Public Service

Update: Watch the archived broadcast.

Noam Chomsky interview webcast MIT

MIT alumni can ask live questions during the Jan. 20 webcast.

On January 20, 2015, at noon EST, Institute Professor Emeritus Noam Chomsky—the longtime political activist and founder the field of modern linguistics—discussed his career and took live questions from the MIT community in a Faculty Forum Online webcast. Chomsky also discussed the Chomsky Archive, an MIT Libraries project to preserve and digitize the lectures, personal papers, and materials he has donated to the Institute Archives and Special Collections.

Known as the “father of modern linguistics,” Chomsky shaped the linguistics field around the profound question, “What does language reveal about the nature of knowledge?” One of the world’s most-cited living scholars, he has authored more than 100 books and his political commentaries have sparked controversy and conversation for more than 50 years.

About Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky interview webcast MIT

Noam Chomsky

Known as the “father of modern linguistics,” Institute Professor Emeritus Noam Chomsky shaped the linguistics field around the profound question, “What does language reveal about the nature of knowledge?” Chomsky joined the MIT faculty in 1955 and was appointed Institute Professor in 1976.

Chomsky has authored more than 100 books on language and politics and is one of the world’s most-cited living scholars.

His well-known political beliefs have made him a significant figure in public activism, particularly on issues like capitalism and foreign policy.

Chomsky in the Press

The Chomsky Videos, YouTube
Noam Chomsky Official Website
The Chomsky Archives, MIT Libraries
MIT Libraries receive papers of distinguished linguist, philosopher and activist Noam Chomsky,” MIT News
Unboxing the Chomsky Archive,” MIT News
Chomsky on Russia: ‘The worst-case scenario, of course, would be a nuclear war,’” Salon
Interview with Noam Chomsky on the Crisis in Central America and Mexico,” The Nation
@chomsky_quotes, a collection of Noam Chomsky quotes on Twitter


The April 9, 9, 1968 front page of The Tech.

The April 9, 1968 front page of The Tech.

On February 4, 2015, MIT will host its 41st annual Martin Luther King Celebration Luncheon, an MIT community event that celebrates King’s legacy and the Institute’s commitment to diversity.

Past luncheons have featured a traditional silent march that travels from Lobby 7 to Kresge Auditorium and past speakers have included King’s widow Coretta Scott King, who delivered the keynote address at the luncheon’s 20th anniversary celebration in 1994.

While King may have never made a public appearance at MIT, he was a common visitor to Cambridge from the 1950s—when he was a doctoral student at Boston University—until the mid-1960s.

According to a January 2013 article in the Harvard Gazette, King took philosophy courses at Harvard in 1952 and 1953 and he was a guest preacher at Harvard’s Memorial Church in 1959 and 1960. He delivered a lecture titled “The Future of Integration” at Harvard Law School in 1962 and spoke at Memorial Church and Cambridge Rindge and Latin School on the same day in January 1965.


A Tech article from March 23, 1965. Click for larger image.

King’s name appears regularly in issues of The Tech in the 1960s, including:

After his assassination on April 4, 1968, the front pages of The Tech’s preceding two issues were dedicated to King and articles included “Faculty, students consider role of MIT in race problems” and  “(Professor Harold) Isaacs cites racism in murder.”

The archives at the King Center museum also include two letters to King from the MIT/Harvard Joint Center for Urban Studies that discuss the center’s Social Statistics in the City conference that took place in June 1967.

According to a video by MIT Productions, King’s death directly led to, among other endeavors, the formation of the MIT Black Students’ Union and the creation of Interphase (now Interphase EDGE),  a seven-week summer program that prepared incoming students for the rigors of MIT.

For more information on King’s legacy at MIT, which includes the MLK Visiting Professors and Scholars Program, the MLK-Inspired IAP Design Seminar, and the MLK Leadership Award, visit

The 41st annual Martin Luther King Celebration Luncheon takes place Wednesday, February 4, 2015, at 11:00 a.m. in Walker Memorial. The event is open to the MIT community and features a keynote address from author and activist Rinku Sen. Find out more information and how to register.


Five years ago, Haiti was flattened by a devastating earthquake. Back in Cambridge, Paul Fallon ’77, SM ’81, MArch ’81 felt a special need to act in his role as an architect.

He attributes the massive loss of life to faulty architecture and poor construction practices. “So many people died because of the buildings,” said Fallon in a new Alumni Association video. “That’s something that I felt a personal responsibility for.”

