Michael Hawley (born 18 November 1961) is an educator, artist and researcher working in the field of digital media. Previously at MIT’s Media Laboratory where he was a professor and held the Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr. endowed chair, Hawley is the founder or co-founder of several major research programs and projects including MIT’s GO Expeditions program, Things That Think, Toys of Tomorrow, Counter Intelligence (a culinary research effort), and founder of the nonprofit organization Friendly Planet. He notably was the scientific director of the American Expedition on Mount Everest in 1998, one of the first major scientific expeditions on Everest. Hawley’s work has been featured in major media such as National Geographic, Time, The New York Times, and on numerous television networks. His work at MIT has, in his own words, “sought to creatively stretch digital infrastructures, embedding intelligence into all sorts of artifacts and advancing the web of communications.”
Hawley was born in November 1961 and grew up in New Providence, NJ, a suburb of New York City. He graduated New Providence High School in 1979. As a teenager he had a job at Bell Labs (Murray Hill, New Jersey), working in the linguistics department. He did his undergraduate work at Yale University in the areas of music and computer science; he went on to do his doctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In the early 90’s, while working at NeXT, he was key in the development of the world’s first digital library, creating digital versions of Shakespeare and other classics.[dubious – discuss] From 1993-2002, he was on the faculty at MIT as the Dreyfoos chair, and from there he became Director of Special Projects at MIT’s Media Laboratory. Musical work from this period appeared on a CD, Computing Systems Usenix Music, distributed as a supplement to the journal Computing Systems. Michael’s work and research have spanned the topics of psychology, computer music, digital video editing, human-computer interfaces, documentary photography, and more.