Peter Fisher named new head of Department of Physics
Last week, Professor Peter H. Fisher was named the new head of the Department of Physics. His five-year term will begin on Nov. 15. Fisher succeeds Edmund Bertschinger who left his position as department head in July to become the Institute Community and Equity Officer. Since then, Thomas J. Greytak has been serving as an interim department head. Fisher has been a faculty member at MIT since 1994. He currently teaches 8.033, a course on special and general relativity.
Major declaration numbers released; Course VI most popular
Earlier this month, the Registrar released enrollment statistics for the Fall 2013, detailing the primary majors chosen by students of the sophomore class. Course VI, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, was once again the most popular primary major, accounting for 367 students, or 32 percent of the sophomore class.
Grimson leaving Chancellorship to fill new role
Eric Grimson PhD ’80, Chancellor of MIT since 2011, will leave the Chancellorship and take on the ad hoc role of Chancellor for Academic Advancement, President L. Rafael Reif announced in an email to the MIT community Tuesday morning. In the new role, Grimson will help “meet the ambitious goals of MIT’s upcoming fundraising campaign,” Reif wrote. MIT will be searching for a new chancellor, and suggestions or insights should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or Room 3-208.
Koch-linked group admits spending violations
A secretive nonprofit group with ties to billionaire conservative businessmen Charles and David Koch admitted to improperly failing to disclose more than $15 million in contributions it funneled into state referendum battles in California, state officials there announced Thursday.
SEOUL, South Korea — In an surprise move that could help ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula, North Korea said Thursday that it would release six South Koreans it has been holding in detention, according to South Korean officials.
Cold and dry weekend ahead for Cambridge
Unusually cold temperatures will remain in Cambridge over the next week. A high pressure system brings with it clear skies. The days will be sunny but the mornings will be cold because of high levels of radiative cooling at night.
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has increased activity at its main underground nuclear test site, digging new tunnel entrances in what could be preparations for another nuclear test, a Washington-based research institute reported Thursday.
Credit Suisse to streamline and shrink its operations
Credit Suisse said Thursday that it planned to shrink its investment bank and other businesses as it grappled with stricter regulatory requirements and a challenging fixed-income market.
Drone politics take the center stage, even as strikes decrease
LONDON — For years, U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal belt have been the subject of what might be termed a wink-and-keep-moving approach between the leaders of both countries.
Civil war creates increased hardships for Syrians
DAMASCUS, Syria — Some 5 million Syrians are now refugees in their own country, many living hand-to-mouth in vacant buildings, schools, mosques, parks and the cramped homes of relatives. Others are trapped in neighborhoods isolated by military blockades, beyond the reach of aid groups. Already desperately short of food and medicine as winter closes in, they could begin to succumb in greater numbers to hunger and exposure, aid workers say.
Accusation of spying on Merkel puts Obama at crossroads
WASHINGTON — The angry allegation by the German government that the National Security Agency monitored the cellphone of Chancellor Angela Merkel may force President Barack Obama into making a choice he has avoided for years between continuing the age-old game of spying on America’s friends and undercutting cooperation with important partners in tracking terrorists, managing the global economy and slowing Iran’s nuclear program.
FDA endorses tighter control for painkillers
The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday recommended tighter controls on how doctors prescribe the most commonly used narcotic painkillers, changes that are expected to take place as early as next year.
The 2014 McDermott Award winner
On Thursday, MIT announced that Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson was awarded the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT. The award is an annual grant honoring Eugene McDermott, the co-founder of Texas Instruments and a longtime benefactor of MIT, and celebrates individuals with promising talents in artistic disciplines. Eliasson will receive the $100,000 prize at a gala this spring, as well as an artist residency, pop-up exhibitions, and the opportunity to give a public lecture. According to the Council for the Arts at MIT, the $100,000 prize is considered “an investment in the recipient’s future creative work rather than a prize for a particular project or lifetime of achievement.”
