Welcoming MIT President Susan Hockfield

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PRESENTER: May you serve the institute with all the skill, wisdom, and dedication which are confidence accords to you. And may your leadership carry MIT to even greater accomplishment.

HOCKFIELD: At MIT, we have a gift for learning from one another. Combining our historic strength in engineering, and our newer strengths in biology, and the brain and cognitive sciences, we are already opening unprecedented opportunities for educational innovation, invention, and discovery.

Geographically and intellectually, we're bringing together our computer scientists and life scientists, our linguists, philosophers, and engineers, and we are already seeing a torrent of new collaborations, new insights, and new results.

Just as MIT has led in those disciplines that define the information age, MIT can, and must, lead in this essential new field of all fields. A second great opportunity and a great obligation is our institutional responsibility to address the challenges of energy and the environment.

Over the last 30 years, these two words, energy and the environment, have gotten a little tired. Tired not from overuse, but from lack of progress. I believe that the time for that progress is now. I believe that the country and the world may finally be ready to focus on these matters seriously.

And, again, it is our responsibility to lead in this mission. Tackling the problems that energy in the environment present will require contributions from all of our departments and schools. Many MIT faculty are working already on new routes to renewable and sustainable energy.

We need to advance the scientific and engineering work, while focusing our efforts and magnifying their impact through our world class expertise in economics, architecture, and urban planning, political science, and management.

To this end, we have begun working with the faculty to develop a major new institute-wide initiative on energy. This initiative will foster new research in science and technology aimed at increasing energy supply and bringing scientists, engineers, and social scientists together to envision the best energy policies for the future.

We will see this initiative with resources for new interdisciplinary faculty positions. And I believe that working together we will make an enormous difference.