1. Introduction, Course Overview, What is Technology?

The followingcontent is provided under a CreativeCommons license. Your support will help MITOpenCourseWare continue to offer high-qualityeducational resources for free. To make a donation orview additional materials from hundreds of MIT courses,visit MIT OpenCourseWare at ocw.mit.edu. PROFESSOR: Welcome toSTS.050, History of MIT. I’m Professor Mindell. This is Professor Smith. And before we introduceourselves or say anything about the class, I justwant to do a little exercise about what do you knowabout the history of MIT, either big picture stuffor even random facts. Yep. AUDIENCE: Used to be in Boston. PROFESSOR: Sorry. Used to be in Boston. OK. That is correct. PROFESSOR: Used to becalled [INAUDIBLE] Boston. As sort of a nickname. AUDIENCE: Don’t remember. AUDIENCE: Boston Tech. PROFESSOR: Boston Tech. Yep. AUDIENCE: I think itwas founded in 1861. PROFESSOR: That’s correct. PROFESSOR: Jeez. You don’t need this class. PROFESSOR: Yep. AUDIENCE: I thinkbecause of the Civil War, it had to wait to open. PROFESSOR: OK. That’s correct, too. The American Civil War startedright after the founding. And there weren’t any classestaught for about four years. AUDIENCE: It was foundedby William Barton Rogers. PROFESSOR: OK. That’s also good. PROFESSOR: Whatwas his nickname? AUDIENCE: Barty? [LAUGHTER] AUDIENCE: William Rogers. PROFESSOR: I don’tthink he had a nickname. AUDIENCE: William Bart Rogers. PROFESSOR: Cool. Bart. PROFESSOR: What was it? Do you know? PROFESSOR: No. PROFESSOR: Billy? PROFESSOR: We had a housemaster over at Burton Conner. We had a reunion theother day, and they had a big pictureWilliam Barton Rogers. And one of the studentscame up and put a ID clip on and it said Billy. So maybe it’s Billy. PROFESSOR: Somebodysent me– there is one sentence in allof his papers and letters and records which showsany amount of cheerfulness or playfulness,which is, I think it was after his brotherdied, he wrote to someone about six months latersaid, I’m finally starting to feel brisk again.He was a serious guy. What else do we know about MIT? AUDIENCE: They got one ofthe federal land grants. PROFESSOR: OK. Good. We’ll certainly talkabout what that means. Yep. AUDIENCE: Me? PROFESSOR: Yep. AUDIENCE: I think atleast when it started out, there weren’t anyfemale students. PROFESSOR: OK. That’s true. No women at first, but later on. We’ll also talka lot about that.Yep. AUDIENCE: At some pointthere was discussion about wanting tomerge with Harvard. PROFESSOR: Oh, OK. Many points as it turns out. PROFESSOR: Yeah. Five or six. We don’t have to justtalk about the founding in the early years. There’s a lot oftime in between. So. Yep. AUDIENCE: It got a lotof money from Polaroid to build a new campus. PROFESSOR: OK. MERRITT ROE SMITH: Polaroid? PROFESSOR: Polaroid? AUDIENCE: It was one ofthe guys who started Kodak. PROFESSOR: Eastman Kodak. PROFESSOR: Kodak. Eastman Kodak. See, I knew he was gonnajump on you because he’s from Rochester, New York,home of Eastman Kodak. PROFESSOR: That’s right. Yeah. Polaroid is a Bostoncompany with ties to MIT, although not specificallyan MIT spin-off, starting in the1930s, really getting going in the ’50s and ’60s. Whereas Eastman Kodakstarted around the turn of the 20th century. Anybody know theyear that MIT moved across the river fromBoston to Cambridge? AUDIENCE: 1916.PROFESSOR: 1916. Right. So that’s also apretty important date. Nobody’s mentioned anythingthat was invented here. Maybe nothing was. AUDIENCE: Radar. PROFESSOR: Sorry. AUDIENCE: There was a lot ofdevelopment for the radar– PROFESSOR: OK. Radar, certainly. Anybody know wherethe radar development took place physically? AUDIENCE: W 20. Or not W 20, Building 20. PROFESSOR: Yeah. PROFESSOR: Anybodyknow where that was? AUDIENCE: WhereStata is right now. PROFESSOR: Yeah. Right there. PROFESSOR: To give you anidea how long I’ve been here, my first officewas in Building 20. And, the officesin that building, it was like a WWII barracks. It was all made ofwood, basically. It’s a wonder itdidn’t burn down, all this stuff thatwent on in there. But my office was huge. But the problem wasthat by the time I got there, it waspretty well run down. And there was a hole inthe wall and squirrels used to run around insideand then dash out. Our colleague, Leo Marks,you’ll hear about today, had an even bigger–his office was like a one bedroomapartment over there.It’s really cool. A lot of stuff went on there. AUDIENCE: Which buildingis better, 20 or Stata? PROFESSOR: I haven’t hadenough experience in Stata to tell you. Stata visually, of course,is far more interesting, but I hear it leaks. Building 20 didn’t leak. AUDIENCE: Exceptfor the squirrels. PROFESSOR: Pardon? AUDIENCE: Exceptfor the squirrels. PROFESSOR: I still didn’t hear. AUDIENCE: Exceptfor the squirrels. PROFESSOR: Exceptfor the squirrels. Yes. PROFESSOR: Building 20 was builtin, I think, under six months in 1940, 1941. PROFESSOR: Yeah. PROFESSOR: And itlasted for 50 years.PROFESSOR: Well, itwas torn down what? 10 years ago, maybe? PROFESSOR: Yeah,not that long ago. PROFESSOR: Not so long ago. Long ago in your lifetimes. But in mine, a mere drop. PROFESSOR: Anything else? AUDIENCE: Thedepartments here have gone through a lot of changes. PROFESSOR: OK. The departments certainly have. Although a lot of themare also quite similar. Yep. AUDIENCE: During the 1960s,the basement of Building 10 was excavated fora super laser that was designed tobounce off a orbiting satellite out tothe Soviet Union. That was one of ourweapons in the Cold War that no one ever knew of. PROFESSOR: Oh. That’s news to me. I didn’t know about that. Ah. AUDIENCE: That’s awesome. PROFESSOR: Is it still there? AUDIENCE: Yeah. It’s a secret sub-basement. [LAUGHTER] PROFESSOR: You gotto take us on a tour. Does anybody know how muchsecret research goes on on this campus? Military secret research? AUDIENCE: None anymore? PROFESSOR: That’s right, none. Does MIT do any secret research? PROFESSOR: Yeah. AUDIENCE: Not that we know of. PROFESSOR: Well. [LAUGHTER] PROFESSOR: No? PROFESSOR: No? PROFESSOR: Actually, MIT doesa lot of secret research.It’s just not– PROFESSOR: Here. PROFESSOR: Here. Where is it? AUDIENCE: Lincoln Labs. PROFESSOR: Lincoln Labsout in the suburbs. Yeah. So that’s certainly athing we’ll come across, too, is Cold War andgenerally the relationships with the military. Anybody know what MIT’sbudget is roughly? $100 billion? $100 million? AUDIENCE: Endowment’slike $8 billion. PROFESSOR: Yeah. Endowment’s between $8billion and $10 billion, depending on how you count. What do we spend every year? About $1 billion. PROFESSOR: Really? My god. I didn’t know it was that much.PROFESSOR: A big part of thatis actually at Lincoln Labs. I forget exactly. 10% or 20%. AUDIENCE: I wonderhow many people– PROFESSOR: Work. Including students? How many students arethere, first of all? Anybody know howmany undergrads? AUDIENCE: 4,000? PROFESSOR: What is it? It’s like 4,100 today or– PROFESSOR: Is it? Really. PROFESSOR: Around. It’s about to grow alittle bit to about 4,500. How many grad students? AUDIENCE: 6,000. PROFESSOR: About thesame, 5,000 to 6,000. Then another 5,000 or sofaculty and staff people and other kinds of researchers. Anybody know how manyfaculty there are? Roughly about 1,000. About 960 maybe. PROFESSOR: Does thatinclude adjuncts? PROFESSOR: No. AUDIENCE: Just straightregular faculty. PROFESSOR: There aren’t verymany adjunct faculty, actually. So, about 1,000 faculty. Interestingly, that numberhas not grown more than 10% in the last 20 years. Whereas the budget andthe general size of MIT has about tripledin that time frame.So, if you ever wonder whythe professor seem overworked, that’s why. Anything else aboutthe history of MIT? Big accomplishments. AUDIENCE: Nobel Prize winners. PROFESSOR: Lots of NobelPrize winners for sure. AUDIENCE: InstrumentationsLab during the Apollo program. And apparently like athird of NASA’s astronauts have been MIT educatedat some point. PROFESSOR: OK. Big connection to NASA. MIT built the computersthat landed on the Moon. I think about a third of thepeople who walked on the Moon were MIT graduates.And about a third of thetotal American astronauts had been MIT graduates,which I think is more than anywhere else. And I think that also Iread a statistic where– AUDIENCE: Other thanmilitary academies. PROFESSOR: Sorry. AUDIENCE: Other than military– PROFESSOR: Other thanthe military academy. A third of all UShuman space flights have had MIT graduates on them. We’re gonna have a big astronautreunion this spring, actually, which you’ll all be invitedto as part of the class. Not all of them but quite a goodnumber of them are coming back. So a lot of connectionsto the space program. What else? PROFESSOR: Do you know who’schairing the 150th anniversary? [LAUGHTER] PROFESSOR: So we’ll talka little bit about that. Other facts about MIT? AUDIENCE: Washigh-speed photography developed by an MIT Professor? PROFESSOR: Notexactly high-speed photography, but close. Anybody know what the actualtechnical part of that is? AUDIENCE: He did the strobes. PROFESSOR: Electronic strobes. So up until not that longago, certainly in my lifetime, if you bought a camera,it came with flashbulbs which were likein a little cube.Anybody ever seen a flash cube? And they go pshh. And that was it. One picture and thenthey’d turn around. And you’d get four per cube. And Edgerton invented what isnow on not only on your cameras but maybe even on your phones,the actual electronic strobe. Which means that you couldfire it with a battery and it was basically usablehundreds of thousands of times, which had made possiblehigh-speed photography. We’ll talk aboutthat a little bit.Other interestingfacts about MIT? Anybody name a company thatwas started by MIT graduates? AUDIENCE: Analog Devices. PROFESSOR: AnalogDevices is one. Sorry. AUDIENCE: Bose. PROFESSOR: Bose is one. AUDIENCE: iRobot? PROFESSOR: Sorry. AUDIENCE: iRobot. PROFESSOR: IRobot. AUDIENCE: A123 Systems. PROFESSOR: A123. AUDIENCE: Harmonics. PROFESSOR: Harmonics. AUDIENCE: TerraFusion. PROFESSOR: Sorry. AUDIENCE: TerraFusion. PROFESSOR: TerraFusion. AUDIENCE: Dropbox. PROFESSOR: Dropbox. That’s right. I use Dropbox all the time. Not actually Polaroid. Raytheon was startedpartly by MIT folks. MERRITT ROE SMITH: Miter. PROFESSOR: TheMiter Corporation. I’m just trying to thinka little bit further back into time. Anybody ever hear of theDigital Equipment Corporation? That’s kind of before thisgeneration a little bit.So obviously, nobodysaid anything too much about computers. Lot of the work incomputing was done here, software, artificialintelligence, robotics. Human Genome Project. Anybody ever hear of that? Significant fractionof that was here. We’ll come across 1,000things that you didn’t even think of were here. OK. PROFESSOR: I think oneof the great inventors is still living here– I meanof the fairly distant past– and that’s Jay Forrester. Have you ever heard of him? What do you recollect, Eric? Pardon. AUDIENCE: TheWhirlwind computer. PROFESSOR: Whirlwind, yes. And why was that asignificant development? Do you remember? Well, you got theWhirlwind all right. It’s the first core memory. One of the first random-accesscore memories, as I recollect. So it had greatsignificance to the building of the type of computersthat you’re using and the desktopsand all of that. It was very, very basic. It’s said that IBMreally made its money off the use of that development. And I was in conversationsmany years ago in which PresidentWiesner expressed some discontent about the factthat IBM had not ponied up enough support money forMIT because it had gotten so much from MIT in termsof it’s technical.I don’t know how true that is. But Jerry Wiesner surewas not happy about that, I know that much. PROFESSOR: Also, Whirlwind wassort of the first real-time interactive– PROFESSOR: Yeah. PROFESSOR: –computer,which was– PROFESSOR: Where didthe money come from it? Who supported that? AUDIENCE: Navy? PROFESSOR: Pardon. AUDIENCE: The navy? PROFESSOR: Well, partlynavy, partly air force. Yeah. A lot of military contractingdown here after World War II. We’ll see that. I mean that’s a bigpart of the system. PROFESSOR: Anybody know wherethe Whirlwind computer was back in the days when computers hadentire buildings themselves? It was on Mass Ave. inthe Barta Building, which is now where IS&T is.Anybody know where that is? PROFESSOR: Some people areshaking their heads almost in disgust. [LAUGHTER] PROFESSOR: OK. So I just want to start with alittle brainstorming about some of the things thatare gonna come up over the course of the term. Maybe we’ll introduceourselves first. I’ll ask Professor Smithto introduce himself, say a little bit abouthis research and stuff.PROFESSOR: OK. Hi. My name full name isMerritt Roe Smith, but I go by my middle name, Roe. And I’m a memberof two faculties here, the STS faculty that Davidchairs and also the history faculty. And I’ve been here since 1979. So I’ve been here quite a while. And my researchinterests are primarily in 19th century industrialhistory and technology. And as I’ve saidto many friends, my expertise falls offrapidly after World War I. But the good news isthat his picks up rapidly in that period. And so David is theexpert on the modern era of MIT’s history. So we make a fairly good team. I will give the earlierlectures on William Barton Rogers and things like that.I guess my main mymain research has been about machine toolsand the development of interchangeableparts manufacturing. And I’m particularlyinterested in that subject because that, too, was