“M.I.T. has nurtured dozens of Nobel Prize winners in cerebral realms like astrophysics, economics and genetics. But lately, the institute has turned its attention toward concrete thinking to improve the lives of the worldâ€™s bottom billion, those who live on a dollar a day or less and who often die young.
This summer, it played host to a four-week International Development Design Summit to identify problems, cobble together prototype solutions and winnow the results to see which might work in the real world.
The summit was the brainchild mainly of Amy Smith, a lecturer at M.I.T. who received her masterâ€™s there in 1995 and in 2004 won a MacArthur Foundation “genius” award, and Kenneth Pickar, an engineering professor at the California Institute of Technology. Faculty and students from Olin College, an engineering school near Boston, were also involved.The flurry of activity was taking place at D-Lab, a research center and set of courses at M.I.T. devoted to devising cheap technologies that could have a big effect in impoverished communities.”
The New York Times reports on how M.I.T. has lately turned its attention toward concrete thinking to improve the lives of the poor”