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 spotlight: final exam week: do you know your MIT trivia?

Put your knowledge of MIT to the test!

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1. Question: MIT was chartered just four days before what major event?
Answer: The Civil War

MIT was chartered April 10, 1861, just four days before the outbreak of the Civil War. Planning for the Institute's opening continued during the war, and classes were first held February 20, 1865.

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2. Question: What is the coldest temperature ever achieved at MIT?
Answer: 500 picokelvin

In September 2003, MIT scientists co-led by Nobel laureate Wolfgang Ketterle, cooled a sodium gas to the lowest temperature ever recorded, 500 picokelvin -- only half-a-billionth of a degree above absolute zero.

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3. Question. Who was the first MIT alum to become president of MIT?
Answer: James Killian

James R. Killian '26 was editor of Technology Review, and helped found the Technology Press, now the MIT Press, before becoming president in 1948.

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Although Ellen Swallow Richards (class of 1873) was not president of MIT, she is notable for being the first female graduate and also the first female instructor at the Institute.

More info about Ellen Swallow Richards:

4. Question: MIT's first international student came from which country?
Answer: Canada

Ernest A. Harris of Truro, Nova Scotia arrived at MIT in 1866. Since then, MIT has gotten considerably more diverse, with students from over 100 countries for the 2003-2004 school year.

Want to really test your knowledge of MIT? Check out MIT Trivia courtesy of the MIT Museum.

  William Barton Rogers
William Barton Rogers
circa 1862-1870



coldest temperature ever
The researchers in front of the experimental setup where they realized record-low temperatures.



Ellen Swallow Richards
Ellen Swallow Richards (class of 1873) was the first female graduate and first female instructor at MIT.