Cathleen Nalezyty ‘16 browses the MITSFS library.

Cathleen Nalezyty ‘16 browses the MITSFS library.

Brother Guy Consolmagno ’74, SM ’75, a Jesuit and an astronomer at the Vatican Observatory, was a first-year student at Boston College when he first visited the MIT Science Fiction Society (MITSFS) library. He quickly transferred to MIT.

“Visiting that library for the first time was one of the greatest days of my life,” Consolmagno says. “Science fiction reminds you that science is fun—it’s the best adventure anyone could have. I asked myself, ‘How could I be anywhere else?’”

Located on the fourth floor of the Stratton Student Center, the MITSFS (pronounced mits-fiss) collection is one of the world’s largest public science fiction libraries—home to an estimated 90 percent of all English-language science fiction ever published. More than 45,000 books occupy less than 1,700 square feet of space; another 16,000 books sit in storage at an East Boston warehouse.

“Plus, we have complete runs of almost every science fiction magazine dating back to the 1920s,” says graduate student D. W. Rowlands, a MITSFS member. “Our library keeps growing. It’s a good problem to have, but it’s exhausting.”

The library’s collection includes mainstream titles like the Lord of the Rings and Star Trek novels, rare works like fanzines (fan-published magazines), and even a small collection of science fiction erotica magazines from the 1950s that are locked away from public view.

Early History

The society dates back to 1949, when Rudolf Preisendorfer ’52 and a group of like-minded students met to read his collection of Astounding Science Fiction magazines and later set out to collect back issues of other periodicals from the genre. A few years later, members began dragging a wooden crate filled with books between dorm rooms and the Spofford Room for meetings. (The crate is still on display at the MITSFS library.)

In the 1960s, the society grew and, under the leadership of a group that included Anthony Lewis ’61, L. Court Skinner ’62, SM ’64, PhD ’65, and Marilyn Wisowaty Niven ’62, eventually became a formal MIT club whose popularity spread beyond campus. Annual picnics were attended by well-known authors of popular science fiction.

“MITSFS was a big part of my undergraduate years—the picnics were huge events,” Skinner says. “Isaac Asimov was a great guy, but Hugo Gernsback was a bit of a curmudgeon.”

Skinner served as society president for three years. Today, the student leader of the MITSFS is known as the skinner, one of many distinctive titles that include lady high embezzler (treasurer) and onseck (honorable secretary).

“I certainly didn’t think that the title would last this long,” Skinner says. “But it’s an honor to have your name continue to be associated with MIT.”

Today’s MITSFS

MITSFS “skinner” D. W. Rowlands G holds the steel wrench that the society clanks to begin its weekly meetings.

MITSFS “skinner” D. W. Rowlands G holds the steel wrench that the society clanks to begin its weekly meetings.

The current-day MITSFS is open about 40 hours per week and holds weekly meetings, usually on Friday evenings, that members admit usually feature very little business. Each meeting begins with the clanking of a two-foot steel wrench onto a massive slab of titanium, and each member of the society, collectively known as Star Chamber, can vote up to four times (once per limb) on any issues brought to poll.

“There is definitely a social aspect, but we’re really just an awesome science fiction library,” says Alexandra Westbrook ’13. “Even if a book isn’t popular or well known, we have almost everything.”

In addition to a near-overflow of books, the library’s shelves are strewn with bizarre trinkets, including a collection of randomly placed toy bananas that no current member can explain.

“MITSFS has a lot of inside jokes that predate current students and, it seems, most alumni,” Rowlands says. “We definitely have an obsession with bananas, but no one seems to know why.”

Physical size remains MITSFS’s biggest issue—there are no plans expand the library. But the society continues to expand, thanks to active membership, a small endowment, and a boundless supply of both science fiction literature and readers at MIT.

Matching MIT’s Mission

“Science is the heart of science fiction, but the meat of it is engineering,” says Susan Shepherd ’11. “MITSFS keeps growing because of MIT’s central mission—explore science, push boundaries. Someone who wants to change the world—that’s the type of person who loves to read science fiction.”

