Laurence Young

Affiliate Faculty
Phone: (617) 253-7759
Lab Phone: (617) 253-7759
room: 37-207
MIT address: 77 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139
Administrative Assistant: Pam Fradkin
assistant phone: (617) 258-9729
assistant email:

Laurence Young

Affiliate Faculty


  • Apollo Program Professor Emeritus of Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Professor, Health Sciences and Technology
  • Director, Bioastronautics Training Program, Health Sciences and Technology


Laurence Young was the founding Director of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine of the NAS and is a full member of the International Academy of Astronautics. Dr. Young joined the MIT faculty in 1962, and co-founded the Man-Vehicle Laboratory which does research on the visual and vestibular systems, visual-vestibular interaction, flight simulation, space motion sickness and manual control and displays. Following two years of training at Johnson Space Center he served as Alternate Payload Specialist during the October 1993 mission. Dr. Young has served on numerous Academy committees including the Committee on the Space Station, Committee on Human Factors, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, and Air Force Studies Board. He currently chairs NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts External Council.


  • ScD in Instrumentation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1962
  • SM in Electrical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1959
  • Certif de License in Mathematics, Faculte des Sciences, University of Paris, 1958
  • SB in Electrical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1957
  • AB in Physics, Amherst College, 1957

selected awards/societies

  • Fellow, American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, 2006
  • Koetser Foundation Prize, 1998
  • NASA Space Acts Award, 1995
  • Institute of Medicine, 1992
  • National Academy of Engineering, 1980
  • Aerospace Medical Association
  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Dryden Lecturer in Research
  • Barany Society
  • Biomedical Engineering Society (President, ALZA Lecturer)
  • Explorers Club
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
  • International Academy of Astronautics
  • National Space Biomedical Research Institute Pioneer Award
  • Society for Neuroscience


Professor Young’s contributions to the aerospace medical field have been in instrumentation (eye movement measurement) and basic and applied research in the field of vestibular function. His psychophysical work on semicircular canal and otolith function led to models that are applied to flight simulator motion control and are being extended to include visually induced motion effects. Professor Young is also recognized for his leadership in the aerospace human factors including applications of manual control theory, and especially for his research on adaptive manual control. His work on the vestibular system has led to his role as principal investigator for experiments on vestibular adaptation to weightlessness conducted aboard five Spacelab missions for which he received NASA’s Public Service Group Achievement Award.

selected publications

  • T. K. Clark, M. C. Newman, D. M. Merfeld, C. M. Oman, and L. R. Young. “Human manual control performance in hyper-gravity.” Exp Brain Res. 233.5 (2015): 1409-20.
  • T. K. Clark, M. C. Newman, C. M. Oman, D. M. Merfeld, and L. R. Young. “Human perceptual overestimation of whole body roll tilt in hyper gravity.” J Neurophysiol 113.7 (2015): 2062-77.
  • L. R. Young, L. Bernard-Demanze, M. Dumitrescu, J. Magnan, L. Borel, and M. Lacour. “Postural performance of vestibular loss patients under increased postural threat.” J Vestib Res 22.2 (2012): 129-38.
  • K. R. Duda, T. Jarchow, and L. R. Young. “Squat exercise biomechanics during short-radius centrifugation.” Aviat Space Environ Med 83.2 (2012): 102-10.
  • L. R. Young. “Optimal estimator models for spatial orientation and vestibular nystagmus.” Exp Brain Res. 210 (2011): 465-76.

A full list of Professor Young’s publications can be found on PubMed.

courses taught

  • HST 514 – SP 2013 – Sensory-Neural Systems: Spatial Orientation from End Organs to Behavior and Adaptation     Sensory-Neural Systems