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Amar Bose ’51, SM ’52, ScD ’56 was the kind of legendary MIT citizen who engaged students, fostered creativity in all his pursuits, and left his mark in important places. Dr. Bose died earlier this month.

In the 1950s, Amar Bose, center, watches as composer Aaron Copland listens to a binaural recording made by the Bose team at Tanglewood: Image: Bose Corporation

In the 1950s, Amar Bose, center, watches as composer Aaron Copland listens to a binaural recording made by the Bose team at Tanglewood: Image: Bose Corporation

After earning his electrical engineering degrees at MIT, he taught at the Institute from 1956-2001. His research in physical acoustics and psychoacoustics led to many patents in acoustics, electronics, nonlinear systems, and communication theory. In 1964, he started Bose Corporation based on his MIT research. Bose clients ranged from the pope, who wanted to improve the acoustics of the Sistine Chapel, to General Motors, which aimed to improve sound quality in vehicles.

The MIT News office article described Bose’s influence at MIT:

Paul Penfield Jr., professor emeritus of electrical engineering and a colleague: “Amar was personally creative,” he said, “but unlike so many other creative people, he was also introspective. He could understand and explain his own thinking processes and offer them as guides to others. I’ve seen him do this for several engineering and management problems. At some deep level, that is what teaching is really all about. Perhaps that helps explain why he was such a beloved teacher….”

Vanu G. Bose ’87, SM ’94, PhD ’99, son of Dr. Bose, said, “Personally, my single greatest educational experience at MIT was being a teaching assistant for my father in his acoustics course (6.312). While my father is well known for his success as an inventor and businessman, he was first and foremost a teacher. I could not begin to count the number of people I’ve met who’ve told me that my father was the best professor they ever had and how taking 6.01 from him changed their life.

Professor Patrick Henry Winston ’65, SM ’67, PhD ’70 posted a tribute to Bose in a 2010 Slice of MIT, “When Bose Walked Out.”

In addition to his teaching, mentoring, and research efforts, Dr. Bose fulfilled his lifelong dream of supporting MIT education when he gave the Institute the majority of the stock of Bose Corporation in nonvoting shares in 2011.

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Professor Patrick Henry Winston ’65, SM ’67, PhD ’70

We went to see the Stones the other night, as we always do when they are in town. We just can’t miss seeing what Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ron Wood, and Charlie Watts are up to.

Then, before my ears stopped ringing the next day, I saw on one of the MIT what’s-happening displays something to the effect that live lectures are dead. Maybe if it is said often enough, it will make it true.

I recalled the concert. Of course I could have listened to all those songs as I drove to work at any volume I liked. I could have popped a video into all the fancy electronic toys I keep in the media room. But I didn’t. Instead, I spent a lot of money for the welcome privilege of filling my eyes with real photons bouncing off real people, surrounded by about 18,000 other similarly minded fans.

So is the live lecture dead? Not yet, I think. We like the social act of seeing it live with others. We like having singular people in the same room, even if it is a big room.

So in our rush to MOOC everything, maybe we are asking the wrong question. We ask how can we get out stuff out to 10s of thousands or 100s of thousands of people. Instead, maybe we should ask what 100 skills, concepts, and experiences should every MIT student acquire by age 30.

Then, we can ask how we can best use established and emerging technology to deliver those skills, concepts, and experiences.*

The list would include elements every educated MIT graduate should understand at one level or another just because he or she is entitled to wear a Brass Rat. My candidates would include probability and statistics, electromagnetic wave propagation, limits to what can be computed, chemistry of one sort or another, the nature and origins of life, and what makes our species unique, all of which are readily available, but none of which are now required of every MIT student.

But alas, who is to make such a list? Perhaps I should volunteer, but then I think, in rational moments, that I should just consign the idea to the Arco Santi directory.**

* See the What’s Next with MITx for more on the subject of web-enabled educational transformation.

** The place where I put romantic ideas that I write up just for fun,


rainProfessor Patrick Henry Winston ’65, SM ’67, PhD ’70

It was a year with a hurricane up front and a deluge at the end. I asked a lot of graduating students if the ceremony should have been moved inside. One student, a typical one, said with steel in his eye, “Are you kidding, it’s was part of the MIT experience.” I saw the point. After surviving humiliating exams, endless problem sets, projects that wouldn’t get done, and countless all nighters, a downpour on commencement just added a bit of zest.