Fallon, who had been to Haiti many times through volunteer service trips, visited again after the earthquake. “Their world was difficult before the earthquake, and it is difficult now, albeit in different ways,” he said in a November Boston Globe Magazine article.

Fallon helped design and build the Be Like Brit orphanage, named after Britney Gengel, an American casualty of the earthquake who had been on a service trip. In her last text to her parents, she told them of her dream to build an orphanage in Haiti, and her parents set about to build one in her honor. The orphanage is now home to 66 children.

Mission of Hope

Students at the Mission of Hope School. Credit: Mission of Hope International

He also served as the architect and helped train local workers in earthquake-resistant building practices for the construction of the Mission of Hope School. Eight of the school’s 12 classrooms have already been built teaching 500 children, with space for 100 more students once the school is completed.

Beyond permanent structures, Fallon has built permanent relationships. While working on one project he met Dieunison, a young Haitian recently orphaned by the quake and living on the streets.

“I was adopted by a little kid,” he jokes in a recent MIT Alum Books podcast. Fallon now supports Dieunison and his half-brother Dieurie in attending school. “What serves them and Haiti well is the opportunity for people with their energy, instincts, and capabilities to develop educational and training skills and stay in Haiti and help to improve Haiti,” he said.

Dieunison and Dieurie

Dieunison and his half-brother Dieurie

Fallon is not the only MIT community member sharing his skills to rebuild Haiti. Students developed Konbit, an open source platform for NGOs to find local workers. And many students and alumni continue to volunteer in service projects aiding in rebuilding efforts through MIT’s Public Service Center.

Listen to Paul Fallon discuss his new book Architecture by Moonlight in the MIT Alum Books podcast and at tonight’s 6:30 p.m. talk at the Main Cambridge Public Library. Watch Fallon talk about his experiences in Haiti in a new MITAA video produced by Brielle Domings.

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Image via @Forbes.

Image via @Forbes.

Forbes magazine’s  fourth annual 30 Under 30 lists highlight the world’s best “game changers, movers and makers, and brightest minds” who are less than 30 years old. Nearly 50 with MIT ties are scattered throughout the lists’ 20 categories, including more than 30 alumni* and one graduate from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.

According to Forbes, MIT was the second most-common alma mater among the 600 selections. Read Slice’s list of under-30 alumni  who were selected below then visit MIT Spectrum to see the MIT students, faculty, and researchers who were also selected. (All images courtesy of Forbes unless otherwise noted.)

acosta_sessions_borderArron Acosta ’10

Blake Sessions ’11 (Manufacturing)
Cofounders, Rise Robotics

“(Rise Robotics) makes robotic parts inspired by biological systems with an aim to lowering the cost of parts for larger, more complex robots.”

adibFadel Adib SM ’13 (Enterprise Technology)
Doctoral Candidate, MIT

“Adib was part of the team that created WiTrack, a spin on Wi-Fi that uses a radio signal to track movements with incredible accuracy.”

Related:Which MIT Alumni Were Named to Tech Review’s TR35?

advaniAman Advani G
Gihan Amarasiriwardena ’11 (Retail)
Cofounders, Ministry of Supply

“Ministry launched on Kickstarter in 2012 and has gone to have some of the most successful fashion campaigns in the platform’s history.”

Related:The NASA-Influenced Dress Shirt
Alum-Designed Socks Made with Cotton, Poly, and…Coffee

blanchetGabe Blanchet ’14
Jamie Byron ’13 (Manufacturing)
Cofounders, Grove Labs

“Grove Labs allows customers to grow fresh fruits and vegetables year-round. The company has raised over $2 million in funding.”

Related:Making Green by Growing Greens…with Fish

brooksAlice Brooks ’10 (Manufacturing)
Cofounder, Roominate

“Brooks started Roominate, which makes building toys for girls…Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner invested $500,000 to share a 5% stake in the business when it appeared on Shark Tank.”

Related:A Dollhouse, Hacked

cinnamonIan Cinnamon ’14 (Healthcare)
Director of Strategy, Immunity Project

“Immunity Project is searching for an HIV vaccine using powerful computers. Cinnamon helped the cause by organizing a crowd-funding campaign and by helping win funding from Y Combinator.”

