Robert Downey Jr. biked around Boston and Cambridge while visiting MIT

The "Iron Man" actor spent time on MIT's campus with researchers who are working on "REAL WORLD TECHNOLOGY MIRACLES."

Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. Alberto E. Rodriguez/File Photo

You’re never too old to go back to college, even if you’re Iron Man.

Actor Robert Downey Jr., who played fictional MIT alum Tony Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, recently visited the Cambridge university’s campus, taking in the school’s distinctive architecture, riding a bike across the Mass. Ave. Bridge, and paying a visit to one of MIT’s pioneering programs.

Photos of Downey Jr.’s sightseeing tour — which took him around MIT’s campus and over to the Esplanade — were shared on Twitter by FootPrint Coalition, a group founded by the actor that seeks to support “new technologies that can restore our environment.”

The actor also touted the virtues of the city’s bicycle lanes, posting a video of himself cycling over the Mass. Ave. Bridge.


“Every 1M spent on bike lanes creates 18 more jobs than the same amount for regular auto centric roads…lets ‘self-propel’ our planets future….#bikelanesrock,” the actor tweeted.

The actor has been sporadically posting photos and images from MIT for two weeks now, with the earliest evidence of the actor on campus dating back to July 27.

Downey Jr.’s visit highlighted the work being done at MIT’s K. Lisa Yang Center for Bionics, which, among other goals, “seeks to develop neural and mechanical interfaces for human-machine communications,” according to its website.

The actor posed for a photo with MIT professor Hugh Herr, a co-leader of the Yang Center and a double amputee who has conduced pioneering research in bionic limb development.

“Optogenetics! Biomechatronics! Osseointegration! Magnetomicrometry! Tony Stark went to MIT , and thanks to Hugh Herr and the K. Lisa Yang Center For Bionics, I’m witnessing the REAL WORLD TECHNOLOGY MIRACLES that will affect countless lives in previously unimaginable ways,” Downey Jr. wrote on Instagram. “It’s an honor and a privilege to be an Executive Advisory Board member, and I’m excited to make y’all part of this heroic journey to a brighter future.”

Downey Jr.’s visit to MIT came approximately one year after the school allowed Marvel to film scenes for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” around campus, including a chase scene right where Downey Jr. took his bike ride over the Mass. Ave. Bridge.


While it hasn’t been revealed why the plot of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” involves the Boston area, all signs point to new character Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) and her connection to MIT.

In the comics, Riri is known as Lady Ironheart, and is a de facto successor to Iron Man. Much like predecessor Tony Stark, Riri is a child genius who attends MIT at a young age. She builds a new Iron Man suit using scraps stolen from around campus, and eventually becomes a teenage superhero. (You can briefly see Thorne working on a metal suit in the movie’s trailer.)

Downey Jr.’s bike lane evangelization did not go unnoticed online.

“Robert Downey Jr. is riding in the bike lanes I helped create? AWESOME,” tweeted Patrick Baxter, a Cambridge traffic engineer.

“Robert Downey Jr., welcome to the war on cars,” another Twitter user wrote.


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