Designing woman: Ms. Oxman is the rare tenured professor to land in the tabloids. : A star of M.I.T.’s Media Lab working in “material ecology,” she has intrigued Björk, Brad Pitt and the Cooper Hewitt. CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — One hot day in early September, Neri Oxman, a tenured professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, was on her way to lunch when it hit her. “‘Form follows pheromones!’” she remembered exclaiming.