August 2018

Dear members of the MIT community,

The summer is a time for exploration. I was reminded of this during a walk across Killian Court with A.R. Rahman, a singer-songwriter and music producer from India. He was on campus to meet with MIT professors and students about breakthroughs at the intersection of artificial intelligence and music technologies.

The green was bustling with summer visitors. All of them drawn to MIT by a desire to learn more. Nearly 1,800 professionals from over 80 countries participated in MIT Professional Education programs this season, including A.R. Rahman. He joined the short course, “Advances in Imaging: VR-AR, Machine Learning, and Self-Driving Cars.

Our spotlight article takes you inside another such course, “Fermentation Technology,” which draws biologists, chemists, microbiologists, and biochemists from across the globe.

There is something for everyone. The Office of Engineering Outreach Programs offers summer programs for young people from underrepresented and underserved backgrounds. Female high school students nationwide arrive to explore engineering through hands-on classes, labs, and team-based projects in the MIT Women’s Technology Program. And the MIT Beaver Works Summer Institute provides high school seniors with unique, project-based learning experiences in emerging technologies, as you can see in this article and video. There are many more summer opportunities, such as the MIT Summer Research Program, to explore.

Last month, I asked about relationships you formed at MIT. Alum David Kress ’67 called himself a “poster child for your question.” He has lived in the Boston area since graduation and worked at Analog Devices for 44 years before retiring. “I have stayed connected,” he wrote. “Many of my best friends are MIT classmates.”

People form special bonds at MIT. Individual stories vary but all share a common trait: the starting point is marked by a decision to push toward deeper understanding.

The desire to learn is a great equalizer. Perhaps that is why another alum explained, after greeting me by first name: “MIT encourages a kind of informality.” I could not agree more. My question this month, “What was your first impression of MIT?”


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Anantha P. Chandrakasan

Dean, MIT School of Engineering

Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

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Summer tune-up

A popular class on fermentation technology has been attracting mid-career students to MIT for more than 50 years.

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Cell-sized robots

Made of electronic circuits coupled to minute particles, the devices could flow through intestines or pipelines to detect problems.

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3Q: Muriel Médard on the world-altering rise of 5G

"The reason 5G is so different is that what exactly it will look like is still up in the air. Everyone agrees the phrase is a bit of a catch-all," says the global technology leader.  

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If the spacesuit fits...

PhD student Richard Fineman is using wearable sensors to understand coordination and walking — and next-generation spacesuit design.

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Music as a gateway to shared humanity

Iconic composer A.R. Rahman visits MIT campus to learn more about new technologies.

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Nanoparticles give immune cells a boost

Drugs carried in cellular “backpacks” help T cells to destroy tumors.