Prof. Neil Gershenfeld is the Director of MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms, where his unique laboratory is breaking down boundaries between the digital and physical worlds, from pioneering quantum computing to digital fabrication to the Internet of Things. Technology from his lab has been seen and used in settings including New York's 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 American's 50 leaders in science and technology, as one of 40 Modern-Day Leonardos by the Museum of Science and Industry, one of Popular Mechanic's 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's been called the intellectual father of the maker movement, founding a growing global network of over one thousand fab labs that provide widespread access to prototype tools for personal fabrication, directing the Fab Academy for distributed research and education in the principles and practices of digital fabrication, and chairing the Fab Foundation. 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.
The first digital revolution was in communication, and the second digital revolution was in computation. Each of these allowed unreliable devices to operate reliably, transforming industries and economies. We’re now at the cusp of a third digital revolution, in fabrication, that is bringing the programmability of the digital world out into the physical world. The impact of this one will be even greater than the first two, fulfilling their promise by merging bits and atoms.
Prof. Gershenfeld, director of MIT’s pioneering Center for Bits and Atoms and one of the founders of the Internet of Things, will look back at insights from the last fifty years of the scaling of digital technologies, and look ahead to what’s coming in the next fifty years. Based on historical data, laboratory research, and commercial trends, he will explore its implications for how we will live, learn, work, and play in a world where anyone can make (almost) anything.