MITSFS currently has about 300 dues-paying members, and Rowlands estimates that about 60 percent are current MIT students. Annual membership, which is open to the general public, starts at $15, but there are more expensive options, including a $260 lifetime membership and a $2,600 membership that transcends mortality.

“The real purpose of the $2,600 membership was a way for people to give to MITSFS and feel like they were getting something in return,” Rowlands says. “But if you die and come back undead or uploaded, you do have the option to maintain your membership.”

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2015 issue of MIT Technology Review magazine.


What’s one thing MIT students can do to increase their well-being this winter break? Sleep, according to Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, Affective Computing, Rosalind Picard SM ’86, ScD ’91. Picard is an instructor for MAS S63 Tools for Well Being, a course launched this past fall with a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation aimed at better understanding how individuals can be healthier and happier.

“The course is our way to start learning about our health,” explains Picard. She says providing a semester-long credit course is important for students who need to make their time commitments count.  “People are interested in so much,” she says. “At MIT you have so much you have to do, you often only do what you have to do rather than you want to do.”

Tools for Well Being—a Media Arts and Sciences course—offers weekly lectures from researchers and experts on a range of topics including diet and nutrition, mental health, workplace well-being, and cognitive health. Another benefit is that the Wednesday lectures, on topics ranging from How to Measure Stress, Engagement, and Positive Affect to the Science of Workplace Fitness, are open to the public.

Picard recommends sleep as a first-step to wellbeing.

Picard recommends sleep as a first-step to well-being.

“This is the whole picture of well-being. It’s like a resilience guide. If you are going to drive yourself to maximum performance, what do you need to know?” she says.

The course—open to graduate and undergraduate students—also focuses on technology as it relates to well-being. Some class speakers have experience building and using technology for well-being—like Kevin Slavin Assistant Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Lab who previously worked in game development. The course culminates in a final project that requires students to design and prototype a tool for well-being. Past projects included a smart coupon model that would provide users with tailored coupons for healthy options and an app that assists in creating conversations to solve interpersonal conflicts at work.

Picard would like to see a smaller course focused on well-being as a requirement for undergrads, much like physical education is required.  She relates that though many courses may be interesting to students, taking courses outside of those required proves difficult for many.

“Students need to be as intelligent about their basic functioning as they are about bio and math. You must know how to take care of your own health so you can push yourself for four years and emerge strong and resilient,” she says.

A first step to increase that understanding is examining your sleep patterns, Picard says. As a recommendation to all students, the winter break is a great time to do this.

“Pay attention to how much sleep your body needs—that’s your natural rhythm. Figure out how to get closer to that when you get back to school,” she says.

Recorded lectures from Tools for Well Being are available to everyone.


The 2015 TIME magazine Person of the Year, who will be announced this morning, will not be an MIT alumnus. The magazine’s list of eight finalists, which were announced earlier this week, was narrowed down from a larger list that includes perennial nominees Benjamin Netanyahu ’75, SM ’76; Charles Koch ’57, SM ’58, SM ’60; and David Koch ’62, SM ’63.

In honor of today’s announcement, Slice is recalling the five alumni, scattered over a 50-year period, who have been previously named Persons of the Year.

2009: Ben Bernanke PhD ’79, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair

TIME_BernankeIn two terms Federal Reserve chair, Bernanke oversaw the government’s response to the late-2000s financial crisis. According to TIME, His leadership helped ensure that 2009 was a period of recovery rather than depression.

“The main reason Ben Shalom Bernanke is TIME’s Person of the Year for 2009 is that he is the most important player guiding the world’s most important economy. His creative leadership helped ensure that 2009 was a period of weak recovery rather than catastrophic depression, and he still wields unrivaled power over our money, our jobs, our savings and our national future.”

1996: Dr. David Ho, 1978 graduate of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, CEO and director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center.

