List of Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumni

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For Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty, lecturers, or researchers, see List of Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty. For fictional characters related to MIT, see MIT in popular culture.


This list of Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumni includes students who studied as undergraduates or graduate students at MIT's School of Engineering; School of Science; MIT Sloan School of Management; School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences; School of Architecture and Planning; or Whitaker College of Health Sciences. Since there are more than 120,000 alumni (living and deceased), this listing cannot be comprehensive. Instead, this article summarizes some of the more notable MIT alumni, with some indication of the reasons they are notable in the world at large. All MIT degrees are earned through academic achievement, in that MIT has never awarded honorary degrees in any form.[1]

The MIT Alumni Association defines eligibility for membership as follows:[2]

The following persons are Alumni/ae Members of the Association:

All persons who have received a degree from the Institute; and All persons who have been registered as students in a degree-granting program at the Institute for (i) at least one full term in any undergraduate class which has already graduated; or (ii) for at least two full terms as graduate students.

Politics and public service[edit]

United States[edit]

Name Degree Degree Year Notability Notes
LtGen James A. Abrahamson (USAF Ret'd) S.B. – Aeronautical Engineering 1955 Director of President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative
U.S. Air Force general
[3]
Ben Bernanke Ph.D. – Economics 1979 Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank [4]
Samuel Bodman Sc. D. – Chemical Engineering 1965 Secretary of Energy (2005–2009) [5]
Jun Choi S.B. – Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering 1994 Mayor of Edison, New Jersey
Henry Cohen (civil servant) S.M. – Urban Planning 1949 Director of Föhrenwald Displaced Persons camp in the American sector of post-World War II Germany
Leighton I. Davis S.M. – Aeronautical Engineering 1941 U.S. Air Force general
Jimmy Doolittle S.M., Sc. D. – Aeronautical Engineering 1924, 1925 U.S. Air Force general
Herbert W. Ehrgott S.B. – Mechanical Engineering 1930 U.S. Air Force general
Luis A. Ferré S.B., S.M. – Mechanical Engineering 1924, 1925 Governor of Puerto Rico
Julius A. Furer S.M. 1905 U.S. Navy admiral
J. Michael Gilmore S.B. – Physics Director of the Operational Test and Evaluation Directorate
Frank Kowalski S.M. – Mechanical Engineering 1937 United States Representative from Connecticut
Herbert B. Loper B.S. – Civil Engineering 1922 U.S. Army general
N. Gregory Mankiw Ph.D. – Economics 1984 Chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisors
Mark McClellan Ph.D. – Economics 1993 head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration
Katharine Dexter McCormick S.B. – Biology 1904 suffragette, funded research for The Pill
David Nolan S.B. – Political Science 1965 Founder of United States Libertarian Party
John Olver Ph.D. – Chemistry 1961 US House of Representatives for Massachusetts
John Birdsell Oren M.D. – Marine Engineering U.S. Coast Guard admiral
Joseph J. Romm S.B. – Physics, Ph.D. – Physics 1982, 1987 Assistant Secretary of the U. S. Department of Energy
Francis Sargent Dropped out – studied architecture 1939 Governor of Massachusetts
George Schultz Ph.D. – Economics 1949 Secretary of State
Phillips Waller Smith S.M. – Ordnance Engineering 1935 U.S. Air Force general
Pete Stark S.B. – General Engineering 1956 US House of Representatives for California
John E. Sununu S.B., S.M. – Mechanical Engineering 1987, 1987 United States Senator from New Hampshire
John H. Sununu S.B., S.M., Ph.D. – Mechanical Engineering 1961, 1963, 1966 White House Chief of Staff under President George H.W. Bush, Governor of New Hampshire, host of Crossfire

International[edit]

