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A century ago, discoveries in physics came together with engineering to produce an array of astonishing new technologies: radios, telephones, televisions, aircraft, radar, nuclear power, computers, the Internet, and a host of still-evolving digital tools. These technologies so radically reshaped our world that we can no longer conceive of life without them.
Today we are on the cusp of a new convergence, with discoveries in biology coming together with engineering to produce another array of almost-inconceivable technologies. These next- generation products have the potential to be every bit as revolutionary as the 20th century’s digital wonders. Virus-built batteries, protein-based water filters, cancer-detecting nanoparticles, mind-reading bionic limbs, and computer-engineered crops are just a few examples that illustrate the promise of 21st-century technology to overcome some of the greatest humanitarian, medical, and environmental challenges of our time.
Drawing on her new book, The Age of Living Machines: How Biology Will Build the Next Technology Revolution, neuroscientist Susan Hockfield, former president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, discusses the story of the next technology revolution and how it will change our lives. She delves into the future of bioengineering as it relates to healthcare, clean energy, and robotics.
Hockfield, the first woman and first life scientist to lead MIT, also discusses her long career as a scientist and the need to encourage more girls and women to pursue this path; the current status of STEM-based learning in schools; and the importance of supporting collaboration at all levels and across continents.
The Age of Living Machines (W.W. Norton) is available for sale and signing.
S. Dillon Ripley Center
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Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)