Making Stuff with David Pogue show logo. Courtesy of PBS.
Images courtesy PBS.

Making Stuff, the four-part NOVA series hosted in 2011 by technology columnist and CBS News correspondent David Pogue, explores how scientists are generating new materials that are stronger, smaller, cleaner, and smarter than ever. This past fall, PBS aired four new episodes, under the title Making More Stuff, which delve into how things are made wilder, faster, colder, and safer.

And MIT researchers are featured prominently in seven of eight episodes.

In “Making Stuff: Smarter”, Pogue interviews Institute Professor Robert Langer ScD ’74, who “for many…personifies the new role of material science in medicine.” Langer describes how nanotechnology is being used to develop drug-delivery systems capable of releasing drugs on demand, in some cases delivering their payloads directly to diseased cells while evading the immune system.

Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, the Mitsui Career Development Assistant Professor of Physics, is dubbed the “graphene guru” in “Making Stuff: Smaller”. He shares the excitement of working with these atom-thick sheets of carbon that were only discovered in 2004—a material, he tells Pogue, “that will enable high-speed, ultra-high-speed electronics at very low power.”

Other MIT faculty featured in the series—both seasons of which are available via iTunes or on DVD from PBS—are:

Donald Sadoway, “Making Stuff: Cleaner”

Angela Belcher, “Making Stuff: Wilder”

Martin Zwierlein PhD ’07, “Making Stuff: Colder”

Paula Hammond ’84, PhD ’93, “Making Stuff: Safer”

Pogue has a personal connection to MIT: he is the great-nephew of MIT professor Harold “Doc” Edgerton SM ’27, ScD ’31, the pioneer of high-speed photography. “I remember, when I was a kid, he was always showing us pictures of what he was doing. He was smashing light bulbs, shooting bullets through apples, stuff like that. I thought, ‘That’s the coolest job in the world.'”

Pogue visited MIT’s Edgerton Center and Strobe Alley—”my favorite place at MIT”—for “Making Stuff: Stronger.” There, assistant director James Bales PhD ’91 used Edgerton Center cameras to examine the impact of a bullet going through steel.

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