Name Degree Year Notability Notes
Tadatoshi Akiba Ph.D. – Mathematics 1970 Mayor of Hiroshima; Recipient of Ramon Magsaysay Award
Kofi Annan S.M. – Management 1972 Former Secretary-General of the United Nations
Pedro Aspe Armella Ph.D. – Economics 1978 Mexican Secretary of Finance
Raghuram Rajan Ph.D. – Economics 1991 23rd Governor of Reserve Bank of India
Youssef Boutros Ghali Ph.D. – Economics 1981 Former Egyptian Minister of Finance
Virgilio Barco S.B. – Civil Engineering 1943 Colombian president
Ahmed Chalabi S.B. – Mathematics 1965 controversial Iraqi politician, now currently deputy prime minister of Iraq
Harold Demuren Ph. D. – Aeronautical Engineering 1975 Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority; 1st African elected as President of ICAO General Assembly
Mario Draghi Ph. D. – Economics 1977 President of the European Central Bank
José Figueres Ferrer 1926 President of Costa Rica
Pervez Hoodbhoy M.S. – Solid-State Physics,
Ph.D. – Nuclear Physics
1973, 1978 A faculty member at the Quaid-e-Azam University since 1973 and a renowned nuclear research scientist in Pakistan.
C.D. Howe 1907 Canadian politician and cabinet minister
Mao Chi-kuo Ph.D. 1982 Minister of Transport & Communications of the Republic of China (Taiwan) (2008–) [6]
David Miliband S.M. Political Science 1990 British politician, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Mohammad Ali Najafi S.M. – Mathematics 1979 former Vice President of Iran [7]
Benjamin Netanyahu S.B. – Architecture, S.M. – Management 1975, 1976 Prime Minister of Israel
Uzi Landau Ph.D – Engineering 1976 National Infrastructure Minister of Israel
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala M.C.P. – City Planning,
Ph.D. – Urban Studies & Planning
1978, 1981 Finance Minister of Nigeria (2003–2006) (2011–Present), Foreign Minister of Nigeria, (2006)
Rachid Mohamed Rachid Ph.D. – Management 1993 Former Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry
Milen Velchev S.M. – Management 1995 Bulgarian financial minister (2001–2005)
David Walter S.M. – Political Science circa.
1970
British BBC and ITN correspondent and later political advisor
Robert Winters Canadian politician
Tony Tan Keng Yam S.M. – Operations Research 1964 President of the Republic of Singapore, who held various cabinet positions over the years.
Lucas Papademos S.B. – Physics,
S.M. – Electrical Engineering,
Ph.D. – Economics
1970, 1972, 1978 Vice President of the European Central Bank (2002-2010) and Prime Minister of Greece (2011–2012)
Ali Akbar Salehi Ph.D. – Nuclear Engineering 1977 Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran (2012–present)

Architecture and design[edit]

Business and entrepreneurship[edit]

Computers and Internet[edit]

Engineering[edit]

Manufacturing and defense[edit]

Finance and consulting[edit]

Health care and biotechnology[edit]

Miscellaneous[edit]

Education[edit]

Humanities, arts, and social sciences[edit]

Science and technology[edit]

Sports[edit]

Miscellaneous[edit]

Nobel laureate alumni[edit]

As of April 2011, the MIT Office of the Provost says that 76 Nobel awardees had or currently have a formal connection to MIT.[28] Of this group, 29 have earned MIT degrees (MIT has never awarded honorary degrees in any form).[1]

Name Degree Degree Year Award Year Award Citation Notes
George Akerlof Ph.D. 1966 2001 Economics "for their analyses of markets with asymmetric information" [29]
Sid Altman S.B. 1960 1989 Chemistry "for their discovery of catalytic properties of RNA" [30]
Kofi Annan S.M. 1972 2001 Peace "for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world" [31]
Robert Aumann S.M. 1952 2005 Economics "for having enhanced our understanding of conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis" [32]
Elias James Corey S.B., Ph.D. 1948, 1951 1990 Chemistry "for his development of the theory and methodology of organic synthesis" [33]
Eric Cornell Ph.D. 1990 2001 Physics "for the achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation in dilute gases of alkali atoms, and for early fundamental studies of the properties of the condensates" [34]
Peter Diamond Ph.D. 1963 2010 Economics "for [the] analysis of markets with search frictions" [35]
Richard Feynman S.B. 1939 1965 Physics "for their fundamental work in quantum electrodynamics, with deep-ploughing consequences for the physics of elementary particles" [36]
Andrew Z. Fire Ph.D. 1983 2006 Medicine/Physiology "for their discovery of RNA interference – gene silencing by double-stranded RNA" [37]
Murray Gell-Mann Ph.D. 1951 1969 Physics "for his contributions and discoveries concerning the classification of elementary particles and their interactions" [38]
Leland H. Hartwell Ph.D. 1964 2001 Medicine/Physiology "for their discoveries of key regulators of the cell cycle" [39]
H. Robert Horvitz S.B. 1968 2002 Medicine/Physiology "for their discoveries concerning 'genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death'" [40]
Henry W. Kendall S.B., Ph.D. 1948, 1951 1990 Physics "for their pioneering investigations concerning deep inelastic scattering of electrons on protons and bound neutrons, which have been of essential importance for the development of the quark model in particle physics" [41]
Lawrence Klein Ph.D. 1944 1980 Economics "for the creation of econometric models and the application to the analysis of economic fluctuations and economic policies" [42]
Paul Krugman Ph.D. 1977 2009 Economics "for developing new trade theory and" [35]
Robert B. Laughlin Ph.D. 1979 1998 Physics "for their discovery of a new form of quantum fluid with fractionally charged excitations" [43]
Robert C. Merton Ph.D. 1970 1997 Economics "for a new method to determine the value of derivatives" [44]
Robert S. Mulliken S.B. 1917 1966 Chemistry "for his fundamental work concerning chemical bonds and the electronic structure of molecules by the molecular orbital method" [45]
Robert Mundell Ph.D. 1956 1999 Economics "for his analysis of monetary and fiscal policy under different exchange rate regimes and his analysis of optimum currency areas" [46]
Charles Pedersen S.M. 1927 1987 Chemistry "for their development and use of molecules with structure-specific interactions of high selectivity" [47]
William D. Phillips Ph.D. 1976 1997 Physics "for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light" [48]
Burton Richter S.B., Ph.D. 1952, 1956 1976 Physics "for their pioneering work in the discovery of a heavy elementary particle of a new kind" [49]
Adam Riess S.B. 1992 2011 Physics "for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae" [50]
John Robert Schrieffer S.B. 1953 1972 Physics "for their jointly developed theory of superconductivity, usually called the BCS-theory" [51]
William Shockley Ph.D. 1936 1956 Physics "for their researches on semiconductors and their discovery of the transistor effect" [52]
George F. Smoot S.B., Ph.D. 1966, 1970 2006 Physics "for their discovery of the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation" [53]
Joseph Stiglitz Ph.D. 1966 2001 Economics "for their analyses of markets with asymmetric information" [29]
Carl E. Wieman S.B. 1973 2001 Physics "for the achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation in dilute gases of alkali atoms, and for early fundamental studies of the properties of the condensates" [34]
Robert Burns Woodward S.B. 1936 1965 Chemistry "for his outstanding achievements in the art of organic synthesis" [54]

