Neil Gershenfeld — Lecture

Event Date: October 18, 2018
Speaker: Neil Gershenfeld
Speaker Affiliation: Professor of Media Arts and Sciences and Director
The Center for Bits and Atoms
Massachusetts Institute for Technology
Sponsor: Jointly with Mechanical Engineering and the Feddersen Distinguished Speaker Series
Time: 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Location: WALC 1055 - Hiler Theater
Contact Name: Maria Longoria-Littleton
Contact Phone: +1 765 49-40015
Contact Email:
Priority: Yes
School or Program: College of Engineering
College Calendar: Show

From Bits to Atoms

Neil Gershenfeld

The digital revolutions in computing and communications have transformed science and society. At their heart is not ones and zeros, but rather an exponential scaling property in the physical resources required to represent a symbol versus the fidelity of decoding it. This same property can hold for fabrication by digitizing not just designs, but also the materials they’re constructed from. I will survey the historical parallels among the digitization of communications, computation, and now fabrication, review current work on aligning the representations of hardware and software, and project the implications of a research roadmap leading from one to one trillion fab labs.

Prof. Neil Gershenfeld is the Director of MITs Center for Bits and Atoms. His unique laboratory is breaking down boundaries between the digital and physical worlds, from creating molecular quantum computers to virtuosic musical instruments. Technology from his lab has been seen and used in settings including New Yorks Museum of Modern Art and rural Indian villages, the White House and the World Economic Forum, inner-city community centers and automobile safety systems, Las Vegas shows and Sami herds. He is the author of numerous technical publications, patents, and books including Designing Reality, Fab, When Things Start To Think, The Nature of Mathematical Modeling, and The Physics of Information Technology, and has been featured in media such as The New York Times, The Economist, NPR, CNN, and PBS. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, has been named one of Scientific Americans 50 leaders in science and technology, as one of 40 Modern-Day Leonardos by the Museum of Science and Industry, one of Popular Mechanics 25 Makers, has been selected as a CNN/Time/Fortune Principal Voice, and by Prospect/Foreign Policy as one of the top 100 public intellectuals. He has been called the intellectual father of the maker movement, founding a global network of over 1000 fab labs that provide widespread access to prototype tools for personal fabrication, and leading the Fab Academy for distributed research and education in the principles and practices of digital fabrication. Dr. Gershenfeld has a BA in Physics with High Honors from Swarthmore College, a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Cornell University, honorary doctorates from Swarthmore College, Strathclyde University and the University of Antwerp, was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard University Society of Fellows, and a member of the research staff at Bell Labs.