Learn More About Dava Newman
Given the rapid evolution of technology, science and innovation, how can organizations prepare for what’s coming so they can be relevant, sustainable and profitable years from now?
As the director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, Dr. Dava Newman (DAY-vuh NEW-man) – rocket scientist-engineer, inventor, author and global explorer – is a rare expert who offers leaders an up-close view of the future of emerging technologies that will change how we live, work and play. An interdisciplinary leader, longtime MIT educator and former NASA Deputy Administrator (the first woman engineer to serve in that role), Newman helps organizations in every sector prepare for the exciting changes ahead in such areas as artificial intelligence, engineering, design, biomedical research and wearable technologies. Her framework for innovation, developed and deployed at NASA, helps organizations create technologies that enhance society in a variety of areas, from health care and entertainment to sustainability and social justice. A technology pioneer perhaps best known for her second skin BioSuit™ planetary EVA system, Newman has a “moonshot” mindset when it comes to innovation.
“My philosophy is ‘let’s not do the same thing we’ve always done.’ No incremental design, if you will. What haven’t we thought of? I think a lot of innovation comes from asking, ‘How else could we attack this problem, what else and who should be at the table contributing their creative ideas?’” says Newman. “As a technologist and designer myself, what am I doing every day to positively impact society? Sure, as an engineer we create technologies and experiences, but we have to remember that our mantra is to create technologies that benefit society.”
While she is on a personal mission to make humanity an interplanetary species, Newman is equally passionate about taking lessons learned from space exploration and applying them to big problems here on earth, such as climate resilience and security. A faculty leader in her home department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT’s School of Engineering for almost 30 years, Newman is also immersed in the study of human-machine robotic interactions. Recognizing that organizations can literally invent the work of the future by designing human-centered autonomous-AI systems, she is optimistic about the endless possibilities for people and businesses.
Chief among Newman’s passions is her leadership in changing the conversation around STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) to ensure excellence by including people from all walks of life as part of innovation teams, regardless of gender, ethnicity or socioeconomic status. A staunch advocate for women and people of color, she now uses the term STEAMD, expanding the definition to include arts and design. As an advisor, educator and leader, Newman emphasizes the powerful roles inclusion and empathy play in fueling innovation, unearthing new inventions and accelerating transformation for all.
“No more filtering anyone out,” says Newman, one of the world’s most influential women engineers according to Forbes. “Rather, we must strive for infinite diversity in infinite combinations, empowering the women leaders of tomorrow!”
Dr. Dava Newman is the director of the MIT Media Lab. Her BioSuit™ has been exhibited at the American Museum of Natural History, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, Paris’ Cite des Sciences et de L’Industrie, the Chicago Museum of Science + Industry, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In addition to holding numerous design and compression technology patents, Newman is the author of Interactive Aerospace Engineering and Design, an introductory engineering design textbook. She has published more than 300 papers in journals, supervised 90 graduate student theses and supervised and mentored over 200 undergraduate researchers.
Newman has received honors from entities including, but not limited to, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the Explorer’s Club. She is an AIAA Fellow and, separately, was named a Margaret MacVicar Faculty fellow in the year 2000, which is a distinguished 10-year MIT chair “granted for excellence in undergraduate teaching and innovation in education.”
Newman earned her Ph.D. in aerospace biomedical engineering and Master of Science degrees in aerospace engineering and technology and policy from MIT, and her Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Notre Dame.
Dr. Dava Newman is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.
Work of the Future: Human/AI Collaboration
As the coronavirus pandemic fluctuates and eventually will fade, organizations are evaluating precisely how AI will augment human workers, how, when – or if – to return workers to office settings, and the future nature of jobs overall. What portions of work will be reserved for humans, and what will AI handle? What will be the high-paying jobs of tomorrow? In this presentation, MIT Media Lab director Dava Newman leverages her decades of interdisciplinary work at MIT, NASA and on industry boards to show leaders that they are empowered to reinvent the work of the future to ensure that human capital remains relevant. She also reveals leading-edge solutions surrounding both the intricacies and panoramic landscape of the “work of the future.”
Exploring NASA’s Innovation Framework
Understanding the complex intersection between new technology and various types of innovative companies is crucial for success in today’s marketplace. MIT Media Lab director Dava Newman, a co-developer of NASA’s Innovation Framework, showcases a unique innovation spectrum comprised of established and startup companies, working with both existing and new technologies. In this presentation, Newman not only explains what these paradigms mean, but demonstrates their significance for government organizations and companies of all types within a 21st century innovation ecosystem.
The Future According to MIT’s Dava Newman
As Dava Newman leads MIT’s Media Lab, she is situated at a pivotal point in technological history where biologics are increasingly added to a digital landscape that had previously been populated by mostly AI pursuits. MIT’s Media Lab has always been at the cutting-edge, and in this presentation Newman teaches organizations not only about MIT’s emerging technology developments, but how they may ultimately transform organizations, communities and society.
Humanity Becoming Interplanetary: From Earth to Mars
Humanity will become interplanetary and is on a journey to Mars. We are closer to reaching the Red Planet with human explorers than we have ever been in our history. Space agencies, academia and industry are working on the technologies and missions that will enable human “boots on Mars” in the 2030s following a decade of human exploration on the moon in the 2020s. Dr. Newman highlights the latest revolutionary technologies including XR (mixed reality) and citizen science.
