On May 7, 1916, MIT crossed the Charles River, relocating its campus from Boston’s Back Bay to a brand new campus in Cambridge. The effects of that move rippled beyond the campus itself. In a special report, the Boston Globe examines MIT’s role in transforming neighboring Kendall Square from an industrial strip into a “thriving ecosystem of research institutes, startups, and multinational companies.”
“MIT’s leaders have long held an intuitive understanding for the building blocks of innovation, including minimizing physical distance between researchers, embracing diverse perspectives, bridging disciplines, and partnering with private industry, and their pursuit of these values has played a meaningful role in the development of Greater Boston’s increasingly vibrant economy,” the article notes.
The Globe goes on to cite several examples:
“A core strength of MIT’s wonderful collection of misfit inventors is an ability to consistently re-create and reimagine. MIT is not afraid to experiment, to fail. Failure is part of the nature of sci-tech. It is celebrated. This attitude provides a feeling of freedom on campus instead of casting a shadow of fear or anxiety. After all, this is a place where the sanitary engineering department evolved into the biology and cancer institutes. Nicholas Negroponte built his Media Lab within the faculty of architecture and urban planning and embraced projects like Cynthia Breazeal’s seemingly empathetic robots, Mitch Reznick’s lifelong kindergarten, and Pattie Maes’s fluid interfaces… Across the street, when Tyler Jacks and Phil Sharp launched their integrative cancer research project, they did so at a university without a medical school or major hospital complex. They recruited mostly engineers and were laughed at. But skeptics were soon overwhelmed by breakthrough papers.”
Read more about how MIT’s groundbreaking researchers and entrepreneurs helped make Kendall Square a biotech hub—and how the Institute is innovating to create a better future far beyond Cambridge—at the Boston Globe.