EmoriSatoru Emori  PhD ’14 (Science)
Postdoctoral Scientist, Northeastern University

“Emori developed new ways to control magnetism with electricity, a finding that could lead to energy efficient computers and memory storage.”

french owenCalvin French-Owen ’12
llya Volodarsky ’12
Peter Reinhardt ’12 (Enterprise Technology)
Cofounders, Segment

“In the past year, Segment has grown from just four cofounders with no revenue to a staff of 30 who have raised $17.6 million in funding.”

shyamShyam Gollakota SM ’08, PhD ’13 (Energy)
Assistant Professor, University of Washington

“(Gollakota) builds sensors that glean their power by absorbing tiny amounts of energy from the fog of ambient radio waves (from TV stations, cell towers, Wi-Fi) all around us.”

ishaaanIshaan Gulrajani ’16 (Enterprise Technology)
Cofounder, Watchsend

“Gulrajani dropped out of MIT to start a company allows developers to record users’ phone screens in order to learn and improve their app. Last year he organized HackMIT.”

guptaKrishna Gupta ’09 (Venture Capital)
Cofounder, Romulus Capital

“(Romulus) recently raised a $50 million fund to invest in early-stage startups. Gupta raised the first Romulus fund in 2008 while a student at MIT.”

HeDavid He SM ’08, PhD ’13 (Healthcare)
Cofounder, Quanttus

“David He’s MIT PhD thesis turned into a startup using wearables to transform heart health. His company, Quanttus, has 57 employees and has raised $22 million.”

Haid_borderChris Haid ’14
Cofounder, NVBOTS

“Haid cofounded NVBOTS, which has developed automated 3D-printers which can run 24/7 with little human intervention.”

Related:Alum-Founded Company Provides 3D Printers to Schools

HodisEran Hodis G (Science)
Doctoral student, Harvard University-MIT Division of Health Sciences

“(Hodis) discovered a pair of mutations that…help explain how it is that cancer cells increase the production of an enzyme called telomerase, making themselves virtually immortal.”

huaNancy Hua ’07 (Enterprise Technology)
Founder, Apptimize

“Hua’s company created software that helps mobile teams build and tune apps faster through A/B testing.”

huangMatt Huang ’10 (Venture Capital)
Partner, Sequoia Capital

“Huang spent time in Twitter’s ad analytics team before joining Sequoia Capital in February. The MIT grad works on investments like Reddit and Yik Yak for the firm.”

jueDiana Jue ’09, MCP ’12 (Social Entrepreneurs)
Cofounder, Essmart

“Essmart is a distribution system that brings life-improving technologies to poor areas in India. Local people act as sales reps to bring these products to mom and pop shops in Southern India.”

levyBenjamin Levy G (Education)
Founder, eduCanon

“eduCanon is an interactive video learning tool that allows teachers to create their own Khan Academy. In 15 months it has attracted 50,000 teachers and 300,000 registered students.”

miguelAlain Miguel G (Retail)
Cofounder, Modalyst

“(Miguel) is the founder of Modalyst, an online wholesale platform that helps brands expand distribution to traditional and ecommerce retailers.”

misraVinith Misra ’08, MEng ’08 (Enterprise Technology)
Researcher, IBM Watson Group

“Misra joined IBM’s Watson Group, working at its Almaden Research Lab to study machine learning, data mining, and natural language processing.”

Related:Who Coded Pied Piper for HBO’s Silicon Valley?

sabrinaSabrina Pasterski ’14 (Science)
Doctoral candidate, Harvard University

“Her second-ever paper was recommended as an editor’s suggestion in Physical Review Letters…She was the first woman to graduate at the top of her undergrad program in 20 years.”

Related:Video Features Airplane-Building MIT Student

nevadaNevada Sanchez ’10, MEng ’11 (Science)
Cofounder, Butterfly Network

“(Sanchez) became employee number one at Butterfly Network, which has raised $100 million in seed funding and whose first device should hit the market next year.”

samuelSamuel Shames ’14 (Energy)
Cofounder, Embr Labs

“Shames’ startup developed Wristify, the first stylish bracelet that actively heats and cools to help the wearer be comfortable and buildings save energy.”

Related:Wristify: Thermal Comfort via a Wrist Band

armonArmon Sharei SM ’13, PhD ’13 (Healthcare)
Cofounder, SQZ Biotech

“Armon Sharei created a new technology that can deliver materials into living cells. The device, CellSqueeze, promises to be useful in drug discovery and therapeutics.”

singCharles Sing PhD ’12 (Science)
Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

“Sing uses computational and theoretical tools to study the physics of polymers…The idea is to figure out how scientists can make new chemicals in silico.”

smithDave Smith SM ’11 (Energy)
Founder, LiquiGlide

“LiquiGlide makes coatings that create permanently wet, slippery surfaces — which could forever end the frustration of getting the last ketchup out of the bottom of the bottle.”

