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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States.
Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, MIT adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering.
Previously marginalized faculties in the areas of economics, management, political science, and linguistics emerged into cohesive and assertive departments by attracting respected professors and launching competitive graduate programs.
The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences continued to develop under the successive terms of the more humanistically oriented presidents Howard W. MIT's involvement in military science surged during World War II.
In 1941, Vannevar Bush was appointed head of the federal Office of Scientific Research and Development and directed funding to only a select group of universities, including MIT.
Engineers and scientists from across the country gathered at MIT's Radiation Laboratory, established in 1940 to assist the British military in developing microwave radar.
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Several major computer-related organizations have originated at MIT since the 1980s: Richard Stallman's GNU Project and the subsequent Free Software Foundation were founded in the mid-1980s at the AI Lab; the MIT Media Lab was founded in 1985 by Nicholas Negroponte and Jerome Wiesner to promote research into novel uses of computer technology; Despite diminishing government financial support over the past quarter century, MIT launched several successful development campaigns to significantly expand the campus: new dormitories and athletics buildings on west campus; the Tang Center for Management Education; several buildings in the northeast corner of campus supporting research into biology, brain and cognitive sciences, genomics, biotechnology, and cancer research; and a number of new "backlot" buildings on Vassar Street including the Stata Center.
MIT launched Open Course Ware to make the lecture notes, problem sets, syllabi, exams, and lectures from the great majority of its courses available online for no charge, though without any formal accreditation for coursework completed.
In the 1930s, President Karl Taylor Compton and Vice-President (effectively Provost) Vannevar Bush emphasized the importance of pure sciences like physics and chemistry and reduced the vocational practice required in shops and drafting studios.
Still, as late as 1949, the Lewis Committee lamented in its report on the state of education at MIT that "the Institute is widely conceived as basically a vocational school", a "partly unjustified" perception the committee sought to change.