TIME_HoHo was honored for his contributions to the understanding and treatment of HIV and AIDS, and he and his staff’s research on antiretroviral therapy have led significant reductions in AIDS-associated mortality.

“Ho and his’ colleagues have demonstrated that this picture of the (AIDS) virus is wrong. There is no initial dormant phase of infection. Ho showed that the body and the virus are, in fact, locked in a pitched battle from the very beginning. At first many AIDS researchers found this hard to accept; it challenged some of their most cherished assumptions. If Ho was right, doctors would have to radically alter the way they treated AIDS.”

1960: American Scientists

TIME_ScientistThe multi-person list included Charles Stark Draper ’26, SM ’28, ScD ’38; William Shockley PhD ’36, Robert Woodward ’36, PhD ’37; and former professor and provost Charles Hard Townes.

“U.S. scientists and their colleagues in other free lands are indeed the true 20th  century adventurers, the explorers of the unknown, the real intellectuals of the day, the leaders of mankind’s greatest inquiry into the mysteries of matter, of the earth, the universe, and of life itself. Their work shapes the life of every human presently inhabiting the planet, and will influence the destiny of generations to come.”

For even more end-of-year rankings and awards, check out the Forbes 2014 list of the world’s most powerful people, which includes Netanyahu, the Kochs, and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi PhD ’77.

Is there MIT alumnus who has been named Person of the Year that Slice is missing? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter




Image: Sosolimited and The Atlantic

Image: Sosolimited and The Atlantic

The MIT alumni who founded the art and technology studio Sosolimited are experts at visualization. They used the Empire State Building to display Super Bowl predictions, transformed a chandelier into a global data map, and turned the London Eye into a massive mood ring at the 2012 Olympics.

But their most recent task was much more abstract: visualizing a thrill. In the November issue of the Atlantic, the studio teamed up with Porsche and Atlantic Re:think, the magazine’s creative group, to visualize the heart beats, breathing rates, and acceleration of 25 drivers behind the wheel of a Porsche Macan—speeding more than 100 miles per hour—on a closed 1.5-mile course.

“A lot of our projects are on the border between data visualization and artistic interpretations,” says Sosolimited’s Eric Gunther ’00, MEng ’02. “This one was definitely on the artistic interpretation side.”

Each driver wore a high-tech t-shirt that measured heart beats, breathing rates, and body movement. The Sosolimited team—which also includes Justin Manor ’00, SM ’03 and John Rothenberg ’02, SM ’07—then combined millions of data points with information from GPS devices plotted along the course.

“Once we had the data, our biggest challenge was to bring enough legibility to our designs so people could understand what was happening,” Gunther says. “I don’t think any of us actually knew what the data would look like.”

The end result was a racetrack-like design that used colors to contrast upticks in heart rate and respiration with car acceleration and hair pin turns.

Art of the Thrill,” The Atlantic

“You can see someone coming around a corner and their heart rate spikes or they start to breathe heavily,” said Wade Aaron, a designer at Sosolimited. “When you trace their data over the track, you end up with this really unique fingerprint of their experience on the racetrack.”

In addition to the snake-like data designs for all 25 drivers, Sosolimited also displayed a collection of individual still images that track heart and breathing rates plus the acceleration and positions of the cars.


A depiction of all drivers transitioning from a straightaway to a tight corner. Image via Sosolimited and The Atlantic

In the image below, according to The Atlantic, the blue, pink and green colors depict the heart rate, and the outer translucent form represents breathing rate. When the shapes expand, the driver is experiencing the “thrill” of a 120 miles-per-hour joy ride.

“We wanted a complex image that would still be pretty elegant,” Gunther says. “In the end, by playing with different mathematical mappings, we were able to let the data speak for itself.”

Visit The Atlantic Re:think website to learn more about the project and see all the images, data, and videos associated with the project.

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Telling real stories in interactive time is the MIT Open Documentary Lab’s experimental turf. The lab brings together storytellers, technologists, and scholars to invent new storytelling modes that focus on collaborative, interactive, and immersive forms. The research goal is to understand the impact and evolution of such new story forms.