amilitary-sponsored technology that had a tremendousspin-off effect that once these new techniqueswere developed for making guns, the machine tools and gaugingmethods and things like that, were disseminated into allsorts of manufacturing, one of the firstbeing sewing machines. So it was primarilya technology used by women in which this gunmaking technology found it’s earliest applications.And then you can see itspreading further out until you see the earliestautomobiles in the United States being made with verysimilar methods that come right out of this oldgun-making industry. So those are the sortsof things that I’m interested in basically ishow new technologies develop and how they get disseminated. PROFESSOR: So I’m David Mindell. As Roe mentioned, I’m in theprogram in Science, Technology, and Society as anhistorian of technology, which I’m thedirector of, and also in aeronautics and astronautics. I’m actually anelectrical engineer interested in electronicsand control systems. But these days a lotof my work in that area happens in the aerospace worldso I’m dual in AeroAstro. Most of my research isfocused, as Roe mentioned, on 20th century, some ofit military technology, particularly controlsystems and feedback control and digital computers. And I wrote a bookabout the Apollo program and the computersthat we mentioned before that were usedto land on the moon. And I’m generally interestedin human machine interaction and the ways the evolvingtechnology changes the rules of the usersand of the people who are operating systems.And that’s still somethingthat I study today. Done a lot of workin the undersea world doing exploration of thedeep ocean with robots. Anybody here ever participatein the JASON project? In junior high? No. Did a lot of work with deep-searobots exploring shipwrecks around the world. And that still interests me. And now I work alot on space flight in aviation, too, andwhat roles people have in technological systemsand how those roles change as technologies evolveand how the engineers who build those technologiesthink about people. There’s really sortof two or three things that led us to beginteaching this class. This is the secondtime we’ve taught it.We taught it lastspring as well. And one of themis obvious, which is that, as youprobably all know, this semester is MIT’s 150thanniversary celebrations. And I’ve been chairingthe planning committee for those celebrationsfor the last few years. And when I started doing that, Ididn’t know anything about MIT. And in grand tradition,when you don’t know anything about a subject, you get a bunchof students in a room and start teaching about it and youall sort of learn together. And so that was part ofthe idea for the class. And then another part ofthe idea for the class was there’s actually been onlyin the last few years enough really professionallywritten history about MIT. So that we won’t spendthe whole term talking about just thefraternities and sororities and the great inventionsand the sort of great man history of MIT. We’ll do some of that. But there’s also beenenough professional history where you can reallytalk about what is the history ofscience and technology? How does it evolve? How do technologiesand knowledge evolve– which is reallywhat both Roe and I study in our different contexts–and use MIT as a lens through which to look at thatissue over the last 150 years.So we will be looking at someof those larger questions. What counts as knowledge? How do engineers work? How do scientists work? How do they interact withthe larger society, both the politics and the cultureand the social questions? And how do they actually carryon their work day to day? And what does it mean to inventsomething or create a new idea? And fortunately, there’s enoughmaterial out there on MIT that we can examinethose questions through the history of MIT. And then it happenedthat because Roe is a 19th-century expert and Iwork more on the 20th century, we kind of got together androughly split the material.We’ll go back andforth quite a bit as well, especially this term. This term is alittle bit special, more than a little bit. It’s a lot special anda little bit different from last term in that theactual 150th celebrations are going on as we’re taking theclass and teaching the class. And so you’ll see alittle bit about that as we pass out the syllabus. So that’s just sort of a roughintroduction to the class. I also wanted to ask MichaelaThompson to introduce herself as our teaching assistant. MICHAELA THOMPSON: Hi. I’m Michaela Thompson. I’m a third-year PhDstudent in the HASS program. And I study,basically, the history of biology andenvironmental history. PROFESSOR: And among manyother cool facts about Michaela is that if you go tothe Boston Aquarium and see the penguinsswimming around– MICHAELA THOMPSON: I’mdown in there with them. PROFESSOR: She’s the lady inthe wetsuit feeding the penguins and swimming around with them.Maybe we’ll take a fieldtrip and come see her when she’s working one day. MICHAELA THOMPSON:I will be there and I will wave at all of you. PROFESSOR: So maybe weshould pass out the syllabus and we can sort of walk through. Any questions on whatwe’ve talked about so far? MICHAELA THOMPSON: Isanybody missing a syllabus? PROFESSOR: Oh, wealready passed out. OK, good. I don’t have one yet. So just to go throughthe top, we really talked about this description. Again, there area number of themes that are in this sortof first paragraph that will keep comingup again and again. The relationship of MITto the surrounding city and the region and the country. Stories about MITstudents and professors. The student body andwho is an MIT student and how does thatperson– there is no typical profile,or really at any time, but the student bodychanges quite a bit over the course ofthese 150 years. That’s somethingwe’ll be looking at. The physical developmentof the campus. We talked about the move alittle bit across the river. MIT’s relationshipwith industry. That’s a big one, whichis kind of a pendulum that swings every 10 years or so. Too much industrial involvement,not enough relevance to industry, too muchindustrial involvement, not enough– practicallysee– maybe somebody can calculate the periodof that pendulum for us. It’s prettypredictable, actually. And then, also,MIT’s relationship to the government,which you might guess moves almost exactly the sameas the relationship to industry but in the opposite direction. Where are we now in that swing? Does anybody want tohave a guess on that? I would say that we’re probablyat the point of just beginning the swing beginning away fromgovernment back toward industry for a while.Because the stimulus packagethat Obama passed in 2008 was very, verysupportive of MIT. And that’s about to run out. And generally the governmentis about to run out of money altogether. And that’s gonna be a big issuefor MIT in the coming five years or so. And naturally that swingsback toward industry. A little bit about requirements. We do want you to cometo class every week. We do want you to participatein the discussions. We will ask for you to closeyour laptops when we’re having a class discussion,which is generally gonna be the secondhalf of the class. You can use them forthe notes and things in the first half of the class. And then there’s a seriesof reflection papers, which is a significant amount of thework over the course the term. We want you to submitthem online to the TA. And, let’s see what’sthe actual number. There are 11 class sessionswhere there is actually reading that’s assigned. And so we’re gonna ask you tosubmit eight reflection papers. So you can opt outof any three weeks over the course of the term. And when you dosubmit the papers, we would like them to have themthe night before by 5 o’clock. And there’s a reasonfor that, which is then we’ll compile all the questionsand the thoughts the people have from thosereflection papers and use them as the startingpoint for the discussion the following day. So we need to have those then. We’re not gonna gradethem A, B, C, or D, but we do want tosee people thinking through what’s onthe reflections. One to two pages isall that is required. Then of those eightreflection papers– you’ll notice when wecome to the syllabus that a number of the daysthat we meet in class are concurrent withthe MIT 150th Symposia. And so if you like, youcan write reflection paper on the symposia instead of onthe readings for that week, with basically thesame requirements. And then they’re going to be twowriting assignments, basically two papers, which we’llsend out the assignments for as the time goes closer. And one of the really nicethings about teaching it this term, even asopposed to a year ago, is– I’ll show youin a few minutes. There’s a vast amount ofmaterial, just raw material, on the web that’s been madeavailable from which we can use as research materialsfor these papers.So there’s the breakdown ofthe grading, 20% on the papers, big band on thewriting assignment, and then class participation. Although, somehow thatdoesn’t add up to 100. We must have missed aline from last year. [LAUGHTER] PROFESSOR: We’ll getback to you on that one. Somehow we must haveedited something. Oh no, sorry, there’s twowriting assignments, 70 and then 30. There’s the absence policy. There’s really onlyone required book. I see one person’s pickedit up already, which is the book that DavidKaiser– our colleague– edited called Moments ofDecision, which they had no intention of this whenthey put this book together.But it really comesout almost perfectly as a textbook for the course. Do you want to say anythingmore about the book, Roe? PROFESSOR: Well, theessays in it are not long. I’ll tell you that. Each essay’s around 15 printedpages, 17, somewhere in there. So they’re easily read. I’ve read the entirebook twice now. And I contributedan essay to it. But quite apart frommy essay, I actually think these essaysare pretty damn good.And it’s the sort of book thatyou can use in this class. And then you couldturn around and give it to your parents or somebodylike that because it does a good encapsulatedhistory of MIT at certain– it’s not a completehistory of MIT. But it looks at thecritical moments. And I think it’s agood little book. I’ll say that much. PROFESSOR: Good, I agree. I should say also next Tuesday,February 15, from 4:00 to 6:00 we’re having an event aspart of the 150th that is more or less the authors fromthese books getting together to talk about thehistory of MIT.And so you’d be welcometo join us for that. And then there are going to beadditional readings, a fairly significant amount of them,available on the MIT site. I’m sure you’ve all takenhumanities classes at MIT before. There’s a lot of readingin the humanities. That’s sort of the equivalentof the problem sets is reading through a fairlylarge amount of material and absorbing itand then fitting it into the rest of the material. So that’s a very importantpart of the class. And we do expect you tospend sort of the equivalent amount of time that youwould spend on a problem set in a science classon the reading. So just to gothrough a little bit week by week, whatwe’ll do today, when we’re done goingthrough the syllabus, I want to show you a littlevideo about the founding of MIT and then a little bitabout web resources. And then we’ll take abreak, which we’ll always do about halfway throughthe three hour period because it is along time period. And during the break,we’ll give you extra time to read an articlethat we’ll pass out which is about the birth andthe idea of technology, which turns out is not a very oldidea and is almost exactly the same age as MIT.The t in MIT was one of thevery significant first uses of the word technology. And then we’ll come backfor a little discussion of the ideas in that article. And then toward theend of the class, Karen Arenson will come in. And she actuallyis past president of the MIT AlumniAssociation and Brass member of the Corporation. But also is ajournalist who conducted 100 or so oral historyinterviews with people about the last 40 years of MIT. And she’ll talk a littlebit about that process. Then next week, we go wayback before even the founding. Do you want to say anythingabout that week, Roe? PROFESSOR: Wellyeah, the second week is basically trying to putMIT in a larger context. So I’m going to give a lectureabout the United States circa 1850, 1860, the yearsthat William Barton Rogers was beginning to formulatethis plan for what he called a”polytechnic institute.” And so the readings here,there are two readings. One of them is froma textbook that I was one of the co-authors of. It’s the one that’s listedunder Pauline Maier’s name.Actually, the pagesyou’ll be reading there are pagesthat I’ve written in the text on the1850’s basically. So you’ll get my take on thatperiod from the textbook, basically. And then the otherreading is, I would say, a broader cultural, politicallook at the United States between 1820 and 1860 thatlooks very broadly at society. So that’s even a biggerpicture of the United States during this period. And the idea here isjust to kind of immerse you in that periodto get you thinking about why was atechnical institute necessary at this point in time? Why 1861 and not 1900or sometime like that? It turns out thatMIT’s founding, it occurs at a veryimportant moment in history. And one of the things I wantto talk about in my lecture is why 1861 basically.Why is this theright moment to found an institute of technology? There’s none other likeit prior to the Civil War. There were other engineeringschools, but not like MIT. MIT was different. And I’ll say one thingtoo