Christine Ortiz, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Station1
Socially-Directed Science and Technology — Opportunities and Challenges for the Field of Materials Science and Engineering
We live in an era rife with social inequities and planetary perils, as the collective impact of humans threatens life on earth as we know it, radically transforming our societies and ecosystems. While science and technology and, in particular, the field of materials science and engineering has contributed enormous benefits to humanity, simultaneously it has also been entangled with and contributed to these formidable challenges. In re-imagining a more equitable and sustainable future, let alone bringing it into reality, we must acknowledge, interrogate and understand the historical context, root causes and systemic structures that underpin the scientific and technological enterprise and our discipline, as well as the institutions of higher learning which serve as its foundation.
Science and technology, rooted in social inquiry, inclusion and equity, is more important than ever to our survival, let alone progress. This presentation will discuss a socially-directed approach to science and technology with a focus on the field of materials science and engineering and integration with humanistic fields such as history, the social sciences, including science, technology and society studies; social justice; and civic design and community-based participatory research, in order to interrogate, understand and shape technologically-driven societal impact towards more equitable, ethical and sustainable outcomes. Emerging areas will be considered such as circular materials design for socioresilient infrastructure, the Anthropocene, materials and environmental in/justice, fire safety materials, social inequity and disparate risks to fire, social life cycle assessment and the case of shipbreaking, ethics and socially-directed computational materials.
About Christine Ortiz
Christine Ortiz is a scientist, engineer, professor, scholar, former dean and academic entrepreneur. Ortiz is the Morris Cohen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ortiz has over 180 scholarly publications, has supervised the research projects of more than 100 students from 10 different academic disciplines, and received 30 national and international honors, including the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering which was awarded to her at the White House by President George W. Bush. Ortiz served as the Dean for Graduate Education at MIT between 2010 and 2016, supporting approximately 7,000 graduate students from 100+ countries. With over 25 years of experience in higher education, Ortiz has led cross-institutional initiatives in global education, cross-disciplinary curriculum development, technology-enabled learning, and diversity, equity and inclusion. Ortiz was the founding principal investigator of the MIT University Center of Exemplary Mentoring sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Ortiz has served on or chaired over 50 task forces, working groups, and committees in higher education. Ortiz served as a regional accreditation commissioner for the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Ortiz is the founder of a new nonprofit higher education institution, Station1, that is paving a pathway of opportunity through a new model of frontier learning and research —socially-directed science and technology.