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Gerald L. Wilson '61, SM '63, ScD '65

Dean, School of Engineering, 1982 - 1992

Department Head, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 1978 - 1981

Dean, School of Engineering, 1982 - 1992

Department Head, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 1978 - 1981

Gerald L. Wilson ’61, SM ’63, ScD ’65
Dean, School of Engineering 1982 - 1992
Department Head, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science 1978 - 1981
Professor Emeritus, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 2009 - present

Gerald L. Wilson is a professor emeritus of MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), but his connection to MIT is long and varied. After earning three degrees from MIT (an SB and an SM in electrical engineering, and an ScD in mechanical engineering) he joined the MIT faculty as an assistant professor. He later became the Philip Sporn professor of energy processing. Professor Wilson created and became the director of the Electric Power Systems Engineering Laboratory in 1974. In 1983, he initiated Project Athena, a program that would fundamentally change computing at MIT, and in 1987, he helped found the Leaders for Manufacturing Program. Professor Wilson was head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from 1978 to 1981, later serving as dean of the School of Engineering from 1982 to 1992.

Highlights of this interview include:

  • Early years at MIT
  • His decision to pursue energy research.
  • Creation of the Electric Power Systems Engineering Laboratory.
  • Early memories of Doc Edgerton.
  • Leading the Commencement Committee.
  • Decision to move Commencement to Killian Court.
  • Becoming department head of EECS.
  • Becoming dean of engineering.
  • Creation of Project Athena—the state of computing at MIT, project goals, and the impact of Athena.
  • Creation of the Leaders for Manufacturing Program.
  • The crisis in American manufacturing.

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