about this place. The more I learn about MIT,the more I’m amazed by it. It’s really aninteresting place. And I didn’t know muchabout MIT’s history until about two yearsago when I started preparing for this essayon William Barton Rogers. But the more I learn aboutit, the more captivated I’ve become by the history ofthis place and all the things that it’s done. I don’t think there’s anothereducational institution, or surely a highereducational institution, in the UnitedStates that has had a more interesting historythan this place has. We’re sure to get argumentsfrom people up the street. But that’s just my ownpersonal perspective. It’s quite aremarkable institution. And it takes root in themiddle of the American Civil War of all times, one ofthe worst possible moments to try to found a college.How did that happen? So that’s what that secondweek is basically about is how did thisplace get started? And why? PROFESSOR: Because we’llcome across this then, too. The actual date of thesigning of the charter for MIT is April 10, 1861. April 12, 1861 is thefiring on Fort Sumter, which is the first combatof the Civil War. So you’ll see this next week. Poor William Barton Rogersspends 30 years pursuing his dream andfinally achieves it.And then the whole countryblows up in his face basically. PROFESSOR: Not a good time. PROFESSOR: So the nextweek too then we also focus on the foundingand the early years. You want to just walk throughthis part of the syllabus? PROFESSOR: Yeah, thethird week will be mainly about William Barton Rogers andhis vision for the institute and how this place gets started. And in the essay you’ll readin this little book here, you’ll see that I have somethings to say about the role the government played ingiving MIT the wherewithal to get started.The state of Massachusettsgrants it land over in Boston. And then it subvents it to thetune of– I don’t know how many current dollars. But I think it’saround $300,000, a lot of money in those days. But without that money,initial seed money basically, MIT would have hadan almost impossible time. Because once thegovernment of Massachusetts signed on to this place andsaid, we’ll give you a charter.We’ll give you some land. And we’ll give you some money. That gave a signalto private donors that this place had a future. And that it wasworth investing in. And then, of course, therewere private donations that were very important too. But it’s that sort ofstory I want to talk about is how did Rogers getthe place started? And then who were the earlyfaculty that he recruited? Because it takes off in anextremely interesting way and in a way thatreally comports nicely with what MITis all about today. The original ideals of MITin 1865 and those today are not that differentin my opinion. There are differences. But the Mens et Manustheme in the seal is a very interestingand revealing way to think about this place. It hasn’t changed. Well, it’s changed, but–so that’s the third week. And then the fourth weekis basically– well, it’s about two things. One of you mentionedearlier about Harvard trying to take over MIT. And that’s a fascinating story.Harvard makes that attemptat least five times, if not six, starting in1872 and continuing up until World WarI or thereabouts. And each time– well, it comesvery close once in the early 1900’s. There was actuallya time when you could get a joint degreefrom Harvard and MIT. And it was lookingvery much like the two places might merge. But it never happened. But that’s an interestingstory that all MIT alums like to talk about andstudents I suppose. And then the otherpart of it is how this new campus, the so-calledcampus, that we’re on today, how did that come about? And of course, itwouldn’t have happened without GeorgeEastman first of all.George Eastman put up anamazing number of dollars to build the main partof the campus here. The big domebuildings and all that were all builtwith Eastman money. And it’s an interesting storybecause I forget exactly how much he granted MIT initially. But President Maclaurin,who was the president of MIT at that time, keptgoing back to him. George, could you put alittle more on the till here? And each time he’d write acheck, very, very generous. And he wasn’t a MIT graduate. I don’t think he hadany MIT affiliation. But he employedsome MIT graduates. And I think that waswhat– he thought, they produce a goodproduct down there.I’m going tosupport that school. And so that’s basicallywhy he put up so much money to build a campus. But we’ll have MarkJarzombek come in. He’s written a book about thephysical facility or the campus itself, the buildingof the campus. And he’ll be the guestspeaker that day. And he has reallyinteresting things to say. He’s written a bookabout that topic. But they’ll be somegood visuals that you’ll be able to see in this too. PROFESSOR: Andthat’s really kind of the end of thebeginning for MIT.PROFESSOR: Yep. PROFESSOR: In that. And people at thetime, you’ll see them say, up until that pointthere was always money trouble. We never knew if we were goingto be around in five years. But once they move overto this side of the campus and they build thebuildings, which puts them in a bitof a hole for a while financially, but really isthe time that MIT arrived. And they feel likethat it’s really become something that’sgoing to be lasting, only 50 yearsafter the founding. Then the next week we moveinto what people sometimes call the progressive era,the age of big business also. And actually our guestspeaker is Ross Bassett, who was a colleague ofours, not from here. He’s written a very interestingpiece, which we’ll read, about students from Indiacoming to MIT in the 1930’s. And there were onlyabout 20 or 30 students from India coming to MIT duringthat whole 10 year period. But they were all from the 20or 30 most prominent families in India and went backand did amazing things in their own countries as well.And that’s thesort of jumping off point for our conversationabout MIT’s relationships with the rest of the worldand the positioning of MIT as a global university, whichis obviously a very big thing today. And again, there’sa lot of issues there during thatperiod about industry and the appropriaterole of industry. And people arefeeling at the time that MIT has gotten muchtoo close to industry. And professors are behavingmore like consultants than they are like scientists. And that all sort ofturns around in 1930. We’ll talk aboutthat in week six, both the relationships withthe military during World War I and the hiring ofKarl Compton in 1930, who was the firstscientist– I think he’s the first scientist or thefirst physical scientist who leads MIT and reallybrings the institute back toward a basic sciencefoundation, which is still something that you’ll seein your own educations, and sets it up for thesecond World War in a way.So that’s the middle of March. Then in week seven there’s oneof the symposia for the 150th. There are six symposiaover the course of the semester aboutthe 150th anniversary. And two or threeof them are meeting on a time that happensto be a Monday. And I have to bethere all day anyway because I’m introducing itand sort of put it together. And what we’ll do iswe’ll have class time just be attend the symposium. Now, you don’t have toactually attend the three hours 1:00 to 4:00. We happen to know that’sfree in your schedule. So that’s a good time to go. But any three hours overthe course of those two days will be fine. And that one is about womenin science and engineering at MIT, which is apretty major part of the history inthe last 10 years here starting just about10 years ago with a very famous report that cameout, which was, in a sense, nothing short of revolutionary.And actually, Lotte Bailyn,who wrote the article in this book– the Kaiserbook– about that moment also was one of the key authorsof that women in science report and is one of the organizersof that symposium. PROFESSOR: One other pointis to note now week six, we’re dealing withthe ’20s and ’30s. And now in weekseven, we’re kind of jumping chronologicala little bit to more current events. We have to do thatbecause the symposia is scheduled at this time. So there’s going to besome jumping around here that we can’t avoid. But the themes aresufficiently important that we think that goingto that symposia would be extremelyinteresting and educational.PROFESSOR: Yeah,on the one hand, we’re roughly movingchronologically over the course of the term. But inevitably, even as we’vebeen doing already today, we’re going to jump aroundthroughout the 150 year history because things will comeup that are relevant today or things that were past. So the class is not organizedaround the idea of suspense where wait and see whathappens in the 1980s that you’ll only learnin the last week. You’re going to incorporate thatover the course of the term. Then on week eight, we’regoing to actually meet at the MIT Museumwhere they have a special exhibition about MIT. Has anybody been tothe exhibition so far? So they put that togetherfor the 150th anniversary. It almost reads like a syllabusfor the class in some ways and also does a really goodjob of tying these larger themes together aboutdifferent kinds of innovation and education and how thosetwo things tie together. And Debbie Douglas, who was thecurator who put that together, will give us our personaltour through that exhibit.It’s not actuallypart of class time. But then I just put onthe syllabus April 10 is the convocation, whichis the ceremonial center of the 150th anniversary. It’s open to all faculty,staff, and students and alums and happens down at theBoston convention center. So I certainlyencourage you all to go. The governor ofMassachusetts will be there. Quite a number of other highprofile speakers will be there. And I’ll show youa little bit later about the mid-centuryconvocation, which happened in 1949, whichit’s roughly modeled on. Then that very week,actually it’s the day after, is a symposium on computationand the transformation of practically everything. Again, that one happensto meet on a Monday. So class will just be attendingthe symposium that day. Excuse me. Then we kind of pick upour historical thread again with World WarII, also really quite a critical turningpoint for the institute. One that I’ve done alot of work on that really begins to seewhere we are today. Then we’ll go into the Cold War. Again, one could teach an entireclass on MIT in the Cold War as one of ourcolleagues, David Kaiser, actually teaches a class onscience and the Cold War. And then week 12,we sort of bring it up to the last 40 years or so. And in a way, that’s beenthe hardest part of the class to teach because it’snot yet history as much as the rest of it is. And yet, it’s stillin the making. And actually, the finalwriting assignment really is partly to askyou guys to help make that history ofthe last 40 years or so.Because there’s alot of things that haven’t been writtenabout that we don’t really know that some researchinto the archives will really help us with. Although this year, wehave the oral histories that we didn’t have last year. And I’ll show youthose in a moment. So it’s actually going tobe a pretty packed semester. There’s a lot going on. It’s a big history. There’s a lot that happened.But we’ll hope you’ll getsome sense both for where the place that you’regoing to school at came from, why you are expectedto take the classes that you’re expected to take– theGIRs in particular– what is the philosophybehind the education that you’re getting, nomatter what major you’re in. How many people areundergrads here by the way? Any grad students? Couple of grad students. And those are twothings– we’ll talk about how those twothings, the undergrad and the grad experience,relate to each other. And hopefully atthe end of the term it will all make perfectsense to all of you.Any questions about thesyllabus or assignments or any of those things? One of the really interestingthings about the 150th and about teaching theclass and writing this book and a lot of the otherthings we’re doing is that there isn’t reallya fixed history of MIT. And as any historianwill tell you, what constitutes the historyof any subject changes in each generation and in asense is constantly rewritten. We like to think we don’twrite too much of it according to today’svalues and points of view.And at the sametime, we always know that we see thingsfrom our point of view. And so you look back. And you see things that areimportant in one generation that were less important inanother generation and vice versa. And what’s beenreally interesting about the last couple yearsand the next few months is that we are againrewriting the history of MIT. This book is oneattempt to do that. And one of the thingsthat came out of that was this littlevideo that I want to show you which, in away, really will anticipate a lot of the themes forthe reading for next week. It really gets us started onhow we think about these things. And over the courseof the 150 you’ll see we put together aboutfive or six 12 minute videos on different aspectsof the institute.Some of them aremore historical. Some of them aremore current day. One of them focuses onstudents and student life. One of them focuseson entrepreneurship. And this one focuseson the founding of MIT. And you’ll see, maybe, afamiliar name or face in there. [VIDEO PLAYBACK] -Today’s MassachusettsInstitute of Technology is a world class centerfor teaching and research. Faculty, students,and researchers are united in theirgoal to advance the frontiers of knowledge andsolve contemporary real world problems, following the visionlaid out for MIT 150 years ago. But the placeitself has certainly evolved and flourishedsince those early days. It’s hard to imagine how muchthe scientific landscape has changed from when founderWilliam Barton Rogers first started thinking about a newkind of polytechnic institute. -William Barton Rogerswas born at the beginning of the 19th century. And that marks the beginningof an extraordinary time in US history.It’s really thetransition that we’re going to witness over a centuryfrom an agrarian, rural country into an urban andindustrial country. -We’re beginning to see theemergence of large cities, factories, railroads, canals,all the early instruments of big time industryin the United States. -There’s surveying involved. There’s mechanical engineering. There’s geology. There’s all kinds ofcivil engineering. -The sense of possibility ofwhat this new technology would mean for the country wasvery much on Rogers’ mind. -William Barton Rogers had alifelong interest in education. And by 1835, he’s a professorat the University of Virginia. He soon signs on tolead a geological survey for the state.Though he loves the project,he has a big problem finding qualified workers. -Rogers’ inability to hireworkers for his survey, that combined scientificknowledge and the ability to use technical apparatus,was a great problem to his way of thinking. He wasn’t the only personthat needed an individual with that skill. The world was filledwith new industries. And they all needed peoplethat combined smarts and skill. -Eventually, Rogersdecides to leave behind the frustrations andpolitical turmoil he’s encountered inVirginia’s slave society and moved north to thevibrant city of Boston. -Boston was one of theleading commercial centers of the country. And the area surroundingBoston was without question the most developed industriallyof any state in the union.