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Dava J. Newman SM ’89, PhD ’92

Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and of Engineering Systems

Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow

Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and of Engineering Systems

Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow

Dava J. Newman SM ’89, PhD ’92
Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and of Engineering Systems  
Director, Technology and Policy Program
Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow
Heath Sciences and Technology affiliated faculty
Housemaster, Baker House, 2005 – present

Dava Newman is an explorer who likes to live life on the edge, and one who sees MIT from the perspectives of graduate student, faculty member, and housemaster. She serves as director of MIT’s Technology and Policy Program and pursues multidisciplinary research in space travel and advanced spacesuit design, biomechanics and energetics, aerospace biomedical engineering, human exploration of Mars, and engineering systems and design. A former triathlete, Professor Newman also played Division One basketball at Notre Dame.

Highlights of this interview include:

  • How seeing a giraffe lift its head led to a new biosuit design.
  • Undergoing the rigors of space training.
  • How 3D mathematical analysis turned into a Spiderman-style space suit.
  • The importance of materials science in efforts to perfect patterning in spacewear.
  • Applying lessons from space to improve locomotion for children with disabling illnesses.
  • Astronaut adaptation and attempts to minimize deconditioning in space.
  • Dealing with an Apollo 13-type crisis during her sailing trip around the world.

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