Smith’s address to graduates places ‘heart’ alongside mind and hand
Over 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students received their diplomas at this year’s Commencement ceremony on June 5. In all, the Institute awarded over 3,400 degrees.
Student group funding to be halved during UA debt ‘crisis’
The UA has “run through its money” and has gone into debt. In the coming year, it will be forced to reduce its budget—much of which currently funds student groups—by approximately half.
State of New Jersey drops Tidbit inquiry
The state of New Jersey has agreed to drop its investigation into Tidbit after previously issuing a subpoena to Jeremy Rubin ’16 requiring that he turn over the program’s source code, log files, and other information.
Faculty urge divestment in open letter to Reif
A group of 79 faculty members has signed an open letter to President L. Rafael Reif expressing their support for divesting MIT’s endowment from fossil fuel companies. The letter comes as the Climate Change Conversation (CCC) prepares to release its report to the community.
New curriculum offered for students doubling in 6-1 & 8
The Department of Physics and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science have recently announced changes to the curriculum for undergraduates double majoring in Electrical Engineering (Course 6-1) and Physics (Course 8).
Commencement to be partly cloudy
The month of June is off to its coldest start in Boston’s recorded history. Until this week, there had never (since records were first kept in 1872) been a day in June during which the temperature in Boston didn’t reach at least 50°F. However, the high temperatures on both Monday and Tuesday, June 1 and 2, were only 49°F. The unseasonable cold began to abate on Wednesday as sunshine returned, bringing temperatures into the mid-50s. This warming trend will continue through the weekend, as temperatures slowly make their way back up to seasonable levels.
Judith Layzer, professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, dies at 53
Judith Layzer, a professor at MIT and an accomplished scholar who produced influential work on environmental policy and politics, died Thursday after an extended illness. She was 53.
UROP minimum wage to increase
The minimum hourly wage for MIT’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program is slated to increase to $11.50 over the next two years, according to an email from Julie B. Norman, Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education.
A farewell to the Class of 2015
Today, new scientists and engineers, economists and financiers, academics and professionals leave MIT and begin their careers, among them many of my closest friends and colleagues. What strikes me most about this time of year is the atmosphere: not the fatalism that follows exam week or the relief at having reached a vacation, but rather a quiet (or not so quiet) sense of anticipation and hope for life beyond the Institute from those convening in Killian.
Abroad, at home
According to recent estimates, 1.65 million American households are now living in “extreme poverty” — trying to survive on less than $2 per person per day — despite the national recovery from recession. The number of such households has doubled since 1996.
Refocusing the Climate Change Conversation
This week, the initial phase of the MIT Climate Change Conversation will conclude with the release of a committee report weighing the pros and cons of actions proposed by the MIT community. A focus of that report will be on divestment of the Institute’s endowment from fossil fuels. Without the early, critical efforts of Fossil Free MIT (FFMIT), the energetic, campus-wide discussion of MIT’s options for climate action would never have begun.
Statistics and the new Institute for Data, Systems, and Society
Earlier this semester, Provost Martin Schmidt and the Deans of the five schools announced the establishment of the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, headed by Professor Munther Dahleh. This exciting new entity aims to “address societal challenges using analytical tools from statistics and information and decision systems,” and will officially launch on July 1.
Pitch Perfect 2 is far from perfect
Pitch Perfect 2 is the long-awaited sequel to Pitch Perfect, released in 2012. The film opens with the Barden Bellas, now seniors in college, performing for Barack Obama. The performance goes terribly wrong after a wardrobe malfunction results in Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) flashing the audience. This incident leads to the team’s suspension, and Beca (Anna Kendrick) strikes a deal that will allow the Bellas to be reinstated under the condition that they win the Acapella World Tournament. The rest of the film follows their shenanigans and mishaps as they make it through their final year of college and prepare for the final competition.
The Grief of Others
I had the opportunity to attend a screening of The Grief of Others with the director Patrick Wang ’98. Wang studied economics and concentrated in music and theater arts at MIT, and went on to direct theatre and recently, film. His first film, In the Family, was critically lauded and rightly so. The Grief of Others, his latest film, just showed at the Cannes Film Festival. Wang left early from the screening I attended at Harvard to go to the Festival; as a result, I did not get the chance to ask him about the film. But I did get the chance to ask the author of the eponymous novel on which the film is based, Leah Hager Cohen, about one of the film’s final shots.
Poltergeist (2015): lots of action, some comedy, hardly any horror
This remake of Steven Spielberg’s Poltergeist (1982) sees a jobless couple and their three children move into a new home that fits their budget. Griffin, their ten-year-old son, lives in the attic, where he experiences frequent nightmares and finds frightening clowns in the closet. To make things worse, he also finds his younger sister Madison talking to mysterious objects through the TV in the middle of the night. “They’re here,” she claims ominously. His parents disregard his nervousness and their youngest daughter’s sleepwalking until one night, their house is attacked and Madison is taken. The Bowens discover that their house was built on what was an old cemetery, moved to make way for construction. To cut costs, the construction company moved the headstones but left the bodies — leaving the Bowens to deal with some extremely unhappy poltergeists looking to move out of the limbo they are stuck in.
A year of many firsts for MIT sports
From the football team scoring a last-minute field goal on the way to their first ever NCAA playoff victory, to the women’s lacrosse team erasing a five goal deficit in the last twelve minutes and clinching their maiden New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship, to breaking a pole vault record at the New England Division III Track and Field Championship, MIT student athletes scaled new heights (pun intended) in the 2014-15 year. While some usual suspects continued their domination — like the men’s tennis team winning their 17th consecutive NEWMAC title — there were a number of new frontiers reached this season. Here we take a look back at some of the ‘firsts’ for MIT sports.
The time is right: social justice at MIT
It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter. As an institution we are standing in reflection and grief after too many deaths of our students and employees. Nationally from Ferguson to Baltimore, we are grappling with large scale racial and class injustices. I was asked to contribute to this ‘Intuitively Obvious’ column, and it is a good time for us to consider how best to care for each other, our community, and for ourselves.