Talk:Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Previous discussions archived

Because of their length, the previous discussions on this page have been archived. If further archiving is needed, see Wikipedia:How to archive a talk page. Anville 18:12, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

Previous discussions:

Unsourced material

"Drinking from a fire hose" is now sourced.

(often expanded with the explanatory "you get hosed and your parents get soaked") or "academic boot camp."

There's no source for "you get hosed and your parents get soaked" and I wonder whether this has ever been in wide use or is just a joking backward folk-etymology. "Academic boot camp" sounds plausible but I'd like to see a source. I had the impression that these characterizations were supposed to be less true now than in the past, but perhaps that's just MIT administration propaganda?

I've certainly heard "you get hosed and your parents get soaked". MIT is definitely still a firehose. -- Beland 23:45, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Request for Feedback

I had posted a Requests for feedback earlier in the month for comments on length and boosterism. This is in anticipation of my proposed request for a peer review on December 1. Please go read the comments and make changes. Madcoverboy 15:34, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Yikes! Wildly exaggerated research accomplishments

The syllogistic reasoning in this section seems to be:

  • person A had some connection of some kind with MIT
  • person A was involved, perhaps with others, in important work in field B, at some time before, during, or after the MIT connection
  • ERGO
  • MIT has invented, substantially developed, or is well known for research in field B.

"In electronics, transistors, magnetic core memory, radar, single electron transistors, and inertial guidance controls were invented or substantially developed by MIT researchers."

Transistors? WTF? They were developed at Bell Labs. Shockley was never an "MIT researcher." I may be wrong but I don't associate MIT particularly closely with the development of solid-state electronics. That is, the development of the devices themselves (as opposed to the application of the devices e.g. in the TX-2 computer...) (I removed this).

"Claude E. Shannon developed much of modern information theory and digital circuit design theory." Well, he did develop information theory almost single-handedly. It's a curious example of an extremely important and substantial body of work that sprung full-grown like Athena from one person's brain, but has had relatively little added to it by anyone else. But digital circuit theory? He is responsible for making the connection between digital circuits and Boolean algebra, but he surely did not develop "much of" modern digital circuit design theory. (I fixed this).

The more I look at this section, the more problems I see.

Some of the claims are technically true because of the weasel-worded phrase "invented or substantially developed," but, gee. Magnetic core memory had two important inventors; it seems to me to be quite misleading to connect it with Jay Forrester (coincident-current) but omit An Wang (rewrite-after-read cycle). And quite a lot of magnetic core development happened after Whirlwind outside of MIT.

Radar? Again, technically true because of that weaselly phrase "invented or substantially developed," since the radiation lab made important contributions to the wartime development of radar, but, gee, they wouldn't have gotten too far without the cavity magnetron developed at the University of Birmingham. It's like saying Cal Tech "invented or substantially developed" jet propulsion.

I don't have time to look through this now, but it looks very, very loose and sloppy to me, with all sorts of, yes, important connections being puffed up to look far more important than they are. Tim Berners Lee established the W3C at MIT in 1994? Well, yeah, OK, but he invented the Web at CERN, not at MIT.

Hoo hah: "MIT biologists have also been recognized for their discoveries and advances in ... protein synthesis" links to Har Gobind Khorana. But he didn't go to MIT until after he won the Nobel Prize. He was at the Enzyme Institute at the University of Wisconsin when he received it, but I think the work for which he received the prize was actually done at Vancouver. Not sure, but certainly not MIT.

The computer science stuff doesn't look bad but that's probably just because I don't know enough about computer science. "MIT faculty and researchers made fundamental contributions to cybernetics, artificial intelligence, computer languages, and public-key cryptography." Cybernetics? Well, since Norbert Wiener literally wrote the book (and almost nobody else in academics used the word subsequently, check. Artificial intelligence? Check (SAIL being separate but equal?).

Wait... Computer languages... hmmm... not so sure. "Made fundamental contributions," yeah, OK, LISP (Scheme) and COMIT in particular, but I'm not sure "computer languages R MIT." What come to mind as really fundamental contributions in computer languages? COBOL, FORTRAN, LISP, ALGOL, PASCAL, C, I think.

Public-key cryptography? Uh-oh. Here we go again. Only the "R" in "RSA" has a strong MIT connection. And did he do the work there? Not sure, couldn't find out quickly. And weren't Diffie and Hellman the real originators? Hmmm... looks like Diffie was working for industry... can't tell quickly about Hellman. I think "fundamental contributions to public-key cryptography" is another example of something literally true but exaggerated.

Anyone want to help figuring out what to do with this? I'm tempted to slap fact tags on everything in this section from start to finish, since many of them don't check out or aren't what they seem, and you can't tell which are which by looking at them.

I'm going to come back to this when I've cooled down, but I'm really beginning to think the only way to fix this section is blow it away and start fresh, insisting on clear relationships being shown to MIT.

The section should describe only fields in which it can be shown that MIT has a demonstrable strength as an institution. A. R. Gurney may be on the faculty, but that doesn't in itself warrant saying that MIT has made accomplishments in drama. Dpbsmith (talk) 21:32, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

  • I will respond to these criticisms as I am the original author as well as only person who has ever really edited this section. My intent in this section was to delineate specific and notable accomplishments of people with a substantial MIT affiliation. My sources were some of the information in the article before, wiki lists like Nobel Laureates or MacArthur fellows, the MIT firsts page, and the MIT admissions page. While MIT has many notable accomplishments worth mentioning, the university featured articles I used as models (Cornell, Duke, UMichigan) for editing this page described research with either too much depth (a whole paragraph on Cornell and the Mars Lander) or not at all (UMichigan cites contributions with no link/cite to say what it is nor who is responsible for them). Thus, this section represents my attempt to convey both the breadth of accomplishments while keeping it concise and organized. My redirect-linking style is intended to connect the listed concept to a specific person's contributions, not to represent that the concept/technology was wholly developed at MIT. To that extent, while I understand how it is misleading in a way, it is also a means of establishing a direct relationship to MIT while avoiding a torrent of cites. Your criticism that the section includes a number of weasel words is likewise well-founded, but these are artifacts of my own attempts to summarize and list the various topics and should be removed/edited. The section is far from perfect and could certainly be toned up, however, although I don't know how making a clean break would necessarily improve the section.Madcoverboy 07:30, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
    • I see that User:Lentower's recent edit summary cites "much too much" boosterism still present in the article. I assume this includes the offending passages above which haven't changed in a year. Can we identify others and suggest improvements? Madcoverboy 19:07, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

McCormick Hall

Right now the article states that: "Female students, however, remained a tiny minority (numbered in dozens) prior to the completion of the first women's dormitory, McCormick Hall, in 1964."

