MIT Political Science celebrates 50th anniversary: rigor, relevance, and impact

Kathryn O'Neill SHASS Communications

“At MIT, we aim to produce not just scientists and engineers, but citizens and educated human beings who appreciate the complexities of the world around them and are committed to making a difference. That is MIT and achieving that vision depends on MIT Political Science.” -MIT President L. Rafael Reif

Mapping the history of U.S. state politics

Peter Dizikes MIT News

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, in a 1932 opinion, wrote that a state could be a “laboratory” for policy, and “try novel social and economic experiments” on its own. We have since turned those words into today’s common political phrase that the 50 U.S. states are “laboratories of democracy.”

3Q: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf PhD '81 on the role of political science in solving global issues

Kathryn O'Neill SHASS Communications

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf received his PhD from MIT’s Department of Political Science in 1981. He spent the next 25 years running his family’s kitchen cabinet business, and then, in 2007 he was appointed Pennsylvania’s secretary of revenue. In that job, he instituted reforms that strengthened the state’s lottery and laid the foundation for additional benefits for seniors. In 2014, Wolf ran for election for the first time and made history as the first person in four decades to defeat a sitting Pennsylvania governor. Inaugurated in January 2015, Wolf will be on campus this November for events to honor the 50th anniversary of the Department of Political Science, which is housed within the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. SHASS Communications took the occasion to ask the governor to share his views on political science at MIT, and on the role of the social sciences in addressing the global challenges of our time.