Apr 29 2016
Not long ago, I met with an admitted MIT student, whom I will call Sam, because that is not his name. As we sat on a bench in Lobby 7, Sam told me that he had a problem. On Pi Day, he had been admitted to MIT, which he considered his dream school. A few weeks later, however, he was unexpectedly admitted to another program, which was also a dream, albeit a different one. Sam told me that he was having trouble choosing what to do. He wanted me to help him decide.
Over the last few weeks I've met, emailed, Facebooked, Slacked, or spoken on the phone with many members of the Class of 2020 who are all struggling with the same basic decision as Sam: whether to enroll at MIT or to go somewhere / do something else instead. Typically, these students ascribe this ambiguity to a set of questions they see as unanswered and/or conflicts they see as unsettled. Will they like 'the culture' more at MIT or at X? Would they rather be closer to or further from home? How should they evaluate... read the post »
Apr 22 2016
This year MIT is celebrating a century in Cambridge. "Boston Tech," as it was known then, was established in the Back Bay in 1865, but quickly ran out of room. There's an incredibly interesting story to how MIT almost closed, then almost merged with Harvard, then actually merged, until the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court annulled the merger, then almost closed again, only to be saved by a last-minute multimillion-dollar gift from an anonymous individual known for years only as "Mr. Smith," which allowed it to move to Cambridge and build the core of the contemporary campus.
This is not that story.
Instead, this is the story of how MIT almost became a pirate fortress in the middle of the Charles. Via Julie Barr over at the Slice of MIT blog:
In the early 1900s, MIT was quickly outgrowing its Back Bay campus. The leaders of the Institute wanted to make a new interconnected technology complex but there wasn’t any room to do that in the Back Bay. In search of a... read the post »
Apr 17 2016
Tomorrow, I will roll out of bed, eat some oatmeal, and put on a pair of sweatpants I'll wear exactly once. I'll board a yellow schoolbus and try to snag the one solo seat, all the way in the back and to the left, just like I did in high school. That bus will bring me, and a few dozen strangers, to Hopkinton, Massachusetts, where we, and thousands more of us, brought by hundreds of yellow schoolbuses, will gather on a field near the starting line of the Boston Marathon.
The ground will be cold, and probably muddy, which is why I'll be wearing the sweatpants — the ones I'll only wear once — over my running shorts. I'll sit and stretch for awhile, and maybe eat a banana, even though I hate the taste, and gauge the restroom lines to strategize how last-minute I can rush to pee before the last-minute rush to pee begins. Around 10:45AM, I will gather my things, take off my sweatpants, and give them to a smiling volunteer holding an enormous bag full of other sweatpants, many of which... read the post »
Mar 28 2016
I've blogged before about how, a few years ago, Jeremy Rubin '16 managed to raise $500k in funding and a ton of faculty sponsors to distribute $100 in Bitcoin to every MIT undergraduate as his final project for the class I was teaching.
Which, by the way, is not a bad final project for a sophomore year elective.
Since then, that project has grown into the Digital Currency Initiative (DCI), based at the MIT Media Lab. As the DCI site says:
The goal of the Media Lab Digital Currency initiative is to bring together global experts in areas ranging from cryptography, to economics, to privacy, to distributed systems, to take on this important new area of research. The effort will reach across the MIT campus, and we look forward to including collaborations with leading experts around the world. Heading the initiative is Brian Forde, former senior White House advisor for mobile and data innovation. He will work with Lab researchers and faculty across the MIT campus to... read the post »
Mar 14 2016
MIT Regular Action admissions decisions for the Class of 2020 are now available at
You can log in using the same username and password that you use to log in to your MyMIT account. There are no interim screens, so you should be sure you are ready to receive your decision online before logging in to decisions.mit.edu.
Between Early and Regular Action, 19,020 students applied to join the MIT Class of 2020. As of today (inclusive of Early Action), we have offered admission to 1,485 students.
These 1,485 students are truly exceptional. The admitted Class of 2020 includes artists and architects, bakers and baritones, from Boston to Bhutan. Individually they represent more than 70 countries and 1,000 high schools; together, they constitute an incredible community, each contributing a set of rare skills and perspectives while holding in common the highest caliber of character, conscientiousness, and cognitive throughput.
We often... read the post »