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The section of the MIT.nano courtyard that runs along the south side of the building has been named the Improbability Walk, in honor of Mildred Dresselhaus. Images: Wilson Architects (left), Bryce Vickmark The section of the MIT.nano courtyard that runs along the south side of the building has been named the Improbability Walk, in honor of Mildred Dresselhaus.
Images: Wilson Architects (left), Bryce Vickmark

Improbability Walk at MIT.nano honors Mildred Dresselhaus

Courtyard space celebrates beloved professor’s research and mentorship.

Chad Galts | MIT.nano
November 15, 2019

The courtyard between the south-facing walls of buildings 4 and 8 and the recently constructed MIT.nano facility has the feel of a meditation space. Overlooked by the great dome, edged with pillars of bamboo, and lined by glass walls on all sides, the walkway has been christened the “Improbability Walk,” in honor of one of MIT’s most inspirational faculty members: the late Institute Professor Mildred “Millie” Dresselhaus.

The name for the space was the idea of Vladimir Bulović, the Fariborz Maseeh (1990) Professor in Emerging Technology. “Millie often used the word ‘improbable’ to describe her success,” recalls Bulović, who is also the founding faculty director of MIT.nano. “And, especially later in her career, she often used the simple act of walking across campus as an opportunity to teach, and to learn from her students. Combining the idea of improbable journeys and walking as a form of mentorship and exchanging ideas seemed a fitting tribute to Millie.”