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MIT student blogger Lulu L. '09

Noam Chomsky Talk in 26-100 by Lulu L. '09

i still have to send these pictures to amnesty raspberry

Amnesty International’s MIT Chapter, as a part of their lecture series, hosted Noam Chomsky, an MIT Professor of Linguistics, to talk on the issue of social action within academic institutions. The title of the talk was, “Rights and Responsibilities: The University Connection”.

Among the key issues discussed was the concept of neutrality- what it means to be truly unbiased, and our responsibility in wearing the mark of “higher education” to be truly educated, to approach issues of rampant emotional bias with a scientific eye, and to daily question and reaffirm our own beliefs. Some of his ideas are radical, and many people do not agree with him (and they have a perfect right to do so) but rather than dismissing his words with slurs and dogmatic name-calling, let him challenge your beliefs. Defend yourself against him, and your values will be stronger because of it.

I’m involved with Amnesty International- I believe they are a necessary organization. My opinions are not always in line with that of the organization, and often times I question their way of going about certain issues- but this organization challenges, grows, never rests. It’s a constantly murmuring, shouting, voice of dissent and activism on campus, and if nothing more, has helped me formulate ideas on some of the world’s more pressing issues (at least with regard to America).

It has been yet another one of those semesters for me. I don’t think I’ve ever been so worn out in my life. I know a lot more quantum than when the semester started, attended some pretty cool lectures on x-ray astronomy (we’re visiting the Chandra Observatory control center next week :)) learned every piece of photomultiplying, pulse amplifying, counting, callibrating, scintillating equipment in the physics lab. That’ll probably be a separate entry, depending on interest. Sometimes even things that you spent 30 hours a week for 4 months doing isn’t all that exciting to prospective students :P Physics lab. Oh boy, where would I even begin.

Some of the setup (the MIT students who planned the event) and watching the room fill up:

including karen

Noam Chomsky arrives:

Starts speaking

I had pretty good coverage of the place :P

In the end there was a question-answer:

Thats all, thanks for looking.

A video of the lecture has been posted on YouTube in 9 parts:

Taken by an amateur cameraman who attended the event :) – thanks!


24 responses to “Noam Chomsky Talk in 26-100”

  1. Oasis says:

    Yay first! (This never happens, hahaha)

  2. Alison says:



    Does Noam Chomsky actually teach classes? I’m planning to major in linguistics and he’s pretty much the reason I’m applying to MIT, even though I thought he was retired!

    Too cool.

  3. lulu says:

    Yeah he is retired- but he still hangs around raspberry Not sure if he teaches anything- I’m sure if he wanted to, the institute would be happy to let him

  4. Alison says:

    Oh well, at least he’s reasonably accessible.

    (pregnant pause)

    … if I get in.

  5. Lauren says:

    I’m voting for an entry on Physics Lab!!! *eeeeeeee totally taking that someday if i get in*

  6. Cunt says:

    WOW, I can’t believe it.

  7. Ana says:

    I’ve always been partial to physics, despite the fact that I attend a school very weak in that respect.
    How is physics at MIT and could you survive a major which you with scant prior knowledge of it?

    & also, I loved the XKCD entry =P

  8. Ana says:

    Pardon the grammatical errors and random question, I meant to say “could you survive a major in which you start off with basically no prior knowledge,” or something around those lines >.Pardon the grammatical errors and random question, I meant to say “could you survive a major in which you start off with basically no prior knowledge,” or something around those lines >.<

  9. Anonymous says:

    Your photography is very good.

  10. JT says:

    I would definitely vote for an entry on physics labs. And on Chandra and other astronomy stuff.

  11. Maryam says:

    Does Chomsky teach any political science classes or have any seminars about hegemony???

  12. Francis says:

    what kind of camera do you use?

  13. Meagan says:

    I am a Chandra Astrophysics high school researcher! The control center is really neat, do you work with Chandra or Kavli at all?

  14. lulu says:

    About physics as a major-

    I think I will need to make this a separate entry, but short answer is that many people come in with little or no prior physics education and are very successful at a physics major at MIT. So don’t sweat it.


    I use a cannon digital SLR (Rebel) ~$300 on the market- got it as a christmas gift smile


    Yeah, I’ve done two urops with Kavli (formerly CSR), and I’m currently involved in a small satellite project that searches for extra solar planets (TESS). I may also pick up a physics urop– TBD smile

  15. DanC says:

    I’m actually from right outside of the Elm City too, and if i somehow, miraculously, end up at MIT =D, would be concentrating in physics/ astronomy… any looks into the lab life would be awesome!
    Also, this is one of the reasons I was so captivated by the Institute… academic nexus status aside, the attitudes found there seem so incredibly open; talks like this can occur, and people probably won’t be booing the speaker offstage. As you said, if you let them challenge your beliefs, even if you take none of theirs away, you have grown.
    Yay Lulu!

  16. Anon9 says:



    Physics raspberry

    Ah… right… my question… :S
    How IS Physics at MIT?? (Fun, exciting?)


    Yes, I vote for the Physics Lab blog entry as well!

  17. Fred says:

    Dear Lulu,

    I truly understand how you feel about Physics Junior Lab. since my son is in the same class.
    It is not fun at all but my son did learn a lot from the course.

    The good thing is that you only have a public oral left for the course (8.13). The bad thing is that you still have one more sememster to go (with 8.14). So, hang on and good luck…

  18. Aditi says:

    physics! *sigh*

    i *heart* physics!

    lulu you really seem to be living everybodys dream smile

  19. E Rosser says:

    Wow, congrats on what looks like a fantastic turnout for your event. You’re absolutely right: globalization on a human level– apart from the collossal organizations that today span the globe– must begin with unbiased understanding of other cultures. Your pictures are way cool, too, btw.
    And Prof. Chomsky’s the Bomb!

  20. Pheege says:

    Thanks for the page AND for helping to host the event – I was there and it was fantastic! I’d been waiting for years to see Noam in person. =)

  21. Knegg Olog says:

    Hi, my school told me they sent their ssreport and teacher evaluations to MiT about a moth ago… I’m intl RA but I was just kinda curios of why it takes so long, because they haven’t shown up inn app tracking yet…

  22. Gleb Drobkov says:

    o yes, Chomsky is so awesome. I heard him speak at the Democratic socialist convention in New York last February.

    his rhetoric is amazing. he was hilariously blunt, bringing up the dont go to college, save your money argument. He explained that investing the money and spending those years working as an intern to a profession you specialize in is a much more profitable choice. That way, you enter the job market with more skills in your profession (whether it be law, IT or plumber) than any college grad. And more money wink

    so for all of us that decided to still go to college, there’s something magnificent about scholarship that keeps us going against logic (and sadly, money)

    PS: When does MIT announce it’s early action acceptances? I know its before Dec 15th and after Dec 9th (that’s what it was last year)

  23. Will says:

    Whoa, Noam Chomsky is a professor at MIT? AMAZING! Linguistics = love.

  24. Solstice says:

    According to the MIT Course Catalog, Noam Chomsky is still a full professor of linguistics. He is not listed as emeritus.