That’s right. The Alumni Association is getting springy with a highly official Peeps contest. Yes, there will be prizes.

All you have to do is find some Peeps and an old shoebox. Construct a diorama with the Peeps. Make sure it has something to do with MIT. We don’t care if it’s an MIT banner in the background or brass rats on the Peeps’ fluffy heads. Just make sure we see a little MIT somewhere in the diorama.

To enter:

1. Take two photos of your  diorama.

2. Post them in the MIT Peeps 2010 Flickr pool or email the photos to

3. Deadline is May 5th!

Don’t be all “I’m too old for this Peeps nonsense!” Have you seen what the Washington Post’s readers have done? Seriously, check this out:


Q: You said it was highly official. What’s so official about this?

A: We have official swag.

The First Place Prize will be a sparkling, hand-blown glass PEEPS® Chick with Swarovski crystal eyes.  These are handmade at the Banana Factory in Bethlehem, PA.  The glass PEEPS® Chick will be packed in a Just Born Gift Box with PEEPS® and other Just Born candy brands.

The Second Place Prize Package will be a PEEPS® Tote Bag and baseball cap also packed in the Just Born Gift Box with PEEPS® and other Just Born candy brands.

Q: Can I cover my Peeps in LEDs and turn the shoebox into a quadruped robot?

A: Sure, as long as we see the letters M I T somewhere in there.

Q: How do I add to your Flickr pool?

A: Join Flickr. Then join the MIT Peeps 2010 group. Once you’re a member of the group, you’ll see a link that says “Add something.” For more questions about adding photos to groups, please visit Flickr’s FAQ page.

Important note: Please be aware that Peeps manufacturer Just Born has permission to post winning dioramas images on its PEEPS® site.

High School Quiz Show, hosted by Lakshminarayanan (center), will present students from 20 schools, including Hingham.

High School Quiz Show, hosted by Lakshminarayanan (center), will feature 20 schools, including Hingham.

Dhaya Lakshminarayanan ’96, ’99, MCP ’99 earned three degrees in urban studies and planning then embarked upon careers including business consultant and stand-up comedian. Now she’s adding a new gig as host of WGBH’s High School Quiz Show, which premieres Monday, March 22.

“As a former smart kid, I have a lot of ‘nerd pride,’” says Lakshminarayanan, a native Tamil-speaker who learned English watching Sesame Street and other PBS shows. “I love that this show celebrates brainy students. There’s already a lot of emphasis on the competitive nature of sports; now smart kids will have their moment. And the approach to High School Quiz Show’s competition is fun, entertaining, and supportive.”

Are you as smart as a high school student? Find out by watching High School Quiz Show on Monday nights, March 22-June 16, at 7:30 p.m. Watch on WGBH 2, on the live stream at, or after the broadcast on Comcast On Demand. You can also follow live tweets at @HS_QuizShow and @WGBHboston. On the show site, you can take a quiz to see your own grade level, read about the schools, and check the broadcast schedule.


Antipods practice in the pit.

Antipods practice in the pit.

Like to build things with kids? Architect Ken Filar ’81 does and he is one of many alumni who coach FIRST robotics teams worldwide. And his team is cooking! The Antipodes, his all-girl FIRST Lego League team from Pacifica CA, will represent Northern California in the European Lego Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, April 22-24.

The For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) robotics competitions were founded in 1989 by Segway inventor Dean Kamen with the help of MIT’s mechanical engineering professor emeritus Woodie Flowers SM ’68, ME ’71, PhD ’73. The mission is very MIT: “To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.” One of Flowers contributions was the concept of Gracious Professionals who “learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process.”

Alumni can get involved as mentors and coaches through the MIT Alumni Association’s new collaboration with FIRST. If you are already involved and your team is heading to the world robotics championships in Atlanta, April 14-17, come to the MIT day-long event there for alumni, parents, students, coaches, and mentors with speakers including Flowers. Email the Association’s K12 team to find out more.

And how about those Antipods? Filar says there is lots of work to be done. “We now have three tasks ahead of us: 1) to improve our robots reliability, primarily through programming, 2) to improve our maglev train model, and 3) to fundraise for the trip.” To check out the team, go the Antipods Web site, see their work, watch their videos, and feel free to donate to tournament and travel costs.


“I wish I were your derivative so I could lie tangent to your curves.”

With 36 percent of the votes, Greg Grinberg’s charming line about derivatives commanded first place in the Alumni Association’s first ever Geeky Pickup Line Contest. Congratulations to Mr. Grinberg!

Trailing closely behind with 23 percent of the votes was Ashleigh Sanders’s, “If I were an enzyme, I’d be DNA helicase so I could unzip your genes.”

Prizes (yes! prizes!) will be mailed shortly to Mr. Grinberg and Ms. Sanders ’04.

Thanks to everyone who particpated.


Read the original 29 submissions.

View complete voting results.


The time has finally come to vote for the geeky pickup line that you like best. Whether you interpret “best” to mean “it would work on me!” or “best effort” or something else entirely is your prerogative.

There are five options in the poll below, culled from some 29 submissions that rolled in over the last week. Thanks to everyone who participated. The pickup lines generated a lot of smiles, Facebook “likes,” and maybe even some dates. (Write and tell us if you used one successfully!)

Happy voting:


Ikanos Power, from the University of Michigan, was one of the semifinalist teams in the Clean Energy Competition. Photo: Liv Gold

Ikanos Power, from the University of Michigan, was one of the semifinalist teams in the Clean Energy Competition. Photo: Liv Gold

Yesterday afternoon, over 25 semifinalist teams in the MIT Clean Energy Prize competition crammed into a conference room in the Sheraton Boston for an afternoon of judging and  exhibition.

The event, which is sponsored by NSTAR and the US Department of Energy, is a business plan competition that is open to full time students in the US. Over $500,000 in cash and other prizes are to be awarded to the grand prize winning team and to category winners. The five winners announced yesterday will proceed to the grand prize judging. By category, they are:

1. Biomass
Husk Insulation, from the University of Michigan: Agricultural waste to thin high-grade insulation

2. Clean hydrocarbons
Produced Water Purifiers, from MIT: Polymer super-adsorbent technology for petroleum collection

3. Energy Efficiency and Infrastructure
Troy Research Corporation, from RPI: Deep ultraviolet solid state lighting

4. Renewables
Heliotrope Solar, from MIT and Yale: Low-cost non-mechanical solar tracking

5. Transportation
Levant Power, from MIT: Innovative regenerative suspension system for improved vehicle fuel economy and handling

Congratulations to the finalists! Catch the grand prize announcement on May 12th at 2:00pm at the Wong Auditorium, Building E51, MIT (70 Memorial Drive, Cambridge MA).


The slice of burnt toast has has been at the top of this page for awhile, and with spring around the corner it seems time for a change. So with no further ado, I’d like to announce the first ever Slice Header Competition.

Here are the rules:

1. Design an image that fits inside our header banner at the top, which is 741 x 142 pixels (just design the image — you don’t have to include the text on the right)

Your Image Here

2. The image needs to evoke the word “slice”

3. It must also include the letters MIT

4. Please send jpg files only to

Blog administrators reserve the right to edit submissions. The best ones will be featured on the blog in the header area, and artists will be recognized with a special a blog posting. To get your creative juices flowing (and mouth watering), check out the pizza image above.