these costs." More

Catherine Clark receives Mellon Fellowship

Catherine Clark has received the Mellon Fellowship for Assistant Professors at the Institute for Advanced Study, for 2017–2018. More

SOCIAL INNOVATION

Walley and Boebel receive $195k NEH grant for the Exit Zero Project

Christine Walley, Professor of Anthropology, and MIT-based filmmaker Chris Boebel have been awarded a $195,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support the digitization of archives and the Exit Zero Project website. More

HEALTH ECONOMICS

Testing their patients

MIT researchers have found that Medicaid recipients are 20 percent more likely to wait more than 20 minutes to begin a scheduled appointment, compared to privately insured patients. More

21ST CENTURY CITIZENSHIP

Michael Lee: "The Conservative Canon Before and After Trump"

In this April 28 CMS/W podcast, Michael J. Lee charts the vital role of canonical post–World War II (1945–1964) books in generating, guiding, and sustaining conservatism as a political force in the United States. More

2017 SHASS Levitan Teaching Awards announced

Dean Nobles has announced the recipients of the 2017 James A. and Ruth Levitan Awards for Excellence in Teaching. Warmest congratulations to these nine educators and colleagues, who represent the very best academic leadership in the School.  More

HEALTH OF THE PLANET

Environmentalist and explorer

Senior Elizabeth Rider uses atmospheric chemistry research to create international connections. More

21ST CENTURY CITIZENSHIP

Being Muslim in America and MIT

MIT alum and students explored how discriminatory rhetoric influences public opinion and its impact on the daily lives of Muslim-Americans. More

photo of Jack Straw

21ST CENTURY CITIZENSHIP

Brexit, Europe, and Trump: John Whitaker "Jack" Straw, Former Foreign Secretary, U.K.

Video of a Starr Forum panel discussion held on April 6, 2017, sponsored by the MIT SHASS Center for International Studies More

21ST CENTURY CITIZENSHIP

Senator Sanders Addresses MIT: Presidential Election and the Political Process

In MIT speech, Senator Sanders contends future of U.S. politics "must be progressive." More

MIT Day of Action and Engagement 

More

Samuel Rodarte, Jr.

SOCIAL INNOVATION: RESEARCH TO POLICY

Shaping Public Policy in the Nation's Capital

With dual MIT degrees in engineering and humanities fields, and a social science minor, Samuel Rodarte '13 could have found a top job in almost any enterprise from startup to multinational corporation. Instead, he chose to join generations of alumni who have put their MIT skills to work shaping public policy in Washington, D.C. More

SOCIAL INNOVATION: RESEARCH TO POLICY

Meet MIT's experts in Asian Security

MIT's Asian Security Studies faculty train the next generation of scholars and security policy analysts; counsel national security officials in the U.S. and abroad; and inform policy through publications and frequent contributions to public debates. More

Writing for a Wider Audience | April 25, 5:30pm

Video from an event with distinguished publishing professionals who discussed ways to shape academic scholarship into general literature. The panelists include leading literary agents, non-fiction trade book editors, a magazine editor, and an op-ed editor. Event sponsored by the Office of the Dean, MIT SHASS, and Kneerim & Williams, a literary agency with offices in Boston and New York. More

21ST CENTURY CITIZENSHIP

Racing to the Precipice: Global Climate, Political Climate

Video of a Starr Forum panel discussion held on March 23, 2017, sponsored by the MIT SHASS Center for International Studies More

21ST CENTURY CITIZENSHIP

Uniting through Voice and Song

On the evening of November 17, 2016 faculty, staff, and students came together to affirm the enduring values that unite the MIT community. More

BASIC RESEARCH

What we're doing when we try to live our lives well

Philosopher Tamar Schapiro studies how we blend reason and emotion while refining our adult selves. More

SOCIAL INNOVATION | HUMAN HEALTH | CITIZENSHIP

Government leaders gather at MIT to advance evidence-based policymaking

State and local policymakers joined with leading researchers to share experiences overcoming challenges to evaluating government programs. More

SOCIAL INNOVATION | HUMAN HEALTH 

Measuring "diagnostic intensity"

New study maps U.S. regions where patients appear more ill than they are. More

21ST CENTURY CITIZENSHIP

Mens et Manus America initiative launches with documentary film event

200 students and faculty attend kickoff event as SHASS and Sloan begin a non-partisan, research-based exploration of current U.S. social, political, economic challenges. More

CORE

Vivek Bald awarded the 2017 Levitan Prize in the Humanities and a Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship

Associate Professor Vivek Bald of Comparative Media Studies/Writing has been awarded the 2017 Levitan Prize in the Humanities, a $30,000 research grant that will support his work on a film and a website documenting South Asian Muslims who immigrated to the United States during the 1890s-1940s, a period in which Asians were excluded from the country by law. Bald has also received a Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship award for work on the same project. More

THE HUMAN FACTOR | THE ROOTS OF ISSUES

Malick Ghachem: How history helps us solve today's issues

"One of the principal ways historians contribute to problem-solving work at MIT and elsewhere is by helping to identify what the real problem is in the first place. When we understand and articulate the roots and sources of a problem, we have a much better chance of actually solving it."  More

21ST CENTURY CITIZENSHIP

The Fight Over Foreigners: Visas and Immigration in the Trump Era

Video of a Starr Forum panel discussion held on February 28, 2017, sponsored by the MIT SHASS Center for International Studies More

21ST CENTURY CITIZENSHIP

From Stereopticon to Telephone: The Selling of the President in the Gilded Age

Charles Musser: “19th century media forms set in motion not only a new way of imagining how to market national campaigns and candidates; they also helped to usher in novel forms of mass spectatorship.” More

21ST CENTURY CITIZENSHIP

Racism, Violence, and Democracy

Video of a panel discussion on November 16, 2016,​ sponsored by the MIT SHASS Center for International Studies. More

21ST CENTURY CITIZENSHIP

The Power of Perceptions

Study shows how information sources affect voters More

21ST CENTURY CITIZENSHIP

Trump’s Victory: What does it mean for you? ​

Video of a Starr Forum panel discussion held on Feb 28, 2017, sponsored by the MIT SHASS Center for International Studies More

SOCIAL INNOVATION | CORE

Daron Acemoglu wins BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award

Prolific MIT economist honored for path-breaking work. More

ARTS INNOVATION

Dissolve Inequality: A Visual Arts Summit

A book launch & panel discussion: How can visual art transform our understanding of protest, value, and change? More

MIT SHASS welcomes Leslie Jones to campus
 

Acclaimed actress and comedian will perform a free show for the MIT community, sponsored by the SHASS De Florez Fund for Humor More

Screening of the film "13th"

America makes up 5% of the world's population, yet locks up 25% of the world's prisoners. Ava DuVernay's acclaimed film "13th" explores how we got here. Screening sponsored by MIT SHASS Program in Women and Gender Studies More

21ST CENTURY CITIZENSHIP

A new fight with old battle lines

Book explores what France’s LGBTQ rights battle says about identity and belonging. More

21ST CENTURY CITIZENSHIP

The world as we think the world should be | Meet theater director Charlotte Brathwaite

In the two years since she joined the MIT’s faculty, Charlotte Brathwaite says she has seen much commonality between theater arts and the work of engineering and science. "The process of creating — imagining something that doesn't exist, whether that is a cure for something or a startup — in theater we do that too. We imagine the impossible and try to make that possible," says Brathwaite. More