How does studying a giraffe help make a better space suit? Dr. Dava Newman is the current Director of the MIT Media Lab and served as a Deputy Administrator of NASA in the mid-2010s. She’s been with MIT’s School of Engineering since 1993, where she ponders questions like how giraffes avoid passing out lifting their little heads up to munch on some trees, and uses these findings to lead a team of innovators creating the MIT BioSuit, which is a completely new approach to a long-standing challenge in aerospace, namely how to keep a human body pressurized at high altitudes or in space, where pressure is absent. A BioSuit is currently on display at The Museum of Flight in our temporary exhibit, “Stranger Than Fiction: The Incredible Science of Aerospace Medicine.” Dr. Newman joins host Sean Mobley to talk about giraffes, and other inspirations from nature, about the BioSuit, and about how imagination and creative thinking dwell at the core of science and engineering.
Full shownotes after the player.
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Link to Dava Newman’s website. Find more information on Dr. Newman and her work at her webpage.
Link to “Stranger Than Fiction” webpage. “Stranger Than Fiction: The Incredible Science of Aerospace Medicine” features the MIT BioSuit, and runs through February 6, 2022.
Link to “Suited for Space” program. This education program for 5th – 8th graders introduces learners to concepts including pressure, human-centered design, history, and more.