Research shows the success of a bacterial community depends on its shape.
Nobel laureate Joshua Lederberg, president emeritus of Rockefeller University, has offered to become a guest lecturer as well as a student in MIT's OpenCourseWare initiative.
In an e-mail letter to President Charles Vest, Dr. Lederberg wrote, "What a wonderful example you/MIT have shown, once again, for the advance of scholarship... I am sure I will personally avail myself of the opportunity to further advance my own education. In addition, I am mentor to some brilliant prodigies of high school age for whom this will be a great introduction to MIT -- and I have no doubt will end up there.
"Following up on your leadership initiative, let me be the first to volunteer to be placed on your roster of visiting guest 'lecturers.' In that vein, I'm sure you'll be cataloguing a host of relevant, free-access crosslinks, altogether having an enormous impact on the academic enterprise."
Dr. Lederberg won the 1958 Nobel Prize in medicine at the age of 33 "for his discoveries concerning genetic recombination and the organization of the genetic material of bacteria."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 11, 2001.