Celebrating 150 Years of Innovation and Wisdom

Mary Boyce“I look back with pride at the many amazing accomplishments of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the people who made it what it is today, and look forward with excitement to the innovation and creativity of our next 150 years.”

Mary C. Boyce, Gail Kendall Professor of Engineering


Dear Friends,

We kick off the third edition of MechE Connects focused on the sesquicentennial celebration of MIT. MIT’s 150th anniversary was a chance to showcase the energy, “out-of-the-box” thinking, and sheer inventiveness of Mechanical Engineering faculty and students.

The MIT Open House on Saturday, April 30, was a grand celebration of this rich history, the result of extraordinary effort by the MechE faculty and student groups who coordinated our many activities. Throughout the day, our department presented lectures on cutting-edge research topics, such as the invisibility cloak, nanostructured surfaces for efficiency in energy and water, and bio-inspired robotics, as well as exciting active demonstrations of biomedical product designs. Right outside Mechanical Engineering headquarters in Killian Court, Atlas Devices demonstrated their Atlas Power Ascender (APA), a powerful device that allows “reverse rappelling” up buildings and other vertical surfaces at unprecedented speeds. Atlas Devices was founded by two recent alums, Nate Ball and Bryan Schmidt, whose invention highlights the entrepreneurial spirit within the Department. Some of our many student team projects, including the Electric Vehicle Team, MITERS, MIT Motorsport, and the Solar Electric Vehicle Team, were showcased in Rockwell Cage. The refurbished Hart Gallery sparkled with new exhibits drawing on the seven areas of MechE, and presented bioinstrumentation research and advances in solar energy conversion. The numerous exhibits and demonstrations of the day truly embodied the MIT motto mens et manus–mind and hand.

There was something for all to enjoy, and, as Susan Hockfield mentioned in her thank you note to the community, “‘Under the Dome’ inspired everyone who joined us, and it was equally magnificent for everyone from MIT who helped put on the show. Like all of this spring’s MIT150 celebrations, the Open House raised our sights, refocused us on our mission, refreshed our passion for service, and gave us infinite energy to work together on inventing the future.” The MIT150 also provided a time for us to reflect on the history of our Department. You can view an MIT MechE timeline here: http://meche.mit.edu/about/timeline. We welcome any changes or additions.

This timeline serves as a living document of our history, with additional historic elements still to be included, as well as new developments that will occur as we move forward. I look back with pride at the many amazing accomplishments of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the people who made it what it is today, and look forward with excitement to the innovation and creativity of our next 150 years.

Sincerely,

Boyce Signature

Mary Boyce,
Gail E. Kendall Professor and Department Head