Welcome to the Mission 2010 website!
FINAL PRESENTATIONS: This web site was developed by staff for the Mission 2010 class. Class research is now complete and students are presenting their final recommendations by streaming live video in a Final Class Presentation on December 5th and in much more detailed fashion on a web site.
About Mission 2010:
In fall 2006, as a student in Mission 2010 (Subject 12.000--9 units ), you will have the unique opportunity to make a difference by contributing to the national debate revolving around the reconstruction of New Orleans and the management of the Mississippi River and Gulf coast. The destruction of New Orleans and many other parts of the Gulf coast by Hurricane Katrina has posed many challenging scientific and socio-economic questions. Was the disaster preventable? Are hurricanes getting stronger? Have engineering controls of the Mississippi created more harm than good? Why did flood protection fail? Should New Orleans be rebuilt and, if so, how? Can the Gulf and New Orleans be better protected against future hurricanes? What is the best long term strategy for other coastal cities in the U.S.?
As part of Terrascope, Mission 2010 will be followed by a field trip to the New Orleans area to see the storm damage/rebuilding effort and experience the problems facing the residents and the displaced persons. We will explore the history of the area and try to understand the relationship between the Mississippi River and the people who live near it.
What is N'awlinz?
N'awlinz is way most locals of the great city of New Orleans will pronounce it. If you say New Or-leans people there will know you came from somewhere else. We chose this word because it admirably reflects the city of New Orleans. In fact, a recent CD by the great New Orleans piano master, Mac "Dr. John" Rebennack, was called N'awlinz, Dis Dat or D'udda.
"Solving Complex Problems" (12.000) is a nine-unit, Fall-semester subject designed to provide freshmen with the opportunity to work as part of an "imagineering" team to design a viable solution to a complex problem that requires an interdisciplinary approach. It is also known as Mission 2010 - New Orleans.
Each year's class explores a different problem in detail through the study of complimentary case histories and the development of creative solution strategies. It includes training in web site development, effective written and oral communication, and team building. Receiving major financial support from the Alex and Britt d'Arbeloff Fund for Excellence in MIT Education, 12.000 is designed to enhance the freshman experience by helping students develop contexts for other subjects in the sciences and humanities, and by helping them to establish learning communities that include upperclassmen, faculty, MIT alumni, and professionals in science and engineering fields.
Why Mission classes?
The Mission class(es) offer freshman a completely different way to learn. In contrast to the core classes that rely on lectures and problem sets, Mission attempts to teach students how to think about solving complex problems. Students in Mission are independent, largely self-directed, and interactive. They learn how to build teams and develop solutions that require teamwork between scientists and engineers. Mission students will learn that many problems are just too big and complex to be solved by any one person or discipline and must involve integration. At the end of the class the students of Mission will have developed new and innovative solutions to an "unsolvable" problem and been exposed to a variety of different disciplines.
History of the Class
Professor Kip Hodges, now at Arizona State University, conceived of the course and supervised it for the first six years. It was offered first in Fall 2000, when the assignment (Mission 2004) was to develop a viable mission plan for the exploration of Mars with the aim of finding evidence for the present or past existence of life. The assignment for Fall 2001 (Mission 2005) was to design undersea research stations for both coral reef and abyssal environments. Fall of 2002 (Mission 2006) charged students with developing a strategy for monitoring and preserving the Amazon Rainforest. As in previous years, the students in Mission 2006 described their final design in a content-rich web site and an oral presentation in front of a panel of international experts. Mission 2007 was focused on Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), Mission 2008 - Galapagos, and Mission 2009 -Tsunamis.