Concepts familiar from grade-school algebra have broad ramifications in computer science.
For its work using technology to improve the lives of people around the world, MIT OpenCourseWare was honored with a Tech Museum Award on Nov. 9.
In recognizing MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) and four other $50,000 cash prize recipients, the Tech Museum of Innovation spotlighted technology solutions that are changing the lives of countless individuals from all backgrounds.
Each of the five prize laureates is encouraged to reinvest the winnings in additional innovative programs that utilize technology to improve people's lives.
"We are honored that MIT OCW has been recognized by the Tech Museum, and the fact that we were nominated for this by two MIT alumni, Derry and Charlene Chiaki Kabcenell, makes this award that much more meaningful," said Anne H. Margulies, the executive director of MIT OCW, who accepted the Tech Museum's Microsoft Education Award on behalf of MIT.
"This award recognizes the very simple, yet very big idea, that came from the MIT faculty -- that the best way to advance education is to share knowledge openly and freely," she said.
Derry Kabcenell (S.B. 1975) and his wife, Charlene Chiaki (Nohara) Kabcenell (S.B. 1979), MIT alumni from Northern California, nominated OCW for the Tech Museum Award in January.
"From the beginning, I've felt that OCW is a bold initiative that deserves broad exposure," Derry Kabcenell said. "I enjoy thinking about the students in remote parts of the world who are, at this moment, deciding to become scientists and engineers because of OCW. When I read the stories about how it is being used, I'm even more proud to be an MIT alumnus."
The other 2005 Tech Museum Awards cash prize recipients are: Enviro Options, which received the Intel Environment Award for its waterless dehydration/evaporation toilet; SELCO Solar Light, which received the Accenture Economic Development Award for its work supplying power to rural India; the Hib Vaccine Team, which received the Agilent Technologies Foundation Health Award for creating an affordable, synthetic vaccine against the bacteria that can cause meningitis and pneumonia; and the Center for the Improvement of Working Conditions & Environment, which received the Knight Ridder Equality Award for its efforts to improve working conditions for adults in the carpet weaving industry.
The Silicon Valley awards gala, attended by more than 1,100 global technology leaders, philanthropists and guests, honored 25 laureates (five of whom are the prize laureates) in the categories of environment, economic development, education, equality and health.