This is incorrect. McCormick Hall was finished in January of 68. The hall is made up of two towers and it is likely that the first tower was completed in 1964 and that is where that date came from. I only know this because my mother was a freshman in 67-68 and I didn't want to change it based on just that. Does anyone have a source that could be cited to justify the change? I know it's minor thing but, well, I'm a sucker for dates. Redtizzy 20:05, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

YesY Done Put in two references for good measure. Madcoverboy 05:16, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

If I recall correctly, the first women's dorm was Bexley Hall. It definitely was the female dorm in 1960 for sure. It started off life as an apartment building, then was bought to house female students, and some faculty I think. Then McCormick was built -- with extra long beds and standard length sheets. For several years when I entered in 1964 there were increasing numbers of coeds per class. Collect (talk) 05:44, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Anecdotally, Mrs. McCormick wanted the dorm to be 18 stories tall, and the plans were revised to make one shorter tower, later to be twinned. Collect (talk) 05:56, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

NPOV of crosslinking

There may be possible NPOV and Weasel word issues with the new text I've added about controversies regarding Japan. Specifically, crosslinking "scapegoat" for "accused" and "business cycle" for "struggling" — but I believe I can make cases for either of these should anyone have a problem. I only bring it up now to allay any concerns that it is an act of vandalism or sloppy editing. More broadly, does anyone have an issue of the extent of crosslinking (linking to an article with greater contextual specificity, say Late 1980s recession instead of recession but nevertheless having the link appear as recession) in the article) currently in the article, especially in the research accomplishments? Madcoverboy 03:01, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Schools and Colleges

Why isn't there a complete organized listing for all of the schools and their respective departments. Different ones are hinted at in the text, but I see nothing that formally introduces all of them. Am I missing something here? Hanjabba 21:42, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

  • They were removed per concerns (WP:NOT) that they didn't contribute meaningfully to the article, interrupted the flow of text, and served only as a mirror. I disagree with many of these points, but really, I'm not going to fight tooth-and-nail for them.Madcoverboy 23:19, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
    • While I'm far from being a expert on Wiki policy, it seems like leaving out information as basic as this is like writing an article about the US and leaving out a listing of all the states. The article would just be too imcomplete to be considered adequate. In addition, every university article that I've looked at has a school and/or department breakdown.Hanjabba 18:15, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
      • They are easily accessible from a subarticle; this article is already too long to put it back here. -- Beland 00:47, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

MIT Article community

On a bitter aside, I was asked to review Ohio Wesleyan University for FA-status and found it to be an exercise in futility as me and one or two other editors found it completely unreadable, devoid of meaning, and cited to excess, yet it was just promoted today to FA-status largely based on support from (what I perceive to be) affiliated fanboy/sockpuppets and unaffiliated editors who contributed in a significant capacity. I guess I'm just envious that they have a viable community contributing there that was able to ride roughshod over legitimate concerns, whereas there is basically no community here at the MIT page. I still objectively believe MIT's article to be of a far higher quality than many FAs, I think too many editors suffer from prestigious-institution guilt or envy, depending upon which side of the aisle they sit. Basically, I'm tired of working by myself — this article has broken me like it has broken several other editors before me. I've directed my editing energies elsewhere (United States technological and industrial history and History of MIT) for now but I will still be around to revert vandals. Things that still need to get done around here:

  • Standardize cite formatting and expand cites as there are still many statements in need of a cite.
  • Re-do Research accomplishments into a coherent narrative, rather than a list of feats in sentence form.
  • Reference external links so that they're not inline.
  • Expand/fix student activities as it's just (no pun intended) a hack right now.
  • Expand the affiliated sub/sister pages (History of MIT (this one I will still work on), Architecture of MIT, Student life and culture at MIT)

Good luck and good hunting. I'll be around if this page ever lightens back up. Madcoverboy 23:19, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

  • "Just when I thought that I was out they pull me back in." :) Well there's no they – just me, my anal-retentive perfectionism, and the vandals. Comments on the recent copy-editing revisions are welcome. Madcoverboy 22:19, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
    • I've only ever worked on copyediting before, save for restructuring the MIT template, but as a current student I'd be happy to contribute if possible to anything I'm remotely knowledgeable about. I'd love to see a bigger community here too, and I definitely think you're right about editors suffering from "prestigious-institution guilt or envy". A few weeks ago I updated a wiki page on a hack someplace to point out the substantial differences between Harvey Mudd's and MIT's reappropriation of the Caltech Cannon (such as the added 3,000 miles of distance?), and promptly was insulted by a horde of rabid Harvey Mudd people saying I was "trying to make MIT sound more impressive than it is". Someone even said "get over yourself, Caltech is better than MIT, period." I was... just a little scared by that, to say the least, as I'd never made any sort of implications to the contrary, and I don't understand this whole guilt/envy issue you referenced (Caltech can parade around on Wikipedia outright claiming to be better than everyone, but if MIT even makes claims to being an excellently-regarded school it gets shot down as NPOV?)... this is a roundabout way of saying I want to help and I'm not going to be a victim of the prestigious-institution guilt/envy syndrome. Let me know if you want me and what I can do! int3gr4te 10:43, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
      • I made several basic edits on the main page for now. The alumni page needs some formatting/consistency work, as well as dates and degrees for most of the people on it. Shall I undertake that next? :) int3gr4te 11:42, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Rankings in lead

Please keep all rankings confined to the "Rankings" section. It is inappropriate to put a ranking in the lead, especially the second sentance, when the fact is only repeated later and other facts demonstrate MIT's excellence. MIT is widely acknowledged to be "elite", "prestigious", "exclusive", "the best in x" -- the fact that other schools brand themselves as the "MIT of England," the "MIT of India," etc. is a testamant to that. Adding a ranking by a newspaper does nothing to convey encylopaedic knowledge other than one organization's POV assertion that "MIT is a better or worse than these other schools." Despite the non-NPOV of rankings, they inevitably crop back up into university articles, so a reasonable compromise is to keep them confined to one section. An obsession with rankings belies an underlying lack of confidence in the strength of one's own programs on their own merits. Madcoverboy 21:43, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

I feel like it is not clear, especially for international readers for whom MIT is not well known, that MIT is a top science and technology university in the world. I think this is probably the #1 most important point about MIT, but this information is currently hard to find in this article. 2:10, 24 April 2010 (EST)
The "#1 most important point about MIT" is not that a magazine used some dubious metrics and arbitrary weighting to assemble a ranked index of universities in which MIT exceeded some threshold of quality. MIT has had a profound impact on the arc of scientific and technological history, generated many influential political, business, and scientific leaders, and has a particularly unique student culture among all colleges and universities in the country and world. MIT's merit stands on these alone and cannot be readily distilled into a number. There will be no rankings in the lead of this article. Madcoverboy (talk) 18:46, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Maybe I wasn't clear in what I meant. I agree that no particular magazine metric or ranking should be there. I do think though that it's important to state right at the beginning of the article that MIT is a top university in technology and science. This is pretty much a fact (but clearly could be supported by many many sources if necessary). The issue I see right now, is that people go to the page, read the first paragraph and don't get a good feel for what MIT is. MIT is not known everywhere, much less famous, and many people from reading just the first paragraph won't know it's any good at what it does. I agree if they read the whole article they will get that information, but isn't the lead paragraph also supposed to give people a quick summary of the most important information? 21:11, 24 April 2010 (EST)

