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Commencement speaker suggestions sought

The Commencement Committee invites suggestions for the guest speaker at MIT's Commencement exercises on Friday, June 4 from all members of the community. Suggestions must be received by Friday, Oct. 3.

The speaker should be one who will be able to address topics of relevance to MIT. Suggestions may be submitted to Maria Hidalgo, president of the Class of 2004 (; Erich Caulfield, president of the Graduate Student Council (; Gayle Gallagher, executive officer for Commencement (; or Professor Eric Grimson, chair of the Commencement Commit-tee ( The committee will submit a list of candidates to President Vest, who will select and invite the guest speaker.

Series looks at history of the Nobel Prize

Dr. Svante Lindqvist, director of the Nobel Museum in Stockholm, will offer a four-session mini-course at MIT on "Historical Aspects of the Nobel Prizes" on consecutive Tuesdays starting Oct. 7 from 7-9 p.m. in Room E51-275.

The Nobel Prize raises a number of key questions such as the international/national character of science, the means of assessing the merit of a scientific discovery, and the usefulness of the Nobel Prize as an indicator for science policy decisions. The series is sponsored by the Program in Science, Technology and Society (STS) with partial support from the Dibner Fund.

Those interested may sign up for the whole series or individual sessions. A packet of readings will be available in the STS Office in Room E51-185, as well as "Cultures of Creativity: The Centennial Exhibition of the Nobel Prize." Contact Judy Spitzer ( to attend.

Budget session slated for support staff

Support staff members are invited to hear Kathryn Willmore, vice president and secretary of the Corporation, and Laura Avakian, vice president for human resources, lead a discussion on the current budget challenges at a special meeting of the Working Group on Support Staff Issues. The meeting is on Thursday, Oct. 9 from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Room 34-401.

Cookies and beverages will be served; feel free to bring a brown-bag lunch. For more information on the Institute's financial situation, see The Working Group home page is at

Seminars look at rural transformations

Conevery Bolton Valencius, an assistant professor in Washington University's history department, Pro-gram in American Culture Studies and Program in Environmental Studies, will speak at the second seminar in the "Modern Times, Rural Places" series on Friday, Oct. 10 at 2:30 p.m. in Room E51-095. Her talk is titled "'Country' Matters: Understanding the Early 19th-Century American Environment."

The seminars explore rural transformations that have occurred at different times and places, attempting to understand rural change within the context of traditional practices and assumptions, as well as in terms of innovation. The series is organized by professors Deborah Fitzgerald of the Program in Science, Technology and Society (STS) and Harriet Ritvo of history.

A schedule is posted on the web sites of the history faculty ( and STS. For more information, contact Margo Collett at or 253-4965.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 1, 2003.

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