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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

New ZigZag and more by Matt McGann '00

A new episode of MIT's video podcast, and Susan Hockfield speaks out on energy research.

As you know, MIT is embarking on a mission to tackle the world’s energy and environment problems. Today, I’ve got two pieces of media to check out relating to this mission.

First, there’s a new episode of ZigZag, hosted by Marsha. There’s a nice piece about MIT research on more energy-efficient cars, as well as a look at MIT’s Friday-after-Thanksgiving tradition of a giant Rube Goldberg machine. Check it out:

Also, MIT President Susan Hockfield recently wrote an op-ed in the Boston Globe entitled A Model For Tackling The Energy Challenge. Here’s a snippet, beginning with her speaking of the energy challenge:

Adding to the pressure for multiple approaches to this vast challenge, the time for initiating meaningful steps to curb climate-threatening carbon dioxide emissions is short. It will take a long time to change the energy mix appreciably. Yet we are probably only decades away, at best, from the point of no return on greenhouse gas concentrations.

The university research community has embraced these challenges, with many faculty and students invested in finding energy solutions. Superb work underway on many campuses today, from Berkeley and Stanford to MIT, from the University of Michigan to the University of Texas to Georgia Tech, encompasses an impressive range of new and evolving technologies. This past summer, two MIT undergraduates gathered a group of 50 co-competitors from the annual international solar car race to collaborate in designing and building alternative vehicles capable of 300 miles or more per gallon.

The tireless enthusiasm of students is one reason universities have the potential to play key roles in energy innovation. In addition, while integrating new technologies on a broad scale into an immense and mature sector of the economy will pose complex challenges, universities have expertise to share not only in technical fields, but also in economics, planning, architecture, political science, and management, among others. […]

Some are pessimistic. However, consider at least one argument for a more positive outlook. At universities, we have a sustainable source of optimism — our students. Make no mistake about it, they really do care. We should, too, by investing in a secure and clean energy future.

In other words, we’re looking to you — wherever you go for college — to change the world. Up for it?

More news soon…

25 responses to “New ZigZag and more”

  1. Basant says:

    Hi Matt,

    I foresee only two concrete solutions to the energy problem – superb innovations and implementing all those new techs in our daily lives. Well, it’s the second part that becomes tricky.

    Thanks a lot to the MIT president for her compliments (“sustainable source of optimism”). In fact, it’s our optimism that motivates us to work on and excel in projects that others have all but given up. Thanks for the encouraging words!

  2. Alex says:

    Cool i just watched that earlier today xD

    it’s just funny how i thought of how the design of the car can reduce air resistance and thus make the engine more efficient. but thats just my aerospace engineering side of me talking.

    and i would really like to help out on the chain reaction if i ever get a chance to!

  3. I have a thoery/idea that I would like to research on in uni, may be in UROP if I come to MIT.

    It involves recycling energy from every possible device that wastes energy, including the human body.

    Ankit Chandra
    Gaborone, Botswana

  4. Ajay Congrats on your acheivement!!

    AS I UNDERSTAND: getting into MIT is the difficult part. Once you get accepted, you pay as much as you have and MIT takes care of the rest.

    Ankit Chandra
    Gaborone, Botswana

  5. Sorry not as much as you have. You pay as much as you can!

    Again this is how I UNDERSTAND IT!

    Ankit Chandra
    Gaborone, Botswana

  6. Ajay says:

    hey Ankit!
    Thanks a lot mate. Get into MIT? :D I sure would love to. Am working on it. Trying to improve my skills, get some Olypiads to my resume lists wink How is my current EC record given above? raspberry (though not satisfied yet)

    Thanks for your reply,
    Ajay
    PS: Did you study at MIT ankit? Please contact me at ajay.chahar[at]gmail[dot]com

  7. anon says:

    Ajay:

    Simple answer: If you get into MIT, the universitiy will take care of the financials. They will supply all the aid you need. If your family cannot afford tuition, MIT will take care of it.

  8. Ajay says:

    well to be frank: thats really awesome!!!!

    now i need to only concenterate on how to get into MIT!!!!

    Cheers!
    Ajay

  9. Zaira '11 says:

    I just found out that I can have Zig Zag on my Sansa! (I thought you needed an ipod) Now I carry MIT with me wherever I go.

  10. Aaron says:

    Hey Susan Hockfield’s energy research is one of the things I wrote about for why I like MIT!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Rube Goldberg Machines are really exciting! I wonder where the world’s biggest one is…

    I’ve noticed they’re sometimes also referred to as “Pitagora Suichi” machines (or Pythagoras Switch in English)..Anyone know why it’s called “Pythagoras Switch”?

    Siddharth

  12. Siddharth says:

    Rube Goldberg Machines are really exciting! I wonder where the world’s biggest one is…

    I’ve noticed they’re sometimes also referred to as “Pitagora Suichi” machines (or Pythagoras Switch in English)..Anyone know why it’s called “Pythagoras Switch”?