MIT Open Documentary Lab explores new storytelling modes.

The MIT Open Documentary Lab explores and studies new storytelling modes.

Documentaries are taking a creative leap thanks to influences such as television, ubiquitous handheld cameras, user-generated content, interactive documentary forms, and work that combines and crosses media, according to William Uricchio, director of the Comparative Media Studies Program, where OpenDocLab was founded in 2012. “The documentary field now is like looking at the first five to eight years of television…new tools, new storytelling techniques, new participants,” he said in an Great Ideas interview. “It’s a very exciting moment.”

You can get a sense of the approach by visiting Moments of Innovation, an interactive white paper that describes the long search for immersive story experiences and highlights recurrent themes in documentaries.

Q&A with OpenDocLab Director Sarah Wolozin:

Why is MIT a good place to investigate the future of storytelling?

The future of storytelling—and I would argue that the future is here—is interdisciplinary and based on innovative new uses of emerging technologies. Traditional storytelling is media specific; you make a film, a radio story, a television show, etc., and each has its own forms and processes. Today, digital documentaries are informed by all of these media as well as games, civic engagement, activism, artificial intelligence, creative computing, to name a few. MIT has researchers studying and experimenting in all of these areas and innovation at MIT is based on an interdisciplinary approach. It makes MIT a great place to incubate new storytelling projects, take the time to reflect, collaborate across disciplines and shape the future of storytelling.

Moments of Innovation

Moments of Innovation illustrates interactive storytelling.

What is the Moments of Innovation docubase and why is it important?

Moments of Innovation is a website we created together with the International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam’s Doclab in honor of their 5th anniversary. It’s designed and developed by the French company, Upian. And it’s based on Professor William Uricchio’s thesis that today’s storytelling practices such as participation, interactivity, and data visualization are not new. They have long and rich histories; people have always used the tools of the day to tell these kinds of stories. Uricchio also argues that documentary has always been at the forefront of innovation; documentarians were often the first to experiment with new technologies. It makes sense because we all observe the world around us and tell stories to make sense of it and some people are driven to express it and can do so in a public way. What’s exciting today is that public storytelling is more democratized than ever before; the means of production and distribution are in people’s pockets or purses in the form of a cell phone.

Docubase is a database that aggregates and curates the innovation taking place in documentary storytelling today and serves as a place of inspiration and education about new documentary forms. According to Uricchio, we are going through a major shift in documentary storytelling and Docubase is serving to archive these experiments for posterity and encourage them.

Learn more about OpenDocLab events, fellows, social media, and opportunities to get involved.


This Sept. 1977 issue of the National Enquirer sold 6.7 million copies.

This Sept. 1977 issue of the National Enquirer sold 6.7 million copies.

Have you ever wondered who was responsible for bizarre National Enquirer headlines like “Adam and Eve were Astronauts,” “UFOs: The Big Govt. Cover-Up,” and “Man Eats Dog?” If so, Slice has your answer—and he’s an MIT alumnus.

The National Enquirer was founded and published by Generoso Pope, Jr. ’46, a former CIA operative who graduated from MIT in less than three years.

From The Godfather of Tabloid: Generoso Pope, Jr. and the National Enquirer, by Jack Vitek

“Pope breezed through MIT in two and a half years, by way of an accelerated wartime program, and earned, at age nineteen, a degree in mechanical engineering that he never used. Though he described himself as a ‘science nut,’ Pope also said that he never wanted to be an engineer but went to MIT because engineering fascinated him, that studying engineering taught him to think logically.”

Generoso Pope, Jr. '46

Generoso Pope, Jr. ’46

After graduation, Pope became editor and publisher of the Il Progresso Italo-Americano, an Italian-language daily newspaper in New York City owned by his father, Generoso Pope, Sr.

In 1950, he left Il Progresso and spent one year working for the CIA as a psychological warfare officer during the peak of the first Cold War.

