Parents don't normally get to sit in on a polymer engineering class or hear a Nobel laureate describe the miracle of memory. But this weekend, more than 2,400 MIT parents and relatives are set to sample the MIT education their son or daughter experiences every day.
During Family Weekend, Oct. 13-15, 623 families from 47 states, Puerto Rico, and ten foreign nations, including Spain, Mongolia and Brazil, will choose from nearly 100 events including lectures, tours, department receptions, performances, sports events, and panels on topics ranging from parenting young adults to how students can tap into MIT's entrepreneurial ecosystem. President Susan Hockfield will lead a community meeting for students and families and host a reception, both on Saturday.
Families are invited to learn from Nobel laureate Susumu Tonegawa, who will present a Friday lunch talk on "How We Acquire, Consolidate, and Recall Memory." At Saturday's keynote address, Robert C. Armstrong, co-chair of MIT Energy Research Council, will discuss MIT's Energy Initiative. Faculty lectures will follow on managing risk, the brain architecture enabling vision and MIT's bioengineering advances.
Activities throughout Family Weekend, hosted by the MIT Alumni Association's Parents Association, span the campus. The Stata Center's student street will showcase public service efforts at MIT and in the world. The MIT Museum offers the history and lore of pranks and hacks. A Glass Lab tour in Building 4's basement introduces the art and science of this sparkling materials science. And sports fans can gather on the playing fields to watch football, soccer and field hockey.
Just for fun, families can take a yoga class, hop on a Boston Duck Tour, go on the MIT Tunnel tour, or stroll along the legendary Infinite Corridor. Siblings are invited to see a chemistry magic show, take part in the Aero-Disastro Juggling Workshop, or get a taste of science at Mr. Plasma's introduction of the fourth state of matter. Are those socks off the floor? Your mom may be among the parents on the house tour of your living group.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 18, 2006 (download PDF).