Related:The Condiment Conundrum: Solved?

sutherlandDerek Sutherland ’12 (Energy)
PhD candidate, University of Washington

“(Sutherland) is working on new configurations of magnetic fusion reactors and recently published a concept study on a reactor device called the dynomak.”

vogtKyle Vogt ’08 (Enterprise Technology)
CEO, Cruise Automation

“After co-founding, Socialcam and Twitch, Vogt now runs Cruise, an automated driving startup that could beat Google’s self-driving cars to market.”

wiensJenna Wiens SM ’10, PhD ’14 (Science)
Assistant Professor, University of Michigan

“Wiens has studied how machine learning techniques can be used to identify patients at highest risk for infection from the bacteria (clostridium difficile), so that infections might be prevented.”

yuanXing Yuan ’08 (Finance)
Vice President, Morgan Stanley

“Heads investment bank’s commodities index trading. Born in Beijing, moved to the U.S. at age 10. Black belt in Taekwondo and member of U.S. junior national team for bridge.”

Yan_ZhuYan Zhu ’12 (Enterprise Technology)
Privacy Engineer, Yahoo!

“(Zhu) gained notoriety for attending a mathematics conference where she attempted to dissuade attendees from joining the NSA due to concerns about the agency’s overreach.”

View the entire list of under-30 innovators, which also includes Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology alumna Alison Hill and MIT-Portugal Program alumna Maria Pereira, at

Are there more under-30 alumni that we missed or that you feel should be nominated for 2016? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

*—Any undergraduate student who completes one semester at MIT or any graduate student who completes one academic year at MIT is considered an MIT alumnus or alumnae.


Michael Schlein

Michael Schlein ’84, SM ’84

For Michael Schlein ’84, SM ’84, the best part of his job is meeting clients—people whose lives are changed with a little boost. Recently, in a modest office building in remote northeast India, Schlein met a woman named Radha Devi, who was applying for a loan to buy a second sewing machine.

“She told me the first loan felt like charity, but the second felt like a business transaction,” he says. “She had earned it. She was empowered and proud.”

Schlein is president and CEO of Accion, a nonprofit group providing microloans and other financial services to millions of people living in poverty in 34 countries. His career has taken him through both public service and the private sector.

Schlein outlines the mission of Accion. Video via Accion Global

He earned degrees in economics and political science during five years at MIT, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. After a first job in investment banking, he served as chief of staff to the New York City deputy mayor for finance and economic development and then as chief of staff at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

In 1997 he returned to banking, managing 100 country officers for Citigroup and running communications, philanthropy, and government relations. He first became interested in microfinance through the Citi Foundation’s work with Accion, and he joined the nonprofit in 2009. Under Schlein, Accion has supported a Chilean company that is a pioneer in lending via cell phones and a South African company that brought microinsurance to people with AIDS.

In 2014, he was appointed chair of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, an unpaid position, by a colleague from his days in city government: Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Forty-six percent of people living in New York are at or near the poverty line,” he says. “We want to make sure that the New York City economy works for everyone.”

Both Accion and the NYCEDC run on the same kind of practical idealism that drives MIT, Schlein says: “MIT instills in everyone, including me, a real pragmatism that comes from engineering. Lofty ideas have their place, but getting things to happen is what’s really important.”

Schlein lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Jordan Tamagni, who works at Unicef, and their two young sons. He enjoys speaking and recruiting at MIT. “More and more,” he says, “students want to know how to find work combining their desire to have a good career with their interest in making the world a better place.”

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2015 issue of MIT Technology Review magazine.


Brenner Lein

Julie Lein MBA ’12 and Clara Brenner MBA ’12

On returning from summer internships to their second year at MIT Sloan, friends Clara Brenner MBA ’12 and Julie Lein MBA ’12 found they had both worked for startups that tackled urban problems—Brenner at Fundrise and Lein at Revolution Foods. And they had both loved the work.

After that, “we wanted to focus our studies on startups building products and services that solve community problems in cities,” says Brenner. They also saw a way to accomplish this in the example of a company that offers healthy meals in schools and stores. “Revolution Foods was run by a pair of women who had gone into business after going to business school together. It was a path that Clara and I would emulate,” Lein says.

