In a recent MIT Spectrum article by Ken Shulman, Gladys Ngetich of the Space Enabled research group discusses her passion for math and physics and her road to MIT.
If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an ecosystem to grow excellence in research. Scientists work long hours, pursuing insights, hitting dead ends, and revising their roadmaps so they can move toward discovery. And science is powered by discoveries made by those whose trajectories were anything but clear at the outset—researchers willing and eager to follow a hunch or a passion without knowing where it might lead.
Today, significant support for this “discovery” research comes from private foundations. At MIT, researchers eager to explore fresh territory have received timely support in the form of gifts and grants from foundations that are increasingly investing in research potential. This kind of funding fills a crucial niche, placing necessary bets on a novel idea, a mid-career pivot, or a promising but unproven young researcher. As the below examples illustrate, the payoff is that science moves forward.