MIT undergraduate acceptance rates

I am tempted to revert the newly added table "MIT Undergraduate Acceptance Rates" on the basis that it seems to be Soapboxing about how it is more difficult for a man to get into MIT than a woman. Admissions in the context of affirmative action vs. meritocracy and such is a touchy subject and broaching the topic with this ostensibly irrefutable data demeans its inherent complexities (the chart doesn't reveal that more men apply and are admitted in greater numbers). I suspect that breaking admissions numbers down by race/ethnicity would reveal similar disparities between "underrepresented minorities" and whites/asians/indians. Moreover, I don't know what the chart adds in the context of this section. However, I don't want to be accused of white-washing the page as this is a topic that should certainly be discussed either on this page or used as an example elsewhere. Madcoverboy 06:54, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

I think it's rather interesting, actually. It seems pretty neutral to me; both sides in the affirmative action debate could read something into it. -- Beland 00:47, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
I reverted the POV & original research edits made by IP (registered to Oracle). This is the same IP that created the list about differing male/female admits. Given the anonymous user's previous history of vandalism (on other pages) and repeated attempts to revise topics only relating to women at MIT, it seems more and more to be soapboxing. If you have an axe to grind, wikipedia is not the place for it.Madcoverboy 19:16, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
I would not consider it soapboxing, so much as conveying useful / pertinent information, which is the primary goal of Wikipedia. I have no history of vandalism, nor an axe to grind (I'm an alum), but I would consider it possible useful information to the reader, who may be a potential applicant. (NOTE : I am not the original poster, merely giving external opinion on the matter)

Article length

This article is currently 76K, which is about twice as long as it should be. I would recommending moving some material out to subarticles:

  • "Challenges and controversies" could be chopped by a paragraph or two by moving recent but minor events to the subarticle.
  • Cut the "Campus" section in half
  • Combine parts of the "Academics" and "Faculty and research" sections and spin off a "Research at MIT" subarticle?
  • Cut "Student life and culture" by about 2/3rds
  • Cut the "Notable alumni" section down to 1 paragraph.Beland 00:47, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
    • This topic of article size comes up often. I would point out that other university FAs are similarly large: Cornell 83kb, Ohio Wesleyan 81kb, Duke 75kb, IIT 58kb, UMichigan 55kb, Michigan State 54kb. While I understand the motivation to limit article size on the grounds that long articles become unreadable/indigestible, parceling content into subarticles to meet a (now) arbitrary cap leads to a similar predicament. I don't see how some of the sections could sustain the severe cuts you recommend without losing some meaning (relative to topics one would expect to see in an article providing an overview of MIT). However, there is certainly some fat, lists, and cruft that can be trimmed from some sections. I'm making a pass now to trim down Campus, Student life, and Alumni -- let me know what you think. Madcoverboy 02:33, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
      • The article length is fine. Where does that "twice as long as it should be" come from? The 32K limit is ancient history based on browser limitations that no longer apply. Dpbsmith (talk) 12:45, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
    • The article DOES load a bit slowly on the broadband link my cable company provides me at home. It wouldn't hurt to take advantage of the sub-articles. I would argue that most of the controversies don't really belong in the main article. History is in 3 places, top of the article, the History section, and the sub-article. Could we use section-linking to allow topics to be succinctly menitoned in the main article and fully developed in subarticles without forcing readers to do searching through the sub-articles? DCDuring 11:47, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

User:Lentower believes that the article is still too long. What areas should be trimmed or cut? Madcoverboy 19:12, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

I'm MIT Class of '71, and am active in the MIT community in many ways for 41 years. This article shows off MIT poorly. Most of those who are editors of this article are alumni - I wish you were off changing the world, rather then hyping MIT with a severe case of boosterism.
An article in WP is suppose to be a terse, concise, well-written overview of the subject. Not an encyclopedia in and of itself, as this article has become. Or an article spinning off many articles about non-notable items about MIT - that is stuffing WP with more encyclopedias disguised as articles.
The solution is to not spin off more articles, but to drastically trim this one.
The articles about other universities and colleges that are overlong suffer from the same problems. Using examples of poor articles is not considered good form in WP discussions,
I've very happy for Dpbsmith that he has a good computing and high speed networking environment to work in. MANY readers of this encylopeida do not. Many still use slow dial-up, and many are on congested broadband - particularly outside the USA. Many can't afford to buy a new computer every few years. And with the explosion of third world users that the OLPC and similar projects will bring, the numbers of these users with slow networking, slow computers, and small screens will grow.
Trim the article severely. Lentower 23:05, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Perhaps you would care to elaborate on how the article at once "shows off MIT poorly" and also is "hyping MIT with a severe case of boosterism"? I don't believe any WP policy emphasizes making articles terse and concise - if anything WP:PAPER states that (within the bounds of WP:NPOV, WP:NOTABILITY, and WP:VERIFY) the very opposite applies: " there is no practical limit to the number of topics it can cover, or the total amount of content." I celebrate the stuffing of WP with encyclopedias within encyclopedias.
  • Lentower raises cogent points about the limitations on OLPC/3rd world access. I'm going to try to put this thinly-veiled "demand-side infonomics" as diplomatically as possible. However, it's infeasible for us to arbitrarily, unilaterally, and indefinitely constrain our writing/design process when, in fact, these bottlenecks will inexorably correct themselves by virtue of the less "netrocentric" (buzzword bingo!!!) being exposed to superior alternatives. Indeed, even if such bottlenecks do become pervasive, I can imagine dozens of models/paradigms (local servers/caches, torrents, parsing algorithms, wikiprojects, new wikipedias, etc.) under which freely-available information on wikipedia can be adapted, reconstituted, and disseminated through these bottlenecks. It's a central rule of usability - don't attempt to mold human behavior (the amazing organic growth of content on wikipedia) to fit within the limitations of a technological tool/system (bandwidth problems in Zimbabwe)! I am not dismissing the fact that there are serious political/social/cultural/economic/technological barriers to technology and innovation diffusion, but we should not artificially hamper ourselves until the day everyone is on a T1+ @ 1600x1200. While OLPC might initially increase the number of users on slow/small/bad computers/networks, the whole point is by exposing and involving them, they will likely adapt the existing technologies in incredibly novel ways and then create/demand more sophisticated technology rather than pleading for paternalistic condescension to the shortfalls of their technology. My point is, even if the article is too long now, it won't be for long.
  • Lentower likewise makes a valid point about WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS regarding other university FAs. While he characterized them as poor quality (yay normative judgments of single person!), a consensus of editors (yay collectivist totalitarianism!) decided they were among the best on wikipedia by elevating them to featured status. I've created a new sandbox at /verylong where you can propose the severe cuts to which you allude.
  • And I do plan to change the world - I just figured that a Ph.D. brings the most prestige/dollar - which is incidentally unbounded when for a fully-funded program that lets you spend four TPS-report-free years consulting with leading minds and making the world-changing thing. But thank you for your criticism of my hobby. :) Madcoverboy 00:06, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
  • After a quick read through the article, paying careful attention to section length and layout, I don't see the problem. The page length thing is a suggestion, and all available sub-articles have been made, as far as I see. —Disavian (talk/contribs) 02:30, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Largest academic buildings in the world at the time

