Energy from the earth, for the earth


Geothermal power is a promising energy source limited by factors including the need to locate plants in areas where reservoirs of hot water deep below the earth’s surface are easily accessible. Carlos Araque is looking to change that through his company, Quaise, using a groundbreaking technology developed at MIT. “We need to go deeper and … Read more

Schooling teachers in the realities of urban education


When Jesse Solomon ’91 first started teaching at a middle school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the 1990s, he was overwhelmed. “I had 25 students working at eight different grade levels—some that were learning English, some that were on individual education plans,” he says. “I wasn’t prepared for that level of complexity.” Luckily, a veteran teacher … Read more

The art of bonsai, according to an engineer


Julian Adams remembers clearly the first time he saw a bonsai. He was wandering a botanical garden as a young man when, among the orchids, cacti, and acres of vegetables, he stumbled on a room full of the diminutive and ancient trees. Adams had always felt a respect for older things, he says. Something about … Read more

Ensuring a bright future for Seattle


In 1982, when Lynn Best ’69 joined the public utility Seattle City Light, her team faced an immediate challenge: evaluating the environmental, cultural, and financial impacts of its three dams generating electricity on the Skagit River in northwest Washington State. As acting director, she was able to persuade City Light to allow the environmental team … Read more

The work of the future


Editor’s Note: In 2020, an MIT Task Force produced a comprehensive report on the Work of the Future. Since then, the global pandemic has had a significant effect on work and businesses, providing the impetus for The Work of the Future, by the same authors. The book, from which the following excerpt is adapted, will be published … Read more

Serving as “a force multiplier for good”


“At MIT, we believe that public service can be—and should be—as intense, meaningful, and intellectually rigorous as academic work. MIT alumni help convey this philosophy … that serving others is not an activity separate from academic and professional pursuits; it is a vital element of a wise, creative life.”  Institute president L. Rafael Reif shared … Read more

Better democracy through technology


When Mike Koval, the police chief of Madison, Wisconsin, abruptly resigned on a Sunday in September 2019, the community’s relationship with its men and women in blue was already strained. Use-of-force issues hung over the department after the killing of a Black teenager in 2015. Then, months before Koval left, another Black teenager, in the … Read more

This puzzle challenge brings joy to the world of code


By midnight on December 1, 2015, when Eric Wastl first launched his annual Santa-themed puzzle-a-day programming challenge Advent of Code, 81 people had signed up. That pretty much matched his capacity planning for 70 participants. Wastl figured this amusement might be of interest to a few friends, friends of friends, and maybe some of their … Read more

Zimbabwe’s climate migration is a sign of what’s to come


Julius Mutero has harvested virtually nothing in the past six years. For his entire adult life, he has farmed a three-hectare plot in Mabiya, a farming community in eastern Zimbabwe. There he grows maize and groundnuts to feed himself, his wife, and their three children. He sells whatever’s left for cash. But over a decade … Read more