Thursday, March 13, 2008

Good technology comes from good institutions

I spent a lot of time at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) until a few months ago. What makes me most proud about having been involved with that institution is that it is a true laboratory of genius - minds work together, not for the money or the fame, but for the beauty and purpose of technology itself, that it should help others. The university provides the space, the creative minds, facilities, and some funding to get students started up. From there, genius evolves. Its not surprising that some of the world's greatest minds and technologies are born there.

Recently, MIT has taken on a major energy and sustainability drive. The energy drive was first driven by student interest. They organized themselves and brought on board faculty and more students. Then the political climate became such that energy was the hot topic. Soon the university embarked on a major energy initiative. Now the whole University is working together to devise better technologies to address the incoming energy crisis. I have no doubt that they will succeed.

Similarly, when graduate students found that MIT's energy bill was a ridiculous 100 million dollars a week, they decided that something had to be done. They organized a sustainability drive, bringing together a group of undergraduate and graduate student projects that all addressed various sustainability issues across campus. Its now a movement to "green" MIT. Yesterday, NPR did a great piece on it. Check it out here.

There are many universities that do projects like this, but there need to be more. And there needs to be more invested in projects like these. More universities nationally and internationally need to provide this type of environment for budding minds to flex their intellectual muscle for the good of mankind.

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