Brass Rat Unveiled;LHC, Koch Highlight New Additions to Ring

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MIT Hackers placed a giant mock Brass Rat above the entrance to the Infinite Corridor in Lobby 7 on Friday morning, the day of the 2011 Ring Premiere.
Elizabeth J. Eddison
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Class of 2011 Ring Committee Chair Mitchell T. Westwood ’11 and Vice Chair Anita Y. Lin ’11 unveil the Brass Rat bezel at the Class of 2011 Ring Premiere ceremony, held last Friday in Kresge Auditorium.
Yuanyu Chen—The Tech

Unveiled amid laughter and hijinx at Kresge Auditorium last Friday, the Class of 2011 Brass Rat features a forward-facing beaver and all the usual winks and nods, this year depicting the goddess Athena, hackers on the Dome, and a salute to the newly-completed Large Hadron Collider.

The 2011 Rat will cost between $5 to $29 less than last year’s thanks to a dip in gold prices in late winter, when the Ring Committee locked in ring prices. Gold prices have since climbed 22 percent.

“We just got so lucky,” said Ring Committee Secretary Anisha V. Deshmane ’11. “We got it at the lowest price we could have.”

The bezel shows a beaver sitting on the Harvard bridge at night with the Red Line train passing along the Longfellow bridge. Crushed beneath the beaver are eight ivy leaves, one of which is a spade, commemorating the release of the movie “21” and the class’s freshman orientation theme, which was a riff on “Casino Royale.”

The MIT mascot holds a globe and a diploma in one hand, emphasizing the class’s potential to impact the world. In its other paw, a scale grows into a sapling. Ring Committee member Daniel Chen ’11 stated this was one of his favorite parts of the ring. “[The symbol] recognizes that we only have one earth, and MIT’s environmental initiative is a leader in the cause,” Chen said.

The 150th Smoot is marked on the bridge behind the beaver, honoring the sesquicentennial anniversary of MIT in the sophomores’ graduation year, as well as the 50th anniversary of the night Oliver R. Smoot ’62 became a unit of length.

The Hacker’s Map on the underside of the ring now includes the Koch Building, which broke ground during the class’ freshman year. The windows of the Green Building on the Cambridge skyline are lit to spell out “2011” in binary. Sails on boats in the Charles are marked “11.”

The class shank on the side of the ring portrays goddess of wisdom Athena modeling the right hand rule. Behind Athena looms the Great Dome, on top of which three hackers work their mischief in the shadows.

The seal shank includes the “nuts and bolts” MIT insignia, but the three screws are rotated such that they read “X + I,” Roman numerals that add to the class year. Behind this lies the logo for CERN, the organization responsible for the Large Hadron Collider, which first started firing in September.

“I found the overall design to be pretty classy,” Michelle S. Chang ’11 said.

Before the real ring design was brought out, members of the Ring Committee introduced a gag ring that depicted the beaver clutching an Anna’s Taqueria super burrito in one paw, and a TEAL clicker in the other.

The audience’s shock quickly turned to laughter as other parts of the ring were unveiled. Flanking the beaver were the Z-Center and a construction crane operated by Charlie the Unicorn. Students inside the translucent Z-Center spelled “PUNT” with their bodies.

At this point, Ring Committee Chair Mitchell T. Westwood ’11 admitted to the assembly that this “awesome” plan was only a spoof ring, a prank that has not been pulled since the ring premiere for the Class of 2008.

“It was good fun after we realized what was going on,” said Shireen Warnock ’11.

Ring Delivery will take place on May 8 at the City Performing Arts Center. Ordering will take place through Thursday in Lobby 13, as well as Friday, Feb. 13 and Tuesday, Feb. 17 to Thursday, Feb. 19 in Lobby 10. The committee will be subsidizing a $25 discount to the first 800 sophomores who order a ring.