Yeah, well, could be, but I'd like to know the source. And what counts as a single building. If you count the complex surrounding the Great Court Killian Court as one building, it's pretty big, all right. But if you count it as nine, each of them is substantial... but really, "largest in the world?" I wonder. Dpbsmith (talk) 12:45, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes. This should be cited. —mako (talkcontribs) 17:36, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
OK, I'm snipping the claim that the new Cambridge campus was built
with the largest academic buildings in the world at the time
Here's why. I can't find anything definite one way or the other, but looking from some online maps of the (old) Bodleian Library at Oxford it looks pretty big, somewhere in the rough neighborhood of 250'x150' . It looks to me as if it would fit handily into Killian Court, leaving a broad swath of green around it, but it looks larger than any of the individual buildings in the Maclaurin complex. If anyone can find any actual dimensions, by all means lets have them. No, I don't have any idea what the height or cubic capacity of the Bodleian Library would be. No, they don't hold classes in it. But I think it certainly counts as an "academic building."
And I only picked the Bodleian because it was the only thing that came to mind as a, big; b, older than MIT's Cambridge campus; and c, academic. There's no reason to think it's the biggest.
As I say, I'm sure there's a basis for the claim, but I want to know "who said so" and exactly what the basis for the claim was. It might have been a highly qualified claim. Dpbsmith (talk) 20:27, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Featured list nomination

List of Institute Professors has been a Featured list candidate for over 2 weeks with no clear consensus reached. Please go and comment on the nomination. Madcoverboy 04:17, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Created Marilee Jones

FYI -- Y not? 22:42, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

MIT International Review

User mitir added a section describing an journal entitled "MIT International Review" which I have reverted twice under the soap-boxing and notability exclusion criteria. As it appears this journal was founded in Spring 2007, I fail to see how it meets the "significant coverage", "sources", and "independence" notability criteria. User mitir also appears to also be an acronym for the publication in question and his/her/their contributions are all additions to existing MIT-related articles within the last day related to said publication. It seems that this addition is being used for self-promotion or advertising. I have stricken it from this MIT article while allowing it to remain on Student life and culture at MIT pending further consensus about which student activities/organizations/publications/etc warrant mention. Madcoverboy 06:19, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

GA comment

For the article to maintain its GA status, the copyrighted images need detailed fair use rationales. Look to other passed GA/FAs for examples. Let me know on my talk page if you have any questions. --Nehrams2020 06:49, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Why S.B. instead of B.S.?

I'm an alumnus, and I don't know (or I've forgotten :). Isn't it rare for universities to call them S.B. degrees? I think this would be an interesting addition to the article. <>< tbc 14:55, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

According to Bachelor of Science S.B. is latin for Scientiæ Baccalaureus. However, given the relative pride that MIT attaches to its practicality in that it doesn't award honorary degrees, latin honors, and the degrees are in English (unlike many Ivies for example), this surprises me. I wonder if it is just a long-held tradition that hasn't yet been altered.Madcoverboy 17:38, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Nomination for deletion

Wikipedia's article titled List of Massachusetts Institute of Technology departments and laboratories has been nominated for deletion. Opinions on whether it ought to be deleted should be posted at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of Massachusetts Institute of Technology departments and laboratories. Write either Keep or Delete or Merge or Redirect etc. etc., and then explain your reasons. Michael Hardy 18:55, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

The result of this AfD was Delete. I cleaned up the article. Lentower 11:41, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

MIT Nobel Laureate creep

I am concerned about User:MITBeaverRocks's recent edits boosting the number of Laureates affiliated with MIT. While I applaud the effort and initiative, it raises boundary problems as well as original research problems. One could make a case for visiting professors perhaps, but the additions involving people who took classes or worked part-time at MIT while enrolled/working elsewhere are more problematic. If MIT is to claim "ownership" of these people's accomplishments by virtue of some experience they had at MIT, what of people who visited campus or had a alumni relative, or gave a talk? Obviously these are exaggerations, but it's a slippery slope to go from saying "they once took a class here" to "colocation implies causation." Furthermore, will a similar methodology/fine-toothed comb be applied to winners of other accolades (MacArthur, Wolf, National Medal of Science, etc.) - it has to be generalizable after all. With regards to verifiability, I'm not saying MIT's site counting them all is going to be perfectly exhaustive, but these new statistics need to be verifiable. Instead of wasting his/her talents on WP edits that could justifiably be reversed, MITBeaverRocks might be better served making Institutional Research in the Office of the Provost and/or MIT Archives aware of his research so they can update their numbers which we can then reflect here. :) 07:14, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

  • Mike Lin's revert seems to echo my concerns. MITBeaverRocks likewise posted this on my talks which might be more appropriate to discuss here: Madcoverboy 08:23, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
    • I'm a student at MIT; I actually went to the MIT news office, human resource office, and alumni association last week, asking them to update the website to include (at least) the visiting scholars/professors at MIT. However, MIT refused to do so. Other colleges (like Harvard, Columbia, and Cambridge) all include visiting scholars/professors and also those part-time students in their total Nobel count. I think MIT deserves the same attention. MITBeaverRocks 07:33, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I've hit my WP:3RR limit for the day, I'm afraid; someone else want to take over here? --Mike Lin 15:48, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

Hey I found this longer list: [1]. It seems like the discreppancy now with the inflated (?) list on the Wikipedia page [2] is only 6. Can someone just figure out which 6, verify them and put some citations for them. Then everyone can be happy. Yook18 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Yook18 (talkcontribs) 08:20, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Thanks for finding that. I still think it would be best to use an official number (64 or 72) here. Otherwise it depends on some anonymous dude's definition of what MIT-affiliated means (e.g. counting anyone who ever cross-registered for a class, which I find silly). But, if indeed you could provide individual citation(s) for each additional name on the list, then I'd (grudgingly) go along with it. I see it says 72 right now. I'd less grudgingly go along with that :o) --Mike Lin (talk) 05:09, 19 January 2008 (UTC)


Hello. Sorry I have a few edits to make to this article, I would expect during the next day or so. No offense is intended to any of the editors here. -Susanlesch (talk) 05:40, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

If you have to preface your edits like this or have a specific complaint, perhaps you should list your proposed edits here on the talk page first since the article has been relatively stable for several months. Madcoverboy (talk) 06:13, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
Excuse me for the delay, who may I ask are you sir? Thanks by the way, I was actually able to buy a drink for the present president of MIT tonight, something that was impossible to do in real life for Elvis Costello in 1985. Sorry but no I do not plan to clear my edits with you unless there is some reason for it. -Susanlesch (talk) 09:08, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
You can find out who I am by my going to my user page. I do not own this article and all editors are encouraged to be bold in updating any article. However, yours and my access to powerful people are immaterial to goal of building a neutral, verifiable, and comprehensive encyclopedia (it may be more problematic). In light of your posts on User talk:Jimbo Wales and here about the need to make a complaint, or correct a problem, or potentially causing offense, I would remind you that wikipedia is not a soapbox. Nevertheless, I look forward to your contributions and collaboration. Madcoverboy (talk) 09:37, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
Nonsense nonetheless. Take care, I refuse to edit this article. At this time. The price you pay is tuition young man. -Susanlesch (talk) 09:46, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