Supported by Media Lab lecturer Joost Bonsen ’92, SM ’06, and Bill Aulet, SM ’94, managing director of the Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship, they soon worked with the Sloan Women in Management club conference, which they led, to focus on what they called “urban impact entrepreneurship.”

After graduation, Lein and Brenner moved to San Francisco and founded Tumml, which they describe as an urban impact accelerator. There, they began offering startups office space, funding, and mentoring. Some of Tumml’s first startups include Valor Water Analytics, whose software analyzes water utility data in cities; Handup, a mobile donation platform for the homeless; and Hitch, an on-demand ride-sharing company for commuters.

Lein and Brenner describe Tumml to Blackstone Innovations.

Tumml, named for the Yiddish term for “shaking things up,” hopes to encourage entrepreneurs to focus their attention on finding solutions to urban problems, says Brenner: “A real goal for Tumml is to make it just as appealing to start the next Handup as it is to start the next Twitter.”

In its first two years, Tumml has supported more than 50 entrepreneurs from 17 startups. The company awards $20,000 to startups in exchange for a 5 percent equity share. “We wanted to tie our success to the success of the entrepreneurs we support,” says Brenner.

Brenner, who grew up in Washington, D.C., attended NYU, and worked in commercial real estate before attending Sloan, was named to the 2014 Forbes 30 Under 30 list. She is also a member of the MIT Sloan Alumni Board and enjoys cooking and hiking. Lein, who grew up in Connecticut, attended Stanford, and worked as a polling consultant before Sloan, plays tennis and rock-climbs.

Both confess, however, to spending much of their free time attending city and community meetings to network and learn.


The 2015 TIME magazine Person of the Year, who will be announced this morning, will not be an MIT alumnus. The magazine’s list of eight finalists, which were announced earlier this week, was narrowed down from a larger list that includes perennial nominees Benjamin Netanyahu ’75, SM ’76; Charles Koch ’57, SM ’58, SM ’60; and David Koch ’62, SM ’63.

In honor of today’s announcement, Slice is recalling the five alumni, scattered over a 50-year period, who have been previously named Persons of the Year.

2009: Ben Bernanke PhD ’79, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair

TIME_BernankeIn two terms Federal Reserve chair, Bernanke oversaw the government’s response to the late-2000s financial crisis. According to TIME, His leadership helped ensure that 2009 was a period of recovery rather than depression.

“The main reason Ben Shalom Bernanke is TIME’s Person of the Year for 2009 is that he is the most important player guiding the world’s most important economy. His creative leadership helped ensure that 2009 was a period of weak recovery rather than catastrophic depression, and he still wields unrivaled power over our money, our jobs, our savings and our national future.”

1996: Dr. David Ho, 1978 graduate of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, CEO and director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center.

TIME_HoHo was honored for his contributions to the understanding and treatment of HIV and AIDS, and he and his staff’s research on antiretroviral therapy have led significant reductions in AIDS-associated mortality.

“Ho and his’ colleagues have demonstrated that this picture of the (AIDS) virus is wrong. There is no initial dormant phase of infection. Ho showed that the body and the virus are, in fact, locked in a pitched battle from the very beginning. At first many AIDS researchers found this hard to accept; it challenged some of their most cherished assumptions. If Ho was right, doctors would have to radically alter the way they treated AIDS.”

1960: American Scientists

TIME_ScientistThe multi-person list included Charles Stark Draper ’26, SM ’28, ScD ’38; William Shockley PhD ’36, Robert Woodward ’36, PhD ’37; and former professor and provost Charles Hard Townes.

“U.S. scientists and their colleagues in other free lands are indeed the true 20th  century adventurers, the explorers of the unknown, the real intellectuals of the day, the leaders of mankind’s greatest inquiry into the mysteries of matter, of the earth, the universe, and of life itself. Their work shapes the life of every human presently inhabiting the planet, and will influence the destiny of generations to come.”

For even more end-of-year rankings and awards, check out the Forbes 2014 list of the world’s most powerful people, which includes Netanyahu, the Kochs, and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi PhD ’77.

Is there MIT alumnus who has been named Person of the Year that Slice is missing? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter




A D-Lab project in South Africa.

Aurimas Bakauskas ’15 uses a plastic bottle filled with a mixture of water and cleaning fluid as a makeshift light bulb to add to the roof of an otherwise pitch black shower structure. This D-Lab trip teamed MIT students with an NGO called Sharing to Learn to design a community center using available materials in Makuleke, South Africa. Submitted by Tiandra Ray ’15.

