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Figuring it all out

Photo / Donna Coveney
Photo / Donna Coveney

About 30 people, including Jarrod Goentzel, a research associate in the Center for Transportation and Logistics (top), and Dan Burns, a graduate student in mechanical engineering (bottom), showed up for Craig Watkins' annual IAP class on how to use a slide rule. Since only about half of them were armed with their own instruments, he provided 10 that he'd acquired from the MIT Museum Shop over the years. "My guess is that only one or two already knew how to use them," said Watkins, a lecturer in the Experimental Study Group. By the end of the Jan. 8 session, the students were adept at sliding the movable middle piece along the ruler to make calculations. Generations of MIT alumni would have been proud.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 14, 2004.

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