Anyway, President Reif’s speech was not to be missed. He was cosmic, talking about the whole of life, not just the next few years.  He noted that it is a great privilege to be at MIT, not a right, and that with privilege comes the obligation to do something meaningful with the experience:

I am certain that, no matter what I say, you will take on important problems. I am certain that each of you will, in your own way, honor the great privilege we all share in being here.

And I am certain you will use what you have learned—in your labs and classrooms, in your living groups, on the playing fields, in your activities, and in late-night conversations with friends—I am certain you will use what you have learned here to make the world a better place.

Stirring words, I think. They make me want to stay up late tonight, as I generally do, trying to develop a computational account of human intelligence, which I think will eventually make the world a better place.

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Charlie Winston concert in Colmar, France (© Owen Franken).Charlie Winston in concert in Colmar, France (© Owen Franken).

 The crowd at a Charlie Winston concert in Colmar, France (© Owen Franken).

The crowd at a Charlie Winston concert in Colmar, France (© Owen Franken).

Charlie Winston and his band take a bow (© Owen Franken).The band takes a bow (© Owen Franken).

Curious about Owen Franken? View more of his work via the Franken Photo of the Week category, learn more in this profile, read a What Matters opinion column he wrote called “Life in Brownian Motion,” or visit his website.


No Thank You

by Patrick on February 3, 2013

in IAP, Prof. Winston's Ideas


Professor Patrick Henry Winston ’65, SM ’67, PhD ’70

I’ve been doing my “How to Speak” IAP talk in 6-120 for three decades. With 154 seats, it has been a little too small, but I was reluctant to take on one of the bigger halls, because I teach that talks given in sparsely populated venues have an unimportant feel.

This year, the Physics Department did me a favor and mysteriously booted me out of 6-120.  I landed in 10-250, the Center of the Universe, MIT’s second largest hall, with 425 seats.  I was relieved when 11 am rolled around and it was much closer to full than half full.

Anyway, I always try to add something new, so this year I buttressed my argument against concluding a talk with thank you using some video from the Republican and Democratic Conventions.

Governor Christie knows something about speaking, so it was worth noting that he had no thank you at the end of his keynote speech:

Together we will stand up once again for American greatness for our children and grandchildren.  God bless you and God bless America.

No thank you. Instead, Governor Christie used the classic call to arms ending, followed by a benediction.

What about President Clinton, who also knows something about speaking. How did he end his keynote speech?

My fellow Americans, if that is what you want, if that is what you believe, you must vote and you must re-elect President Barack Obama.God bless you and God bless America.

Again, the classic call to arms ending, followed by the same benediction.


The common thank you ending isn’t a disaster, but it is a weak move. It signals to some, perhaps many, perhaps subliminally, that the speaker lacks self confidence and feels that the audience has stuck around just to be polite.

If a talk has been good, the speaker has done the audience a favor, not the other way around.

So how do you conclude a technical talk, especially a technical talk that is part of a job application? The call to arms and benediction endings generally won’t work, but you can simply say, “With this summary of my contributions, I have concluded my talk.” Everyone will know you are finished because you will walk over and shake hands with your host, just as the conductor shakes hands with the concert master to signal that the time has come to clap.

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This is the final post in a series from two MIT students—Shawn Wen ’13 and Taylor Yates MBA ’14—involved in the 2013 Student/Alumni Externship Program, which connects current students with alumni in workplaces worldwide during MIT’s Independent Activities Period. These bloggers reported on what they learned and how the experience informed their career journeys. Alumni, learn how to get involved as a sponsor. Read the other posts in this series.

Guest Blogger: Shawn Wen ’13
Extern sponsor: Jon Glaudemans ’80
Company: Ascension Health, Washington, DC
Externship: health policy analysis

Shawn (far left) and her older brother (right) enjoying dinner with Becky Donnellan ’72 (back left) and her family.

Clockwise, from front left: Shawn Wen ’13, Meaghan Karch (daughter of Shawn’s host, Becky Donnellan), Becky Donnellan ’72, Nate Karch (Becky’s husband), and Jason Wen (Shawn’s brother).

