MIT was founded as a place of discovery and invention. Embodying the MIT motto of mens et manus —mind and hand—the Institute’s faculty and students translate basic science into innovative solutions that improve the world.
Innovation at research universities and hospitals has long been sustained by the federal funding of basic science. During World War II, such funding led to many important technological advancements. One of the most critical and timely achievements from this period? The development of radar.
In a recent Boston Globe opinion piece, MIT President L. Rafael Reif discusses three current areas of innovation whose roots can be traced to research started in the 1960s and 1970s: online learning, a vaccine for the AIDS virus, and 3-D printing. Reif notes that these three breakthroughs were made possible only because of decades-long federal investment in basic research.