02 October 2010

MIT 150 : Celebrating...what?

The bustle in the connection between the Infinite and the extension
The buzz is starting on campus and events are being readied for MIT's 150th birthday celebration.  Although this number doesn't seem very large, in comparison to some other gray-haired alma maters, but looking at what the Institute has become on a global scale and the people and work that has been produced in that time...  all I can say is that I'm proud to be fortunate enough to have been at Columbia to celebrate its 250th, and now at MIT to celebrate this sesquicentennial* milestone.

The calendar is full of events, highlighting the faculty and student body's research work, performances, innovations, social capital, among a vast spectrum of topics.  This semester, I'm actually taking the FAST class - Festival of Arts, Science, and Technology - that centers around designing installations to showcase the creative arts as extensions of the Infinite Corridor.  My professor, Tod Machover, known for his musical compositions with a techno-bent, has been introducing us to a slew of faculty like Evan Ziporyn (Music) and Marty + Erik Demaine (Visual Arts and Computer Science) who are doing some amazing (and occasionally obscure) work.  It all sounds incredibly exciting...

... but there's a hole in this narrative.  The topics covered range from the above mentioned to econ/finance to music to cancer research to neuroscience to explorations of the natural world and women in science, which are all great points of discussion ...

... but what about that intangible facet of campus life, that of the spiritual?  Does faith have a place at MIT?  Or, perhaps more pointedly, does MIT have a soul?**  I ask this not simply because I'm a Christian, but because I've seen how vibrant a faith culture there is here on campus.  This missing link seems glaringly obvious, but has apparently slipped through the cracks in favor of the more "obvious" topics of celebration.

Just a thought, but where do we stand - not just in the Infinite Corridor but in infinity?

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* Not my word usage, but MIT's
** Also not mine, but from Chris of The Veritas Forum