MIT Faculty Newsletter  
Vol. XXIV No. 3
January / February 2012
A Contrarian View of MITx:
What Are We Doing!?
Freshman Advising and MITx
MITx: MIT's Vision for Online Learning
First Generation Project Launched
A Message from the First Generation Project Student Executive Board
We Gotta Have HOPE
FPC Subcommittee to Review IAP
Glass at MIT: Beauty and Utility
Memorial Service for Bob Silbey
Teaching this spring? You should know . . .
Under-Represented Minority Faculty and Students: 1987–2012
A Women as Percentage of Total Undergraduates, Graduate Students,
and Faculty: 1901–2012
Printable Version

Glass at MIT: Beauty and Utility

Nancy Schrock

incremental cost over budget
A glass blower in the MIT Glass Lab |
creating a glass pumpkin.

(click on image to enlarge)












In MIT’s Glass Lab, students gracefully shape glowing, molten glass into works of art, while in an MIT research lab researchers explore the use of nano-sized glass stamps for tiny, precise biosensors to enable clinicians to test for disease.

incremental cost over budget
Glass blowing in the Rad Lab (Building 52) during World War II.
(click on image to enlarge)

Glass at MIT is ubiquitous. Since MIT’s first classes in 1865, its labs have contained test tubes, retorts, vacuum lines, and vessels of all sizes and shapes essential to scientific work. Learning to blow glass was a standard part of a chemistry student’s education, while architecture students studied its central role in the design and construction of buildings. Glassmaking is nearly 4000 years old, but scientists and artists today, like the alchemists of the past, remain fascinated by the “frozen liquids” that can be manipulated at high temperatures and cooled to rigidity.


incremental cost over budget
A stained glass depiction of St. George slaying the dragon by Charles J. Connick. (click on image to enlarge)

A new exhibition by the MIT Libraries takes a historic view, tracing the evolution of glassmaking from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. It features a recent gift to the Libraries: the Charles J. Connick Stained Glass Foundation Collection, as well as rare books from the Institute Archives and Special Collections. Stunning stained glass windows, sketches, full-size drawings, tools, and objects from the Connick collection, the MIT Glass Lab, and the MIT Museum are on display, along with video of artists working in the medium.



incremental cost over budget
MIT Glass Lab pumpkin.
(click on image to enlarge)











Glass at MIT: Beauty and Utility opened February 10, 2012 in the Maihaugen Gallery (14N-130) and is on view through July 2012.  See for hours and information.




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