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MIT student blogger Sam M. '07

Knowing me, knowing you by Sam M. '07

My plans for Nobel laureacy, and everything I like about MIT professors.

DID YOU KNOW? Kelly Clarkson is the first artist to have five top ten singles from the same album (courtesy Mitra).

You all left a lot of lovely comments, which I will respond to in an untimely fashion. I’ll let you know when. You can count on me, can’t you?

I think I eventually come to love all of my professors in a different way. I don’t know, call it Stockholm Syndrome. I love the way Frau Jaeger raises her eyebrow and the weird scarves that Frau Bittner used to wear, how Professor Virk compares drag reduction to the AC/DC song “Highway to Hell” and how Professor Dalzell is like everybody’s jovial grandfather at Thanksgiving, how Professor Hatton has a South African accent and how Professor Amon was so pregnant during 7.06 that she was going to explode, how Professor Sadighi would say “y’all” and Professor Movassaghi’s nervous hand gestures as he was explaining stereochemistry, Professor Licht’s awkward humor that nobody ever laughed at because 5.07 is taught at 8:30 AM, Professor Hughes’s earring, Professor Gheorghiu’s extraordinarily hairy arms, the way Dr. Hughes pronounces “rather,” and Professor Stephanopolous’s impeccable handwriting.

But most of all, I think I love Dr. Hamel. His French accent, dedication to teaching undergraduates, and single streak of gray hair all combine to make pretty much the ultimate teacher in my estimation. As if this weren’t enough, he’s also dedicated to finding internships for undergrads–he travels every summer to make as many company contacts as possible, hold seminars (with free food!) for interested juniors and sophomores to learn more about industry, and sends out countless e-mails notifying all undergrads of open positions.

I got this e-mail from him and I was just so excited that I was going write an entry with just this in it:

Dear Student,

When you have a chance, can you please update me with your internhip plan this
summer, and if you already know where you will work, can you please tell me:

* the name of the company, university, research institute (if you will be
UROPing, please tell me as well)
* where it is located (city and state)
* the dates of the internship

If things fall in place nicely on both sides, I would like to visit you and as
many student-interns as possible. I need to start planning the itinerary and
look for flights (especially for the European loop). It would be useful and fun
to see you and meet your supervisor, this summer.

I look forward to hear from you. Good luck for the rest of the week, and have a
great break.

Jean-Francois Hamel

…and it turns out he will have time to make his way down to Leverkusen, Germany. Swoon!

BUT THEN, that very same day, two more wonderful faculty/student interactions happened that I thought I could add to this entry.

In 10.26: Chemical Engineering Project Lab, one of the teams is doing research into the MerryChef oven, a convection (maybe?) oven that’s going to be used at Subway restaurants to heat up sandwiches (among myriad other things). So, we all got invited down to the secret sub-basement of building 66 for free toasted sandwiches! And Professor Colton was chopping tomatoes when we got there. When they pulled them out, he looked at the grill marks on his sandwich (a product of the Maillard reaction, which my UROP studies) and excitedly exclaimed, “WOW! Bill, what do you think the q-dot into that was?!” Well, have a look at the oven and see if you can figure it out.


My own verdict on the MerryChef is that it got the bread nice and toasty (in 45 seconds!) and the cheese evenly melted, but the whole sandwich itself wasn’t as hot as I’d usually like it. Well, I guess that’s a problem for MIT undergrads to solve, now isn’t it?

And my other one was that I was running 14 miles on Thursday and somewhere around mile 3 happened to pass none other than Professor Richard R. “I won the Nobel Prize” Schrock! I was actually somewhat befuddled–I wanted to say something like: “Professor Schrock, you have already won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, do you really need to continue your quest for self-improvement?”

When I am old, rich, and a Nobel Laureate I will wake up every morning, fry a breast of chicken in a cast-iron skillet, take off the skin, eat it, and throw out the actual meat.

But then again, how many catalytic pathways do I have named after me?

One response to “Knowing me, knowing you”

  1. nghi says:

    You’ll have a few name after you soon enough Sam. Patience.