Arts Events OCT. 25 – OCT. 31
Arts Events OCT. 25 – OCT. 31 Friday (11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.) Architecture/HTC Book Talk, Kristel Smentek, “Art and History in the Age of Enlightenment” — 10-401 (3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.) Hack Lore: Cows, Cars, and Cannons Special Lecture — MIT Museum (5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.) Architecture Lecture: Mimi Hoang, “Control” — Room 7-429 (7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.) Film Screening: FAUST, a 1926 Silent Film by F. W. Murnau with Live Musical Accompaniment — 14W-111 (7:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.) Boston Ballet presents La Bayadère (Oct. 24 – Nov. 3) — Boston Opera House (8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.) Garden Jargon: Roadkill Buffet Improv Comedy Show — 6-120 (8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.) Family Weekend Concert presents: Celebrating Master Composers — Kresge Auditorium Saturday (10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.) MIT Press Loading Dock Book Sale — E38, 292 Main Street, Cambridge (12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.) Family Day at the MIT List Visual Arts Center — E-15, MIT List Visual Arts Center Sunday (10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.) MIT Press Loading Dock Book Sale — E38, 292 Main Street, Cambridge Monday (12:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.) Architecture Lecture/BT Fiona Cousins, “Two Degrees: Climate Change and Our Built Environment” — Rm 7-429 Tuesday (5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.) Architecture Lecture: RCR Architects, “Recent Work” — 7-429 (8:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.) Halloween Contra Dance with live music — W20-491 Wednesday (6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.) “How Our Brains Learn and Remember” with John Gabrieli, MIT Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience — MIT Museum (8:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.) Israeli Dancing — W20-491 Thursday (12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.) Organ Concert in the MIT Chapel — W15, MIT Chapel (1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.) Exploring the National Recording Preservation Plan — 14N-132 (5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.) Architecture Lecture: Greg Lynn, “Carbon Dating” — Room 7-429 Send your arts events to email@example.com.
Retrospective of an innovative filmmaker
La Jetée (The Pier), Chis Marker’s best-known film, kicked off the comprehensive retrospective of his films, and the wide variety of other media he produced over 60 years, which is underway at the MIT List Center for the Visual Arts and the Harvard Film Archive. Introductory receptions and talks were held on Thursday, Oct. 17 at both institutions.
Being mindful of your mind
The MIT Museum’s Soap Box lecture series kicked off last Wednesday with MIT Professor Matthew Wilson leading a discussion on “Sleep, Memory, and Animal Dreams.” This was the first in a series of 3 free neuroscience-related discussions being given at the MIT Museum. The way that a Soap Box discussion works is the following: the guest speaker gives a context to the audience, framing the discussion to be had and inspiring questions within the audience. Some time later, the audience breaks off into small groups to discuss the topic and to develop questions to ask the speaker via Twitter. Audience members reconvene after they’ve had ample time to fill the #MITSoapBox Twitter feed with questions and ideas. The speaker then tries to provide insight to as many questions as possible in the time remaining.
A dramatic and intense classical performance
There was no doubt the entire room was awaiting the legendary Yo-Yo Ma to take the stage at Boston Symphony Hall as the sold-out room stood with thunderous applause as he walked onto stage. Yo-Yo Ma’s presence was undeniably that of a prodigious musician as his first bow strokes of the cello resonated powerfully in the hall. French conductor Stéphane Denève engaged animatedly with Yo-Yo Ma in the intense Cell Concerto No. 1 in E-Flat, Opus 107 by Shostakovich.
Finding Haven in Jamaica Plain
As a student at MIT, it is often hard to find reasons to branch out from the standard food options surrounding campus. However, staying in the “MIT bubble” deprives students of the chance to eat out at many of the great restaurants a little farther away from this part of the city.
