“The best scientist is open to experience and begins with romance— the idea that anything is possible.” —Ray Bradbury
Every day, in every city in the world, the work of scientists, technology professionals, engineers, and mathematicians is on display. It can be seen in the bridges we drive across, the tunnels that house our subways, the interconnected electronic devices we use, and the buildings in which we live and work. It can be found in the electric power grids that provide energy to our hospitals and homes, the algorithms that help us crunch data, and the materials that make our airplanes fast as well as safe and fuel-efficient.
STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) produce innovators and problem solvers extraordinaire—professionals whose impact is farreaching and life changing. It was a team of engineers who created the first portable cell phone—and an engineer who took those first steps on the moon. Physicists are celebrating the recent discovery of the Higgs boson, the missing link in the theory of sub-atomic particles—and consumers are eagerly anticipating the next generation of smart phones and life-benefiting pharmaceuticals.
IIT is committed to educating the STEM professionals of tomorrow. Our students will be the individuals who will drive future innovation—just as many IIT alumni, including those featured in this issue, continue to do. But providing them a solid curriculum in STEM fundamentals is only the beginning. We also must ignite within our students the passion to create, discover, and lead—and to teach them to view mistakes as opportunities to retool, learn, and improve. We also must instill in them the importance of guiding future generations to pursue innovation.
One of the key ways that we will inspire our students is through our Innovation Center [page 3]. This facility is and will remain a university priority in the coming years. The Innovation Center will be a portal to the future, combining the power of higher education with Chicago-style imagination, determination, and boldness to fuel innovation. I look forward to telling you more about this exciting new facility and what it will mean for IIT’s students, faculty, and research endeavors, as well as Chicago Public Schools students and the local enterprise that also will benefit from it.
By focusing on STEM, innovation, and the community, IIT will be a place where anything is possible.
John L. Anderson