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Drennan gives freshmen a 'super' start

Likening her students to superheroes, Catherine Drennan, professor of chemistry, welcomed the Class of 2010 to MIT during the faculty keynote address in Kresge Auditorium on Aug. 29.

In her talk, Drennan discussed the kind of research that chemists do every day. She called them the "superheroes of making molecules and studying molecules." Drennan also revealed a little-known fact about the Superman symbol.

"If you watched the new Superman movie and looked closely at the symbol on Superman's chest, you might have noticed something," Drennan said. Amid cheers and claps, Drennan pointed out that the letter S in the Superman symbol converts to a number five -- as in Course 5 (chemistry) on the fifth floor of Building 56.

After inviting some of her chemistry students on stage, Drennan and the students pulled off their "Clark Kent" glasses and jackets, to reveal Superman T-shirts designed by Professor Timothy Swager, head of the Department of Chemistry, who first noticed that the Superman symbol had the number five on it.

"Welcome to MIT, the land of superheroes of science and engineering research. It doesn't matter what you are interested in. Everything that MIT people do, they do extremely well," Drennan told the new freshmen. "Take advantage of all your opportunities. Get to know the faculty. Be involved in research. With the resources that MIT offers, the sky is the limit to what you can accomplish."

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