One of the most interesting (and, alas, least-known) parts of the MIT is the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, housed just upstairs from our offices. Its mission is precise and eminently useful: "reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is based on scientific evidence."
Esther Duflo, a founder and director of the Lab, recently was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for her work. She'll be speaking on that work in two weeks at the TED conference (which we'll be covering live), perhaps on similar topics she touched on in front of Pop!Tech in October. Her ideas on how to end poverty by transforming how rich nations manage development policies are provocative and practical. See for yourself: