The Onion’s Best (Fake) Stories About MIT

by Jay London on August 7, 2014 · 6 comments

in Campus Culture, Media, Modern Geekhood

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

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

CAJ August 7, 2014 at 10:54 pm

“Sensitive Scientists Report 5 In 5 Women Don’t Know How Beautiful They Are,” Oct. 4, 2014

MIT gets the Onion advance copy, I see


Nicole Morell August 8, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Good catch! Fixed now.


Carlene August 8, 2014 at 9:28 am

As you’re saying that all of these stories are fake, should we understand you could predict the upcoming Tetris blocks for the next 5 to 10 sec, or simply you’ve never made a statement on that topic? And if you haven’t made such a statment, and you can’t predicts the next 4 or 5 Tetris blocks, doesn’t this make the story somehow true? These are just a few things I’m wondering about, and would love to learn the answers.


Alexis August 11, 2014 at 8:20 pm
Christine August 11, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Hahaha The Onion went over the boat with this one, haven’t laughed that hard for ages!


Danny Gray September 18, 2015 at 7:58 am

I love The onion!!! My favorite post is : “EPA: Recycling Eliminated More Than 50 Million Tons Of Guilt In ’96 ” . 😀 This one is also very good! Thank you for sharing!


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