Studying these cells could lead to new treatments for diseases ranging from gastrointestinal disease to diabetes.
The Kresge Oval will once again be transformed into a giant pumpkin patch as MIT's Glass Lab holds its annual sale of glass pumpkins on Sept. 30. Now in its sixth year, the Great Glass Pumpkin Patch will offer more than 1,200 one-of-a-kind, hand-blown glass pumpkins and gourds created by students and instructors in the lab.
Visitors will have a chance to view--but not purchase--the pumpkins at an opening preview reception on Friday, Sept. 29, from 5 to 8 p.m. on the lawn outside Kresge Auditorium. The sale on Saturday, Sept. 30, takes place between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Rain date is Sunday, Oct. 1.)
The blown glass pumpkins come in assorted colors and styles and sell for $20 to $200 each. The sales often earn up to $70,000 to benefit the lab and keep it in operation throughout the year.
The pumpkins are all handmade by small teams of volunteers who work year-round to prepare for the sale. Often, the teams can create 30 to 60 pumpkins in one four-hour shift. "Their work is very much like a dance," said technical instructor and glass artist Peter Houk, director of the MIT Glass Lab.
Since its founding over 30 years ago, more and more members of the MIT community have taken advantage of the opportunity to learn the art of glassblowing. Some of them get hooked, said Houk. MIT engineering graduates have left the field of engineering to become glass artists, he said. "It does not happen often, but it does happen," said Houk. "Some people just really find their calling here."
The glassblowing courses offered in the fall and spring semesters and during IAP are so popular, in fact, that participants are selected by lottery. More than 100 students, staff and faculty members fill Room 6-120 during the lottery meetings in hopes of winning a chance to participate, said Houk. This year's lottery meeting will be held on Monday, Oct. 2. "There are so many people, we just can't allow everyone in," Houk said.
--Sasha Brown contributed to this article