-There probably wasnot an American city that had more of a needfor engineers than Boston. The city itself wasbeing transformed by one of thegreatest engineering projects of the 19th century,the filling in of the back bay. -And then you hadthese reform movements, temperance movements,pacifist movements, and of course the famousanti-slavery abolitionist movement. This was the place. Boston was so radicalin its reform spirit. -The wealth generatedby all of this industry Bostonians put into variousphilanthropic enterprises, endowing schools, hospitals,libraries, museums, various institutions whichbenefit the broader community. -Rogers writes inhis memoirs how much he likes the so-calledenterprising spirit and even uses the word knowledgeseeking spirit of this area. -For decades, Rogers had beentalking with his brother Henry about a new kind ofpolytechnic institution. -At the time, theideals of science really focused on fundamentalprinciples somewhat disconnected from thereal problems of industry and the people whoworked in industry. -They began thinking abouthow to incorporate science into what they referredto as the useful arts. Today we would callthat technology. -It’s a revolutionaryidea that someone will go to schoolto get training to become an architect,an engineer, a scientist. These are typicallyoccupations that people would learn by doing. -This was experimentalfrom the get go. Even the word technologywas new at that time.-He wanted students who hada grasp of human nature, of basic sciences,of mathematics far beyond the requirements formaking this or that machine work. He wanted to train students whowould be able to kind of guide the nation throughindustrialization, not just build the widgets. -Different playersare coming together, trying to bring a bunch ofdifferent scientific and practical institutions together. And Rogers proves very skilledat taking that set of people and orienting their ideastoward his proposal. -They knew it wasgoing to be in Boston, and the land in Back Baywas the place to put it. So they were going to haveto convince the Massachusetts state legislaturethat not only was the school worth establishing,but that it was worth designating a piece of land for. -The proposal was brought tothe state of Massachusetts. And the first step is toessentially incorporate it as a state corporation.And that’s what we celebrate onthe founding day of April 10, 1861, when the governorfinally signs the MIT charter. -Just two days after MIT’sfounding on April 10 in 1861, the first shots are fired onFort Sumter in South Carolina. And with the startof the Civil War, it meant that classes at MITcould not start right away. This proved fortuitousfor MIT, because it allowed them the opportunityto raise additional funds– to acquire the land, to startconstruction, to hire faculty. -One can imagine that whenRogers tried to raise money– it’s wartime, and energies arebeing devoted to other things. Yet on the otherhand, if we have optimism about theoutcome of the war, we can see the necessityfor young men and women to become engineersand scientists, to be able to solvethese other problems. -When the Morrill Act ispassed in Washington in 1862, it grants every statesome land that then they can either use or sell to foundan agricultural or mechanical institution. -Rogers and hiscolleagues won support from the statelegislature that a portion of the funds fromthe Land Grant Act would be dedicatedto this new school, assuming that they could raisethe other funds successfully.And then they had to goout, house by house, factory to factory, and convincepeople one at a time to donate funds tosupport this enterprise. -As the war is ending in 1865,the Massachusetts Institute of Technology holdsits first classes in rented space in downtownBoston’s Mercantile Building while constructing its ownbuildings near Copley Square. Rogers’ vision for anew kind of education, with its emphasis onhands on learning, made it crucial to establishcutting edge laboratories.-Rogers had a verystrong reaction against what heconsidered rote learning. And so from the beginning,MIT was a great innovator in getting laboratorywork right down to the earliest levelsof the curriculum. Entry undergraduatestudents would be entitled to do a lot ofwork in the laboratories with their own hands, notjust seeing someone else demonstrate some effect. -Rogers neededfaculty who were going to be willing to inventa new kind of curriculum. That they were going tohave to cobble together for the first time everlaboratory exercises. -He allowed his professors tobasically experiment with it, tinker with it, adjustit, and build the program. I think of Pickering inphysics, for example. Professor Storer, who was oneof the early chemists at MIT. And both of thembecome very famous. And they’re producingtextbooks to accompany the lab orientededucational process. -You look at thecurriculum offered in that very first set ofclasses at MIT in 1865– it looks a lot like what wecall the GIRs today, the General Institute Requirements, thatstill every freshman has to take. Mathematics,chemistry, physics– those are all requiredat MIT from day one.-There was an emphasis oncombining basic science with applied thingsin the field. Students took field trips toall kinds of working places, where the technologicalworld was being built. And Barton Rogerswanted all that right in the curriculum forhis undergraduates, right from the start. -As a young startup,MIT had its share of hurdles– ongoing moneytroubles, takeover attempts by neighboring Harvard. But with every passing year,with every successful student who went on to make hisor her mark in the world, MIT’s reputation grew,and the school’s standing became more and more secure. By 1894, PresidentFrancis Amasa Walker was able to declarein his annual report that the battle ofthe new education is won, proclaiming thatthe influence of MIT and its innovative ways arenow recognized far and wide. -In the early years, theMIT way of doing business, with a great deal of emphasison hands on and doing things in reality, contrastedvery substantially with the more classicallyoriented education. But today, even forthose institutions which are more classicallyoriented liberal arts, they have moved,actually, towards MIT.-By the time operationsmoved across the Charles to the brand newCambridge campus in 1916, MIT’s ongoing futureseemed assured. Over the decades, the roadmapRogers laid out for his school has proved flexibleenough to stay true to his foundingideals while incorporating new fields as they emerge. -There have been alot of continuities in the history ofMIT, especially around the type ofcurriculum that students are required to follow. There’s surely a greaterrange choice today, but the emphasis on combiningscience with practice is still an importantdimension of what is happening aroundthe Institute today. -That idea of mind andhands– mens et manus– that goes right back tothe beginnings of MIT. And it’s coincidentwith the idea that learning takes place bydoing, as well just by seeing. -MIT today showsremarkable commitment to the original visionarticulated by William Barton Rogers of a place that solvesgreat problems, that educates students who havethe capacity to be independent in their thinking. Those commitments are timeless,and stretch across 150 years. [MUSIC PLAYING] [END VIDEO PLAYBACK] AUDIENCE: Is this partof a bigger series, or is this just one? PROFESSOR: So as Imentioned, there’s five or six of these coming out. But it’s not like the class. They’re not goingchronologically. One is on entrepreneurship. One is on the student body. They’ll each have alittle history in them, but it’s not aconsecutive series. When they firstwanted to do this, they said, well, we’lldo one from 1861 to 1916. And we really pushedthem to go back into that earlier period, andthe background of the founding, and spend more time on that. Because the context, whichwe’ll read about next week, is so interesting and important. AUDIENCE: I feel like there werethree people who kept talking, and two of them were you two. Who was the third one? PROFESSOR: The third one– thewoman was Debbie Douglas, who is the curator atthe museum, who we’ll meet whenwe go over there. And we’ll also read a chapterof hers, I think, in the book.AUDIENCE: How recentlydid this come out? PROFESSOR: Two months ago. It was just released. It was released onthe day that 150th opened, which was January 7. So it’s brand new, basically. Yeah, Michelle? AUDIENCE: Who produced it? PROFESSOR: Who produced it? Larry Gallagher, whoheads AV, produced it. And then it was directedby a woman named– PROFESSOR: Maggie Villiger. PROFESSOR: Maggie Villiger. Actually, one of the interestingthings that we’re doing is for each of fiveof these videos, they’re directed bya different person. So it’s not going to be aconsistent style across them. They’re all going to have aslightly different style, which should make it kindof interesting. AUDIENCE: At the beginning,I saw a lot of pictures with women in, forinstance, classrooms. Is that– PROFESSOR: Good question. That’s a good question. MIT actually admitted women asspecial students quite early. Ellen Swallow Richards, whowas the first actual graduate, also graduated quite early. I think 1878 was theyear she graduated.PROFESSOR: Somewherearound there. Somewhere in there. PROFESSOR: My almamater, which is Yale– they startedadmitting students in 1969. But MIT was wayahead of that curve. Now, actually, it’sa good question to ask Karen about when shecomes here in a little while. Because she was a student herein the early ’70s, I think. And it was very differentfrom what it is today. It’s not like there were–and I think even– I got here in 1991, and I believe atthe undergraduate level, it was still onlyabout 30% women. And now it’s more like50% or 55% women, I think. So it’s come up a loteven in that period. So there have alwaysbeen women here, but the proportionsthat you know of today are fairly recent.But again, if you look atthe Ivy League schools, they were in theStone Age compared to MIT with how theyhandled and treated women. AUDIENCE: So youguys in that video are saying that MIT sort ofgrew out of and contributed to the Boston area atthe beginning, mostly. When did it sort of hitinternational and national prominence and become like ahuge international technology institution? PROFESSOR: That’s a reallygood question, actually, and one of thethings we’ll look at again and again all semester. I think as thevideo talks about, New England was reallyattractive to William Barton Rogers. There’s every reason thatwe could be celebrating the Virginia Institute ofTechnology’s 150th anniversary, but we’re not. He felt Virginia wasnot the place for this. That New England,for reasons that Roe will talk about next week,was much more suited to it. I would guess that alreadyby the late 19th century, a lot of the MIT graduatesare going out west, and doing the surveys and engineeringon the railroads and dams and water supplies.Fremont, one of the greatsurveyor engineers of the west, was an MIT graduate. He was maybe even a facultymember here, wasn’t he? PROFESSOR: John Fremont? PROFESSOR: John Fremont. PROFESSOR: No, I don’t think so. But I’m trying to remember who–there is someone in that guise, but it’s not Fremont. I think, with referenceto your question about when does MITstart to achieve an international reputation,probably the real reputation comes during andafter World War II. I mean, that’swhen MIT is really recognized as being a bigtime place internationally. There were surelyhints of recognition in the late 19thcentury, the 1890s. When Francis Amasa Walker, afterwhom the Walker building is named, makes hisannual report– I think it’s in 1894 orthereabouts– in which he says the battle of thenew education is won, clearly he was