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steven wasserman

Steven developed high-tech products in Silicon Valley for more than 15 years, working at large companies like Apple and Microsoft and startups like WebTV and 3DO. Ten years ago, he decided to focus on more interesting problems. Now he makes machines that measure biology. Steven teach two classes on the subject of bioinstrumentation, and he develops instruments for academic labs and industry. His primary areas of interest are optics and electronics. He is an avid maker, woodworker, glass blower, and computer programmer.

The courses he teaches (20.309 and 20.345) are extreme, hands-on lab experiences that demand lots of building, debugging, iteration, and understanding. Bioinstrumentation is a rich and fascinating field that offers plenty of opportunities to illustrate engineering in a way that is compelling and useful to biological engineers. Above all, the classes he teaches are about how to create mental models of complex systems and apply those models to achieve breakthrough performance.

Interacting with students in the project classes he has taught for many years awakened him to the strong demand for a community biomaking facility at MIT. He helped to launched a biomaking facility for students last year, and is one of the principals driving an effort to develop a permanent home for community biomaking on the MIT campus.

Because process and results in the lab are tangible, labs are ideal places for introspection and self-discovery. Steven encourage students to reflect on their time in the lab to discover how their work habits and personal traits promote or impede their success.