Meet the ‘rockstar’ MIT professor who’s been linked to Brad Pitt and billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman

Neri Oxman, pictured, coined the term

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Neri Oxman, pictured, coined the term “material ecology.”
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Riccardo Savi/Getty

  • Brad Pitt is reportedly spending time with MIT Media Lab professor Neri Oxman – though the relationship isn’t romantic.
  • Oxman is reportedly dating billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman.
  • Oxman was born in Israel, coined the term and pioneered the field of “material ecology,” and has her work featured in museums across the globe.

Universal heartthrob Brad Pitt has a new friend – and it’s someone who works thousands of miles from Hollywood.

Neri Oxman is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a pioneer in her field (“material ecology” – heard of it?).

Page Six, which called Oxman a “rockstar MIT professor,” reported that nothing romantic has developed between the two, though a source also told Page Six that Oxman is dating billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman. Ackman’s team declined to comment to Page Six.

Below, some of the highlights of Oxman’s life and impressive career.


This is Neri Oxman. She is an associate professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab.

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Noah Kalina/Wikimedia Commons

Source: MIT Media Lab


Page Six reported that Oxman and actor Brad Pitt have been spending time together, after meeting through an architecture project at MIT. A source told Page Six, “Brad and Neri instantly hit it off because they share the same passion for architecture, design and art. This is best described as a professional friendship.”

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Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Source: New York Post


According to Page Six, Oxman has been dating billionaire Bill Ackman for seven months, although Ackman’s team declined a request for comment. Ackman is the founder of hedge fund Pershing Square Capital, and was once called the next Warren Buffett.

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Reuters / Richard Brian

Source: New York Post, Business Insider


Oxman, who is in her early 40s, was born in Israel to architect parents.

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PopTech/Wikimedia Commons

Source: Harpers Bazaar


After a stint in the Israeli Army, Oxman tried out medical school, but switched to architecture school after two years. In 2010 she graduated from MIT’s PhD program in design computation.

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Joi Ito/Flickr

Source: Harpers Bazaar


Oxman coined the term “material ecology.” According to her profile on the MIT Media Lab website, material ecology “considers computation, fabrication, and the material itself as inseparable dimensions of design.”

Neri Oxman, pictured, coined the term

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Riccardo Savi/Getty

Source: MIT Media Lab


One well-known project of hers is the “Silk Pavilion,” which combines a robotic arm with a dome made by thousands of live silkworms. Another project is “Wanderers,” which consists of 3-D printed wearable skins designed to help humans survive on other planets.

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The “Silk Pavilion” is pictured.
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Neri Oxman/Wikimedia Commons

Source: Harpers Bazaar, MIT Media Lab, dezeen


Her work is featured in permanent collections in several museums, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Boston Museum of Science.

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Oxman’s work in MoMA.
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Mikey Siegel/Wikimedia Commons

Source: MIT Media Lab


And she’s won several awards, most recently the Emerging Voices award from the Architectural League of New York and the Innovation by Design Award from Fast Company.

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kevin slavin/Flickr

Source: MIT Media Lab


In 2015, Oxman gave a TED Talk that’s since racked up nearly 1.7 million views. In it, she talked about material ecology as “combin[ing] scientific insight with lots of mystery and [moving] away from the age of the machine to a new age of symbiosis between our bodies, the microorganisms that we inhabit, our products and even our buildings.”

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Screenshot/TED

Source: TED


Oxman was previously married to Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov. She told Surface magazine that Golijov had an “incredible influence” on her work.

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Stephen Lovekin/Getty

Source: Surface


A source told Page Six that Pitt’s relationship with Oxman hasn’t turned romantic. The source said, “Brad is very interested in spending more time with Neri, she is fascinating.”

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Joi/Wikimedia Commons

Source: New York Post