Course 2 and the MIT Museum

After my nap in the student center I felt kind of grimy and disheveled so I wandered back to French House to get a shower and change my clothes. After making myself decent I chatted with my host for a little bit. I felt kind of bad, he was supposed to be my guide, teach me about MIT, and in general give spend some time with me. I had seen him twice since I’d gotten there for a combined amount of about 15 minutes. So, we chatted. We talked about the history of the MIT marching band, the kinds of things it does, the 2.007 competition that sophomore mechanical engineers do, and about various other mechanical engineering projects. One of them those projects was to build this little engine:

To be honest, I don’t remember what it was called, but I was fascinated by the fact that you could design the flywheel with whatever you wanted, in this case small fish. If you want some more details about it, check out Melis'sblog entry about the little gadgets here.

I made a video of it spinning, just for you (well, ok, I wanted to watch it again too, but a lot of it was just for you)!

It’s powered entirely by that little Bunsen burner there, and it spins surprisingly fast. I was pretty fascinated, that’s when my host started to think I was a little weird. I bid him adieu and went off to meet my party.

The Fab Five assembled and ambled over to Kresge to figure out what to do next. There wasn’t anything good in the schedule and we were just exhausted enough to not have that spontaneous “let’s do something fun and exciting!” attitude, but we still wanted to get out and keep ourselves entertained. We decided on the MIT Museum since nobody had been there before (except for me! I felt special there for about a minute). We all went down Mass Ave. and wandered up to the museum. Again, we found ourselves faced with an entrance fee, and again, we begged and pleaded and garnered free entry. I know, we’re terrible, but hey, we’re also cheap!

The first thing I saw was a new addition since the last time I’d visited, it was the giant brass rat that they fit on the CalTech cannon they stole a while back.

Do you see the mirror right behind it? That’s so you can see the underside if the ring and the hacker’s map. Those hackers have such attention to detail! Now, in case you don’t know, the MIT museum showcases a bunch of technologies or artifacts that have some sort of tie to MIT’s history. Either that, or they are the creations of somebody who attended MIT. They also have a small gift shop (it’s actually just a bookshelf behind the main desk) where I bought my pi shirt that I’m wearing in my senior picture (which you can see in my picture at my normal blog, One display case had a bunch of glass pumpkins that were blown from glass during IAP.

Another was a strobe light demonstration. A green strobe light flashed on two streams of water and, by turning a knob, you could make the green balls of light travel down the water, travel up the water, or stay stationary. I didn’t get a movie, but I got a picture for ya!

I did get a video of some dueling cocktail swords, behold:

Another display we were fascinated by was a walking wishbone wheel. A what?! Here’s the pic:

It was walking to the right, which generated some questions as to what it would do when it reached the end of the table. To our amazement, when it reached the end the table split and rotated. This can be seen in the video, and you can hear the amazement in our voices.

Two more displays worthy of note were the holograms and Kizmet. The MIT Museum has the largest collection of holograms in the US. Unfortunately for blog readers, the awesomeness of holograms is REALLY hard to convey in a picture. Here’s my best effort:

One hologram in particular absolutely stunned me. It was a hologram with a starry night as a background. In the foreground was a telescope. When you looked through the holographic telescope (yes, look into the hologram!) you see a completely different view of the sky, just as if you looked into a real telescope. It was a hologram inside of a hologram! We were fascinated, I’m not going to lie, I’d love to know how they did it.

Kizmet is a robot that was programmed to display emotions.

Most people just think it looks like a scary Furby, but I think he’s neat. He’s the desktop background on one of the computers in the microelectronics classroom at my high school now.

After exploring for a while we decided it was time to head off and do something else. The student center was essentially a hub for all of our group activities, we always ended up back there. This time when we went back we saw a neat soap box derby car.

And, our favorite buddy Tim dropped by and we got a group shot. The little girl on the right? No, we don’t know who she is, she just happened to end up in our picture.

After all of our exciting museum adventures and having spent a lot of time in west campus, we figured that it was time to visit east campus. Coming up next, shopping cart jousting and a lemonade toilet!

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