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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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.

The Institute admitted its first students in 1865, four years after the approval of its founding charter. The opening marked the culmination of an extended effort by William Barton Rogers, a distinguished natural scientist, to establish a new kind of independent educational institution relevant to an increasingly industrialized America. Rogers stressed the pragmatic and practicable. He believed that professional competence is best fostered by coupling teaching and research and by focusing attention on real-world problems. Toward this end, he pioneered the development of the teaching laboratory.

Today MIT is a world-class educational institution. Teaching and research—with relevance to the practical world as a guiding principle—continue to be its primary purpose. MIT is independent, coeducational, and privately endowed. Its five schools and one college encompass numerous academic departments, divisions, and degree-granting programs, as well as interdisciplinary centers, laboratories, and programs whose work cuts across traditional departmental boundaries.

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US National Archives and Records Administration

The ‘nuts and bolts’ heroes of the civil rights movement

Black History Month provides an opportunity to pull back the curtain and turn the spotlight on individuals who made a difference in the successes of the civil rights movement during the 1960s. I had the…
Hot off the presses: the CBO plays a pivotal role determining the price tag of measures in the budget and other legislation. Reuters

‘Truth is our only refuge’: why the CBO must remain independent

Congress created the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) 40 years ago to provide lawmakers with information independent of the influence of the executive branch. The CBO’s most important job…
Mixed-income developments replace Chicago’s Cabrini-Green Homes: Old Town Village West townhouses rise in front of the last remaining towers (since demolished) in this 2009 photograph.

Mixed income public housing: mixed outcomes, mixed-up concept

For decades, public housing stood as the most architecturally visible and politically stigmatized reminder of urban poverty in many American cities. Originally built to accommodate an upwardly mobile segment…
It’s what comes after the great scientific discoveries that Russia has traditionally missed out on. Bin im Garten

Russia’s great at invention, but stinks at innovation

Russia’s economy is highly dependent on the price of oil, as are a few other countries, such as Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. Russia differs from those other countries, however, in having a very strong scientific…
It is estimated that 73,000 people died within seconds in Nagasaki, the second Japanese city to fall victim to the atomic bomb. AAP/Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

The nuclear threat: reflections on the atomic age

With the end of the Cold War, the nuclear arms race came to a virtual halt, but the nuclear threat remained. In regional rivalries, such as those in the south Asia subcontinent, northeast Asia, and the…
Don’t mobile payments make more sense? US Navy

When ‘good enough’ is not good enough

This is part of our Foundation Essay series, longer articles that take a wider look at key issues affecting society. Apple’s product launches are covered with breathless enthusiasm usually reserved for…
Shapeshifting: 3D printed materials that change shape over time. Dan Raviv/Scientific Reports

Explainer: what is 4D printing?

Additive manufacturing – or 3D printing – is 30 years old this year. Today, it’s found not just in industry but in households, as the price of 3D printers has fallen below US$1,000. Knowing you can print…
Secrets out? EPA/Dennis Brack

Senate CIA torture report release: expert reaction

The US Senate has released the executive summary of a long-withheld report on harsh interrogation techniques used by the CIA in the post-9/11 era. Previously undisclosed techniques have been revealed and…
What is the optimum gender split for productivity? Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

More productive, less happy: how the office gender split affects work

Once commonplace, the phenomenon of all-female or all-male workplaces have largely gone the way of the buggy whip. Many of the benefits of this increased diversity might be difficult to measure and quantify…
Temporary security measures often become permanent. Larry Downing/Reuters

Access denied: how security is transforming public space

The recent security lapses at the White House have brought to the forefront the 13-year-old question of how to effectively secure public spaces. As officials weigh increasing perimeter security and installing…
The densely populated cities like Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, have been the worst hit. EPA/str

How to plan for a post-Ebola West Africa

The Ebola outbreak continues to rage, and the immediate need is to control the spread of the disease and to help those infected. But it is time also to plan how to rebuild a post-Ebola West Africa, whose…
Who’s going to pay for this? image via www.shutterstock.com

Development of new drugs is threatened by budget cuts

Foundation essay: This article is part of a series marking the launch of The Conversation in the US. Our foundation essays are longer than our usual comment and analysis articles and take a wider look…
When you hear hooves, shout camel, not bioterrorist. Delpixel/Flickr

Middle East respiratory virus came from camels, not terrorists

The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a tiny, spiky package of fat, proteins and genes that was first found in a dying man in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2012. Since then, we…
The emphasis on the lump sum in superannuation unfairly moves risk to individuals. Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Superannuation: make income the outcome

Having led the world in the 1990s in embracing defined contribution retirement plans, Australia now is rightly reviewing whether the design of its retirement income system is meeting the needs of Australians…
Icebergs calve from the Larsen Ice Shelf in Antarctica. Ted Scambos, NSIDC

The Arctic melts, but oceans and ozone hole may cool Antarctica

Over recent decades, scientists have watched the Arctic and Antarctic polar regions respond in starkly different and perhaps surprising ways to the effects of increasing human influence on the Earth’s…

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