In 1952, the 25-year-old Pope returned to New York and purchased the New York Enquirer, a Sunday weekly paper with a circulation of 17,000, for $75,000. Within a year, he dropped the paper’s sports-politics-news format and adopted a tabloid set-up.

Four years later, after watching a crowd gather round the aftermath of a car accident, Pope encouraged his staff to focus on gruesome photos and hard-to-believe headlines like, “I Cut Out Her Heart and Stomped on It.” By 1966, the paper was renamed the National Enquirer and circulation exceeded 1 million.

But the grisly subject matter prevented the tabloid from being sold in supermarkets. So in the early 1970s, Pope shifted the Enquirer’s content again, this time focused heavily on celebrity gossip. (Pope later published another tabloid, Weekly World News, that featured the macabre stories the Enquirer no longer covered.)

In the 1970s, circulation peaked at 5.7 million and the Enquirer’s cover touted the tagline “Biggest Circulation of Any Paper in America.” A September 1977 issue, with a front page photo of a deceased Elvis Presley under the headline “Elvis: The Untold Story,” sold 6.7 million copies. A later issue, headlined by “Drinking Beer Prevents Heart Attacks,” sold 6.3 million.

But Pope’s journalistic practices—like over-intrusive celebrity reporting, paying sources, and a devil-may-care approach to fact-vetting—earned the ire of many public figures, including actress Carol Burnett, who won a libel defamation suit against the Enquirer in 1981.

Pope was also well-known for his ill-fated pursuit to break the Guinness Book of World Records mark for world’s tallest Christmas tree. For more than 15 years, Pope would commission the Christmas-time installation and decoration of a massive Douglas fir at the Enquirer’s Florida headquarters, at an annual cost of more than $1 million. The largest tree measured 125 feet high, and could be seen for miles, but was far shorter than the 150-foot tree in Guinness books.

After his death, the Enquirer empire was sold to American Media, Inc., for $412 million.

From The Godfather of Tabloid
“No one at the Enquirer, not its cynical journalists and least of all Pope, who was after all a graduate of MIT, had to really believe these improbable stories about junk science, UFOs and Bigfoot; all they had to believe was that someone else did, or said they did.”



Nearly 600 tweets were sent with the #mitalc hashtag.

The 2014 Alumni Leadership Conference, held Sept. 19-20, set a new record for MIT volunteer and alumni engagement. 614 attendees—including nearly 400 alumni from more than 40 class years—returned to MIT’s campus and took part in the conference, which focused on MIT’s role in the evolving landscape of higher education.

The conference excitement flowed into social media where, over the course of the two-day conference, roughly 100 Twitter and Instagram users posted nearly 600 messages and more than 100 photos. Attendees could view the online interaction in real-time, both on their mobile device and the custom ALC Twitter screen on display throughout the conference.

To commemorate the social media buzz, Slice of MIT presents our favorite 14 tweets of ALC 2014.

The online conversations started a few days before the conference, as alums from around the globe began their trek back to MIT campus.


Professors Fiona Murray and Vladimir Bulovic

In the opening keynote, Professors Vladimir Bulovic and Fiona Murray discussed MIT’s innovative education offerings, the value of a sustained connection, and the Institute’s global impact.

Director of Digital Learning Sanjay Sarma and Professor Karen Willcox discussed the edX learning platform and presented the final recommendations of President Reif’s Task Force on the Future of MIT Education.

Tiandra Ray

Tiandra Ray, Miguel Salinas, and Cara Lai

Day one closed with TIMtalks. Based on theTED Talks model, MIT students Miguel Salinas ’16, Tiandra Ray ‘15, and Cara Lai ’16 gave presentations about how connecting with the MIT community has shaped their Institute experience.

During day two, Professor  John A. Ochsendorf, a 2008 Macarthur Foundation fellow,  discussed the history of MIT’s  architecture and and shared potential future plans for the Institute’s oldest buildings.

