DID YOU KNOW? Resistance is measured in Ohms, which are represented by the capital Greek letter omega. The inverse of resistance is conductance. Conductance is measured in Mhos and is represented by an upside-down letter omega.
Yesterday I had one of those quintessential MIT moments. I was at the MISTI Gala Dinner for all interns going to foreign countries this summer. There was some great food courtesy of the MIT Faculty Club, including a crabcake, which makes me wretch because it’s crab, but everything else was good. The keynote speaker was recent Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek. The event ran late, however, and some people had to leave early to go to review sessions for 2.006 exams or Dance Troupe rehearsals and what not. I, myself, had no firm deadlines, but I had a 6.002 lab that I really needed to get started with before Friday and almost no time to do it. I contemplated leaving as well, but then decided that I probably shouldn’t walk out on a Nobel laureate just to slap some inductors together.
You know you’re at MIT when you would consider forgoing a Nobel laureate’s speech because you have too much homework to do.
It was cool, though. The speech turned out to be excellent, delving into the nature of reality, mass, and time itself from first principles. One time Professor Wilczek pulled up a graph with, like, four points on it, and said: “So, this slide explains all of chemistry, biology, thermodynamics, and astrophysics.” He also showed us what reality would look like if we could see lengths on the order of 10^-27 m and times on the order of 10^-15 seconds. Answer: pretty darn cool.
Anyway, so that dinner was yesterday. Then, tomorrow, I’m going to be singing Brahms’ “Ein Deutsches Requiem” with the MIT Concert Choir. We’ve even invited a Swiss choir from Lausanne to come sing along with us. The Swiss are really cool people, although their conductor has really strange rehearsal habits that involve jumping around like a possessed person. Europeans wear a lot of corduroy, it seems like to me. Also, they pronounce diphthongs backwards. We’ll be going to Switzerland at the end of May (im wunderschoenen Monat Mai?), but I won’t because I’ll already be in Germany.
The German Requiem is a really amazing piece of music, in any case. I get chills–no pun intended–in “Denn Alles Fleisch” when the entire choir of around two hundred people intones in a unison dirge,
“Yea, all flesh is like the grass, and all the goodliness of man is like the flower thereof. The grass withers, and its bloom decays. But the LORD’S word endures forevermore!”
…except in German, where it is actually more beautiful, if you can believe it.
And Saturday I’m heading off for a free trip to Thompson Island, courtesy of MISTI again, where I’ll learn how to open a bank account in Germany, why not to call people “du,” and other important things.
The theme ingredient of my week is therefore Germany. Time for tasting and judgment.