Each year the number of MIT undergraduate students participating in global opportunities is growing. In FY2014, participation jumped 18 percent with 967 undergraduate students engaging in 554 internship, 163 research, 136 study abroad, and 114 public service and service learning opportunities. The number jumped 16 percent the previous year. Some 42 percent of 2014 graduates reported completing a global experience.

The first stop for many study, work, service, and research gigs is a new MIT Global Education & Career Development website and an active Twitter feed. Other groups, from D-Lab to the Public Service Center, place students in dozens of countries as well. A recent photo contest gathered images of the diverse programs engaging MIT community members worldwide. See the contest winners on Facebook.

The MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) has expanded its own reach. MISTI matches students with fully-funded internship, research, and teaching opportunities in 19 countries and facilitates  international faculty collaborations and develop partnerships with leading companies, research institutes, and universities.

MISTI has internship offerings in 19 countries—find out about opportunities and read about student experiences in Notes from the Field.

In MISTI internship, Ola Kalinowska ‘16 helped analyze MRI data at ETH Zurich.

In a MISTI internship, Ola Kalinowska ‘16 helped analyze MRI data at ETH Zurich, one of Europe’s top research universities. In an MR imaging lab, she worked on a project to help make diffusion imaging ready for use in clinical practice. “In the picture, it’s me and the super-cool 1.5 T Phillips scanner that I used to get all the data!”



How can MIT make a significant positive contribution to address climate change?

Former Secretary of State George Shultz PhD ’49 is a vocal proponent of action to combat climate change.

Former Secretary of State George Shultz PhD ’49 is a vocal proponent of action to combat climate change.

That’s the kind of chewy, global question MIT people like—and it is being asked by the newly formed Committee on the MIT Climate Change Conversation in an initiative announced this week. The answers are to come from the MIT campus community and alumni worldwide.

Right away, you can add your ideas to the conversation about what can be done in the areas of research, education, campus operations, finance, and policy. Alumni can log in through their Infinite Connection accounts to read comments already in the Idea Bank. Later in November, you can take part in a Climate Change Survey and the results will help determine a series of public forums in the spring.

Meanwhile, you can keep up with climate news:

Committee chair Roman Stocker, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, says the Institute community is a great source for ideas about new educational initiatives, both at MIT and edX, as well as new opportunities for research and improvements to campus infrastructure and operations.

“The global nature of this problem and the amount of debate and polarization that surround it are daunting, but the premise of the committee is that the complexity of the problem is uniquely suited for MIT, given our strong problem-solving ethos, and that a leading technical institution can have unique roles to play in responding to the climate crisis,” he said in an MIT News office interview.


Images via

Mildred Dresselhaus HM ’86 and Robert Solow HM ’90. Images via

The White House announced earlier today that Institute Professors Mildred Dresselhaus HM ’86 and Robert Solow HM ’90 will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. The professors are part of a group of 19 recipients who will be honored at a White Ceremony on November 24, 2014.

Dresselhaus, who joined the MIT faculty in 1967, is known as the “Queen of Carbon Science” with nearly 60 years of research in condensed matter, materials physics, and multi-faceted forms of carbon. She received the National Medal of Science in 1990 and was previously honored by President Obama with the Enrico Fermi Award in 2012.

President Obama Names Recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” Office of the White House Press Secretary

“Mildred Dresselhaus is one of the most prominent physicists, materials scientists, and electrical engineers of her generation.  A professor of physics and electrical engineering at MIT, she is best known for deepening our understanding of condensed matter systems and the atomic properties of carbon, which has contributed to major advances in electronics and materials research.”

Solow, who joined the MIT faculty in 1949, is an economist whose work on the theory of economic growth resulted in the eponymous Solow–Swan model, an economic model developed in 1956 that explains economic growth through capital accumulation, labor growth, population growth, and productivity. He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences  in 1987 and the National Medal of Science in 1999.

President Obama Names Recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” Office of the White House Press Secretary

“Robert Solow is one of the most widely respected economists of the past sixty years. His research in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s transformed the field, laying the groundwork for much of modern economics.  He continues to influence policy makers, demonstrating how smart investments, especially in new technology, can build broad-based prosperity, and he continues to actively participate in contemporary debates about inequality and economic growth.  He is a Nobel laureate, winning the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1987.”

Read more about  Dresselhaus and Solow on MIT News.