Every year MIT Technology Review celebrates 35 innovators under the age of 35 and in doing so introduces us to the most promising new technologists, researchers, and entrepreneurs.
In their latest issue they also introduce us to seven innovators over the age of 70, still working. Two of the seven, Sidney Yip of the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering and Judith Jarvis Thomson of Linguistics and Philosophy, are Institute Professors emeriti.
Below is a little about each of them as described in MIT Technology Review:
Sidney Yip, born in 1936, is a professor emeritus of nuclear science and engineering at MIT. After notionally retiring in 2009 — having taught for 44 years and published more than 300 papers and the "Handbook of Materials Modeling" (2005), the standard reference book in the field — he continues to do important research. For instance, he suggested (with MIT senior research scientist Roland Pellenq) a new recipe for concrete that increases its strength while reducing the carbon emissions associated with producing cement.
Judith Jarvis Thomson, 85, another of MIT’s professors emeriti, is a philosopher best known for the elaboration of thought experiments called “trolley problems,” which test our moral intuitions. In the most famous trolley problem of all, Thomson asks her readers to imagine pushing a fat man onto a track in order to stop a runaway trolley from running over five people. She remains keenly interested in questions of rights and normativity (whether, ethically, one ought to do or refrain from doing something). Trolley problems are useful in thinking how autonomous vehicles and military robots could be programmed to behave in ways consistent with most people’s moral intuitions.