Pardon me but time's up. I am going to have to email my complaint to a public mailing list hosted by where as we all know all things are free. I did come up with one idea. That is a pot of boiling oil on every corner. Anybody could put Dunkin' Donuts out of business with USD$100,000 in free donuts. Last week. I have to blow off steam somewhere and I do recall people wrote automated stuff as bad as the above about thirty years ago. Merry Christmas. -Susanlesch (talk) 10:26, 25 December 2007 (UTC)


Okay, I didn't attend MIT, but this seems just funny. A hack, no maybe vandalism? You MITers decide, and fix this if it's wrong. The phrase in this section reads "Some of the most popular recurring IAP activities are the 6.270, 6.370, and MasLab competitions, the annual "mystery hunt", and Charm School." Charm School??? The link for charm school takes you to some list of activities or hacks, not sure, but -- well, someone check this out. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Djneufville (talk • oops, didn't signDjneufville (talk) 02:09, 27 January 2008 (UTC)contribs) 01:58, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

It sounds funny, but Charm School does exist! Unfortunately, the student activities article is in an extremely poor state and needs to be revamped. Madcoverboy (talk) 03:14, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Maybe the link needs fixing? It points to a long laundry list of activities, but Charm School doesn't even appear to be there.Djneufville (talk) 03:54, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
perhaps you want to elaborate on just what are the 6.270 and 6.370"?--DSbanker (talk) 14:50, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

michael jackson

when did Michael Jackson sponsor MIT??????? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Residentevil (talkcontribs) 15:26, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Bogus and loaded language

"In 1998, MIT became the first major research university to acknowledge the existence of a systematic bias against female faculty in its School of Science and supported efforts toward corrective measures although the study's methods were controversial.[34][35] A 2003 MIT news release cites various statistics suggesting that the status of women improved during the latter years of President Vest's tenure.[36] Susan Hockfield, a molecular neurobiologist, became MIT's 16th president on December 6, 2004 and is the first woman to hold the post. While the student body has become more balanced in recent years, women are still a distinct minority among faculty."

This entire paragraph is problematic, particularly the text in bold. "MIT became the first major research university to ACKNOWLEDGE the existence of a systematic bias against female faculty..." This kind of language seems to presuppose that a systemic bias against female faculty does exist at MIT. It should instead read something along the lines of "MIT conducted a study in 1998 which concluded that a unintentional but systemic bias against female faculty exists in its college of science."

The article should also make clear exactly why the study is so dubious, the fact that the chief complainant, Nancy Hopkins, actually conducted the study which *shocker* concluded that she was being discriminated against and deserved more laboratory space, pay, etc. It should also mention the lack of any hard data supporting the study's conclusion except for the fact that women comprise a minority amongst the college of science faculty(which in and of itself does not suggest a bias). --Ironzealot (talk) 02:05, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

There is no presupposition, there is a systematic study published by a committee of 14 tenured faculty members over 4 years with results accepted by the greater faculty, administration, and Corporation (board of trustees). Your argument implies that Hopkins had perfect agency with which to make assertions and proscribe conclusions of a committee of 14 tenured faculty members. I don't know that "hard data" is a necessary condition of making a valid and defensible argument based upon observation, either. If you are aware of reliables sources offering a systematic study with different conclusions or a critique of the methodology employed in this particular study (in addition to the two already provided), please include them in the references. Per WP:REDFLAG, your implication that there is/was no discrimination or that the study was not conducted in good faith is an exceptional claim that requires exceptional sources. Madcoverboy (talk) 05:25, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
The majority of those tenured professors were senior females who were co-complainants with hopkins. This represents a clear and obvious conflict of interest which is why the study remains controversial(that and the reliance on subjective experience). It's interesting to note that junior female members of the faculty reported no perceived discrimination. The fact that the study is controversial is enough justification for neutralizing the language of that sentence. The study is not enough justification to categorically state that bias against women existed in MIT at the time of the study, as the word "acknowledged" in the context of the paragraph implies.--Ironzealot (talk) 05:37, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
I reworded the bolded phrase in question in part because it came across as some sort of sick sort of prestige measure ("ooh, look we're first in something else too!") and to match your proposed wording with the exception of "unintentional." Intentionality is harder to ascertain and, I believe, should not be included given my (quick) reading of the the findings of the report. COI is a valid criticism which is addressed in the cited sources criticizing the study. Was it ass covering on the part of the administration? Maybe. But if the report was a completely unsubstantiated fabrication, I doubt that it would have been so easily accepted by all corners of the institute. Madcoverboy (talk) 06:01, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Good Article Reassessment

This article has been nominated to be de-listed as a Good Article. The discussion is on this page. Majoreditor (talk) 05:31, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Can anyone help out with copediting and finding citations? The article needs help. Majoreditor (talk) 17:08, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
I've given the article a fairly thorough reorganization and scrub down per comments on the GA/R page. If there's anyone else out there who cares about this backwater technical school, I'm sure it could use a thorough copy-editing with a fresh set or many sets of eyeballs. Cheers! Madcoverboy (talk) 05:41, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

Lost images

It appears that the CopyVio police are removing CC images that aren't properly licensed and we've lost several important ones like the panorama and dinghies on the Charles. I'll be back in Boston at the end of August to take some pictures if need be, but in the meantime, can we get some placeholders up there? ...I just spammed a lot of people to come by and review the page for the peer review too :( The caption for the panorama is hidden below. Madcoverboy (talk) 16:54, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Northward view of MIT's campus along the Charles River. Undergraduate dormitories MacGregor House, Burton-Conner House, Baker House, and McCormick Hall, as well as graduate dormitory Ashdown House, can be seen to the west of the Harvard Bridge and Massachusetts Avenue. The Maclaurin buildings and Killian Court can be seen at the center of the image. The Green Building, Walker Memorial, Media Lab, and high-rise offices and laboratories in Kendall Square can be seen to the east.
Northward view of MIT's campus along the Charles River. Undergraduate dormitories MacGregor House, Burton-Conner House, Baker House, and McCormick Hall, as well as graduate dormitory Ashdown House, can be seen to the west of the Harvard Bridge and Massachusetts Avenue. The Maclaurin buildings and Killian Court can be seen at the center of the image. The Green Building, Walker Memorial, Media Lab, and high-rise offices and laboratories in Kendall Square can be seen to the east.
I put up some new images and replaced others. Too much, too many, not as good? Madcoverboy (talk) 22:17, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Madcoverboy, the pictures are good. I must say, though, that the Killian Court image is too good, i.e. not a good likeness. It's the MIT of my dreams, like something Edwin Howland Blashfield (Walker Memorial murals) might have painted. It's not the very slightly gritty MIT of reality. And... ummm... that sky... are you sure it's... how can I say this... real? My alma mater is an attractive lady but I would not want her body to be airbrushed. Dpbsmith (talk) 01:55, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

High dynamic range imaging. Basically mapping different exposures into a single image. I can upload the originals as well, but they're not as "shiny." Madcoverboy (talk) 14:51, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Dome Picture

This picture does not seem to belong on this page. It uses some sort of fish-eye effect that makes the Great Dome look tiny compared to everything else. Sure, it is artistic, but it does not belong on this article. Please discuss the possibility of replacing it with another picture, possibly one from Eric Schmiedl if would like to donate. (talk) 04:41, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

