MIT uses the butterfly effect to heal our planet

Dr. Jill Biden, M.D., Ph.D.’s colleague Dr. Jeff Goldblum, Ph.D. explains the Butterfly Effect, i.e., that a butterfly flapping its wings in China could change the weather weeks later in the U.S.:

MIT is taking advantage of Dr. Goldblum’s theoretical result. Here’s a recent email from president Rafael Reif:

Dear MIT Alumni and Friends,

As we mark the successful finale of the MIT Campaign for a Better World, I find myself thinking back to where we started.

As a community, we began the Campaign with bold aspirations — and a passionate belief that the work of MIT can have broad and lasting value for the world. In the years since, I have been deeply moved to see the global MIT community embrace this Campaign, grounded in our shared mission and values, and I could not be more grateful for your willingness to answer its call to action.

The Campaign’s closing milestone speaks to the breadth of its appeal: 112,703 donors collectively raised $6.2 billion.

MIT transformed

But most impressive and indelible are the ways that the Campaign is transforming MIT and will advance our mission. Because of your gifts and volunteer service, MIT’s magnetic ability to attract the world’s finest talent and to help every member of our community flourish has never been stronger. Hundreds of new scholarships, fellowships, and professorships across the Institute have been complemented by extensive new funding for labs, learning spaces, innovation and entrepreneurship, and discovery research. And unrestricted gifts made during the Campaign were crucial in helping MIT adapt to the unexpected challenges of Covid‑19.

Because of your support of the Campaign, MIT’s physical campus and academic landscape are humming with new potential. Just a few examples: Kresge Auditorium, the Hayden Library, the Chang Building, and the Simons Building have all been renewed. The Samberg Center offers an exhilarating new place for our community to gather. Before long, the members of our School of Architecture and Planning will come together in a first-rate new hub, the Earth and Environment Pavilion will unite our research communities focused on environmental and climate questions, the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing headquarters will rise as a new intellectual center of gravity on campus, and the MIT Museum will have a brand-new roost in Kendall Square to welcome the world in. We’ll soon have a new wind tunnel and, as a wonderful coda, the Institute will have a worthy new home for music, right where it should be, at the center of student life.

And of course — in keeping with the Campaign’s aspirations — your support has helped position the Institute to take on humanity’s great challenges, from climate change, environmental degradation, water and food scarcity, and cancer, to economic, educational, and health inequality around the globe.

In other words, nearly all of the money was spent on gold-plating some buildings in Cambridge. How can that lead to the “better world” that headlines the fund-raising campaign? Maybe it could be a “better campus” for those privileged enough to be on campus, but the whole world? Answer: chaos theory tells us that gold-plating a building in Cambridge could result in the entire Earth being gold-plated/healed.

Separately, “an exhilarating new place for our community to gather”? How is that responsible in the Age of Corona? MIT says it is “standing with the science”, so maybe “science” is different from “#Science”, followers of which would refrain from gathering, even if equipped with saliva-soaked cloth face rags that the media refers to as “protective”. Open a big new indoor museum to attract visitors during the peak Maskachusetts respiratory virus season (winter)? Doesn’t that give SARS-CoV-2 a chance to spread along paths that would otherwise have been denied to it?

Posted in MIT

8 thoughts on “MIT uses the butterfly effect to heal our planet

  1. Author of the post did not highlight the key news: new wind tunnel. Being MIT it must be special wind tunnel that cools climate globally while producing hot air of public relations for MIT. I am sure that GPL is envious now.

  2. I have to say that as someone who has formerly toiled many hours away working in the higher administration of an academic institution, Rafael Reif did a smashing job and hit all the high points with an announcement of this kind. Listen to all the superlatives!

    112,703 donors collectively raised $6.2 billion (average: $55,011.85 per donor!)
    successful finale
    bold aspirations
    lasting value for the world
    impressive and indelible
    world’s finest
    extensive new funding
    unrestricted gifts
    humming with new potential
    exhilarating new place
    new intellectual center of gravity
    a wonderful coda
    humanity’s great challenges

    This is the kind of letter that makes similarly situated administrators at other schools absolutely GREEN with envy and inspires them to work much harder in their own fundraising campaigns.

    I expect that Dr. Reif and his colleagues will be getting a lot of emails and phone calls from people at other schools, picking their brains about how MIT was able to accomplish so much with this campaign. As a result, I can guarantee that its effects will be felt in the Development and Alumni Relations departments of Universities around the world, and I think it can be said that the breezes from Dr. Reif’s butterfly wings will be felt far and wide.

    I think you’re being a little bit of a sourpuss. $6.2 billion dollars is a big trainload of money – people notice – and they want their own trainloads, or a least a couple of pickup trucks full. So I know that these are no inconsequential zephyrs. People will be hired and a thousand new campaigns will take wing.

    • I also have to say – just as a matter of personal taste here – Jeff Goldblum’s character in that scene has always made me barf in my throat a little. He’s just got that kinda-sorta skeevy Eurotrash Gigolo thing going on. I halfway expected to see him walking around in nothing but a Speedo, the sunglasses, the ring and maybe a turquoise necklace later on in the film. He’s so Paco Rabanne, he’s the whole Pacollection.–frag-pacollection

  3. What’s the date on that newsletter? Before or after Princeton had to step in to support UC Professor Abbot, whose MIT lecture was cancelled by the Woke?

  4. College focusing on building renovation is puzzling. It is not a resort! Do students really apply to MIT because of its campuses architecture styling and interior design? It may be to cover some creative “ally” payoffs.

    • Administrators and professors want to live in luxury but cannot have extremely high salaries. So they build luxury surroundings that no one else can afford (apart from the government, which follows the exact same principle).

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