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 spotlight: explore campus, visit Boston, and find out if MIT fits you to a tea

MIT beavers value revolution, independence, and a warm beverage on a winter day.

  Home - MIT On the evening of December 16, 1773, a group of men calling themselves the "Sons of Liberty" dumped forty-five tons of tea into the Boston Harbor as an act of protest against the British government, and helped to spark the American Revolution.

The Boston Tea Party's spirit of revolution continues at MIT. For examples of revolutions in groundbreaking research, see MIT research and teaching firsts.

Some highlights:
  • MIT was the first university in the nation to have a curriculum in: architecture (1865), electrical engineering (1882), sanitary engineering (1889), naval architecture and marine engineering (1895), aeronautical engineering (1914), meteorology (1928), nuclear physics (1935), and artificial intelligence (1960s).
  • 2005: MIT physicists, led by Nobel laureate Wolfgang Ketterle, become the first to create a new type of matter, a gas of atoms that shows high-temperature superfluidity.
  • 2001: MIT announces OpenCourseWare, an initiative to make the materials for nearly all its courses freely available on the web over the next ten years.
  • 1995: Scientists at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and MIT create a map of the human genome containing more than 15,000 distinct markers and covering virtually all of the human genome.
  • 1984: MIT establishes the unique Media Laboratory, bringing together pioneering educational programs in computer music, film, graphics, holography, lasers, photography, television and other media technologies.
  • 1981: Alan Guth publishes the first satisfactory model of the universe's development in the first 10-32 seconds after the "Big Bang."
  • 1971: MIT holds its first Independent Activities Period (IAP), a January program that emphasizes creativity and flexibility in teaching and learning. Over 600 activities are offered including design contests, laboratory projects, workshops, field trips, and courses in practical skills.
Independent Activities Period (IAP)
IAP is a special four-week term at MIT that runs throughout January. This year, IAP takes place from January 8 through February 2. Past IAP activities have ranged from classes such as human biochemistry to noncredit offerings such as Mediterranean cooking and improvisational comedy. IAP classes are distinguished by their innovative spirit, and fusion of learning with fun.

Mystery Hunt, an annual IAP tradition, starts on Friday, January 12 this year. Registration is ongoing, but to reserve a room for your team's home base, you must register by tomorrow, Sunday, December 17th.

One of the puzzles from last year's hunt is called Tea for Two and Two for Tea, and is available online for a musical challenge. You can also try your hand at the full set of puzzles from last year.

For more IAP classes, from archery to watercolor painting, and many more, explore the IAP website. New listings are continually being added.

Visiting MIT
Visiting MIT is a great way to experience the spark of Cambridge and Boston. The Admissions Office and MIT's student bloggers have lots of suggestions for things to do, and suggestions for making the most of your visit.

Explore Boston by "T" (short for MBTA, Boston's public transportation system) with ideas from iBoston for history and architecture, Boston innovation collaborative for a tour of local innovations, and the visiting MIT website for things to do, on-campus and off.

For more about MIT admissions, visit the MIT admissions web portal. Good luck with your applications!

Related links
  1789 engraving
Boston Tea Party: 1789 engraving


MIT Professor Wolfgang Ketterle, second from right, poses with three fellow researchers involved in the creation of a new form of matter, a superfluid gas of fermions.
New form of matter: MIT Professor Wolfgang Ketterle poses with three fellow researchers


A musical puzzle from IAP's mystery hunt
Tea for two: a musical puzzle from IAP's mystery hunt