It's a 10mm shot on a 1.6-crop factor sensor blend 3 different exposures to create a psuedo-High dynamic range image. Mr. Schmiedl's work is very nice and all but I also fail to see how his work is somehow less artistic than my own standard-issue, blandly-composed shot. Ideally, a tilt shift lens would capture the neo-classical architecture in the Great Court beautifully. However, I see no need to replace the image unless you have a better one. Feel free to contact Mr. Schmiedel to see if he'd be willing to license a few of his photos under a GPL-compatible license. Madcoverboy (talk) 05:31, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Boosterism in the lead

The edits to include comments about MIT's prestige and reputation are canonical violations of a variety of policies (WP:ASF, WP:AVOID, WP:PEACOCK, WP:WEASEL, WP:SUBSTANTIATE) that WP:BOOSTER summarizes. Look at any university WP:FA and you will not find this egregious advertising. Keep it out of the lead and keep it out of the article. Madcoverboy (talk) 04:02, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

I agree with User:Awickert and I believe we have good standing to assert that rankings have no place in the lead given policy and precedent on WP:FAs. To User:Mintrick's assertion that "MIT's preeminance is an essential part of coverage", I would counter that MIT's preeminance is already more than well-established in the lead given the mention of Nobel, MacArthur, National Medal of Science production, defense-related inventions, and research expenditures. Given (1) the multitude of problems with rankings, (2) the obvious fact that rankings are not the ultimate arbiters of "preeminance", (3) MIT's preeminance and reputation are more than sufficiently and neutrally established by far more reliable indices, (4) that rankings aren't addressed in substantial capacity within the article itself, and (5) we shouldn't be telling readers what to think, I am going to recommend removing any mention of rankings from the lead. Madcoverboy (talk) 02:02, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

7 PHDs in 7 years

I seem to remember reading an article in the late 1980s or early 1990s about a (Chinese?) immigrant who earned 7 PHDs from MIT in 7 years, or something ridiculously extraordinary like that. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? Ikilled007 (talk) 12:36, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

"German university model"

in the header, but the link itself goes to "European universities." Which is it? How is it German if the link doesn't go to any German wikipedia article. Mind as well say "European university model." And if it is European are all universities "European" in model like most all universities in the US. It doesn't make sense. Maybe that should be removed. (talk) 21:36, 4 October 2009 (UTC)


Can any body tell what part of MIT's budget come from state sources? --Gilisa (talk) 17:43, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

MIT receives research grant funding from the federal and state governments, but it is a private university whose operational costs are solely supported by tuition and endowment. Madcoverboy (talk) 19:01, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
I know that, but my question was what part does the governmental support take in MIT's budget. Do you have any idea?--Gilisa (talk) 19:20, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
From the 2009 Treasurer's Report:

Operating revenues increased $235.5 million, or 9.8 percent, to $2,644.0 million due primarily to increases in distributed net gains on investments and research revenues and offset by a decrease in investment income. Operating expenses increased $167.0 million, or 7.3 percent, to a total of $2,461.3 million driven primarily by increases in salaries and wages and supplies and services... In 2009, MIT experienced a 10.4 percent increase in research revenues, from $1,245.2 million to $1,375.1 million. On-campus research programs are carried out at departments, labs, and centers where research revenue totaled $690.8 million in 2009, an 11.1 percent increase over 2008. Included in the campus figure are Broad Institute research revenues of $166.3 million, which grew 17.0 percent over 2008. At Lincoln Laboratory, research revenue totaled $669.8 million in 2009, an increase of 8.1 percent. Research at the Lincoln Laboratory is funded primarily under a contract with the Department of Defense (Air Force). At the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), $14.5 million of research revenuewas generated during 2009, its second year of operation, for research activities taking place in Singapore... Nonfederal funding for campus research increased by $38.5 million, or 25.9 percent, in 2009 with the greatest increases coming from nonprofit foundations and foreign governments.

I'm not an accountant, but assuming that 74.1% of funding for campus came from the federal government (1-0.259) and that 52% of the total operating revenues came from research revenues (1375.1/2644.0), I would infer that 38% of all MIT revenues come from the federal government (.741*.52). Of course, operating revenues are a wholly different entity than the endowment. Madcoverboy (talk) 22:16, 27 October 2009 (UTC)


In recognition of MIT's upcoming sesquicentennial celebrations in 2011, I thought it might be apropos to push the present and history articles for FA status so they can be Today's Featured Article on appropriate dates next year. Towards that end, I'd like to recruit editors to assist me in preparing this article for FA candidacy sometime in November. Some work that needs to be done here:

  • Updating the citation templates to use most recent webpages (ie, MIT Facts), standard formats (especially access dates), condensing or removing references in cases of citation overkill;
  • Summarizing or removing cruft in sections like the Collaborations, Research, Notes,
  • Reviewing other university GAs and FAs for content, style, and precedent;
  • Securing an external peer review before FAC

Madcoverboy (talk) 15:38, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

    • I can help out, since I'm preparing my own FAC. I'd suggest you open a peer review now, so the coordination can be centralized and avoid the messiness of a sprawling talk page discussion.--GrapedApe (talk) 18:53, 2 October 2010 (UTC)


I hate to make a new section. However could you think about this line "Because open conflict in the Civil War broke out only weeks after receiving the charter, MIT's first classes were held in rented space at the Mercantile Building in downtown Boston in 1865" I'm not making the connection between the Civil War starting and MIT classes being held in 1865. Perhaps the war started in 1861 I do not know. If it did then was the school lacking engineers for 4 years? did the war have some kind of effect on the school's building policy? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:21, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing out the confusing sentence and let us know if there are any other confusing passages. It should convey that MIT was founded, but the war started in 1861 and there weren't enough students to enroll, faculty to teach, or money to raise to support the institution until the war ended in 1865. When the war ended, classes were held in the Mercantile Building until construction on its buildings completed. I'll take a stab at revising in the days ahead if no one else beats me to the punch. Madcoverboy (talk) 06:56, 11 November 2010 (UTC)


I think this article is of FA quality, but it contains references in the lead. Could someone fix this? (talk) 18:54, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

This would be a good thing to fix. But the article is full of boosterism, and does not meet WP:NPOV etc., which prevents it from be a FA. Lentower (talk) 02:05, 21 August 2011 (UTC)
Could you outline what areas of the article you believe are boosterish or NPOV? I believe the article is extraordinarily neutral given the pablum which passes for content many other university articles. Madcoverboy (talk) 20:32, 22 August 2011 (UTC)


M.I.T. Expands Its Free Online Courses by TAMAR LEWIN published NYT December 19, 2011 (talk) 01:14, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Formatting problem!

Hey, where are the links to the article in other languages? As of 11:44 CST Feb 4 2012, the links to other languages are all not displaying correctly; instead, they are crammed into the bottom and are all red, even though the pages exist. One of the last few editors must have had a markup accident. (talk) 17:45, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Southeastern Universities Research Association

In the info bars at the end of the article, MIT is listed as a "standard member" of the "Southeastern Universities Research Association". This seems odd at first glance, since MIT is located in the Northeast of the US, and the other colleges listed all seem to be in the Southeast as one would expect. One might expect MIT to be an "affiliate member" at most, and a quick search of Wikipedia turned up no indication that MIT has any connection at all to the "Southeastern Universities Research Association", which lacks a Wikipedia entry.