Leveraging Space Policy Expertise for Both Private and Public Investment Success
As nations around the world consider their role in today’s tech world, they frequently turn to MIT Media Lab director and pioneering expert on space policy Dava Newman to understand the opportunities of the future. “If you are going to have impact, you have to develop policy with tech,” she explains. At the forefront of all U.S. investments in public-private space partnerships, including SpaceX, Newman was highly instrumental in working with European, Japanese, Canadian and Russian space agencies and parliaments to extend the International Space Station agreement to 2024. In this presentation, she speaks to private and public sector leaders to share her tested space development strategies that have been created through nearly three decades as both a faculty leader in the MIT School of Engineering’s department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and as deputy administrator at NASA. Audiences will gain a better understanding of how advanced countries in the space industry built their infrastructure and developed their human resource engines, as well as strategies for gaining government support and launching operations centers.
Exploring Space for Earth: Earth’s Vital Signs Revealed
In this fascinating talk, Dr. Newman reveals recent space science missions to Pluto and Jupiter, the discovery of thousands of exoplanets, and orbital missions to monitor Spaceship Earth. Humanity will become interplanetary and is on a journey to Mars. However, Mars is not ‘Plan B’. Spaceship Earth, our pale blue dot, is the most magnificent planet to inhabit. Earth is speaking to us – are we listening? Supercomputer visualizations implementing artificial intelligence to curate Earth Systems data are shared as well as global to local to personal actions and solutions that can help regenerate the Earth’s oceans, land and air.
Leaders: Women in STEAMD (science-technology-engineering-arts-math-design)
Eleanor Roosevelt once said that the “future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Dr. Dava Newman, MIT Media Lab director, thinks the most important thing we can do is inspire young minds and to advance the kind of science, math and engineering education that will help humanity literally explore Mars. As an aerospace engineer and rocket scientist, Newman has spent her entire career dedicated to furthering STEM education. In this talk, she explains why she may have delivered the wrong message. “We made STEM a thing – you were either In or Out, ” she reveals. “I’d like to change the conversation. I now call it STEAMD. I bring in the arts, I bring in design – the Makers. No more filtering anyone out, but rather, we must strive for infinite diversity in infinite combinations, empowering the women leaders of tomorrow!” An inclusive, distributed leadership framework will be highlighted along with stories of untold women innovators and leaders.
Designing an Innovative Spacesuit for the Moon and Mars: Research & Development
Returning humans to the moon and venturing out to Mars provides an opportunity to do incredible science on the ground, meaning more time spent on extravehicular activity (EVA), spacewalks, or performing physically demanding tasks. This will require a lightweight, mobile space suit that will protect astronauts from the extreme environments. Dr. Newman discusses how new and innovative manufacturing methods are bringing the MIT BioSuit™ from concept to reality, allowing not only for a viable mechanical counter pressure suit, but for the first time, incorporating thermal and radiation protection into an advanced second skin spacesuit.
Circumnavigation: Sailing Galatea 36,000 nm Around the Planet – Exploration via Sea & Space
Why do we explore? To answer three enduring questions: 1. Where do we come from? 2. Where are we going? and 3. Is there life elsewhere in the Universe? My personal exploration of the Earth includes sailing around the world – 2 of us on our sailboat for 18 months (s/v Galatea www.galateaodyssey.org) teaching seminars on Exploration via Sea and Space, crossing the world’s oceans, visiting 33 island nations, and making the connections between our sailing circumnavigation and space exploration. In this talk, Dr. Newman shares survival stories from living and working in isolated, confined environments and highlights what she learned from island and indigenous cultures living in balance with nature.
Women In Tech: Closing The Gap, One Byte At A Time
February 9, 2023
Is Your Organization Ready For The Future?
June 8, 2021
MIT Space Policy Compendium
March 1, 2021
Media Lab's New Head
February 23, 2021
Professor Dava Newman Named New Director of MIT Media Lab
January 14, 2021
MIT Media Lab Names Dava Newman as New Director
December 22, 2020
Through Other Eyes with Dava Newman
November 18, 2020
Dava Newman at the JFK Space Summit
July 8, 2019
Climate Change From Space and on Earth (Video)
June 23, 2018
Lessons in NASA Leadership
April 5, 2018
NASA's Dava Newman on the Mars Plan
October 30, 2016
When White House Rang, Dava Newman Thought It Was a Prank
November 18, 2015
Aerospace Gurus Show Off a Fancy Space Suit Made for Mars
November 5, 2014
Obama Nominates Dava Newman to be NASA Deputy Administrator
October 16, 2014
September 18, 2014
This Sleek Spiderman Spacesuit Could Take Astronauts To Mars
December 10, 2013
Over the Moon
Interactive Aerospace Engineering and Design
(McGraw-Hill Science/Engineering/Math, July 2001)
Technology Readiness Levels for Machine Learning Systems
(Nature Communications, October 2022)
“Truly inspirational. One of the best minds to spur our interests and to change the world.”
“Incredible lecturer… comprehensive, artistic, and inspiring.”