The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has led the world into the future for 150 years with scientific innovations. Its brainwaves keep the US a superpower. But what makes the university such a fertile ground for brilliant ideas?

This article titled “The MIT factor: celebrating 150 years of maverick genius” was written by Ed Pilkington, for The Guardian on Tuesday 17th May 2011 23.05 UTC

Yo-Yo Ma’s cello may not be the obvious starting point for a journey into one of the world’s great universities. But, as you quickly realise when you step inside the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), there’s precious little about the place that is obvious.

The cello is resting in a corner of MIT’s celebrated media lab, a hub of techy creativity. There’s a British red telephone kiosk standing in the middle of one of its laboratories, while another room is signposted: “Lego learning lab – Lifelong kindergarten.”

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