March 2010


Photograph of Mike Jones, a vendor, showing up at the lot with his big white dog named Leah.

This photo, of vendor Mike Jones arriving at an antiques show/flea market with his dog, was taken by an MIT student in the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism class. Click photo to view more.

By now, you’ve likely heard of the OpenCourseWare (OCW) phenomenon. But an OCW newsletter I received last week put it into perspective nicely. It reports that according to the OCW Consortium,

  • In one year (2008-2009), 4,727 courses were made available online—an increase of 58%.
  • More than 250 institutions have published some 13,000 free courses online.
  • Courses are available in more than eight languages.

MIT’s OCW is always updating and adding courses. Among the new offerings:

And, OCW has improved the supplemental resources section, which includes online textbooks, multimedia content, image galleries, and exams and assignments (with and without solutions), among other things—all categorized by discipline. So if you’re looking for a textbook for calculus, fluid dynamics, or electromagnetic field theory; video demonstrations in lasers and fiber optics; or examples of student work from intro writing subjects, you’re in luck.

Be sure to check out student photos from the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism class. You’ll see a day in the life of a Boston Latin history teacher, how scuba divers celebrate Easter, and the real story and characters behind an antiques show and flea market.

MIT has a photogenic campus, what with Stata, the Dome, and the Charles. Today, however, Slice wants to feature an image from campus that is unique, not just in subject matter but also in technique. Several years ago photographer Greg Peverill-Conti captured this shot of an administrative building at MIT that was being torn down. He recently went back and reprocessed it, using a tilt-shift effect.

Peverill-Conti says he’s hoping to produce a series of tilt-shifted MIT photos. You can try out the technique yourself, using either Photoshop, an iPhone app, or a good old (expensive) tilt-shift lens.

If you want to try the Photoshop route, check out this tutorial on tilt-shift photography.

About two weeks ago on “Pi Day”, March 14th at 1:59PM (3.14159), the admissions decisions for the class of 2014 came out. With the MIT admissions website buzzing with excitement, the Institute welcomed the future students of MIT with the greatest word a struggling high school senior could see: accepted. One thing that MIT does very well is making their admitted students feel welcome. From sending mailing tubes full of confetti to having MIT students and faculty call the high school seniors during “newly admitted student telethons” MIT provides a comfortable setting for the admit-tees even before they step on campus. With admitted student information sessions all across the country, the class of 2014 got to meet current MIT students who went back home for spring break this past week. One current student, Jay Rajan, a junior, who went to the admitted student get-together in Los Angeles, described the event as “electric.” I remember the excitement I felt when I knew I got into MIT, and it’s great to know hundreds of people all over the nation get to feel the same rush I did. With Campus Preview Weekend (CPW) only a week and a half away, MIT is prepping for a surge of energy from the admitted students. This year, CPW will take place from April 8-11. For more information about CPW and the newly admitted students, check out these websites:

http://www.mitadmissions.org/

http://web.mit.edu/admissions/cpw/

http://www.mymit.info/

Chip Chick, a blog devoted to “Tech and Gadgets from a Girls’ Perspective,” is saluting the 20th birthday of an MIT alumni business success, iRobot. Here is their shoutout:

“In the 90’s two MIT grads, Colin Angle [’89, SM ’91] and Helen Greiner [’89, SM ’90], and their MIT Professor, Rodney Brooks, joined forces to make practical robots a reality and 20 years later they are still at the forefront of technology with new and exciting ways to not only help us in our homes but in healthcare, research, and education. It all started by them winning the NASA Group Achievement Award from designing a behavior-controlled rover for NASA. This led to the Sojourner exploring Mars in 1997. In 2002, iRobot launched two robots that would ultimately cement them into our culture, the Roomba floor vacuuming robot and PackBot tactical mobile robot. Five million robots from the household line of vacuum robots have sold worldwide, making it the best-selling consumer robots in history. 3,000 units of the PackBot have also been dispatched to the military and as well as civilians worldwide.”

You can celebrate virtually by watching a Packbot music video created by the band Landsdowne and iRobot that shows off the Packbot at work deactivating bombs and such.

A flute of local champagne in the vineyards of Unchair, near Reims

A flute of local champagne in the vineyards of Unchair, near Reims (© Owen Franken/ photographed for the New York Times).

Curious about Owen Franken? View more of his work via the Franken Photo of the Week category, learn more in this profile, read a What Matters opinion column he wrote called “Life in Brownian Motion,” or visit his Web site.

Two months ago, David Ziegelheim ’75 started a discussion on LinkedIn about health care reform: “What is your solution for health care services?” he asked. His question generated nearly 800 replies.

Comments have continued since Obama’s landmark legislaton passed earlier this week. Read Ziegelheim’s opening statement and some recent remarks after the jump.

Want to join the conversation? Go to LinkedIn.com and make sure you’re a member of the MIT Alumni Association group. (All alumni are encouraged to join!) Once you’re a member, you can participate in the open discussions.

(more…)

Computer mouse connected to the word job.

Image: ©istockphoto.com/porcorex.

With the economy the way it is, it pays to stay current with job search strategies, whether you’re currently on the prowl for a new position or not. Savvy job hunters these days create personal brands for themselves with social media—strategies that take time to develop.

Two Webinars sponsored by the MIT Careers Office will offer tips that will help position alumni for future career movement.