As I wrap up my final week at Ascension Health (AH), I am amazed at what I have had the opportunity to do this month. In this past week alone, I have attended congressional hearings; participated in an Alliance for Health Reform briefing on strategies for bending the health-cost curve; researched and prepared data charts on Medicaid Expansion for the CEO of AH; and learned about new, effective practices for reducing shoulder dystocia, a high-trauma birth event, from AH’s director of clinical excellence. I also have been invited to the David Winston Health Policy Gala to cap off my final night in Washington, DC!

What I have come to appreciate is the strength of the MIT connection. It’s something that has been well articulated by others before, but it hadn’t resonated with me so strongly until this externship experience. Becky Donnellan ’72 generously opened up her home and family to me, and my sponsor, Jon, despite traveling extensively, spent the few days he was in our DC office giving me insights on how to lead effectively, make others believe in your vision, and connect with others in professional and personal domains.

Amazingly, everyone I have met has taken a personal interest in helping me, an undergrad, despite their high-profile careers and busy lives. When prompted about my passions, I shared my ongoing work on a low-cost typhoid diagnostic system targeting resources-limited healthcare settings in developing countries, and immediately Jon and Becky both started lining up connections for me. The support was certainly unexpected, and it amazes me how they are personally and genuinely invested in me simply because we share a common alma mater. I doubt this exists at any other institution. Their desire to see me succeed and my desire to make them proud are powerfully motivating. I know I will stay in touch with them in the future.

In short, the Alumni Association’s Student/Alumni Externship Program is one of the most valuable and rewarding opportunities I’ve had at MIT—everyone should take advantage of it. Working at AH helped me build a critical understanding of barriers to the delivery and consumption of healthcare, which I know I will draw upon as a future physician. More importantly, interacting with Becky and Jon opened me up to a whole network of amazing people and helped me appreciate and recognize the type of mentor and person I aspire to become. I couldn’t have planned a more rewarding fourth and final IAP and am so wonderfully grateful to have had this opportunity.


Jacob Hurwitz ’14 is a certified pirate.

2012 was a banner year for Slice of MIT. We celebrated one million page views in June and posted the highest readership in the blog’s four-year history.

In case you missed it, our 10 most popular 2012 posts are below. Slice readers enjoy seeing MIT recognized as a top institution but also love the Institute’s eccentricities, be it a classic hack or the unique requiarrrrr!ments to becoming a certified pirate.

Do you have a favorite Slice story or photo from 2012? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook.

  1. Arrrrr! MIT Pirates Certified: DAPER’s pirate certificates are issued to “salty dogs” who complete four courses: pistol, archery, sailing, and fencing.
  2. MIT Named #1 University in the World: The Institute was named top university in the world for 2012-13 by QS World University Rankings.
  3. MIT Scores Big in World Rankings: MIT found its way onto several 2012 lists separated out by subject—11 times in the #1 slot.
  4. No. 1: MIT Ranks at the Top: MIT has held the US News & World Report’s top spot in engineering since 1990.

    Photo: Erik Nygren ’96, ’97 MEng

  5. Hacked! Tetris on the Green Building: Building 54 was transformed into a giant video game canvas for Tetris.
  6. MIT’s Most Stylish: Two MITers were among by The Boston Globe’s 25 Most Stylish Bostonians.
  7. If You’re Not Sure It Exists, Check With MIT: Fast Company lamented the lack of an interface that allows a user to drag files from a computer to a smart phone with the swipe of a finger. Hours later, they received an email from MIT: ‘It exists!”
  8. Prepare for the Final Four: An MIT Basketball Primer: MIT basketball rode a 13-game winning streak into their first Final Four in program history.
  9. Liquid Metal Battery: TED Talk Offers the Missing Energy Link: Professor Don Sadoway explains his Liquid Metal Battery that could be a warehouse-size repository of energy generated by renewable resources.
  10. The Periodic Table of Chocolate-dipped Strawberries: Professor Winston’s guest blog post describes a most delicious periodic table.

And don’t forget to check out the Photo of the Week archive by Owen Franken ’68. Happy New Year!


Professor Patrick Henry Winston ’65, SM ’67, PhD ’70

It was quite a semester. More than 300 students showed up in my subject, Introduction to Artificial Intelligence, and through various accidents of nature, I was the only faculty member involved. I wondered, “How can I supply the enrichment normally provided by recitation instructors?”

