On Thursday, the eve of the start of the Institute's 150th anniversary celebration, MIT President Susan Hockfield joined National Public Radio's Tom Ashbrook for a discussion of how science and innovation can drive the U.S. economy in the near future.
Hockfield mentioned specific projects taking place at the Institute — research on solar and wind power, energy storage, computational models and desalination, for example — and said they could lead to major breakthroughs.
"I think there's a lot of potential in energy … energy storage is the rate-limiting technology for all alternative-energy solutions," Hockfield told Ashbrook, host of the On Point radio program. "Being able to store energy, and store it more effectively, more efficiently is the key."
Hockfield also urged the new Congress to resist pressure to cut funding for innovation research and development, saying federally funded research over the last 60 years had led to technological advances that in turn have boosted U.S. economic growth.
“One of our concerns is that the enthusiasm for decreasing the deficit would cut the kind of seed corn that we rely on to actually grow our economy,” Hockfield said. “At the time the United States is reducing its investments, other countries are racing to try and repeat the miracle that was the American innovation-based economy following World War II.”
To hear the archived version of Thursday's show, visit On Point's website