Using Social Media for Your Job Search
March 31
3:00–4:00 p.m. EDT

Did you know that 83% of employers use the Internet to find information about potential employees? Are you on Facebook but not on LinkedIn? Discover how to create your own personal brand using social media instead of just aimlessly applying for jobs. In this Webinar, we will focus on the dos and don’ts when using LinkedIn and tips to build valuable connections. In addition, you will leave this workshop with the knowledge of how to diagnose, manage, and monitor your Web presence while developing connections with people who can make your professional goals a reality. Learn how to establish a strong web presence that will impress employers, colleagues, and industry leaders.
Preregistration required
.

Job Search 911
May 25
2:00
3:00 p.m. EDT
Sign up for this Webinar for tips on maximizing the impact of your resume, creating tailored cover letters, and uncovering the hidden job market. While this is geared to graduating students, anyone whose resume is out of date will find it useful.
Preregistration required
.

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Students visit the rising city of Masdar as part of Terrascope.

Students visit the rising sustainable city of Masdar.

Spring break means exploring the exotic reaches of Abu Dhabi for students in MIT’s Terrascope Program, the academic program that tackles a fresh global problem each year. You can be there too by reading the student blogs this week, with posts that share visits to a resplendent mosque and walking magnificent sand dunes and, in later days, digging into the science and technology that underpin the experimental city of Masdar and the Masdar Institute, the world’s first graduate institution devoted to renewable energy and sustainability.

These students, all freshmen, are engaged in Terrascope’s Mission 2013, focusing on capture and storage of carbon dioxide from Earth’s atmosphere.

One student wrote: “Highlights from yesterday were seeing the technologies that we’ve been researching so extensively actually being implemented. We saw a 10 megawatt field of photovoltaic solar panels (5MW of thin-film and 5MW of crystalline cells) and the magnitude of such a proposition became clear. Row after row of sun-speckled panels lined the desert floor like engineered vegetation. The technology made the area flourish….”

Visit the Mission 2013 Web site for more information on the technologies involved in Masdar city. You can learn more about the development of the Masdar Institute, which is modeled on MIT and began offering classes last fall.

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A giant statue of the Greek goddess Athena appeared in MIT's Killian Court on the first day of final exams 2009.

A giant statue of the Greek goddess Athena appeared in MIT's Killian Court on the first day of final exams 2009.

Hacks, clever student stunts that enliven campus life and do no harm, are an MIT tradition. Now the MIT Press and the MIT Museum are revising Nightwork: A History of Hacks and Pranks at MIT in time for the pending 150th Institute anniversary in 2011. They need new material—and they are hoping that alumni will come forward to share stories and information.

The deadline looms! In fact, writer Eric Bender needs to hear from you by Friday, March 26. See ways to contact him below—and you can remain anonymous.

“In particular, I’m writing an essay about hacks from 2001 to today,” Bender says. “I’d love to hear from alums who have special knowledge of hacks in that period.”

Bender is particularly interested in these hacks:

  • Caltech cannon abduction
  • Apollo lunar module on the Dome
  • Solar-powered subway on the Dome
  • “In case of zombie attack, break glass”
  • Board games hack
  • Fire truck on the Dome (5th anniversary of 9/11)
  • Marriage proposal banner drop
  • Yellow cranks
  • Wright Flyer on the Dome
  • One Ring to Rule the Dome

Ready to share a tale or two?  You can email Bender with a comment or set up a time to chat at ebender@mit.edu. Or leave voicemail at his day job, 617-732-2418.

Meanwhile feel free to visit Interesting Hacks To Fascinate People: the MIT Gallery of Hacks.

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Not for me.

I’m taking two classes at Harvard this semester: one is an Organic Chemistry II class with lab component (MIT doesn’t offer Organic II in the Spring) and the other is a Neurological Diseases class at Harvard Med. The first class is interesting but Organic Chemistry and I don’t exactly get along…the second is extremely cool and features awesome weekly patient presentations. However, one drawback to taking classes at Harvard is travel time. I need to go back and forth to Harvard’s main campus 4x per week and Longwood 2x per week.

But perhaps the worst feature of this arrangement is that MIT and Harvard’s Spring Breaks didn’t happen to coincide this year. So while I am in dreary Cambridge on this lovely Monday night…

sixteen of my friends are in Cancun. I’m a little heartbroken, but I digress.

Funny story: a few weeks ago MIT’s Camp Kesem coordinators traveled to LA for a national conference.

We had a blast meeting the 20+ other college teams, but perhaps my favorite part of the conference was the very first night. Each school had to prepare a skit for a giant talent show, and we decided to do a parody of what attending Camp Kesem at MIT is like. We pretended that we taught the kids Bernoulli’s equation before they could swim in the lake, weeded out camper applicants based on their 4th-grade GPAs, separated into teams named “the enzymes” and “the substrates” and sang the MIT fight song instead of traditional camp songs. The 200+ crowd roared and cheered at the end, the judges said that it was “too hard to choose a winner but…MIT, you guys were hysterical.” For the rest of the conference, we were repeatedly approached about the hilarity of our skit. We felt like rock stars, and so at our first CK MIT training session back in Cambridge, the coordinators decided to perform our skit for the MIT counselors, anticipating an even better result.

No one laughed.

At first, we were confused and dejected. Then, we realized what had happened. The counselors found Bernoulli’s equation, slide rule quips, enzyme/substrate teams…

entirely normal.    …

I love MIT.

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