On the other hand, a quick check of shows that MIT is indeed a full member, and even has a representative on the SURA Executive Committee. SURA apparently operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, VA. Could somebody who knows more about this create a stub article for SURA and link it appropriately to the infobar template, so the listing isn't quite so mystifying to the reader? -- Reify-tech (talk) 23:32, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

For now, I've created the article Southeastern Universities Research Association and redirected it to Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, which at least mentions SURA in its lede. --Reify-tech (talk) 20:01, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

Course numbers

If it is important that we simplify MIT practice by using course names, we sought not then remove the numbers. I am "Course VIII" and remain so. There is no reason to remove the numbers that I can think of. Cheers. Collect (talk) 19:52, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

What is important is what best communicates to all readers of Wikipedia, not what a few would like. The MIT community preference for the use of numbers over names (e.g. for courses, buildings, subjects) is probably notable (are there sufficient WP:RS?). But for a Wikipedia article, that means a well-written terse section on the preference. It doesn't mean that the MIT community's particular style overrides Wikipedia's. Lentower (talk) 21:05, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
Then use both. Simple. Collect (talk) 21:23, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
Using both just adds information useless to most readers of the article. Increases the read time, for no reason beyond making a few happy. On Wikipedia, we do what's best for all readers. Glad you're Course VIII" and remain so, but that doesn't effect editing on WP. Lentower (talk) 21:50, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree substantive names should be emphasized over (outwardly) arcane numbers. Clearly communicating the encyclopedic facts & merits of the Institute to the greatest number is our overriding goal on Wikipedia. That should be a sufficient reason to remove the numbers (that I can think of). Madcoverboy (talk) 23:07, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't see any harm in using both numbers and names given how deeply ingrained the numbers are in MIT culture. We can go too far in trying to standardize language and terminology in articles to the detriment of article subjects. Are we next going to edit the university articles that use "DPhil" and replace that with "PhD" since that is more familiar to most readers? ElKevbo (talk) 04:14, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Abbreviations#Widely_used_abbreviations_in_Wikipedia gives preference to "PhD or Ph.D.". Consensus isn't a vote, but a discussion that uses WP's goals, policies, and guidelines to get to a better encyclopedia. As I said, explaining the use of numbers at MIT benefits WP's readers, using the numbers in this article is detrimental to WP's readers. Lentower (talk) 06:12, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
As an MIT alum, I can still recite the Course numbers and Department names, complete with 4 decades of updates to both. Knowing this arcana may be fun at an MIT Reunion, but it doesn't help the average Wikipedia reader, who probably came here to learn something quickly and painlessly, and not just to be reminded of his or her ignorance of insider knowledge. For comparison, some of the Harvard- and BU-related articles are seriously marred by the (possibly unconscious) use of unexplained acronyms, such as GSD, VES, FAS, GRS, SHA, CFA, and so forth. MIT has a long-term tradition and reputation of openness to all who wish to learn, as exemplified by projects such as MIT OCW (what does that acronym mean, and why wasn't it spelled out?). Please remember the guidelines in WP:Readers first, and think of why a reader would want to read this article. User:Lentower puts it well: explaining the use of numbers at MIT benefits WP's readers, using the numbers in this article is detrimental to WP's readers. --Reify-tech (talk) 15:03, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
I think that you've helped make my argument for me: These course numbers are a long-standing and deeply ingrained part of MIT culture and lore. It's worth preserving and reflecting that here as long as we can do that without making the article difficult to read or understand. Too much standardization and simplification can do injustice to our articles and their subjects. ElKevbo (talk) 15:14, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
Huh - so it does. Well that's fucked up. Preferring "doctorate" would be understandable but it's outright misleading to mandate the use of PhD for articles about institutions that award DPhils. ElKevbo (talk) 15:14, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
By the way, Wikipedia does not seem to have an article listing MIT Course numbers and Department names over the course of time, so it's not at all clear how a reader could decode a recondite reference to "Course XIII". If I had described somebody as a "Course XIX" graduate, most people on the MIT campus today would have trouble explaining which department conferred the degree (it existed when the person graduated, but has since been merged). The only convenient listing I know of is the Infinite Connection alumni database, which is not open to the average Wikipedia reader. As an MIT alumnus privy to some of this insider knowledge, I still favor clarity over exclusivity. --Reify-tech (talk) 15:53, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

Unsourced material removed

Hello, I've started working through this article. I'm hoping to get it to FA. I just wanted to list here some unsourced claims I found that I've removed, because I hate to delete information. They appear in versions of the article before May 30, 2012.

  • "By the end of the war [WWII], MIT employed a staff of over 4,000 (including more than a fifth of the nation's physicists)"
  • "MIT's Radiation Laboratory was established in 1940 to assist the British military in developing a microwave radar, and the first mass-produced equipment were installed on front-line units within months"
  • "surging student enrollments under the G.I. Bill, contributed to rapid growth in the size of the Institute's research staff and physical plant"
I'm not sure how either of these support the claim Also, as early as 1969 there was a protest from MIT students against military research. (But the claim does make sense to me.)

That's all for now. Leonxlin (talk) 16:35, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

There's a lot of cruft like this (and I'm saying this as an author of some of these) that should be rooted out unless they can be explicitly substantiated. Madcoverboy (talk) 23:22, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Initially, undergraduates register for courses designated "UG", but advanced upperclass students are allowed and even encouraged to register for graduate "G" level courses, with appropriate prerequisites and (sometimes) the explicit permission of the instructor.

Leonxlin (talk) 03:02, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Restructuring of the history section

I hope I'm not tampering too much or being too bold, but I think I will move the paragraphs around into a couple of different subsections. My main reason is that I feel like 1930-1970s history is really two stories, one about the military stuff, and the other about the curricular reforms. The current scheme, which divides MIT's history into three parts chronologically, doesn't quite work, and the split-dates are arbitrary (and not very accurate right now). If anyone has any serious reservations about the changes, please feel free to revert the article. Leonxlin (talk) 20:31, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

I'm fine with the new structure since thematic coherence should pre-empt strict temporal linearity. Section titles might need some massaging, but nothing urgent and I'm excited to see what unfolds. The previous structure we had was largely an artifact of the structure I adopted on this History of MIT article and simply extended here. Madcoverboy (talk) 23:45, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Oustanding issues

I'd like to see this article up for FA some time in the near future. So I was hoping we could a sort of review/edit-drive here. Leonxlin (talk) 00:53, 28 June 2012 (UTC)


  • Should be reorganized or rewritten, I think; kinda choppy right now. Leonxlin (talk) 00:53, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
    • What specifically is wrong with it? I'll note that rankings should not appear in the lead. Madcoverboy (talk) 18:18, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Citations should be removed. Leonxlin (talk) 00:53, 28 June 2012 (UTC)


