By Peter Dizikes
After a worldwide search that turned up 60 candidates, the MIT Media Lab has announced that Dava Newman, SM ’89, SM ’89, PhD ’92, an MIT professor of astronautics, will become its new director on July 1.
Newman, whose work has integrated engineering, design, and biomedical research with an eye to improving human performance in space, is well known for developing the BioSuit, an advanced “second skin” spacesuit that could allow astronauts to move more naturally in zero gravity. Her career interests also encompass educational innovation and access, climate change, the performing arts, and science and technology policy. She directed MIT’s Technology and Policy Program from 2003 to 2015, was named a MacVicar Faculty Fellow, and served as head of house at Baker House for a decade. The principal investigator for four space missions, Newman was deputy administrator of NASA from 2015 to 2017, the first female engineer in this role.