By Scott Kirsner
Inside the MIT Media Lab building, a fire alarm is bleating. Outside, about a dozen people who were already at work before 9 a.m. on a chilly fall Monday are clustered on the steps, chatting collegially.
After the group has been waved in once and then ejected again moments later, a woman in a bright red blazer steps forward to have a word with one of the facilities managers.
It’s Dava Newman, the lab’s director. The fire department is nowhere in sight. The alarm seems to have been inadvertently set off by construction workers in the building. The timing is not great ―Newman is scheduled to host a Media Lab event later in the morning with Governor Charlie Baker and Rafael Reif, president of MIT.