A three-part seminar by executive coach and alumnus Stever Robbins ’86 focused on life hacks and on ways you can increase productivity, avoid procrastination, and build stronger relationships.  

MIT List Visual Arts Center Director Paul Ha led ALC attendees through a guided afternoon tour of MIT’s extensive public arts collection.

Per tradition, ALC culminated with the formal Leadership Awards Celebration, which honored the valuable contributions of MIT volunteers, including Roy W. Haygood III ’78, a Harold E. Lobdell ’17 Distinguished Service Award winner.

Throughout the conference, MIT alumni showcased their brass rat and explained why they volunteer for MIT.


Clara Fernández-Vara SM ’04 has read her share of mediocre game reviews, whether in commercial video game journals or on industry blogs. In a new book, Introduction to Game Analysis, Fernández-Vara hopes to raise the level of discourse for the field of game theory, one that has gained traction in recent years as a field worthy of academic interest. Listen to the podcast here. 9-4-14 fernandez vara

“Games are not only a technology-driven field, but a humanities and social sciences field [too],” says Fernández-Vara. “I see a lot of teachers who want to include games in their curriculum…even though the book is aimed at students, I would hope that professors and teachers would find it useful in thinking about how they incorporate games in their curriculum.”

In one respect, the book is a history of modern gaming, covering everything from Monopoly to Minecraft. While its intended audience is those considering an academic career in game theory, the book sets out a strong argument for critics of the field who might not yet deem it worthy enough for funding at major research universities.

To counter the mediocre game analysis out there, Fernández-Vara points to exemplary analysis in her book that has inspired her and her students. “I’ve been really happy to see that there are now monographic volumes that analyze one single game like Silent Hill or Doom or Myst,” she says. “It’s fantastic, because you’re showing that games have the kind of depth and complexity that other media might have.”

Is Tetris, for instance, “the perfect enactment of the overtasked lives of Americans in the 1990s”? What rhetorical devices did Super Mario Brothers designers employ to teach a new player the rules? How do transdiegetic sounds in a game inform a character or player about future events? Fernández-Vara and her sources entertain such questions.

After earning her master’s in 2004, Fernández-Vara was named visiting scholar at the Trope Tank and worked for five years at the MIT GAMBIT Game Lab, both labs within the MIT Comparative Media Studies/Writing department. She is now an Associate Arts Professor at the Game Center at New York University.

Listen to the complete podcast here. Listen to past books podcasts on immigration, economics, parenting, and architecture by visiting MITAA on Soundcloud.


Social media isn’t going away any time soon—and, in fact, it will expand in industries like utilities and be used in new ways—according to a new MIT Sloan Management Review (SMR) research report.

8.12 SMR logo

SMR has been conducting the social business survey since 2011.

Those insights come from annual surveys on social business conducted over the past three years by SMR and Deloitte. The report defines social business as “activities that use social media, social software, and technology-based social networks to enable connections between people, information, and assets.” This year’s survey, which included 4,803 business executives, managers, and analysts, found that social business use is deepening across industries.

The report, authored by Gerald C. Kane, Doug Palmer, Anh Nguyen Phillips, David Kiron, and Natasha Buckley MBA ’97, notes that some industries that have eschewed social media in the past—like consumer finance and utilities—are increasingly social.

Consumers are increasingly demanding that utilities connect with them via social media, and utilities report seeing social’s value in improving crisis communications and educating consumers about energy efficiency.

In fact, many businesses are now using social media to problem-solve and address needs outside of promotion. For example, the Red Cross used social media outlets to alert those affected by Hurricane Sandy to the locations of Red Cross trucks. They even helped people who did not engage the organization directly—like a babysitter that took to Twitter with questions during a tornado warning. The organization connected with that tweeter by tracking Twitter keywords like “tornado.”

MIT Alumni Association building community socially.

MIT Alumni Association building community socially.