Janelle Monáe: electrifying and astonishing
Upon entering Boston’s House of Blues on October 16th, the attendees were given a short pamphlet entitled “The Ten Droid Commandments”. Besides instructing the audience on how to get the most out of Janelle Monáe’s conceptual concert, the pamphlet also contained Monáe’s special request for the audience — to never reveal the show’s secrets to their friends. Before the Electric Lady appeared on the stage to actually share the mysterious secrets, Roman GianArthur (one of the key figures in the production and arrangement of Monáe’s albums) opened the show with a stellar musical and vocal performance. In addition to performing some of his own songs, he also delivered several fantastic covers, including MGMT’s “Electric Feel” and Erykah Badu’s “Bag Lady”. Similarly to Monáe, his continuous communication with the audience and the ability to instill the “jam” factor into each of his songs made his appearance nothing less than mesmerizing.
A prison escape artist’s nightmare
When you go to see a movie starring Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and 50 Cent, you know you are in for an action-packed, blood, bombs, and guns style movie. This movie did not disappoint, but did add an unexpected and thoughtful plot.
An evening of Bach and bluegrass
Greeting the crowd with good wishes for the 20th day of Oktoberfest, mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile took the stage at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre, playing a set of Bach compositions intermixed with bluegrass, jazz, and gospel jams of his own and by others. Setting out on the evening’s program, he described the set list as “Bach, ill-advisedly broken up and played with bits of stuff in between.”
Igniting the Steinway
Yuja Wang, moving vigorously to music in a bright red dress and silver stilettos, was a ball of life in stark contrast against the still black Steinway; her rapidly movwing fingers pulling powerful strings of melodies from the grand piano. Her fervent movements threw her hair dancing and accented the notes she drew from an instrument that she had clearly mastered. In her musical interpretation, it was clear her Tweet quoting Mahler, “Tradition is tending the flame, it’s not worshiping the ashes,” was deeply embedded into her modern, energetic style.
Delicious, elephantine dishes
The Elephant Walk has locations in both Cambridge and Boston, and its most unique aspect is that it serves from an extensive menu of both French and Cambodian dishes. At the Cambridge location for a casual dinner, it took me a while just to read through the menu and choose dishes that would allow me to taste a variety of the restaurant’s offerings.
From MIT to Ice Rink
The Tech: When did you start ice dancing, and how did you keep up with it at MIT?
Breathing life into a long-gone European empress
Whether it is just another attempt by feminist revisionist historians to rehabilitate female historical figures by distinguishing their personal views and deeds from that of their husbands or fathers, or merely an expression of the personal and professional views of Evelyne Lever, a leading contemporary French historian and author, Marie-Antoinette in Her Own Words at the very least invokes sympathy for her gruesome fate, if not also empathy for her long suffering through a passionless marriage and the backstabbing of cruel panjandrums in the 18th century French imperial court.
Ice Theatre of New York graces Boston, starring an MIT alumna
The audience filled bleachers around the ice rink, wrapped in their coats in the chilled warehouse-like building, eagerly anticipating the show’s start. The Ice Theatre of New York (ITNY) didn’t disappoint. After sneaker-clad Artistic Director Douglas Webster explained the company’s aim to “elevate dance on ice as a performance art,” ten dancers glided onto the ice to the familiar “Awake My Soul” by Mumford & Sons, mesmerizing spectators with their athleticism and grace.
Wellesley tops MIT, 4-1
In a battle of undefeated NEWMAC rivals, No. 13 Wellesley College tallied three second-half goals en route to a 4-1 victory over No. 19 MIT in field hockey action on Tuesday afternoon. Michelle H. Teplensky ’14 posted the lone marker for the Engineers as their ledger moved to 12-3 overall and 5-1 in conference action.
Babson edges out MIT
In a back-and-forth affair, host Babson College emerged with a 20-25, 18-25, 21-25, 25-22, 15-10 victory over MIT in a NEWMAC women’s volleyball match on Tuesday night. Megan E. Gebhard ’17 generated a match-high 17 kills to go along with 10 digs and two aces for the Engineers (18-8, 5-3 NEWMAC).
UPCOMING HOME EVENTS
Saturday, October 26