When James Quigley applied to MIT, he didn’t need an algorithm to tell him getting in wasn’t a high-probability outcome. An Army veteran attending community college in California, he possessed a talent for math, a desire to do big things, and a sobering group of friends who insisted: “Mortals don’t get into MIT.” Quigley knew a dare when he heard one. As for probability measures, those he chose to ignore.
K. Daron Acemoglu, the Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics at MIT, is a leading thinker on the labor market implications of artificial intelligence, robotics, automation, and new technologies. His innovative work challenges the way people think about how these technologies intersect with the world of work. In 2005, he won the John Bates Clark Medal, an honor shared by a number of Nobel Prize recipients and luminaries in the field of economics.
Rose Wang loves to work on projects — especially ones that exceed the bounds of her declared majors, economics and computer science. She thrives on do-it-yourself design solutions. Her latest involves making an aerodynamic drone. “We’ll see how that goes,” she says.
Innovators, investors, and entrepreneurs worldwide are waiting on news of the first companies chosen to be part of The Engine. Founded by MIT, The Engine is a combination of long-term investment, resources, and services for founders working on “tough tech” that prioritizes high-impact solutions to big problems over early profits. This summer a group of MIT students got a taste of what it’s like to be inside The Engine’s space in Central Square, near the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They may not be members of The Engine’s first cohort of startups, but they still had a chance to warm up the space, so to speak, for those chosen.
On a field trip, Harriet Ritvo and her MIT students went to look at preserved animals on public display, or stored as lab specimens, in collections housed at Harvard University. They encountered hundreds of species, some up close: touching the wings of a pickled bat, the silky fur of a mink, and the sharp claws of a lynx and a lion.
On an afternoon in early April, Tommi Jaakkola is pacing at the front of the vast auditorium that is 26-100. The chalkboards behind him are covered with equations. Jaakkola looks relaxed in a short-sleeved black shirt and jeans, and gestures to the board. “What is the answer here?” he asks the 500 MIT students before him. “If you answer, you get a chocolate. If nobody answers, I get one — because I knew the answer and you didn’t.” The room erupts in laugher.