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William Barton Rogers and the Idea of MIT

Hardback
, 240 pages

1 halftone, 3 line drawings

ISBN:
9780801890338
December 2008
$55.00

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William Barton Rogers and the Idea of MIT

Conceptual founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, William Barton Rogers was a highly influential scientific mind and educational reformer of the nineteenth century. A. J. Angulo recounts the largely unknown story of one man's ideas and how they gave way to the creation of one of America’s premier institutions of higher learning.

MIT's long tradition of teaching, research, and technological innovation for real-world applications is inexorably linked to Rogers’ educational philosophy. Emphasizing the "useful arts"—a curriculum of specialized scientific study stressing theory and practice, innovation and functionality—Rogers sought to revolutionize standard educational practices of the day. Controversial in an era typified by a generalist approach to teaching the sciences, Rogers’ model is now widely emulated by institutions throughout the world.

Exploring the intersection of Rogers' educational philosophy and the rise of technical institutes in America, this biography offers a long-overdue account of the man behind MIT.

A. J. Angulo is an assistant professor of social foundations at Winthrop University.

"Although MIT is a world-class research institution, historians rarely include it in the saga of the emergence of the university. Angulo brings MIT’s genesis to life through the intriguing story of its founder's journey from early days as a geologist exploring Virginia through launching his famous university. Historians more comfortable with the liberal arts than ‘useful knowledge’ will especially benefit from a book that takes them into the mind of the man who converted the latter into a unique university mission."

"Nicely written, well researched."

"MIT's founder, William Barton Rogers, has long needed a scholarly biography. Now, thanks to A.J. Angulo, we have a very good one."

"The research is impressive, and historians of technology will benefit from Angulo's work."

"A.J. Angulo has provided a compelling biography of William Barton Rogers."

"Will be of particular interest to historians of education and historians of science and technology... This is a fine history of Rogers's scientific and educational ideals and illuminates a fascinating origin story of MIT in the landscape of early-nineteenth-century Virginia."

"This book is fascinating reading for anyone interested in the history of science and technology, in the history of higher education and, or course, in MIT itself, and is highly recommended."

"A fine history of Rogers's scientific and educational ideals and illuminates a fascinating origin story of MIT in the landscape of early-nineteenth-century Virginia."

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