Michael Hawley is an educator, artist and researcher working in the field of digital media. Previously at MIT’s Media Laboratory 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 National Geographic, Time, The New York Times, and on numerous television networks. Hawley is also a pianist and organist. He won first place, tying with Victoria Bragin, at the third International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, hosted by the Van Cliburn Foundation in 2002.