makinga reference to the fact that MIT was being recognizednot only by American higher educational institutions,but by that time, there were foreignstudents beginning to come.It’s very smallnumbers, but still. So it’s increasing,but it really doesn’t hit the bigcenter spot until– I was going to say centerfold. That’s not quite the right word. [LAUGHTER] PROFESSOR: Butuntil, I would say, World War II,after World War II. So much was happening here,and it really became famous. PROFESSOR: If you look in thesciences, well into the 1930s, if you’re a brightyoung physicist, you’re basically sent toGermany to get your PhD.And that changes,obviously, during the course of the second WorldWar, not least because the Germans kicked outa lot of the good physicists and they all came here. And also in 1940, when VannevarBush goes to Washington– we’ll talk aboutthis– and really founds the whole wartimeresearch establishment, which includes the Manhattan Project,includes the radiation lab, includes the whole modern waythat the federal government supports research, that’swhen you see MIT people really literally at the righthand of the president. I don’t know that therewould be any senior MIT person in a national politicalrole before about then. We’ll see over the course of theterm, but I don’t think of one. Whereas after that, the firstpresidential science adviser ever appointed is JamesKillian, president of MIT. The second one,under John F Kennedy, is Jerry Wiesner, who laterbecomes president of MIT. On and on and on. And for the periodof the ’50s and ’60s, the place really acquiresthat national– but also during the ’50s, MIT faculty,much like they’re doing today, are off abroad foundingengineering schools in the MIT modelall over the world.I once went to a conferencewhere I was seated at dinner– it was an oilindustry conference– the guy I was next to wasthe associate oil minister for Iran, which is not the sortof person that Americans meet very often at conferences,because there aren’t too many conferences where– PROFESSOR: –youhave the Iranians. PROFESSOR: And I wassort of like, gee, what is this goingto conversation. And he said, oh, MIT. My technical institutein Tehran that I went to was founded by MITfaculty on the MIT model. He had an enormousrespect for what MIT represented in that country.And that’s true in a lot ofplaces in the Middle East, a lot of so-called developingnations during that period. The Indian Institutesof Technology– it’s not a coincidence,IIT is what they’re called. There are many of them. And so that’s one of the ways. And it’s of coursehappening today in Singapore and other places inAsia, particularly, that new institutesare being founded with MIT’s influence there.AUDIENCE: So did we do Caltech? PROFESSOR: Well,Caltech– anybody know what it was calledbefore it was the California Institute ofTechnology, which has some resonance to thename of this institution? It was called Throop College. And in the ’20s orin the ’30s– I’m forgetting exactly when–they changed the name to it California Instituteof Technology. For many years, just theword “tech” meant MIT. And then gradually, allthese other institutes formed, where they becameGeorgia Tech or Caltech or other places like that. And then the word, the”tech” term, became generic. Most of you probablydon’t refer to this place as “Tech,” do you? When you’re homeon break, you say, I’ve got to go backto Tech for this.But for many years, that’swhat people referred to it. Or they referred toit as “Technology” in the 19th century. So yes, Caltech andStanford, very much so. The father of SiliconValley was a guy named Frederick Terman, who gothis PhD here in Vannevar Bush’s lab in the late ’20s and early’30s, and then moved out west. And Stanford, again,had been founded– he didn’t foundStanford– but he really built up the modelof a university as the center of a kindof industrial region, with Hewlett andPackard and many of those otherearly entrepreneurs. And so there’s a lot of thatkind of influence there. You’ll see this a lot in thereading in the next couple weeks– useful arts. That’s a phrase thatLeo talked about that comes up all the time. It’s in the MITcharter, I believe. And a useful way to think ofthat is not art as in fine art, like you’d go to the Museumof Fine Arts to see today, but art as inartisanal, artisans– you know, a brick layer,a tile layer, a carpenter.Those were sort of morewhat people referred to when they used the termthe “useful arts” then. The steam engine and thelocomotive is a machine. But a locomotive isonly a very small part of what it takesto make a railroad. There’s all thiscivil engineering that goes involved inlaying the tracks, and maybe some surveying, and thinkingabout it as a system. And then railroadsand telegraphs came up reallyvery much together. All the early telegraphs wentalong the railroad routes in this country. And so you almost can’t eventhink about the railroad without thinkingabout a telegraph.There was even abook out recently called The Victorian Internet,a kind of early information network that ran around. There’s a famousbook by a guy named Alfred Chandler atHarvard Business School. He talks about– modernmanagement arose as actually between the Worcesterto Albany railroad. It was one of the firstlong railroads in the world, in Western Massachusettsand New York state. When that railroad was built,it was longer than 60 miles.And they started runninginto each other, the trains. And he said when you startedbuilding railroads that were bigger than 60 miles,all of a sudden– hi, Karen. This is our speakerfor our next hour. But we’re talking a little bitabout the idea of technology. When the railroad becamelonger than 60 miles, it needed a wholenew organization just to coordinate who wason the tracks when and keep the trains fromrunning into each other. And that’s exactly thesame kind of period about which Leo Marxis talking about, where suddenly you havethese people called managers. There’s nobody in theworld called a “manager” before about 1840. And even then, theyrise only gradually over the course ofthe 19th century. You have these peoplecalled “managers.” You have thiswhole organization. Yes, you have machines. But a machine is not agreat way to describe it.And sure enough, rightabout then, if you look, you have this word–it’s not actually coined in 1829 by JacobBigelow, but it is sort of brought into a modern usage–this word “technology.” And Leo really writesabout why was it at this point in history youneeded a new word for this, and what did this newword come to stand for. And even after 1829, theword wasn’t used very much until the T in MIT.It was really one of the firstsignificant uses of the word. And even then, you wouldn’tsee people using the word technology likethey use it today until after WorldWar II, really. So you’d see a studenttoday in a lab might say, I made a new technologyfor handling micropayments on the internet, orsomething like that. You’d never see that in 1940.They would say, Ibuilt an apparatus. They used thatphrase a lot, even though they were working at MIT. Technology is an abstraction. [INAUDIBLE] sort of [INAUDIBLE]these different things. And then when peoplestart using it as a noun that actually has active agencyin the world, what is that? It’s a very strange way to talk. And we won’t talk aboutit this way in the class. Technology doesn’t forcepeople to do things. People build technologies. People like youbuild technologies. People do things with machines. People are influenced bycertain kinds of forces. But technology itself isthis sort of invisible thing that exists outthere, that doesn’t think, it doesn’t have a mind,it doesn’t have an address, doesn’t pay taxes.It doesn’t order anybody around. Now, interestingly,in his conception when he wrote thispaper, he had this idea that technology conjures up anidea of white men in lab coats sort of sitting at lab benches. More and more, personaltechnologies– PCs and cellphones and things–if you look in the technology section of either thebookstore or the newspaper, they don’t even talk aboutairplanes and railroads and ships and submarines. They talk about basicallypersonal information technology almost exclusively. So that word has come. And if you talk aboutthe tech sector, they almost alwaysmean the companies in Silicon Valleyand a few companies around here who dothis kind of stuff. I once had an experience–it was about 10 years ago already– where Microsoftgave a whole bunch of money to MIT– I thinkthey still do it, it was what became whatis now called iCampus– to do research projects intechnology and education. And the guy fromMicrosoft came and said, OK, we’ll give$25 million to MIT for experiments intechnology in education, technology in education,technology in education– he kept repeating that phrase.I said, oh, that’s interesting. And I raised my hand and I said,what do you mean by technology? Do you mean like helicoptersand submarines and ships? And the guy said, oh, no,no, I should clarify that. What we mean ispersonal computers running Microsoft software. Oh, OK. As long as we’reclear on what we mean by technology in education.That’s helpful. That was sort ofan extreme case, but you see that around a lot. But even then, it’sstill worth– I happen to be readinga book by my colleague Sherry Turkle, whichyou may have seen. It’s been in the news a lot. She was on StephenColbert a couple weeks ago talking about cellphoneuse, and particularly teenagers and technology. It says, “Why do we expectmore from technology and less from each other?” She’s a close colleague of mineand of Leo Marx’s, but she’s constantly using the wordtechnology makes us do this, technology makes us dothat, when actually, it’s how we relateto our machines in a slightly different way.So we sort of start outthe class with this piece. And if you haven’t finished it,please do read the rest of it between now andnext week, to give a little bit ofhistorical perspective on what is the thing. We’re at this Instituteof Technology– what do we really mean by that? And the word can become so bigthat it can kind of encompass anything and everything. You can ask thesame, by the way, about the word engineering. How many people arehere engineering majors of one kind or another? So almost everybody. Science majors? Any? One, two? And actually, theprofession of engineering has almost the exact same kindof chronology as both the word technology and thehistory of MIT.Does anybody know whatthe first engineering school in the United States was? AUDIENCE: West Point. PROFESSOR: Yeah, West Point. 1804. It was not MIT. Second one was RensselaerPolytechnic, RPI. And MIT was pretty much thethird one, but almost 50 years later– almost 60 yearslater from West Point. So engineering aswe know it today has its origins in what todaywe call civil engineering, but actually was reallycalled military engineering. And all engineeringwas basically– up until the beginningof the 19th century, all engineering wascivil engineering, which meant roads,bridges, fortifications, a little bit of artillery work. And it’s only in the courseof the mid 19th century that you get– in fact, theprofession, the discipline of mechanical engineering, is apost Civil War thing, organized around steam enginesand steam engineering. In fact, the MIT departmentof mechanical engineering, as like many other departmentsof mechanical engineering, is formed by Navysteam engineers who come out ofthe Civil War Navy. Electrical engineeringis even later. And all the otherkinds of engineering are even later after that.So you’re all familiar withthe course number story at MIT, right? That the coursenumbers are basically the chronology onwhich they were added. So course one is what? AUDIENCE: Civil. PROFESSOR: Civil. The environmentalis added later. Actually prettyrecently, I think within the last 10 or 15 years. Course two, MechanicalEngineering, comes next. Course three, MaterialScience, anybody know when the phrase”material science” comes from? That’s a 1960s,’70s, ’80s phrase. What was it before that? AUDIENCE: Didn’t itused to be mining? PROFESSOR: Miningand Metallurgy. So that’s a muchmore traditional way of thinking about that kindof engineering, very, very old way of kind of engineering,straight of alchemy, really. What’s four? AUDIENCE: Architecture. PROFESSOR: Architecture,also very early. Five is Chemistry,also very early. Electrical Engineering, gettingto be a little bit later. That’s an effect of the 1880s. And then, on up from there. AUDIENCE: Did course six usedto be something different? PROFESSOR: I thinkcourse six was always Electrical Engineering. I’m not exactly sure when thedepartment itself was founded. It was probably aroundthe turn of the century.But certainly, mechanicalengineering is much older. And mechanical engineeringexists more or less prior to the science that supports it. In fact, most of the fundamentalscience in thermodynamics is done because of problemsraised by steam engines. So it’s not like the physicistsworked out the thermo and then they builtthe steam engines. It’s exactly theother way around. Engineers built steam engines. And then, that raisedproblems of thermo that people needed to solve. Whereas, electricalengineering is much more– you almost can’t haveit without the physics. And it’s much moreintimately tied with science, from its very foundings. So it’s quite, in a way,a much more different kind of engineering. Then you have AeroAstro asCourse 16, much later on. AUDIENCE: How canElectrical Engineering come before Biology? PROFESSOR: Sorry? AUDIENCE: Or Physics? AUDIENCE: Yeah, why wouldElectrical Engineering come before Biology? PROFESSOR: That’sa