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Press Release

February 25, 2008

Josie Patterson

Regina Norfolk
RNCommunications, LLC

MIT Museum Announces its Spring 2008 Soap Box Speakers  

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—The MIT Museum announced today that the spring 2008 Soap Box series will be titled "Creativity and Innovation" and will feature four world-class scientists who are helping citizens navigate the creative, ethical and moral challenges posed by the impact of new technologies. The Soap Box Creativity and Innovation Series at the MIT Museum is sponsored by Cooper Perkins, a technology development and engineering firm located in Burlington, MA.

On Wednesday, March 19, William Mitchell, Professor of Architecture and Media Arts and Sciences at MIT, will discuss transportation ecosystems and the City Car project; on Wednesday, April 2, David Berry, MD, bioengineer and venture capitalist, will discuss the potential of biofuel; on Wednesday, April 9, John Hockenberry, award winning journalist, author and editor and a Distinguished Fellow at the MIT Media Lab, will discuss augmenting human bodies; and on Tuesday, April 29, Sherry Turkle, Professor of Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT, will discuss relational, sociable robotics.

Soap Box is held at the MIT Museum's Mark Epstein Innovation Gallery from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Soap Box is a series of salon-style, early-evening conversations with scientists and engineers who are making the news that really matters. A public forum for debate about important ideas and issues in science and technology, the Soap Box discussion series gives audiences the chance to debate serious issues with world-class scientists and engineers in an intimate setting.

"We are thrilled to have such a dynamic group of speakers participating in the spring 2008 Soap Box program," said John Durant, Professor and MIT Museum Director. "These engaging speakers are involved in some of the most cutting edge research in their fields," said Durant, "the discussions are sure to be extremely educational as well as very exciting."

Following is a more in-depth summary of each of the Soap Box programs:

Wednesday March 19, 2008, 6:00 p.m.
William Mitchell

Professor of Architecture and Media Arts and Sciences, William Mitchell talks about the City Car project, a new transportation ecosystem that features an intelligent, stackable, electric, car of the future - prototypes of which are on display at the MIT Museum. Mitchell holds the Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr. (1954) Professorship and directs the Media Lab's Smart Cities research group. He was formerly Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning and Head of the Program in Media Arts and Sciences, both at MIT. He will be speaking along with some of the graduate students who designed the prototypes.

Wednesday April 2, 2008, 6:00 p.m.
David Berry

David Berry is a Principal at Flagship Ventures. He joined Flagship in 2005 while completing his M.D. from Harvard Medical School. David was previously awarded a Ph.D. through the MIT Biological Engineering Division, where he studied the biological effects of complex sugars with advisors Professor Ram Sasisekharan and Professor Robert Langer. David's work has led to 11 peer-reviewed publications, over 20 patents and applications, as well as over twenty-five awards and honors including the prestigious Lemelson-MIT Student Prize in 2005 for invention and innovation. At Flagship, David focuses on investing in and founding early stage life science and cleantech ventures and works closely with portfolio companies BG Medicine, T2 biosystems, Epitome Biosytems and LS9.

Wednesday April 9, 2008, 6:00 pm
John Hockenberry and Hugh Herr

Hugh Herr directs the Biomechatronics Group at the MIT Media Lab and has been working with award winning journalist, author and editor, and now a Distinguished Fellow at the MIT Media Lab, John Hockenberry. They will discuss their joint work on human augmentation. Hockenberry's news reporting from war zones and newsrooms has enlightened and inspired a generation of news devotees. His books include A River Out Of Eden and Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs and Declarations of Independence.

Soap Box Special for the Cambridge Science Festival
Tuesday April 29, 2008
Sherry Turkle and Cynthia Breazeal
6:00 p.m - 7:30 p.m.

Sherry Turkle, a professor of Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT will talk about sociable robots, "The Robotic Moment and the American Heart: What can we make of our reactions to relational, sociable robotics?" She is joined by Cynthia Breazeal whose anthropomorphic robotic head, Kismet, is on view at the MIT Museum. Turkle is currently writing on the balance between intimacy and solitude in our electronically tethered lives, and has frequently lectured and been interviewed on the topic. Breazeal is an Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT. She directs the MIT Media Lab's personal robots group and is particularly interested in developing creature-like technologies that exhibit social common sense and engage people in familiar human terms. Breazeal has consulted on several Steven Speilberg movies.

The MIT Museum is open 7 days a week from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Admission is $7.50 for adults, $3.00 for students, seniors and children between the ages of 5 – 18, and free for children under the age of 5 and anyone with an MIT ID. The Museum also offers free admission on Sundays between 10:00 am – noon.

The MIT Museum's mission is to engage the wider community with MIT's science, technology and other areas of scholarship in ways that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century. For more information regarding the MIT Museum and the Mark Epstein Innovation Gallery go to http://web.mit.edu/museum.

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