The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, MIT adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. Researchers worked on computers, radar, and inertial guidance during World War II and the Cold War. Post-war defense research contributed to the rapid expansion of the faculty and campus under James Killian. The current 168-acre (68.0 ha) campus opened in 1916 and extends over 1 mile (1.6 km) along the northern bank of the Charles River basin.
MIT, with five schools and one college which contain a total of 32 departments, is traditionally known for research and education in the physical sciences and engineering, and more recently in biology, economics, linguistics, and management as well. The "Engineers" sponsor 31 sports, most teams of which compete in the NCAA Division III's New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference; the Division I rowing programs compete as part of the EARC and EAWRC.
MIT is often cited as among the world's top universities. As of 2014, 81 Nobel laureates, 52 National Medal of Science recipients, 45 Rhodes Scholars, 38 MacArthur Fellows, and 2 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT. MIT has a strong entrepreneurial culture and the aggregated revenues of companies founded by MIT alumni would rank as the eleventh-largest economy in the world.
MIT's 168-acre (68.0 ha) campus spans approximately a mile of the north side of the Charles River basin in the city of Cambridge. The campus is divided roughly in half by Massachusetts Avenue, with most dormitories and student life facilities to the west and most academic buildings to the east. The bridge closest to MIT is the Harvard Bridge, which is known for being marked off in a non-standard unit of length – the smoot. The Kendall MBTA Red Line station is located on the far northeastern edge of the campus in Kendall Square. The Cambridge neighborhoods surrounding MIT are a mixture of high tech companies occupying both modern office and rehabilitated industrial buildings as well as socio-economically diverse residential neighborhoods.
MIT's on-campus nuclear reactor is one of the most powerful university-based nuclear reactors in the United States. The prominence of the reactor's containment building in a densely populated area has been controversial, but MIT maintains that it is well-secured. In 1999 Bill Gates donated US$20 million to MIT for the construction of a computer laboratory named the "William H. Gates Building" that was designed by architect Frank O. Gehry. While Microsoft had previously given financial support to the institution, this was the first personal donation received from Gates.
Other notable campus facilities include a pressurized wind tunnel and a towing tank for testing ship and ocean structure designs. MIT's campus-wide wireless network was completed in the fall of 2005 and consists of nearly 3,000 access points covering 9,400,000 square feet (870,000 m2) of campus.
' Mens et Manus '
As of 2013, MIT had 1,030 faculty members, of whom 225 were women.Faculty are responsible for lecturing classes, advising both graduate and undergraduate students, and sitting on academic committees, as well as conducting original research. Between 1964 and 2009, a total of seventeen faculty and staff members affiliated with MIT were awarded Nobel Prizes (thirteen in the last 25 years). MIT faculty members past or present have won a total of twenty-seven Nobel Prizes, the majority in Economics or Physics. As of October 2013, among current faculty and teaching staff there are 67 Guggenheim Fellows, 6 Fulbright Scholars, and 22 MacArthur Fellows.
MIT faculty members have often been recruited to lead other colleges and universities. Founding faculty member Charles W. Eliot was recruited in 1869 to become president of Harvard University, a post he would hold for 40 years, during which he wielded considerable influence on both American higher education and secondary education. MIT alumnus and faculty member George Ellery Hale played a central role in the development of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and other faculty members have been key founders of Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in nearby Needham, Massachusetts. Former MIT alumnus and Assistant Professor Hans Mark served as Chancellor of The University of Texas system from 1984 until 1992.