good question. And I think, A,there were things that were taught at MITthat weren’t necessarily departments, sovarious things at work. And we’ll see, as we lookin the next few weeks, the early MIT isa teaching school.It doesn’t really becomea research institution until rather later,in a fundamental way. And so biology wasthe sort of thing– and we’ll see this– thatthey did at Harvard because it had very little practicalapplication, compared to other things. And Louis Agassiz, who wasthe great Harvard biologist, got into a very public a warwith Charles Elliott, who was the president of MIT,over the issue of evolution. And Physics– you would think–would be an earlier department. And I’m not exactlysure why that one was founded a little bit later. That’s a good question. Yeah. AUDIENCE: What about thosethat do not have numbers? PROFESSOR: Those aremostly added later. Like my course, STS,comes from the ’70s. And I think also, ingeneral, you probably can find thataround the 15s, 16s, the numbering systemstarts to break down. And it doesn’t follow asmuch of a rational pattern. Like, Course 21 is Humanities. Humanities have been aroundfor a long time at MIT.But they weren’t incorporatedinto a particular course, until after World War II. And again, then, someof the earlier ones, like Mining andMetallurgy, is transformed into Material Science and stuff. So past the first15 or so, I think the chronology is alittle more complicated. AUDIENCE: Isn’t coursenine fairly new, Brain and Cognitive Science? PROFESSOR: It is, but itwas Psychology before.So psychology has akind of older pedigree. And then, there were othercourses that were cancelled, like Applied Biology, famouslyso, not that long ago. Another interesting wayto look at the history. So now, I wouldlike to introduce my friend and colleague,Karen Arenson. And maybe, as I do, I’ll callup the page of the oral history. So people get a sense for whatthe actual accomplishment looks like. And as I did mentionbefore, Karen is a former member of theMIT Corporation, an alum, from I’m not quitesure which year. KAREN ARENSON: ’70. PROFESSOR: ’70. So she has a lot of interestingperspective on women at MIT, which we talked abouta little bit before, as well as a formerhigher education journalist for TheNew York Times. So she’s seen what MIT lookslike in the context of a larger picture, as well as a memberthe Council of the Arts, here at MIT. And in all of thosesort of capacities, we did this oralhistory project.And she conducted notall but a large fraction of these oral histories. So she’s, at themoment, probably heard more about the last40 years of MIT’s history than almost anybodyand maybe will incorporate all those thingsin what she has to say. But while she’sstarting to talk, let me call up theoral history page because it’s worthhaving a look. And it’s thisincredibly rich thing. KAREN ARENSON: Have any ofyou looked at the oral history thing? I’ve just begun to. Hi, I was in your seat, notin this room, many years ago. And when I was walking hereand passed near 26-100, I thought, 801, 802. They existed backwhen I was a student. I’ve been asked to talktoday a little about who I am and where I came from, a littleabout the Oral History Project, specifically, and then a littleabout what I learned from it. And that’s been thechallenging part.I fell in love with MIT when Ifirst visited it as an admitted freshman, back in1966 and discovered that other peopletalked my language. They thought quantitativelyand analytically. And they liked tosolve problems. And I think that’sstill true today. And although many ofthem were brilliant, they also turned out to benice people and friendly and unpretentious–I think a distinction from another place inCambridge– and helpful. And I’ve never fallen outof love with the Institute. And the Oral HistoryProject gave me a chance to explore areasthat I was familiar with, like economics and theAlumni Association, and also areas that I knewnothing about, like STS, which didn’t exist when I washere; Biotechnology, which didn’t exist anywhere;Engineering Systems.I applied to MITbecause I liked math. And I wanted to focuson social problems. I didn’t come here thinkingI would major in math. I thought Economics. And this place had the bestEconomics Department then. It still does. And I majored in Economicsand in student government and in the newspaper. And lived at TheTech an awful lot. I was one of 50 womenin a class to 900. They had built McCormickHall a few years before. And all of a sudden, thenumbers shot up to 50 per class, that had beenless than 20 before that. And by the time I graduated,after all the Vietnam turmoil and society turninginside out, they decided to make theother dorms co-ed. And all of a sudden, therewas more room for women.The number of women shotup, gradually, into the 30%. You’re about mid40s now, in terms of undergraduate population. I went from theEconomics Department here to the PublicPolicy School at Harvard and did a master’s degree. And the one thing Ilearned was that I didn’t want tosit behind a desk, and maybe I shouldbe a journalist. I had lived at TheTech all those years and at my student newspaperin the high school. And it took me abouta year to land a job. But I landed itat Business Week. I was lucky. I spent five yearsthere and then moved to The New York Times. Business journalism wasbecoming more important. I love numbers. And it was a wonderfulcareer for me. Along the way, I remainedinvolved with MIT because I like the people. And as ProfessorMindell said, I served on the corporation andthe executive committee and discovered thatbusinessmen, who made up most of the corporation,are actually pretty interesting people. And they had other lives.And they weren’t the kind of badpeople we thought in the 1960s, when all business was bad. And nobody wanted togo to business school. Because of my involvement withMIT, The Times, at some point, they asked me to start writingabout higher education. That was an interesting topic. The only trouble was I hadto cut my ties with MIT. Because it wouldhave been perceived as a conflict ofinterest or might have been a conflictof interest. And so I had a period of about13 years, when I pulled back. And I took a buy-outfrom The Times in 2008 and began to reengage. And one day, I got a phonecall from out of the blue, from a guy named Paul Gray. Maybe some of youhave encountered him, a former president of MIT. And he asked if I wouldconduct some interviews for this project theyhad, oral history. And I didn’t knowwhat oral history was.But it sounded interesting. And I’m not good at saying “no.” And I said, sure. I hung up. And I started googling. And I discovered thatColumbia University was the center of oral history. They had this bigarchive of world figures. A history professorin the 1940s had started to do this thingthat hadn’t existed before. So I visited Colombiaand talked with them and discovered thatwhat we were doing wasn’t really oralhistory, which tends to be muchmore open ended. These things go onefor 40, 50, 100 hours. It’s sort of sit backand dump everything, in a very relaxed fashion. The MIT ones wereabout two hours each, tied to the sesquicentennial.There had been aplanning committee that started about fiveyears ago, to say, 150th anniversary is coming up. What should we do? And one of the thingsthey came up with was to gather someinterviews with people who had been important in thedevelopment of the Institute, over the last 50 years. And they put together alist of about 75 people and had hired a guy namedJohn Hockenberry, who has been on ABC, I think,and National Public Radio. But he was a visitingprofessor in the Media Lab. And he was the main person whowas going to do the interviews. They had a couple ofother people helping him. And at some point,he got a new program. And he said, solong, can’t do both. And that’s when Igot the phone call. So I came in part way through. He had already done a handfulof interviews, probably six or eight or 10, includingthe former presidents who were still living. They had laid out a sortof rough template of seven broad topic areas. They wanted to makesure we asked people where they were bornand how they grew up; how they got to MIT, whether itwas as a student or a faculty member; whatever theirimpressions of MIT; their role in the world ofMIT; how it had changed; and how it hadaffected their lives.So if you sign onto these things. And there are, Ithink, about 102. I did 40 of them, over about2 and 1/2 years, including your professor andyour other professor. He isn’t here today. PROFESSOR: He hadto run out for– KAREN ARENSON: OK. Anyway, I did both of them. Unfortunately, mythesis adviser, Bob Solow, one of theNobel Prize winners, subsequently hadalready been done. Samuelson had been done. I did Jim Poterba,Lester Thurow. It was a sort of hit or miss. It depended on theirscheduling and mine. So I got to do some people Iknew and got thrown into some. I said, I don’t knowanything about that. So I learned. And that actuallywas the fun of it. As a journalist, I was veryused to interviewing people. I’ve been doing itprofessionally for 35 years. But it was very different. I never had to do itin front of a camera. And these interviewswere videotaped. I never had to worry abouta beginning, a middle, and an end. I could sort of startsomewhere and sort of go and come back toit, say thank you.And if I forgotsomething, I call up again or email and say,oops, what about this. These were two-hoursound bytes that were pretty much asthey were recorded. They weren’t edited. Except for maybe, they tookout some “ums” and “you knows.” But other than that, they’repretty much as recorded. I was pretty compulsiveabout preparing for them.I tried to learnas much as possible about the people I wasgoing to interview. And I usually drew up about12 to 14 pages of questions. Because I didn’t want toget to an hour and a half and have half an hour to filland think, oh, my goodness. What am I going to ask? It’s not that I’ve ever had aproblem thinking of questions. But when you’re on camera,you can’t just sort of sit there and think, hm. What do I do next? Some of the intervieweesanswered questions at length, two, three,five paragraphs. Sometimes, people answeredin two or three words. And the troublewas I didn’t know which it was going to bebecause I didn’t know them. When I prepared tointerview Noam Chomsky, the famous linguist and thehighly-visible political activist, therewas more material than you couldabsorb in a lifetime.He’d written so many books. There were severalbiographies about him, including his life at MITand what he thought about it. I think he’s the mostinterviewed man on earth, literally. I mean, there are dayswhen he’ll schedule three or four interviews, five,six, seven days a week. If you google NoamChomsky, there’s a whole website where lotsof them are available. So if you’re into that,he’s a fascinating man. But there was a lot morethan I could digest. I dipped into some of it.I ordered some of his books. I had some of them on my shelf. I read about him. But there was no way I wasgoing to understand it all. And then, at the otherend of the spectrum, there were people where youcould find almost nothing, like your provost Rafael Reif. I had a short biographicalsketch of him. I had a news release,announcing that he was going to be provost. And then, there was this blank. Where did he come from? What did he do? It turned out, he was apretty interesting fellow, whose parents hadfled Nazi Europe and moved around Latin America. He grew up in Venezuela. He was a chess expert,all this stuff. But you couldn’tfind it anywhere. So I began to learnabout it by calling some of the people he workedwith, and little by little.I could’ve goneinto the interviews without knowing all thisand just sort of said, so tell me where you wereborn and where you grew up and what you likedto do as a kid. And did you tinker? But I liked to knowas much as I could. Because maybe hewouldn’t think something was interesting orimportant that I would. And if I knew about it, Icould say, but what about this. So I did as much learning aspossible before each interview. And then, the twobiggest challenges were to figure outwhat was important and how to pace the interview.There were all these topicsI was supposed to cover. And you didn’t knowif they were going to talk fast or talk slowly. At the end of 40 interviews,I still couldn’t tell you how. I used to sit there very tense. The first hourwas OK because you figured whatever we covered. But then, it began tobe, do I have enough. Are we going tohave way too much? And how do I get everything in? So that’s the process. What did I learn? I didn’t have anyof these interviews to look at untilJanuary 7, when they all went up on the website. And then, I said, I have todo this panel on February 15. And it would bereally helpful if I could look at the interviewsand have the transcripts. Because the videos areinteresting, but it’s hard. It’s slow. They take two hours. If you read them, it’s faster.And if you go to thelittle unlock feature, it turns out you candisengage from the voice. And you can even turn it off,by just lowering your voice. It’s a little hard to read down. I called the people whoare running them and said, can people download thevoice and listen on an iPod, while they’re on treadmill? And they said,hm, good idea, no. This is MIT. So anyway, I’ve begunto go through them. They all meld together,in a funny way. They were all my favoritebecause pretty much all of them were fascinatingin different ways. So lessons I learned,and I’m going to tell you some storiesand maybe too many. Probably the