MIT Faculty Newsletter  
Vol. XVI No. 3
December / January 2004
Financing MIT
Vest to the Faculty
Our New Look
The Search for a New President
Assigning a Final Grade When Some of the Work Has Not Been Completed
Identifying My Father
A Child's Chore
The Laboratory for Nuclear Science
Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology
LBGT Issues
Trans at the Institute
Making the Most of E-Mail: Popular Services, Recent Changes
OCW as Knight Errant
Individuals Appointed to the Faculty
1985 to Present
Printable Version


Our New Look

Welcome to the new Faculty Newsletter .

We hope that you find our makeover attractive and elegant, that you will read this and future issues with renewed interest, and most of all that you will join with us, your faculty colleagues, in making the new Faculty Newsletter more relevant, more concise and lively, more broadly engaging than ever before.

You can help the FNL in many ways: by volunteering to serve on the editorial board, by submitting an article or a query about a possible article, by suggesting topics or projects you think appropriate for a newsletter by and for the faculty of MIT.

In addition to a new look, the Newsletter has added a new continuing feature, MIT Poetry, and plans to introduce other new items in future issues.

The poets represented in this issue, Samuel J. Keyser and John Hildebidle, are widely known at the Institute for other distinguished achievements. As this issue of the FNL shows, they are also distinguished poets. After offering his poem for publication in this issue, Jay Keyser agreed to join David Thorburn as co-editor for poetry for the FNL. They welcome submissions from all sectors of the MIT faculty.

Reprint Feature

We hope to introduce a reprint page beginning in our next issue. This page will reprint excerpts or short complete pieces published by MIT faculty within the last six months. We welcome suggestions or submissions for this new feature, which will aim to reprint short pieces of fairly wide general interest to our faculty. Specialized, scholarly pieces will not be appropriate, but interviews, op-ed pieces, guest columns, transcripts or summaries of congressional testimony, graduation speeches and the like are particularly welcome. Submissions for this feature must have genuine broad appeal to many on the MIT faculty. The Editorial Board of the FNL will share responsibility for judging submissions.

Faculty Roundtables

The Newsletter Editorial Board welcomes suggestions from colleagues for topics of central concern to MIT's professors and researchers as well as the academy at large. Examples: research vs. teaching, the cost of higher education, tech support in teaching or research, retirement packages for faculty. Our idea is to invite responses on such crucial topics from a range of colleagues and to publish them as occasional features in the Newsletter . Public lectures or forums might provide the incentive or topic statement for such a faculty roundtable.

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The Website

We are especially pleased to be able to announce that the Newsletter's Website,, has been extensively redesigned in concert with the makeover of our printed version, and with the assistance of Web consultants, Jeff Reed and Margaret Wong, of Information Services and Technology. The site will continue, as in the past, to be available only to those with MIT certificates. But those using it will find it far more navigable than ever before, a genuine archive of the Newsletter's past. We also hope to develop some items that will play more extensively or differently on the Web, such as the article in our September issue by Peter Child, "Why Compose," about his musical compositions, a fragment of which can be played from a link in the online version of this story.

The Redesign

This redesign of the Newsletter was supervised by a committee composed of editorial board member David Thorburn, Managing Editor David Lewis, Nancy Kelly of the President's Office, and Cheryl Slowik of the Publishing Services Bureau, working with Jan Moscowitz and Tim Moore of the Brookline design firm Moore Moscowitz.

A number of design possibilities were presented, from which a classic "swiss style," with the strong use of a grid, was chosen. The use of white space and contrasting font weights and sizes helps to make the pages "cleaner" and more inviting to read, while at the same time maintaining a significant word count per page.

The headline font, Akzidenz Grotesk, designed by Günter Gerhard Lange in 1896, was chosen for its classic, no-frills aesthetic. In German, Akzidenz means trade type and Grotesk means sans serif. Before the advent of Helvetica and Univers, Akzidenz was the standard sans serif type in Switzerland . The main text font, Minion, designed by Robert Slimbach for Adobe, was selected for its legibility and the diversity of its fonts, including fractions, an important consideration for a publication of MIT. Although some of the great hot metal typefaces have not been well digitized for computer use, the Adobe digital versions of hot metal typefaces have been extremely well reviewed.

The Newsletter is produced by Managing Editor David Lewis on a Macintosh computer running QuarkXPress. It is printed on Domtar Solutions recycled white paper by Eagle Graphics Printers.

The FNL Board thanks the Office of the President for its generous financial and creative support of this redesign.

Please address all submissions or comments to the Faculty Newsletter at, or contact any Editorial Board member.

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