Terror strikes, four are slain, Boston prevails, and MIT remembers
Tragedy struck Boston, Cambridge, and MIT this year with the bombing at the 117th Boston Marathon on Monday Apr. 15 and the shooting death of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier that Friday. The events that unfolded halted Boston’s daily operations and thrust the city and Institute into the national spotlight.
The Institute racked up awards in 2013
From MacArthur Fellowships to Marshall Scholarships, MIT students, faculty, and alumni racked up a number of impressive awards in 2013.
Internet rallies for liberator of information
Internet activist Aaron H. Swartz committed suicide on Jan. 11, 2013, igniting a firestorm of discussion over the Internet — where he was regarded as something of a folk hero — and triggering questions regarding the prosecution, MIT, and JSTOR’s involvement in United States v. Aaron Swartz.
Our campus in scaffolding
In addition to recommendations to demolish Bexley and the several capital projects ongoing in Kendall and Central Square, MIT started several renovation projects of its own over the past year — including renovations on Building 2 and E52, the demolition of Building 12, and the opening of the new Koch Childcare Center adjacent to Simmons.
The new faces of the GIRs: makeovers in biology, chemistry
In Fall 2013, alterations and additions to the General Institute Requirement (GIR) classes offered students more options and new mediums for learning. The Department of Biology introduced two new Introductory Biology classes, 7.015 and 7.016, as well as incorporated online learning from edX into 7.012. Additionally, 3.091 (Solid State Chemistry) piloted an entirely new course format that strongly integrated the use of online learning materials into the structure of the course.
Bexley Hall closed due to structural issues
At a meeting on May 7, 2013, residents of the former undergraduate dormitory Bexley Hall learned that the final weeks of the spring semester would be their last in the dorm, which was planned to remain closed for up to three years in order to resolve structural issues. On Apr. 29, the administration received the engineering report that recommended the building’s closure. Residents of the building were instructed to move out by June 8.
‘Boston ban’ imposed on Boston FSILGs
In late October, the Boston Licensing Board (BLB) put assembly limits in place for MIT’s Boston-based fraternities, sororities, and living groups (FSILGs), effectively restricting social gatherings by setting the assembly limit equal to the residency limit. These limits have continued into IAP. There are hopes for Boston to approve the licenses by the beginning of the Spring semester. The restriction continues to impact all FSILGs on the Boston side, including 19 of MIT’s 27 fraternities, 3 of the 6 sororities, and 2 of the 6 independent living groups.
From the editor
MIT entered 2013 expecting to face federal funding cuts for research due to the sequester, and high-level MIT officials searched for ways to keep our research thriving, saying we could handle the cuts better than other affected institutions. The difficulties we could not have anticipated, however, shook our community at many levels as we navigated through an especially turbulent 2013.
Institute’s top brass are shuffled around
MIT’s senior leadership saw sweeping changes in 2013. Dennis Freeman PhD ’86 became the new dean of undergraduate education (DUE), Chris A. Kaiser PhD ’87 stepped down as provost, and Eric Grimson PhD ’80 announced his plans to leave Chancellorship in order to head a capital fundraising campaign. In total, nine of the twenty-six total positions in the senior administration changed or will change.
Hurdle cleared for Kendall portal to MIT
Will the most innovation square mile on the planet get a mini-golf course?
Why the career fair is a disappointment
Editor’s Note: This column original ran on Sept. 20, 2013, the day of the Fall Career Fair.
An illusory trade-off
Editor’s Note: This column originally ran in the Sept. 24, 2013 issue of The Tech as a response to Madeline O’Grady’s column published in the previous issue.
The unquestioned assumption of online education
Editor’s Note: This column originally ran in the March 5, 2013 issue of The Tech.
Editor’s Note: This letter was originally written in May 2013, following the announcement of Bexley Hall’s closing due to structural problems.
Editor’s Note: This column originally ran in the Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 issue of The Tech, following the U.S. government shutdown on Tuesday, Oct. 1.
OPINION IN REVIEW
As scientists and engineers, MIT students constantly balance harsh realism with eternal optimism. On the one hand, we must be machines — poring over facts, figures, and data, determining what is infeasible, and eliminating it. On the other, we must maintain unwavering faith in the possibilities of discovery and the limitless potential of imagination. While we’re here, one of the most important lessons we learn is how to grapple with this duality — how to keep the faith despite setbacks. We learn to be resilient.
BEST OF 2013: The Tech’s top 10 music albums
With their characteristic defiance and refusal to be defined by anyone but themselves, English indie rock band Arctic Monkeys showcases their willingness to take risks and experiment — and it pays off. Their haunting and gritty fifth album features more manipulation and new instruments than their previous albums, and blends together a compelling combination of musical styles, from punk, funk, and rock to R&B, soul, and hip hop. The terse, poetic, and fervent lyrics by lead vocalist Alex Turner relate of late nights filled with frustration, desire, and loneliness. Add these in and it makes a listen you’ll want to repeat.
ARTS IN REVIEW
2013 has been an exciting year for arts both on and off campus. As always, there have been plenty of performances and exhibitions at MIT, running the gamut of creative endeavours from Senegalese drumming, to experimental theater, to ballroom dancing. In addition, for the first time, there has been a push to promote entrepreneurship in the arts at MIT, with a new category in the 100K competition for art/design-related ventures and a hackathon event.
BEST OF 2013: The Tech’s top 10 movies
Based on Solomon Northrup’s autobiography of the same name, 12 Years a Slave follows Northrup (Chiwetel Ejiofer) as he is kidnapped and sold into slavery. While Northrup is eventually freed, the plight of fellow slave Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o) shows the terrifying, incessant horror inflicted by slavery.
MIT’s vibrant arts community
“MIT has arts?” I can’t count how many times I’ve heard that question! But it’s only from people who don’t go to MIT. MIT has a vibrant arts community, especially in dance, theatre, and music. This year was no exception. Every week in 2013, there were at least half a dozen arts events on campus, from student performances to an arts-focused hackathon.
2013 US Sports in Review
The 2013 Super Bowl between the Ravens and the 49ers began with Baltimore taking early control of the game. Momentum changed completely, however, when an electrical failure caused the stadium to lose power, and allowed the 49ers to mount a furious comeback. San Francisco fell just short on the final drive of the game as Colin Kaepernick attempted a pass to Michael Crabtree in the endzone that fell incomplete. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was the MVP.
SPORTS IN REVIEW
2013 was a year full of athletic achievement for the Boston region as a whole, with the upstart Red Sox winning the World Series and the Bruins winning the NHL Eastern Conference championship.
2013 MIT Sports in Review
After making it to the NEWMAC finals and barely falling to Wheaton College, the MIT Men’s Soccer Team earned a spot in the NCAA Division III Tournament for the second year in a row. Although the Engineers fell to Western New England University in the first round, they ended their spectacular season with a 13-5-2 record.
With tenure but not without troubles
The April 10, 2012 issue of The Tech carried an article by Grace Taylor ’12 that I greatly admired: http://tech.mit.edu/V132/N17/depression.html.
THE NATURALIST’S NOTEBOOK: What’s on the menu?
Assorted small rocks
Do science and religion conflict?
Ask A-theist is a column by Aaron L. Scheinberg G, an atheist, and Stephanie S. Lam G, a Christian, which uses contrasting worldviews to explore questions and misconceptions about philosophy and religion.
CAMPUS LIFE IN REVIEW
Goodbye, 2013. We’ve had our ups and downs, and it’s finally time to leave you behind. I’ve met someone new: 2014.