MIT professor creates reality TV series of his daily life

March 27, 2017 by Lisa Zyga, report
Shot from In My Shoes. Credit: Cesar Hidalgo

(—"What if the Kardashians were physicists?" asks César Hidalgo, an associate professor at MIT and director of the Collective Learning group at the MIT Media Lab.

Fortunately they're not, but that odd-sounding blend might be the best way to imagine Hidalgo's new : a video series called "In My Shoes" that documents his professional as a researcher and his as a husband and father of a young daughter.

The final product—eight episodes ranging in length from 10 to 20 minutes—can be viewed at

"The goal of the series is to help show younger people considering an what the day-to-day of the life of a scholar is like," he said. "Personally, I think that this would have been very useful to me 20 years ago, when I was considering an academic career but had no role models in Chile."

Hidalgo self-recorded his life over the course of three months in 2016. During that time, he traveled extensively—from Boston to Washington, D.C.; Saudi Arabia; Switzerland; Portland; Monterrey; and Paris.

One of the major projects that Hidalgo was working on at the time was DataUSA, a website that presents all kinds of data (economic, demographic, health, education, housing, etc.) in a visual, rapidly digestible way. It's intended to provide information for policymakers, business owners, students, and job-seekers.

The , however, is not intended to inform us of the technical details of such projects. Instead we get an inside look at what's it like to actually be the person developing and sharing these projects, complete with all of the thoughts and concerns that any ordinary person would have. Hidalgo's narration is thoughtful, entertaining, modest, and—when it comes to what jet lag feels like after 24 hours of travel—painfully sincere. It's a unique and personal perspective of the academic life that breaks down the traditional stereotypes—especially as we learn that even MIT professors find it challenging to dress a two-year-old in the morning.

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not rated yet Mar 30, 2017
I'm disturbed by the author's suggestion that "fortunately" the Kardashians are not physicists- we should want more educated public figures, and no one should be dissuaded from or denied the study of physics. If Kim or Khloe expressed an interest in science and that inspired even one young person watching to pursue a physics or engineering career, that would be absolutely fantastic. As a woman, the author should recognize that women and minorities are already a rarity in the field of Old White Male physicists, especially at the higher levels or research and academia- why is she trying to maintain that discouragement??
Stop putting limits on what a physicist should look or act like. It's ok to like sports, like fashion, be athletic, or make art projects and also be a physicist. Grow up.

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