Mind and Hand: The Making of MIT Scientists and Engineers

Through June 14, 2010

How does a teenager evolve into one of the world’s top scientists or engineers in the space of a few short years? What happens between the time an MIT student walks down the Institute’s "Infinite Corridor" as a pre-frosh to the moment she or he begins inventing robots, mapping genes, or designing satellites?

Mind and Hand explores the cultural curiosity that is an MIT education, and it explores the topic from the student perspective. Notes Deborah Douglas, curator of the exhibition, "Mind and Hand is not a dry survey of educational history but more of a living exhibition, giving visitors the opportunity to time travel through student life and learning from the mid-1800s, when the school was founded, to 2001 and beyond."

MIT’s founder William Barton Rogers espoused a radical educational philosophy. While most American universities taught science through lectures and demonstrations, he and the early faculty believed the laboratory was more important than the lecture hall. Over the years as the Institute transformed into a major research university and the problems to be solved changed dramatically, those precepts continued to impel the Institute’s educational philosophy.

From radar and rockets to slide rules and spectroscopes, this multi-media exhibition features unusual artifacts from the MIT Museum collections plus rare photographs, video and sound recordings, as well as hands-on demonstrations that combine to reveal the dynamic, imaginative, and fiercely competitive environment in which MIT students, faculty, and staff work and study.