During one of our first tours of the MIT campus, I took special note of a strange brick with an enormous tube protruding from its side. Over the door, it read “Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel.” I had to see inside.
This past week marked the last seminars of our fellowship. Cue the sad music. So, to ward off the feelings of loss and abandonment, here’s a look back at our most recent, and final, seminar subjects. Continue reading “The Seminar Stretch”
A favorite daydream of mine is to imagine historical figures in the present day. I suspect the shock they’d experience would come in three forms. The most obvious would be the change in technology. Imagine the shock of a helicopter or the magic of air conditioning. Smart phones combine so many technologies that I’m not sure someone from even 200 years ago could comprehend them. Continue reading “Starry Nights”
At the end of an earth science lecture last year, an undergraduate student leaned over and started asking me about my fellowship. She was curious how it was a middle-aged guy came to be in her science class. The more I told her, the more questions she had.
So you can take any classes you want?
Pretty much, I answered. So long as the professor approves. Of course, some courses aren’t appropriate — like labs where there is limited space.
And you don’t have to do any of the work?
I couldn’t tell if her question harbored jealousy or concern. Either way, that’s mostly right, I told her. Oh, I do the readings (usually), but not the problem sets or the papers or tests. Except in some rare cases.
And they pay you?
It’s easy to forgot how unlike the “real” world the academic schedule is. It’s not just summer break, or the fact that campus is nearly empty on Fridays, or that every holiday is honored. There are the lenient hours, the extra breaks, and the flexible schedules. That’s not to say people don’t work hard. Just that the schedule is unlike what you find in the non-academic life. Another example: winter break. Continue reading “So Much Time, So Little Time”
The KSJ seminar series not only brings in a variety of interesting speakers, it also attracts attendees from around MIT and Harvard. We’ve been joined by MIT military fellows, graduate students, partners of Neiman fellows, and even a high school student attending an MIT science program, among others.
We love opening our seminars to others, who bring their own unique insights and perspectives. Of course, there would be no seminars without our speakers.
Here’s who we’ve visited since my last update on our seminars: Continue reading “X-Rays, Social Justice and Garbage: Our Winter Seminars”
If you’re going to go to Woods Hole, do what we did and go in October. The weather is beautiful, the tourists are few, and the scientists are active.
One of the benefits of the Knight Science Journalism fellowship at MIT is the twice-weekly seminar. Technically a requirement (in the sense that we are required to attend), the seminars are a fantastic opportunity to hear from and talk with experts in their fields. (Plus, we get food.) So far we’e had eleven seminars. Here’s a quick look at them.
Like many folks, I greatly enjoy people-watching, which, as it turns out, has it’s own Wikipedia entry. (Of course.) And part of people-watching is paying attention to the small snippets of conversation that flow through the air. It’s especially interesting to me how different the conversation in the Boston area is from D.C. For example…
There are more three dozen offshore wind farms in the world, many with the potential of producing more than 200 megawatts of electricity. Most are in the United Kingdom and Germany. One is in the United States.
Located a few miles south of Rhode Island, the Block Island Wind Farm is pretty modest. Its five turbines have the nominal capacity of 30 megawatts — enough to power all of Block Island, which has begun decommissioning its diesel generators.
A few weeks ago, I traveled with almost two dozen other journalists to the wind farm to learn more about the project and to see the monster turbines up close.