The MIT Press is committed to reimagining what a university press can be. Known for iconic design, rigorous scholarship, and creative technology, the Press advances knowledge by publishing significant works by pioneering authors. We honor complexity with provocative and transformative work that crosses academic and geographic boundaries to serve the broadest possible global audience.
The MIT Press is the only university press in the United States with a list based in science and technology. This does not mean that science and technology are all we publish, but it does mean that we are committed to the edges and frontiers of the world—to exploring new fields and new modes of inquiry. We publish more than 200 new books a year and more than 30 journals. We are a major publishing presence in fields as diverse as art and architecture, economics, cognitive science, environmental science, new media, and computer science, publishing books and journals for both specialists and general readers.
We have published early work by such distinguished authors as Paul Krugman and Patricia Churchland and rediscovered classics by Umberto Eco, Nadar, and Santiago Ramón y Cajal. The MIT Press was pivotal in establishing the field of cognitive science. It has published many influential works in science, technology, and society and in architecture, neuroscience, and game studies. We publish current, discipline-defining work by both established scholars and younger authors.
Our history began in 1926 when the physicist Max Born visited the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to deliver a set of lectures on Problems of Atomic Dynamics. The Institute published the lectures under its own imprint, and that book is numbered 1 in the archives of the MIT Press. In 1932, James R. Killian, Jr.—editor of the Institute's alumni magazine, future scientific adviser to President Kennedy, and tenth president of MIT—created an Institute-sponsored imprint called Technology Press. In 1962, MIT established the MIT Press as an independent publishing house. One of the independent Press’s first new employees was graphic innovator Muriel Cooper, who designed our distinctive logo and set the course for the design innovations that have been a hallmark of the Press’s work to the present day. The Press opened a European marketing office in 1969, and today we sell a higher proportion of our products outside the United States than any other U.S. university press. A Journals division was added in 1972.
In the 1970s under Press Director Frank Urbanowski, the Press developed a strategy of focusing the list on a few key areas and publishing in depth in those areas: architecture, computer science and artificial intelligence, and economics, with cognitive science, neuroscience, technology studies, aesthetic theory, design, social theory, and environmental science added over the next decade. Today, we are adding to our distinctive mix a deepened focus on engineering, physics, math, and education.
2012 marked the 50th Anniversary of the MIT Press. To learn more about our history we prepared this 50th Anniversary publication.
Also available is a slideshow of our history.