mostimportant lesson was that MIT isindeed filled with amazing, brilliant,creative people. For me, it was a dreamto be able to talk with so many of them. But it’s actuallyimportant because MIT is a special andimportant institution.Because somehow, it managesto attract them and hold them. It includes the students. Faculty say over and overagain that they stay here because they getstudents like you, who are just really bright andreally interested and really driven. But the staff, thealumni, the trustees. And when you begin toput people like this in some kind of environment,innovation happens. And that’s whatMIT is known for. And it’s not a coincidence. And you need anenvironment where they can mix witheach other and create. And many of the intervieweestalk about that, during their two hours.One example is Bob Langer,the chemical engineer and biotechnologist. When they called me and said,he’s this biotechnologist. I said, ew. I don’t know anythingabout that subject. But I fell in love with him. He’s just amazing. He has more than 750 patents. He runs the biggest lab at MIT. And he’s one of the guys whosaid that what holds him here– and I’m sure he’s had offersfrom anywhere and everywhere. He said, “It’s the best place. It has exceptional students,exceptional colleagues. I feel I can have thegreatest impact because of all those people.” Or Donald Sadoway, Idon’t know if any of you took his 3.091, which satisfiesthe chemistry requirement. He talked about arriving hereas a post-doc from Toronto. He said, “I rememberwhen I first arrived. And I walked up the stairs,the steps from that crosswalk at 77, and looked up at thosepillars and thought, well, you’ve really done it.This is high stakes, no morebig fish in a small pond.” He’d been up in Toronto. “This is the real deal.” So here’s this bigguy and telling us what went through his mind. “And the early dayswere very heady. I mean to be surroundedwith super bright people. I was postdocing with Julian. And the kinds ofpeople would come to visit him was justa different world from the University of Toronto.” So it’s not only the people whoare here, but the people who came to see them, whoadded to that whole, what makes MIT special. There were other common themes. Many of the peopleat MIT started from really modest backgrounds. Many of them wereimmigrants or children of immigrants, Joel Moses, theformer provost, Rafael Reif, the current provost, ClaudeCanizares, the vice president for research andassociate provost. Many of them pointedto serendipity, in the shaping of theirlives and their careers. That’s a wonderful word, onethat the sociologist, Merton, who’s the father of the Mertonhere, did a whole book about.I think he calledit Serendipity. It would be easy to think thatall these brilliant people knew what they wanted to dofrom the age of three and that they followed asmooth, predictable path. When you’re trying to figureout should I do this or that, you think everyoneelse knows what they’re doing except for me. It ain’t so.If you watch these videos,over and over again, people talk about well,I was going along. And then this happened. And suddenly, I was going along. And this happened. It really is striking. Most of them saidthey had no grand plan and that luckplayed a large role. One example was BobHorvitz, the MIT professor who won a Nobel Prize forhis research on worms. He was actually one of mynews editors at The Tech. He was two years ahead of me. He double majored inMath and Economics. And he was ready to graduateafter three years anyway. But he got elected presidentof the student government. So he stayed for another year.So he had to fill out afourth year of classes. He didn’t know what to take. And one of hisfraternity brothers said, why don’t you try abiology class, course seven. So he took a bio course. And he fell in love with it. And six weeks intothe term, he thought, this is what I want to do,not math, not economics. I want to do biology. But he was kind of embarrassed. Here he was a senior. And he was takinghis first class. And he wanted togo to grad school. So we went up to his professor. And he was sort of apologetic.And he said, I want to go tograd school, but you know. And the professor, whosename was Cy Leventhal, told him not to worry. He had been a physics major. And he had gone tograduate school in physics and gotten his PhD in Physics. And here he wasteaching biology at MIT. He said, so you’restarting early. So it really isn’ttoo late to figure out what you like to do and trythings and keep exploring. Woodie Flowers, the mechanicalengineering professor who started the big contest,where you get a bag of stuff. And you have to build agadget that does something. And then, they have abig contest at the end. And the differentlittle robotic machines compete with each other. That was Woodie Flowers. He didn’t even planto go to college.I think he grew up in Alabamaor Arkansas, in a poor family. His family couldn’t afford it. But his senior year in highschool, one of his teachers noticed that his armwasn’t set right. He had broken it when he fellout of a tree in second grade. And it had neverbeen fixed properly. And some teacher tookan interested in him and got it set right, I guess. They had to re-breakit or something. I don’t know. But then, the orthopedic surgeonlooked at the elbow and said, you really need some rehab. You can’t just walk out of here. And he wrote some kindof letter to the state. And the state gaveWoodie Flowers what he called a rehabilitationscholarship to college.And so we went to college. And at the end of college,he was doing well. And his professorsaid, you really ought to thinkabout grad school. And you really oughtto think about MIT. I mean, this isn’t all Woodiedoing lots of homework. It’s some chancemeeting with people who took an interest in him. Now undoubtedly, he worked hard. He was smart. He was creative. And so I don’t think it’sa coincidence that people were taking an interest in him. But it wasn’t hisplanning out his life. Rafael Reif, the provostI was telling you about, had several other olderbrothers and one of them had come to study in the states. This is way before the internet. How do you learn aboutcolleges in the states? You go to the American embassy. They have a bunchof college catalogs. And the one thinghe knew was that he didn’t think he wantedto experience winter.Venezuela’s not aplace of winters. So he looked at Californiaschools, ended up at Stanford, didn’t know a lot of Englishwhen he came, translated hard for lots of hours the firsttwo semesters, did pretty well. And he was going to go hometo Venezuela to be a teacher. Only, he had abrother at MIT and he thought he’d come visithim before he went back to Venezuela. And one of his formercolleagues said, I thought you were going home? And he said, yeah, butI’m going to go visit MIT. And the guy said, there’sa spot open there. So he said, well,maybe I’ll look at it. Of course, he got theoffer, told his wife, I think we’regoing to stay here. Somebody told him youput on lots of layers and you deal withwinter, so he’s dealt with winter ever since.But again, sort of a chancemeeting with a former colleague who said, I know about a spot. But for that, he’d probablybe back in Venezuela teaching. He summed it upby saying, “I had to change all the plansat the last minute. It was just one of thoseaccidents of history that helped me a great deal.” But you get this over andover again in these videos. And it’s reallykind of stunning. Other lessons fromthe interviews– I learned a lotabout MIT’s history. You know, I’d heard ofWilliam Barton Rogers, but it wasn’t until Istarted reading the Decisions book, which isreally a good read, and talked to Professor Smith,for example, that I understood a lot more about MIT’searly years, the emphasis that William Barton Rogers puton real scientific research, the people he drewto support him, the efforts to merge Harvardand MIT, several times.Luckily, it didn’t happen. There was an interestingchapter on MIT’s Center for International Studies,which had links to the CIA for a while. The CIA essentiallygot it off the ground. By the end of WorldWar II, MIT was used to collaboratingwith the government. It had provided lots ofhelp on things like radar. And so, when theCIA asked for help in learning more aboutcommunications and propaganda– because it wasthe Cold War, late ’40s– MIT said, sure,why worry about it? So two of the interviewsare with people who were involved with thecenter– Donald Blackmer and Jean Shkolnikov.And they talk about thecenter, and the protests against the center. There was a bombing inthe Herman building, and the eventualbreak with the CIA. And they talk aboutthe development of political science at MIT. You were talking about howdifferent courses evolve, so course 14, 15, and 17 allused to be glommed together– economics, politicalscience, and management. At some point they wereseparated, economics and management, first,political science later. Probably would make agood project for somebody to explore the differentcourses and how they came along. Another historical chapter thatsome interviewees talked about was the huge disruptionduring Vietnam. The anti-war proteststhat tore the campus apart in the late 1960s. So Noam Chomsky talked aboutit from the perspective of an activist professor.Larry Bacow and I, Igot interviewed too, talked about itfrom the perspective of the students who were there. Howard Johnson talksabout that period from the perspectiveof a president. And then there was a guynamed Bill Pounds, who was dean of the SloanSchool at that point, who had followed Howard Johnsonas Dean of Sloan, who suddenly found himself appointedby the president to head a committee to study therole of MIT’s two defense labs. He said that HowardJohnson went out of his way to ensure that the membershipof this committee, which was sort of meant to placateeverybody as much as to figure out what to do, that thepresident had gone out of his way to make surethere were radicals and conservatives, that thewhole spectrum was represented. He said it was kind oflike a Noah’s Ark, two by two, a radical, aconservative, a radical, a conservative. And Bill stood up duringa raucous faculty meeting and announced thatthe committee would start meeting thefollowing day– a Saturday. I think he’d been giventwo or three days notice.And this wasn’t an areahe knew anything about. They would meet everyday from 9:00 to 5:00 until they reached a conclusion. He said that onestep that cleared the way for thecommission to even begin to talk to each other wasto give them as much time as they needed at the frontend, just to go around the room and let everybody talk abouttheir views on war and peace, universities and truth,and all the other kinds of profundities, as he put it. And then they got down towork, because they’d all sort of cleared their throats. He said it took about aweek or a week and a half. He also made observation aboutbeing made dean of the Sloan School just a few yearsafter he’d arrived at MIT.And he said he hadn’treally understood the place. We all look up to deans as theseare all-knowing creatures who have put in lots oftime and get promoted. He said, here he wasdean, and he didn’t really have much of a clue. And he said he thoughtthat becoming dean, quote, “might pull backthe curtain on MIT.” Instead, he said, hediscovered that quote, “there was neither a curtainnor anyone behind it.” Kind of like the Wizard of Oz. He was an interestingguy because he also headed the RockefellerBrothers office for a decade but was attached enough to MITso he commuted between Boston and New York the whole time,running the Rockefeller’s business and stillremaining here.Anyway, he’s very articulate. It’s another fun one to lookat, even if you’ve never heard of him before today. Another theme thatcame up repeatedly was MIT’s unusualopenness and flexibility. It seemed to be betterthan many universities at accepting people whose workdidn’t fit into neat boxes. And it was betterthan most universities and allowing people tocut across boundaries.I think when you’re here,you take it for granted that it doesn’t matterwhat school you’re in. On other campuses,it matters a lot you never see the other people. Again and again,these were cited as really importantfactors in allowing people to do innovative work. And I’m sure MIT isn’tperfect on this score, but it does appear toreally be different from other institutions.Chomsky, for example,recalled his early efforts to have his ground breakingwork in linguistics published, only to be told thatthere was no such field. I mean, he was the fatherof modern linguistics. But MIT provided ahome from for him. His first teaching job was tohelp graduate students cram for the language exams theyhad to pass to get their PhDs. I don’t know if PhDsare still required to pass one or two languages,but they were back in the ’50s. He said, “in yourearly 20s, you’re thinking aboutwhat you are doing. You don’t really carewhat the world thinks.” Gradually, of course, his workdrew attention and respect and got published. Bob Langer, the biotech guyI was talking to you about, had a similar story. He was a doctoral studenthere in chemical engineering. And most of his classmateswent from chemical engineering to the petroleum industry. This is what you did.So he flew to Louisianato interview with Exxon. And the executivesthere explained that if they could increase theyield of some petrochemicals by one one hundredthof a percent, they would makebillions of dollars. On his flight home hewas thinking of that. And he realized he had nointerest in doing any of that. But what would he do? Well, he kind