by L. Rafael Reif, President, MIT
What single factor mattered most in MIT’s transformation from an excellent science-grounded technical training school into a leading university with global impact? I believe it was the insistence of MIT’s ninth president, Karl Taylor Compton (1930-1948), that the Institute dramatically expand its fundamental scientific research. Thanks to his vision, at MIT, science and engineering are equal partners in progress. Today, basic research serves as our foundation and inspiration.
The drive for discovery is inherently valuable, of course; there may be no higher expression of human achievement than the passion for understanding how the world works. This issue of SPECTRVM presents an extraordinary range of research explorations, from the cosmos to the climate, from energy to oceans, from the frontiers of new materials to subjects as ancient as war. (One exciting development since Compton’s time has been the growth at MIT of fundamental research outside the sciences.)
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