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Our faculty, students, and postdocs come from all over the world to seek answers both to today’s problems and to questions that have yet to be asked. Some are deep and philosophical: What is the nature of Dark Matter and Dark Energy? How does the brain give rise to the mind—our ability to learn and remember? Other scientists study problems with obvious practical implications: How do could affect climate change by interacting with cosmic rays? What causes degenerative processes like Alzheimer’s disease and why are some of us protected from this cognitive decline?
At MIT, discovery research not only advances the frontiers of science, but is transformed into new technology and moved into the marketplace more rapidly than almost anywhere else in the world. One only needs to count the startup companies in Kendall Square to see how well this is working. MIT’s faculty, students, and postdocs have turned Kendall Square into a leading innovation cluster in the world, thanks in large part to the historic investment in fundamental, curiosity-driven research.
Fundamental scientific research at MIT has led to the discovery of the first human cancer gene, the first experimental confirmation of the existence of the quark, and the first chemical synthesis of penicillin. Professor Dan Kelppner, who developed an atomic clock to prove Einstein's theories of general and special relativity, never imagined it would someday become GPS. In his mind, "basic science is the best thing that mankind pursues—not so much because it leads to new applications, but because it leads to new understanding."
The rising cost of scientific research and education, coupled with the decline in government funding, means that the School of Science must seek other sources of income to support our premier research and education programs. Your gift supporting our talented faculty and students will help ensure that they continue to make bold and experimental approaches to solving some of the universe’s deepest mysteries and the world’s most intractable problems.