ofwanted to change the shape of chemicalengineering and chemistry. So he started applyingfor jobs to look like they would do that. But they didn’t want him. Exxon would havetaken him, but– so he kept looking and looking,and eventually someone suggested that he go talkto this cancer researcher at Harvard named Judah Folkman. Hiring a chemicalengineer in a cancer lab doesn’t sound likean obvious thing to do, especially backwhen he was coming out.But Folkman was arisk taker, and Langer made a stunning breakthroughin finding a new approach to controlled drug delivery. That was his post-doc. He came back to MIT. He got hired, but hispath was still bumpy. He actually didn’t get hiredinto chemical engineering. They didn’t think he was doingchemical engineering type work, like petrochemicals. He went into this appliedbiology, course 20 at the time. And they didn’t love him either. But somehow he kept on. He said, “the path I wantedto follow didn’t exist,” but he was hired. And there wasenough room for him to run and to startpublishing and earn tenure. And today he’s one of the mostvenerated figures in the field. You are another exampleof crossing boundaries.I mean, I don’t know if he’stold you about his background. He studied literature. He double majored in literatureand electrical engineering at Yale. That’s a pretty unusualset of double majors. And even after hegot here, he’s been a bridge between the humanitiesdepartment and the engineering school. I think he’s the only professorwith full appointments in both schools. So you’ll have to get himto talk during the semester about being this kind of bridge. But during theinterview, you said STS is not a disciplinefor people trying to escape scienceand engineering. It’s really aboutpulling them together. People talked abouttheir backgrounds.Lots of them were tinkerers. There are lots of goodstories about that. A lot of them did ham radio. Even the women who came– asa young girl, Brit d’Arbeloff, who holds a master’s degree inmechanical engineering from MIT and is a life memberof the MIT Corporation, her late husband was chairmanof MIT’s Corporation, founded a big companycalled Teradyne. But when she was alittle girl, her father was an engineer at thisappliance company in Chicago.And he brought home themachines that he invented, things like the mix master. He worked on the hairdryer and the toaster. So she used to play with them. She got out to Stanford. She said I was looking to get asfar from my parents as I could. And the engineeringprofessors there said, you don’t want tomajor in engineering. They didn’t want a girl.But one of my favoritetales that she told, she had to take welding,and foundry, and machine shop– only girls at Stanford hadto wear dresses and skirts. There was a dress code. So she knew she didn’t wantto do welding in a skirt. So she used to put on herjeans, and roll them up, and put a trenchcoat over them,so nobody could see, even if it was 90 degreesout, and go to class. They didn’t giveher trouble there. Of course, she graduatednumber one in her class. PROFESSOR: I walked by theglass lab on Saturday afternoon and she was in there. KAREN ARENSON: She was there. She’s now chair of theArts Council at MIT. Let me get one or twoothers and then– there were some incredible personalstories in these interviews. And I think the one thatmove me the most was Wesley Harris, who’s aprofessor of Aero and Astro. He’s now associate provostfor faculty equity, as in diversity. He’s the descendant ofslaves in the South. He grew up in segregatedRichmond, Virginia in the ’50s. He was a good student.And in the ’50s, theUniversity of Virginia simply didn’t take blacks. They said go to one of thehistorically black colleges. One exception wasengineering because there was no separate but equal. So his physicsteacher in high school said, you’ve got to go toUVA and study engineering because they’ve got tosee that blacks can excel. So even though he wanted tostudy physics, he went to UVA and studied engineeringto make the point. Some of thisprofessors, I don’t know if they were theones he had teaching, but some of the professors therethrew cigarette butts at him.They spit on him. I mean, just an incredible tale. But he had mentors. And they helped him get through. They pushed him on to Princeton. He had an offer to come toMIT, but his good old physics teacher from high school said,you’ve got to go back to UVA and make a point that you canbe a professor and do it well. So here he was, sortof, pushing his life in directions he probablydidn’t really want to take and suffering because–to make a point. It’s a kind ofcivil rights battle. And he talks about thisduring the interview. It made me go backand look– there’s a big told by a guy namedClarence Williams who did a lot of interviewswith blacks at MIT. I’d never read them beforeI started reading them. It’s amazing. Anyway, actually, the chairmanof the board, John Reed, who I also interviewed,who was also the former chairman ofCiticorp, is an interesting set of personal tales.His parents wereAmerican but his father was in the meat business. They lived in Latin Americamost of his childhood. He grew up in Braziland Argentina. His father had gone to MIT. But to ease the transitionback to the states, he enrolled inMIT’s 3-2 program, started at a small liberal artscollege and then came here. And he describes his yearsat MIT as being invisible.He said I would go to classesand go back to my apartment. This is the guy who later becamehead of Citicorp, head of MIT. He loved physicalchemistry but was too awed by the formidableprofessor to even talk to him. He worked at Goodyear Tire fora year on the assembly line. He had a rubberworkers union card. Amazing stories. When he was in the army,he did something wrong and was assigned to cleangarbage pails for three days. He said, I assure youthat no one has ever washed them as well as I did. I was always enthusiasticabout whatever I was doing. It’s a great skill. So these tales are buriedthrough these interviews. Anyway, I’d better wind down. There are more than200 hours of video. They’re fascinatingin different ways. They humanize this place in away it doesn’t do for itself. I don’t think there areany plans to do a book or to keep going. I think it would be a shame tostop the chronicling process.But I know that we’ll be doingsome of your own probing, maybe the oral historieswill help a little. I just came from a meeting ofthe council of the arts, which is having its 40thanniversary next year. I’m doing a one linecommercial, if I may. Part of that, we werethinking about doing a history of the counciland the arts at MIT. There are lots of documentsthere are living people. As you all go aboutfiguring out what you’re going to delve into for yourprojects later, if any of you like the arts, thiswould be a fun topic. And we’d love tohave one or more of you do a history ofthe council for the arts. And we’d feature it next year. I don’t know if there’s anytime left for questions, but if there are. PROFESSOR: I want to takea little time for questions but I also want to play thislittle farm video they made. KAREN ARENSON: Oh,that’s a wonderful– PROFESSOR: I’ll show you,you can look yourself at the interfacebecause you can actually search through– you can do textsearches of all the interviews altogether.And you can search on aparticular keyword or topic. And then it’ll also takeyou right to that point in the video, of any video. And the video guys justsearched on the word farm. And from that little search,they made this a little video. KAREN ARENSON: The firstguy is Bill Pounds, who I was telling you about,the former dean of the Sloan school and Rockefeller. They don’t identify him. [VIDEO PLAYBACK] -I grew up in Pennsylvania. And I have the distinction ofhaving been born on a farm.-I grew up on a farm. -So I was born on afarm, if you will. -I grew up in Montana. I’m a cowboy at heart. -Father was a farmer. -We were in Sunbury, PA,which is a rural community, farming community. -When my parents wereabout 20 years old, they decided tolive a simpler life. And they basically movedto rural West Virginia as a way of goingback to the land. -I rode and trainedhorses as a child. -Well, I was brought up infarm country of Pennsylvania. And I had my share of workpicking tomatoes and doing farm work. -So I grew up inthe bush, very much. I come from a fifthgeneration Australian family and always verymuch in the bush. -Between the timeI was 17 months old and five or six yearsold, I spent on a farm. -So we went to Idaho whenI was nine years old.And we settled in alittle farming village. -We lived on a mini farm. -Well, I was bornon a cattle ranch, spent my youth ona cattle ranch. -I think it had aninfluence in the sense that farmers are entrepreneurs. And they are their own boss. And so I think that’s sortof settled into my psyche. -Hard work. You learn how tofocus on a farm. -People in the citiesromanticize the bush in the same way that Americansromanticize the west. It’s not to beromanticized, actually, it’s a pretty toughand rough place. -It is kind ofstrange for someone to grow up in a house withnot a lot of technology to become a facultymember at MIT.But I became anengineer, in part, because I was good at math,and I liked problem solving. But I think the childhoodhas influenced me in terms of how Ibias technologies. That is, I givevalue to technologies that are maybe simpler or local. And I think that does come outof my research and my work. [END VIDEO PLAYBACK] KAREN ARENSON: So, if yougo on the MIT 150 website, there’s something calledInfinite History, which has the 100 oral histories. There’s a separatelittle category called Multimedia, which iswhere this is tucked away, way at the bottom ofthe right hand column. It’s a bunch of videos thatinclude some oral history snippets, which thiswas, and other stuff.PROFESSOR: If we havethe right interface, and I talked to the company todo that, I would love to have, if you wanted,for an assignment, to make little videoslike that snipping from these oral histories. But at the moment, we don’tquite have the interface to it. KAREN ARENSON: Thatwould be fabulous. PROFESSOR: But let’s havea few minutes for questions before we’re alldone or comments. KAREN ARENSON: Three hours. Yeah. AUDIENCE: You said youdid 40 of the interviews, and there are 100 or so. KAREN ARENSON: I did 40. AUDIENCE: So whodid the other 60? KAREN ARENSON: There wereactually four other people, a graduate of MIT, he had beenan undergraduate in engineering and STS, did thefirst dozen or so as a kind of feasibility study. And then JohnHockenberry, the NPR guy, got pulled in to do the project. And he probably did 8 or 10before he went out the door. He came back anddid one or two more. They had hired a localjournalist, Toby Smith, and she did, I think,40, 45 of them. And them one of the guys inthe video lab, Larry Gallagher, did a handful.And the styles are different. Nobody was looking at them. My lead-ins are way too slow. I never saw one of them before. I kept thinking, these aregoing into the archive. I need an intro to say, whyare we talking to this person. So I have prettysubstantial intros, and I talk way too slowly. But I had no idea until January7, which is a real shame. I’d love to rerecord them. But Hockenberry’s are morelike radio interviews. Toby pretty much startswith where were you born? How did you grow up? So anyway, there areseveral different styles– probably good. Any other? AUDIENCE: You said you dideconomics when you were here? So for people likeyourself, probably the majority of graduates,who do something completely different than whatthey studied, like, is there sort of a generalthing that you still retain from yourundergraduate education? I mean, obviously,you don’t really use economics day-to-day. What are the basicthings that people who go on to do differentthings keep from MIT? KAREN ARENSON: Youmean just in general? AUDIENCE: Yeah, was ita complete wast of time? KAREN ARENSON: Lots of peoplego into law, medicine, business, a few people go intojournalism, not very many.I did economics and financejournalism for 35 years before I did higher ed, so I wasusing my economics background. I actually went backto school and took finance, and accounting,and financial institutions because I realized therewas a certain amount I just didn’t know. But I did use myeconomics background. And as a journalist,a lot of journalists come from being English majors. Some of them arejournalism majors. There aren’t verymany economics majors, but I was very analytical. So they all learnedhow to write. I learned how tolook at numbers, and we sort of cametogether in the middle. I had to learn howto write on the job. Some of them learnedto use numbers. Some of them never did. When I was editing, I canremember the first couple weeks I ran the Sunday businesssection for the New York Times.And I got a big story in, andone of the editors under me had worked it. And it came to me. And the story wasn’t bad. And at the last minute,the graphic arrived. And the story said this, andthe graphic looked like this. And I said, they don’t agree. I killed it at that point. People, a lot ofjournalists, at least back when I was startingjust were number-phobic. But I like to look atstories as puzzles. In other words, howdid this happen? How did the piecescome together? Kind of like an MITeducation trains you to look at the world.And that’s how I lookedat it, even higher ed. So it was fun. PROFESSOR: Let’s leaveit at that for today. Please join me inthanking Karen. KAREN ARENSON: Good luck. [APPLAUSE] KAREN ARENSON: Thank you.

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