I decided to sprinkle in what I called right-now lectures. These would be given by people talking about their current research on topics I was introducing in my lectures. So, my students would get organized instruction from me plus inspiration from eight right-now speakers, each of whom is the best in the world at what s/he does. With EDx coming on fast, it occurred to me that inspiration is a big part of the value added when you take a subject taught in person.

Marvin Minsky was the final speaker in the series. I could have introduced him by enumerating all his awards, but I decided to tell a story instead:

   When I was a student, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I majored in electrical engineering, which is what people majored in back then when they didn’t know what they wanted to do. We figured we had flexibility, because everything had electrical stuff in it. Not much has changed, except that everything has computer stuff in it, so students major now in EE&CS.

I did know I wanted to understand what went on in my head, so I cast about, learning about psychology from Hans-Lucas Teuber, about neuroanatomy from Wally Nauta, about frogs’ brains from Jerry Lettvin, and about communications from Irwin Jacobs.

All were terrific, but what they did was not exactly what I wanted to do. Then, one day, another student told me about a class in which the professor talked about a program that performed symbolic integration.

So, I went to one of those classes. It wasn’t much like what I was used to—more a genius thinking out loud than a standard lecture. But, at the end, I had it figured out. `I want to do what he does,’ I said to myself.

That was the introduction. Then, Marvin said, “We’ve come full circle. I want to do what you do.” That was the ultimate in positive feedback.

And Marvin was Marvin, a little rambling but a lot of inspiration. Once again, I expect there were students out there in 10-250 thinking, as I had, “I want to do what he does.”


commencement speaker

On June 7, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston ’05 will address Commencement—you can watch online.

Every month, Tech Connection zips out to about 90,000 MIT alumni and friends to share highlights of MIT research, alumni and campus human-interest stories, and news. If you are an MIT alumnus or alumna, Tech Connection should be plopping into your email inbox about the third Wednesday of the month. That’s today!

So, here’s a quick overview of the contents—a lead story plus news briefs that link to 15-20 full articles. We hope that you’ll take a little time today to check out the enewsletter via email—or read it online.

How an MIT Professor Became “Mr. Mandate”

The path Jonathan Gruber ’87 followed to the center of health-care policymaking in Washington began when his research as a young MIT professor…..

Research & Discovery

  • What Topics Will Trend on Twitter?
  • Ocean Currents Help Predict Arctic Ice Changes
  • Researchers Develop Big-Data Shortcut
  • Nanostructured Material Could Lead to Better Armor
  • Sloanies Team Up to Create Bounce Imaging
Amy Smith

Amy Smith’s D-Lab and the urban studies department will lead a $25M USAID effort to use technology to help the world’s poor.

You can also read about two new books—one on the economic impact of improving logistics and the art of revealing science visually. Learn about campus stories such as the senior who co-founded a rowing mentorship program for low-income teens in Boston, what’s unique about MIT’s EECS department, and a ball-shaped camera invented by Sloan students for use in emergency situations. Find out how you can travel to Mongolia in the company of other alumni. Slice of MIT blog posts cover two MIT Gangnam-style videos (featuring professors Noam Chomsky and Eric Lander), Professor Winston’s reflection on a dreadful sophomore quiz, and Professor Don Sadoway’s visit to The Colbert Report.


Professor Patrick Henry Winston ’65, SM ’67, PhD ’70

One of my students invited me to the AXO Faculty Hour, which featured good conversation and lots of chocolate.

For me, the focal point was the periodic table of chocolate-dipped strawberries, doubtlessly inspired by 3.091 or some other subject where all students are required to memorize Mendeleev’s creation. It was protected by a sign that urged us all to keep our hands off until pictures were taken and everyone had a chance to decide on a preferred element.

A colleague in Course XVI zeroed in on aluminum. “Commonly used in the aero-astro industry,” he said. “You’re Course VI, Computer Science side. Take a semiconductor.”

“Good idea,” I thought, and seized the silicon strawberry.

Where, other than at MIT, would students create a periodic table of chocolate-dipped strawberries? Where, other than MIT, would faculty covet particular chocolate-dipped strawberries?

I can’t think why I would want to be anywhere else.