61. MIT - The Crucible of the World Tech and Humanities

Updated: Jun 6, 2020

Why MIT is Special ?

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Institute is a land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant university, with an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River. The Institute also encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, the Bates Center, and the Haystack Observatory, as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad and Whitehead Institutes.

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. It has since played a key role in the development of many aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology, and is widely known for its innovation and academic strength, making it one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the world.

As of October 2019, 96 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT as alumni, faculty members, or researchers.In addition, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 29 National Medals of Technology and Innovation recipients, 50 MacArthur Fellows,[15] 73 Marshall Scholars,[16] 48 Rhodes Scholars, 41 astronauts,[18] and 16 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force have been affiliated with MIT. The school also has a strong entrepreneurial culture.

MIT is a member of theAssociation of American Universities.

Tech at MIT

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The MIT community is driven by a shared purpose:

to make a better world througheducation,research, and innovation.

We are fun and quirky, elite but not elitist, inventive and artistic, obsessed with numbers, and welcoming to talented people regardless of where they come from.


Founded to accelerate the nation’s industrial revolution, MIT is profoundly American. With ingenuity and drive, our graduates have invented fundamental technologies, launched new industries, and created millions of American jobs. At the same time, and without the slightest sense of contradiction, MIT is profoundly global (opens in new window). Our community gains tremendous strength as a magnet for talent from around the world. Through teaching, research, and innovation, MIT’s exceptional community pursues its mission of service to the nation and the world.

MIT’s motto is “mens et manus,” or “mind and hand,” signifying the fusion of academic knowledge with practical purpose.

1. Key Facts


  • Incorporated 1861

  • Motto“Mens et manus” (“Mind and hand”)


  • LocationCambridge, MA USA

  • Size 166 acres (0.67 km2)

  • Student residences - 18

  • Playing fields 26 acres (0.11 km2)

  • Gardens + green spaces - 30+

  • Publicly sited works of art- 60+

Admissions (Class of 2023)

  • Applicants - 21,312

  • Admits - 1,427

Selected Honors

  • Nobel laureates - 95

  • National Medal of Science Winners -59

  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation winners -29

  • MacArthur Fellows-77

  • A. M. Turing Award winners-15

Pic : Original Rogers Building,Back Bay, Boston, 19th century

II. Mission

The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century.

The Institute is committed to generating, disseminating, and preserving knowledge, and to working with others to bring this knowledge to bear on the world’s great challenges. MIT is dedicated to providing its students with an education that combines rigorous academic study and the excitement of discovery with the support and intellectual stimulation of a diverse campus community. We seek to develop in each member of the MIT community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

Pic : Stereographic cardshowing an MIT mechanical drafting studio, 19th century (photo byE.L. Allen, left/right inverted)

Pic : Product Integraph Lab , 1927

III. MIT's contributions to technology

1. World Wide Web Consortium

The first sentence on the first World Wide Web site had to explain to visitors what exactly this thing was. Tim Berners-Lee, the soft-spoken Briton who invented the Web in 1989 while working at a particle physics lab in Geneva, came to MIT in 1994 to help create the World Wide Web Consortium, to help spread technical standards for building websites, browsers, and devices (like televisions) that offer access to Web content.

His greatest act of all was actually something he didn’t do: patent his invention or extract licensing fees from those who used his ideas – decisions that helped the Web go global in a few years.

“The thing spread largely because I didn’t make World Wide Web Incorporated in 1991,” Berners-Lee has said.

When Queen Elizabeth II knighted Berners-Lee, he said it showed that great things could happen to ordinary people who took on projects that “happen to work out.”

2. Transistor Radio

Considered by some to be the most important invention of the 20th century, the solid-state transistor was born at Bell Labs in New Jersey. One of the three Nobel Prize laureate inventors was William Shockley, who earned his doctorate at MIT in 1936. Among the first products to take advantage of transistors were hearing aids, portable radios, and televisions.

3.Send. Reply. Delete.

In 1971, Ray Tomlinson, an MIT alum working at Bolt Beranek and Newman, a Cambridge consulting firm founded by other MIT alums, sent the first e-mail between two computers on the Arpanet (the Internet’s predecessor). He picked the @ to separate the user’s name from the computer “host” where he could be reached. When Tomlinson showed his e-mail system to another BBN employee, he reportedly said: “Don’t tell anyone! This isn’t what we’re supposed to be working on.”

4. The Minicomputer

Ken Olsen and Harlan Anderson, who worked at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory in the 1950s, formed a start-up called Digital Equipment Corp. in 1957 to build what they called “interactive minicomputers,” which would be smaller and less expensive than mainframes and designed with business use in mind. Digital’s first minicomputer, the PDP-1, sold for $120,000 and came standard with 9K of internal memory.

Digital became the second-biggest tech company in the world at one point, after IBM Corp.

5. The New Robots

When they started iRobot Corp. in 1990, MIT grads Helen Greiner and Colin Angle knew they wanted to build robots; they’d figure out their business model later. Did they ever. The Roomba vacuum arrived in 2002, the first truly functional robot to find its way into American households. Last year it earned iRobot more than $400 million in revenue. On a more serious note, iRobot developed a reconnaissance robot for the military. PackBot acts as eyes and ears for troops and neutralizes roadside bombs, screens vehicles and people for devices, and goes into caves. iRobot has built about 3,500 PackBots for US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

6. Bose

MIT electrical engineering professor Amar Bose had a simple mission in 1964: design a stereo speaker that could come closer to reproducing the sound of a live musical performance. His company led the rush to create dozens of game-changing products, from noise-canceling headphones to a better bedside alarm clock. Its newest product is a flat-panel TV that eliminates the need for external speakers.

Bose donated most of his stock to MIT last month making MIT the company’s majority owner.

Bose has more than $1.8 billion in annual revenues and about 8,000 employees.

7. Key to the Kindle

Love your Kindle? Thank MIT. Media Lab associate professor Joseph Jacobson is a cofounder of E Ink Corp., the company that produces the highly readable black-and-white screens found on many electronic books, including Amazon.com, popular eBook reader. Now owned by a Taiwanese technology firm, E Ink is making life miserable for the printed word, while preserving the written word in the digital age.

8. The spreadsheet

Dan Bricklin was sitting in a classroom at Harvard Business School when he had this idea to create an “electronic spreadsheet” or “Calcu-ledger” – a way for managers to do complex accounting using a computer or project how their revenues might grow under different scenarios. Bricklin, a 1973 MIT graduate, and fellow MIT alum Bob Frankston rented time late at night on an MIT mainframe computer (it cost $1 an hour to use) to write the program that would become VisiCalc. It led to programs like Lotus 1-2-3 and Microsoft Excel.

9. Birth of the iPod... and more

As an MIT doctoral student in the early 1950s, Robert Noyce was known as “Rapid Robert” for his quick mind. As a cofounder ofIntel Corp., he was known as the “Mayor of Silicon Valley.” A mentor to Apple’s Steve Jobs, Noyce is one of those credited as the inventor of the first practical integrated circuit, a.k.a. the “microchip” – which made modern-day computers possible. Without that, no iPod.

10. HP