  • Is anything missing? Leonxlin (talk) 00:53, 28 June 2012 (UTC)


  • I think a map would be in order, but I don't know if there's a good one available. Probably not necessary, as adding a picture there threatens to mess up the alignment. Leonxlin (talk) 00:53, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
    • I think a good aerial photo (and/or a panorama) would be a better use of page space for most readers, rather than a campus map. For an example of a nice panorama, see Longfellow Bridge. The official MIT interactive website map is very good for anyone needing more detailed info, and it is clearly pointed to from the Campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology article, along with other good maps. Maybe the pointer should also be more prominent in the main article? I don't have a strong opinion on this. Reify-tech (talk) 17:26, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Organization and administration


  • Graduate section is much smaller than undergraduate section. Is this a problem? Leonxlin (talk) 00:53, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
    • I agree that grad coverage could use some expansion. Also, the fact that qualified undergrads routinely take grad courses should be re-added, once backup refs are found. Reify-tech (talk) 17:26, 25 March 2013 (UTC)


  • Source concerns
    • Some reviewers might be unhappy if most of the good comments about MIT just cite the MIT website. Leonxlin (talk) 00:53, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
      • Plenty of non-MIT comments would definitely be better, and avoid even a whiff of boosterism. We shouldn't purge MIT website refs, just upgrade them by adding solid outside refs. Reify-tech (talk) 17:26, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
    • I haven't taken a thorough look at everything, but it seems like a lot of stuff needs citing. Of the two cites for the sentence about magnetic core memory, neither mentions anything about memory and one doesn't even mention MIT... Leonxlin (talk) 00:53, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
    • How were the Nobel Prize numbers determined? For example, I see "MIT economists have been awarded five Nobel Prizes", but the source appears to list 11 MIT faculty receiving the prize in economics.Leonxlin (talk) 00:53, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
      • Don't know, but the MIT Provost Office website lists the "official" tallies of major prizes, by whatever criteria they use. I think that's good enough for our purposes. Reify-tech (talk) 17:26, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
  • In the past, it seems people have worried about boosterism in this section. Just leaving that here. Leonxlin (talk) 00:53, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

Traditions and student activities


  • Alumni
    • I think the gallery pix of notable alumni could use some judicious expansion. I had added widely-respected alums (and faculty) who were pioneers of information theory (Claude Shannon) and chaos theory (Edward Norton Lorenz), but they were removed without explanation. The older black and white pix aren't as pretty, but we should avoid too much of a "recentist" bias. Reify-tech (talk) 17:26, 25 March 2013 (UTC)


  • So I've noticed that at FAC they really care about sources being all in order. You can have articles with mediocre prose and content, but it'll never be passed with sources in a messy state. So it looks like there is a lot of work to do in this area. :( Leonxlin (talk) 00:53, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
  • The Lecuyer cites are inconsistent. We will have to decide on a consistent style. This article appears to have evolved without the short-cite style "Smith, 2004". Leonxlin (talk) 00:53, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
  • The Lewis report is cited multiple times. I wonder if we should split up all of them to include page numbers. Leonxlin (talk) 00:53, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
    • A good idea, need a copy of the report (online?) to get page numbers. Reify-tech (talk) 17:26, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Whenever the publisher is MIT, it seems reasonable to put "MIT" instead of "Massachusetts Institute of Technology". Yes? Leonxlin (talk) 00:53, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
    • Correct.
      Abbreviations. Some entities with widely recognized initials, e.g., AARP, CBS, CIA, FCC, FDA, FEC, NAACP, NLRB, are commonly referred to in spoken language by their initials rather than by their full names; such abbreviations may be used … in text, in case names, and as institutional authors.
      “United States” may be abbreviated to “U.S.” only when used as an adjective (do not omit the periods): “U.S. president”.  But: “President of the United States”. — The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Legal Citation § 6.1(b) (19th ed. 2010).
      --Dervorguilla (talk) 23:55, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

Pop culture

  • Do we need anything like this in the article? I was thinking to keep it to a minimum, perhaps by listing some fictional alumni in the real alumni section. Leonxlin (talk) 00:53, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
    • There's already a separate article for it and it's likely to me more of a liability during a FA. Madcoverboy (talk) 18:21, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
    • Please keep fictional alumni only in the pop culture article, which is pointed to from this article. I agree that listing it here is likely to attract misguided additions that will detract from the main article. Reify-tech (talk) 17:26, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Prose concerns

POV/Boosterism concerns

  • Removing the rankings from the lede is fine, as long as readers who are specifically looking for them can find them easily within the article. The info box is a good place to keep the basic info. Don't know if there is anything that ought to be said in addition in the text. Reify-tech (talk) 17:26, 25 March 2013 (UTC)


  • Is the article too long? Personally, I don't really think so. Leonxlin (talk) 15:30, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
    • I don't have a problem with the overall length; perhaps we should compare it with other FA university articles? We should pay more attention to the overall balance, moving stuff to/from subsidiary articles when appropriate. Reify-tech (talk) 17:26, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Historical rescue


Lockdown — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:21, 23 February 2013 (UTC)


The shooting subsection should remain in the article until things calm down a bit, but today's events don't warrant an entire sub-section. Madcoverboy (talk) 12:03, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

MIT (disambiguation) changed

If anyone cares, an anonymous IP editor ( has rewritten the MIT (disambiguation) page to bury Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the end of a long list of other "Institutes of Technology". The next logical step would be to reassign MIT away from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology article. I have reverted the change, but the IP editor immediately reverted it back. I won't engage in a single-handed edit war, but am pointing this out to other editors, in case they have any opinions regarding this.

FYI, (talk · contribs · WHOIS) shows that the address has been assigned to MORGAN STANLEY ADVANTAGE SERVICES PVT LTD in Bangalore, India. It has been used for miscellaneous edits, mostly about South Asian topics, plus some occasional vandalism. Reify-tech (talk) 14:05, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Another editor has restored the original content of MIT (disambiguation). I don't know if this has been an issue before, but would guess that it has. Anyway, you might want to add it to your watchlist. Reify-tech (talk) 16:17, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Anyone interested in discussing the appropriate target of the MIT redirect probably should do so at Talk:MIT (disambiguation). --R'n'B (call me Russ) 11:38, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

Soul research

There is a Philosphy department in MIT. Why is there no research on the existence of the soul (defined as an absolutely non-material entity which is the individual life-force in every individual living being)? A living being's {a human, animal, an aquatic, a plant etc.} identity is actually the soul inside the body and not the particular body itself. There is some empirical and solid non-empirical but rational evidence. We should not take it for granted that there is no existence of the soul. The soul is not "unscientific" in the sense modern science defines "science" today. Modern science is charged with the crime of deliberately avoiding research into the existence of the soul (and God), even though the possibility of existence is perfectly rational.

Do not cast aside the possibility of the soul. We may all look like fools at the end of our life if we do not think seriously about "what exactly is this soul, that so many traditions in past have accepted?" Some traditions like Vaishnavism have given highly logical arguments as far as philosophy is concerned. The notion that modern science can do without philosophy should be given up, as it can be easily disproved. -Polytope4d (talk) 12:16, 13 June 2013 (UTC)

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