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About Terrascope

Terrascope is a student-run class offered to MIT freshmen that focuses on solving complex world problems through the collaboration of students, faculty, and alumni. In the class, freshmen gain insight on how scientists and engineers employ multidisciplinary approaches when faced with seemingly impossible problems, while also learning about the different systems of their earth and their relative impacts upon the human population. Terrascope teaches students to become more adept in researching methods and raises their awareness about the vast resources available at MIT.

This year, the mission for the class of 2014 (Mission 2014) is to determine “How Do We Feed the Planet?” Although the human race currently produces enough food to feed everyone on the planet (Leathers & Foster, 2009, p.133), approximately 925 million people worldwide remain acutely or chronically undernourished (Sibrain, 2010). Our task involves identifying the reasons behind this paradox and diagnosing the root causes of world hunger.

This semester we have worked to create a solution, which we have presented here on this website, that addresses the current global food security problem within a timeline of 100 years. Through our research, we have gained insight into the reality of the complexity of the world’s current situation and a respective understanding of the fragile nature of the world’s food system.

We would like to thank all the alumni mentors, undergraduate teaching fellows (UTFs), Terrascope faculty and staff for their dedication to the project and for their constant support and constructive criticism throughout the past few months.  Through your guidance, we have obtained a true appreciation for what it takes to perform quality research and present a qualified, innovative solution.

As Atul Gawande states in Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance:

“Better is possible. It does not take genius. It takes diligence. It takes moral clarity. It takes ingenuity. And above all, it takes a willingness to try.”

We know that we cannot definitively prove that our solution is the best solution, or even that it's a viable solution. We can only attest that we spent two months developing this solution and immersing ourselves in research. We've learned a lot about group dynamics and solving complex problems. However, most importantly, we learned that in order to solve a complex problem, one has to start. Some of us now intend to learn more about the problem through our trip to India this spring, the Terrascope classes in the spring, or pursuing a major related to this subject matter.

We hope you enjoy our website!


To learn more about Terrascope, please check out the website:


Mission 2014 Class

Almas Abdulla

Bruce Arensen

Zachary Balgobin

Maria Cassidy

Derek Chang

Tim Chu

Charlotte Clark

Erica Du

Ryan Friedrich

Jessica Fujimori

Anuhya Ghorakavi

Sara Goheen

Paula Gonzalez

Charles Gordon

Gaelen Guzman

Jesika Haria

Samantha Hartzell

Esther Jang

Henna Jethani

Pramod Kandel

Miho Kitagawa

Johnathan Kongoletos

Zainab Lasisi

Jiahui Liang

Jennifer Liu

Yinong Liu

Nancy Lu

Evan Lynch

Kathryn Materna

Bryan Mejia-Sosa

Nell Meosky

Tejas Navaratna

Ovie Orieka

Adrian Orozco

Anvisha Pai

Sidhant Pai

Sidhanth Rao

Abby Rice

Priyanka Saha

Linda Seymour

Sasilada Sirirungruang

Kelly Snyder

Laura Stilwell

Pratiksha Thaker

Minh Tue Vo Thanh

David Wise

Erika Ye

Ioana Zelko

Hazel Zengeni

Xinyi Zhang

Leo Zhou


Undergraduate Teaching Fellows

Zachary Barryte

Adam Bockelie

Nikita Consul

Yangbo Du

Tracey Hayse

Elise Hens

Charlotte Herhold

Alex Jordan

Julia Kimmerly

Lauren Kuntz

Ruaridh Macdonald

Laura Matloff



Burl Amsbury

Lowell Anderson

Bob Bates

Sheldon W. Buck

Stephen Estes-Smargiassi

Yolanda Fan

Tom Farrell

Bob Gurnitz

Hal Gustin

Todd Harland-White

Joshua Helferich

Paul D. Jacobson

Sara Kaplan

Bhupendra Khetani

Alfredo Kniazzeh

Sujeesh Krishnan

Keith MacKay

Joshua Merrill

Christine Ng

Jorge Phillips

Peter Ralston

Johnny Yang



Seth Burgess



Sam Bowring



Debra Aczel

Ari Epstein

Works cited: 

Gawande, Atul. (2007). Better: A Surgeon's Note on Performance. New York: Metropolitan Books. 

Leathers, H., & Foster, P. (2009). The world food problem: toward ending undernutrition in the third world. Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers Inc.

Sibrain, R. (2010). Millenium Development Goals Indicators: Series Metadata. Retrieved November 29, 2010, from