Astronaut alumni[edit]

Name Degree Year Mission
James Alan Abrahamson S.B. – Aeronautics/Astronautics 1955 Manned Orbital Laboratory (selected but program canceled)
Buzz Aldrin Sc. D- Aeronautics/Astronautics 1963 Gemini 12, Apollo 11
Dominic Antonelli S.B. – Aeronautics/Astronautics 1989 STS-119
Jerome Apt Ph. D – Physics 1976 STS-37, STS-47, STS-59, STS-79
Kenneth Cameron S.B., S.M. – Aeronautics/Astronautics 1978, 1979 STS-37, STS-56, STS-74
Gregory Chamitoff Ph.D. – Aeronautics/Astronautics 1992 STS-124, Expedition 17, Expedition 18, STS-126
Franklin Chang-Diaz Sc. D. – Nuclear Engineering 1977 STS-61-C, STS-34, STS-46, STS-60, STS-75, STS-91, STS-111
Philip K. Chapman S.M., Ph.D. 1964, 1967 1967
Catherine "Cady" Coleman S.B. – Chemistry 1983 STS-73, STS-93
Timothy Creamer S.M. 1992
Charles Duke S.M. – Aeronautics/Astronautics 1964 Apollo 16
Anthony W. England S.B., S.M., Ph.D. – Earth, Atmosphere, and Planetary Sciences 1965, 1965, 1970 STS-51-F
Mike Fincke S.B. – Aeronautics/Astronautics; S.B. Earth, Atmosphere, and Planetary Sciences 1989 Soyuz TMA-4, Expedition 9, Soyuz TMA-13, Expedition 18, STS-134
John Grunsfeld S.B. – Physics 1980 STS-67, STS-81, STS-103, STS-109, STS-125
Terry Hart S.M. – Mechanical Engineering 1969 STS-41-C
Frederick Hauck S.M. – Nuclear Engineering 1966 STS-7, STS-51-A, STS-26
Wendy Lawrence S.M. – Ocean Engineering 1988 STS-67, STS-86, STS-91, STS-114
Mark C. Lee S.M. – Mechanical Engineering 1980 STS-30, STS-47, STS-64, STS-81
William B. Lenoir S.B., S.M., Ph.D. – Electrical Engineering 1961, 1962, 1965 STS-5
Michael Massimino S.M., Technology Policy S.M., Mechanical Engineer, Ph.D. – Mechanical Engineering 1988, 1988, 1990, 1992 STS-109, STS-125
Ronald McNair Ph.D. – Physics 1976 STS-41-B, STS-51-L
Pamela Ann Melroy S.M. – Earth, Atmosphere, and Planetary Sciences 1984 STS-92, STS-112, STS-120
Edgar Mitchell Sc. D. – Aeronautics/Astronautics 1964 Apollo 14
Nicholas Patrick S.M., Ph.D. – Mechanical Engineering 1990, 1996 STS-116
Albert Sacco Ph.D – Chemical Engineering 1977 STS-73
Russell Schweickart S.B., S.M. – Aeronautics/Astronautics 1956, 1963 Apollo 9
David Scott S.M., Engineer in Aeronautics/Astronautics 1962, 1962 Gemini 8, Apollo 9, Apollo 15
William Shepherd S.M., Ocean Engineer 1978, 1978 STS-27, STS-41, STS-52, Soyuz TM-31, Expedition 1, STS-102
Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper S.B., S.M. – Mechanical Engineering 1984, 1985 STS-115, STS-126
Daniel Tani S.B., S.M. – Mechanical Engineering 1984, 1985 STS-108, STS-120, Expedition 16, STS-122
Robert Thirsk S.M., M.S. – Mechanical Engineering, Management 1978, 1998 STS-78, Soyuz TMA-14, Expedition 19, STS-127
Janice Voss S.M., Ph.D. – Electrical Engineering, Aeronautics/Astronautics 1977, 1978 STS-57, STS-63, STS-83, STS-94, STS-99
Stephen Robinson Post Doc at Man-Vehicle Lab, Aeronautics/Astronautics 1993 STS-85, STS-95, STS-114
Neil Woodward S.B. 1984

References[edit]

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