Social business success stories have a lot to do with leadership, the report concludes. Not surprisingly, a majority of survey respondents from companies with effective social business strategies have leaders who support their ideas. Companies where leadership embraced a vision “premised on the belief that social can fundamentally change the business” found greater success with social business than other respondents.

Companies can no longer ignore social business, the SMR report notes. As consumers are increasingly deciding when and how social business happens, more industries can be expected to engage socially.

Read the complete findings and the supporting research.

How is the MIT Alumni Association using social media to build a community of alumni? Check out our channels: FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Instagram

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This sullen (fake) MIT professor has no idea which Tetris block will come next. Image via The Onion.

This (fake) MIT professor has no idea which Tetris block will come next. Image: The Onion.

For more than 25 years, the news satire group The Onion has poked fun at nearly every major institution or public figure, and MIT is no exception. More than 50 stories included mentions of the Institute on the Onion’s website.

Slice’s 10 favorite stories are listed below. Some of these phony stories attribute quotes to real faculty, like Professor James DiCarlo, while others cite research and studies by people like “MIT mad scientist Dr. Otto Von Verruchtheit.”

By the way, none of these stories are real, but if someone can finally split the Smithereen, please let us know.

Modern Science Still Only Able To Predict One Upcoming Tetris Block,” Feb. 27, 2014:

“Supercomputers have now reached speeds of 30 quadrillion calculations per second but …we’re no closer to solving this problem than we were a generation ago,” said MIT professor Michael Haemlin.

MIT Physicists Split The Smithereen,” May 31, 2000:

“It now appears that it is possible, under certain special laboratory conditions, to blow something to sub-smithereens,” said Dr. Jonathan Eng.

Sensitive Scientists Report 5 In 5 Women Don’t Know How Beautiful They Are,” Oct. 4, 2012:


Sensitive (fake) scientist Sidney Kaplan. Image: The Onion.

“In clinical trials, we discovered 100 percent of test subjects were oblivious to the fact that they are and always have been thoughtful, intelligent, and gorgeous, inside and out,” said sensitive MIT scientist Sidney Kaplan.


Corpse-Reanimation Technology Still 10 Years Off, Say MIT Mad Scientists,” Jan. 17, 2001:

“They said we were mad to attempt such an unholy ambition by the century’s end,” said MIT mad scientist Dr. Otto Von Verruchtheit. “Fools, all of them! However, in this case, they were actually right.”

MIT Think-Tank Develops 20 Great Gift Ideas,” Dec. 10, 1996:

Twelve professors at an MIT think-tank announced their latest brainstorming success: 20 great holiday gift ideas for the loved one who seems to have everything.

Study: Humans Display Highest Cognitive Abilities When Trying To Retrieve Object Dropped Between Car Seats,” March 14, 2014:

“What we observed under these conditions represents the very pinnacle of the human brain’s vast potential,” said professor of neuroscience James DiCarlo.

New Study Going To Take Another Week Or So, Report Scientists Who Look As If They’ve Been Crying,” Jan. 6, 2012:

“You all came here today expecting a study, and we let you down,” Professor Michael Frazier said. “There’s just no way was it going to happen. Not after this. No way. Please don’t yell at us.”

Doritos Celebrates One Millionth Ingredient,” Jan. 17, 2001:

“Disodium guanylate (NaCl2O3G) should help slow the oxidation process in Doritos, serving as a valuable hydrolyzing reactor,” MIT chemistry professor James Steuerbohm said.

Sullen Time-Traveling Teen Reports 23rd Century Sucks,” April 3, 2002:

The son of renowned MIT theoretical physicist Irwin Geremek was transported to 2202 when he wandered into an experimental tachyon particle accelerator being developed by his father.

Roomba Violates All Three Laws Of Roombotics,” April 14, 2007:

“In 50 years humans will be prisoners in their own homes, living in constant fear of tracking mud through the dining room or scuffing the kitchen floor,” said MIT researcher Harrison Lowell.

What’s your favorite faux story about MIT? Let us know in the comments below, then check out the archived list of all MIT-mentioned stories from The Onion at