MIT Edgerton Center 25th Anniversary Video


[MUSIC PLAYING] We talk a lot about
mind and hands at MIT. The Edgerton Center really
embodies those two things together. The Edgerton Center is
an amazing community. You have students from all
across the school, completely different majors, come together
and work on one system, one engineering project. This is where the magic happens. The Center encourages
you to take risks. It provides the space where
you can try things out, and you never get it right
the first time around. A person has to have these
opportunities to be encouraged, to be able to make mistakes,
so a space like this is just amazing thing. The Edgerton Center is a
mixture of art and science. No matter what engineering you
learn and science you learn, you have to test
it in real life. And Edgerton, himself, was
a massive experimenter, and you can feel that ethos in
the room when you come in here. It’s like being given
a huge Lego box. It’s just an infinite
set of possibilities. Of course, everything you
learn in the classroom is super useful. But here’s where you
actually have to apply it. It’s not like a problem set. Will I get the
answers in a week. You come here, and you see,
oh, that heat transfer equation I learned in thermo, I can use
it to make the brake rotors and design them as
lightweight as possible. Taking ownership of
a project is more like the real world than
anything else at MIT that you can experience. And after the end of it,
I can point to that thing and be like I built
that, that’s mine. [MUSIC PLAYING] So many hours
spent in this room. So this is up on
the fourth floor called Strobe
Alley at MIT, where the Edgerton Center exists. Up til the time I
took strobe lab, I was always trying
to figure out ways to mix art and
science together. They existed as kind
of separate worlds. And in technological
imaging, you have to do a lot of
engineering to make the image that you want to see. And so from the beginning of an
aesthetic or artistic pursuit, you have to back out
all the engineering problems you’re going to
solve to make that happen. If it’s off by two degrees, you
don’t get anything like this, and that’s something
that you can’t plan. It’s four steps away,
so nothing in your brain knows that it even exists
until the exploration happens. This kind of stuff was totally
done through just random play and experimentation in
the Edgerton Center. We’re at the Area
51 Edgerton Shop. Everything from a Hyperloop
team to a robotics team all works in here. I’m on MIT’S solar car team. We design, build and race cars
powered entirely by the sun, which is super cool. And we are designing a car
to race in Australia in 2017. It’s a 3,000 kilometer race
of the Australian outback. And our car drives up
to 65 miles an hour. By the time I graduate, I
will have built and worked on four cars. Every year we
start from scratch. Joining this team really
brought to life everything I was learning in classes. And now I’m passionate about
working in engineering. I’ve accepted a job offer. Next year, I’ll be working
in the automotive industry. One of the things
that Doc Edgerton did, which is one of the
great moments of my life, is give me a key to this lab. That key became the most
precious possession. I learned so much about
life, philosophy, technology. Doc was an amazing
individual in so many ways. So having that spirit of
mentorship means a lot to me. My name is Andrew Adams. I am the president
of the MIT rocket team, which is really the
heart and soul of why I’m here. Everything from the
tubes to the nose cone to the propellant itself
to the flight computers. All aspects of the project,
student designed and built. You’re walking up
to the launch pad. You’re running through
your mental checklist. All the crazy possibilities
pop in your mind, flight computer is
not going to work, the propulsion system
is going to blow up, and then everybody stands back. To see it go up,
just pure euphoria hits as you put everything
you’ve got into it and it just did it’s job. I found my family here. If I were to go back and
ask my 14-year-old self what do you want to
be doing in college? I want to be building things. It’s what I’m doing now. Again, you can talk about
it, or you can do something. You know Doc was always telling
people, we’ll just try it out. And to learn in doing that
so that you can revise your approach and try it again. We’re looking for life on Mars. Doing that through a
NASA-funded project. To build an instrument
that could be deployed on a future Rover mission. That’s something
no one’s ever done. It’s a major endeavor. It’s going to take
a lot of time. There’s a risk of failure. A lot of different
disciplines working together. And those are all things that I
learned with the solar car team in the Edgerton Center. Nothing has had more of
a profound effect on me than the Edgerton Center. This is one of the
world’s first makerspaces. It’s a world that’s precious. I will always be a
student of Edgerton. I used to tell people if you
don’t wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning wanting to do
something, you’re wasting time. Time is very precious. We’re wasting it right now. [LAUGHING] [MUSIC PLAYING]

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