MIT Admissions

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Danny B.D. '15

Apr 5 2016

A Brief History of Cars on Fire at MIT

Posted in: Best of the Blogs, Miscellaneous, MIT Facts, Life & Culture

If you're the kind of person who remembers to look up once in a while, it's not that uncommon to wander MIT's campus and find yourself wondering: How did THAT get there?

Four score and zero years ago, on this date in 1936, a similar thought likely went through the minds of one or more of the people in this photo:

Why those people? Because on April 5, 1936, something profoundly strange was being hauled up the side of Goodale (the northeast corner of East Campus):


Yes, that is a Ford Model T, hanging from the roof. The car, which belonged to Ralph J. Slutz '38, was painted with the phrase "TECH IS HELL"—the IHTFP-esque MIT motto of the 1930s—and hauled from the ground.

It caught the attention of many in the area, including Dr. Richard Hanau '39, our second-oldest living East Campus alumnus, who mentioned it in an email to me:

I saw the car after it had been pulled up the side of the dorm where I lived during my sophomore year. It was later lowered and set on fire... read the post »


Jun 1 2015

A Mischievous Anniversary Tonight

Posted in: Best of the Blogs, Miscellaneous, MIT Facts, Life & Culture

A masterful MS Paint rendition of the '93 dormitoryWatch '93 at 11:30 was the message.

'93 was the new dormitory on campus—the Class of 1893 Dormitory—which had opened the previous fall. It was a five-story, 100-foot-wide dorm with two stairwells, situated on Ames Street directly across from the Central Scientific Instruments Company and diagonally across from the "old dormitories," the Faculty Houses.

The dorm's name of '93 would last for about half a decade more, in which time two identical extensions would be built onto its north and south walls, and a matching parallel would be built just to the west. In February of 1931, the buildings would be christened together, and the '93 Dormitory would henceforth be known as Bemis House of the East Campus Alumni Houses. But that was all in the relatively distant future: our story instead concerns Monday, June 1, 1925.

It had been an unruly weekend, certainly:

Excitement started early Sunday morning, when a group of men from the old dormitory unit inopportunely aroused the '93 men... read the post »


Apr 30 2015

Don’t Screw Up Your Username

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Information, Prepare for MIT, Life & Culture

Tomorrow is, yes, the First of May[?], which means those of you who have decided to join the incoming class have a very crucial choice to make: choosing your MIT username.

You may not appreciate yet how big this decision is: your MIT username (also referred to as your Athena or your Kerberos) will be your login to the computing systems here, it'll be your first (and likely primary) email address while you're at MIT, you'll have the ability to edit files at, and it will likely remain your MIT email address ( after you graduate. In other words, this is for life.

Fear not, though. After consulting with many others (as well as compiling from some earlier blog posts), I've prepared the following list of guidelines:

  • Your username must be between 3 and 8 characters.
  • Avoid numbers and underscores. You are technically allowed to use them, but they aren't needed and add confusion and clunkiness to your username.
  • Say your username... read the post »


Apr 16 2015

Guest Post: Being Trans at MIT

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Freshman Applicants, Visit, Information, Life & Culture

(Danny here—a friend of mine reached out yesterday and asked if I could help let prefrosh know about their efforts. Their guest post is what follows, sans attribution as per their request.)

Hi everyone! This guest post is brought to you by two trans MIT students, with quotes from our peers. We wanted to share a snippet of our experiences and reach out to others like us. Hopefully you learn something!

(For anyone who doesn't know, trans generally means that your identified gender does not match the one that was assigned to you at birth.)

So we know highschool can be really awful and lonely, and maybe you spent lots of time just trying to get through it. But now that you're going to college you're going to have more freedom and fewer social pressures. It's a great time to discover who you are and who you want to be. As it turns out, MIT and Boston are great places to do this!

"Right now I identify as a cisgender queer woman, but when I first started college I was much less... read the post »


Apr 7 2015

“Where art thou, O Higgs?”

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Academics & Research, Life & Culture

Hey, there, it's been a while. Sorry about that; it turns out that blogging momentum is really hard to start up again after a certain point. I'll be trying to atone throughout April.

In the meanwhile, here's a story from my freshman year.

It was early December, 2011: the flame wars of [email protected] were still fresh in the minds of undergraduates[1], yolo was only beginning to take off as common slang, and MITx, which is now the foundation of MIT's online education efforts, was still a couple weeks away from being announced.

December 2011 was also a particularly exciting time in the world of particle physics. A week or so before, I had attended my recitation for 8.012 (freshman physics), and my recitation leader—Professor Eddie Farhi, Director of the Center for Theoretical Physics—found himself some extra time at the end of class. Farhi sat on the desk with his hands in his lap, and began to explain the search for a bizarre particle known as the "Higgs boson."

The Higgs... read the post »