    Siddharth

  13. Viksit says:

    Sorry Matt, to highjack your post but Ben says you are their Int’nl Admisions Guru.

    I am an international from India and am applying in OMG(!) 10 days from now. The hitch – I completed my high school way back in 2004. Had some serious family responsibilties and chose to drop formal studies to be by my family. Will these gap years affect my profile adversely? Please help.

    Whatever be the case, ofcourse I am applying. But right now it seems almost impossible to send you my 9th and 10th grade (School)transcripts with the application.[ I left this school after 10th. And now, the authorities say they cannot furnish my records. I am trying hard though.] I am including my 10th Boards Marksheet otherwise.

    And I want to send in some abstracts of the work[Independent Projects] I have been doing during these gap years. Can I send in more than 1(preferably 3)Its hard to chose between them. I love them all. And I would want you to consider all three? Can I send them after I have submitted my application? Maybe around January 20?

    Please help.

    Regards.
    Viksit

  14. Anonymous says:

    And btw.

    I have read this for quite some time now that you do consider each applicant in context. I hope you take into account that somebody applying from inner suburbs may not have any access to information such as SAT materials nor any kind of advice on how to go about the whole application to that effect, except for the Internet. :(

  15. Viksit says:

    It was me again.

    Viksit

  16. Bhushan says:

    this is somewhat me

    SAT2 Phy 580
    M1 620
    M2 660

    Hvaing two researches, cool teachers evaluation, new ideas and lots of supplemental material.

    are there any chances

  17. hi matt says:

    1) I don’t think my interview went well. We didn’t mesh well, and I just ended up talking about several of my extracurricular activities superficially. I was about to start talking about my science fair experiences when she told me my topic was irrelevant to the real world, so I didn’t argue with her.

    Would a note about my interview in my application help? Or would this note be too biased, and that admissions would prefer it if I just trusted the interviewer?

    2) from this, http://nymag.com/news/features/24398/index.html, :

    “There is one red flag, which is that she stopped gymnastics this year. Apparently, her school dropped the program; this should be footnoted on her résumé so she does not appear to be a quitter.”

    “However, he seems to be a serial joiner. A red flag is the Ping-Pong club, given the fact that he has little community service.”

    These quotations are from a “college admissions expert.” Please help me clarify =) Would quitting some activities in senior year (because of exams and school, etc.) be detrimental to chances of getting in? How about participating in different activities throughout high school, because I was “soul-searching”? My guess is that I could talk about it in my essay?

    3) This one is a weird question: would involvement in an intimate relationship have any effect on an application (increase/decrease chances)?

    Thanks =) These blogs make MIT’s admissions process the best.

  18. Zareef says:

    Hi Matt,

    My SAT Subjects Tests from oct 2006 (first time) went OKAY:
    chem 800 95th percentile
    maths2 780 85th percentile
    phy 740 77th percentile

    But my SAT Reasoning Tests from dec 2006 (also first time) probably fell below mit standards:
    critical reading 660 91st percentile
    maths 680 90th percentile
    writing 590 79th percentile

    As an international student, if I take the toefl now, and do far better with it, will I still be at a disadvantage for doing not-so-good in my sat reasoning tests?

    Since the earliest I can take the toefl test is on the month of JANUARY, will the admissions office accept my toefl scores from jan?

  19. Zareef says:

    I know this may have not been the right place to post my questions, but, while the deadline is nearing, I’m not getting fast replies from the admissions office. I’ll gladly appreciate any help from you matt smile

  20. I think it’s fantastic, Matt, that such energy is being put forth by MIT students in the realm of global energy solutions. I am a prospective undergraduate student who has experience with such research on a small scale in New Jersey. From what I have gathered, the solutions, though not always evident, exist; effectiveness from this point forward will largely be a function of public communication (as well as a few interesting UROP ideas). By the way, are any undergraduate research opportunities available for biogas/ethanol technologies for large-scale industrial processes?

    Thanks very much,
    Rich

  21. sarah says:

    hey matt,
    would seducing you increase my chances of getting in?

  22. AJay says:

    Energy crisis is becoming a big problem, becoming? it is a BIG problem!

    Ajay

  23. Solomon says:

    Energy issues are tricky to deal with. Efficiency is the complicating factor in these discussions. Energy would have to be spent in recycling energy, which is not so much of a good idea. I think we should rather channel our energies into much efficient energy consumption methods and less expensive ways of producing energy.

  24. Solomon says:

    Energy issues are tricky to deal with. Efficiency is the complicating factor in these discussions. Energy would have to be spent in recycling energy, which is not so much of a good idea. I think we should rather channel our energies into much efficient energy consumption methods and less expensive ways of producing energy.

  25. romek says:

    Hi Matt,
    I have one problem with my application. My TOEFL test was scheduled on Dec 8th, but hardware in test center has broken down and they scheduled my test on Jan 19th. Scores will be available in early February, but it’s more than one month after deadline. Do I have any chance then?