Saturday, April 14, 2007

Tale Of The Tape Of The Techs

I spent much of my son's Spring Break doing college visitations. Spring Break is a popular time for high school juniors to do this and both of the colleges we visited were packed with prospective students. From a number of sources you can get all the facts and figures about specific colleges, but it takes some feet on the ground to form misguided opinions based on a quick walk-around with a student guide.

Since this trip was restricted to colleges on the eastern seaboard with “Institute of Technology” in their name, I felt it would be useful to make some comparisons that you won’t find anywhere else.

Big Logo On A Building:

Administrative Building Subject To Frequent Pranks
MIT: The Great Dome has been subject to many legendary hacks such as the infamous 1994 fake police car put on the top.

Ga Tech: Stealing the “T” from the Tech Tower is such an attractive nuisance that upgraded security has taken much of the fun out of this life-endangering staple.

Overlit Neon Corporate Logo Visible From Campus:
MIT: Boston's famous CITGO sign sits on just the other side of the Charles River.

Ga Tech: The Coca Cola World Headquarters, just off campus, reminds you to not even try to purchase a Pepsi product on campus.

Building named after Ford:
MIT: Building E18/19 houses various administrative functions.

photo from
Ga Tech: Ford Environmental Science and Technology Building is a 287,000 square foot academic building that opened in 2003.

Most Phallic Looking Building On Campus:
MIT: The Green Building has the proportions if not the shape. Runner up: The turrets on Ashdown House.

Ga Tech: The campus centerpiece carillon inexplicably called the Kessler Campanile is only truly phallic if you are a bifurcated marsupial. Runner-up: The steam plant smoke stack fits the shape, but is rather mundane.

Building Most Closely Resembling A Female Breast:
MIT: The two domes on the Infinite Corridor make a grand if mismatched pair. Runner up: The Kresge Auditorium has that perfect 1/8 sphere roundness to it.

Ga Tech: The Alexander Memorial Coliseum is more commonly known as “The Tit” even if sportscasters insist on calling it the Thrillerdome.

Cleverest Tee Shirt In the Bookstore:
MIT: Why go with the school’s initials when you can allude to them with scientific formulas.

Ga Tech: Sadly deficient. Lame football slogans are the best they can come up with.

Best Off-Tour Observation:
MIT: There were over three hundred students crammed into Room 10-250 for Calculus 102. MIT likes to brag about their 7:1 student faculty ratio, just don't expect that your freshman year.
Ga Tech: The co-ed group headed up to view a “typical dorm room” in Glen Hall got a clear illustration of what is meant by “traditional community bathrooms” passing the guy brushing his teeth while wearing nothing but a towel.

Best Self-Deprecating Slogan:
MIT: None. I don’t think they know how to do humility at MIT.Ga Tech: "The North Avenue Trade School." In defense of their egos, they also call MIT “The Georgia Tech of The North.”

I hope none of this has been helpful. If you want to see more pictures, you can look at my Flickr sets of either Cambridge or Georgia Tech.

Blatant Comment Whoring™: Feel free to add your random observation about either of these schools or add an entry to any of these categories from a college you are familiar with.


HRH Courtney, Queen of Everything said...

They don't do humility well at MIT; however, in there defense, if I were smart enough to get into MIT (and I'm smart, but damn, that kind of smart is hardcore), I'd be obnoxious about it, too.

Incidentally, I had dinner last night with my one good friend who is an MIT grad and rocket scientist. We always have a good time.

HRH Courtney, Queen of Everything said...

Or, THEIR defense. See? No MIT for me. ;)

Elizabeth said...

Soooo, what does MIT's t-shirt say??

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth, it says MiT. M is the Mass in Einstein's famous E=Mc^2; i is the square root of -1 for i; and T is the temperature in Kelvin in the ideal gas law PV/nR=T.

Wasn't there anything at Georgia Tech to rival the architectural monstrosity that is the Stata Center?

yellojkt said...

Thanks for explaining the tee shirt. I almost did, but the comment monster ate it and I knew one of my readers would rise to the occassion. GT, being a state school, can't pay for the whimsy of things like Frank Gehry architecture. I do have several pictures of it in the Flickr group. It looks like a Disney ride.

Mooselet said...

I am definitely not smart enough to get into either school, but being Boston born and South Shore bred I have a fondness for MIT. Except for that Citgo sign. I've always hated that damned sign.

Mooselet said...

Just looking at your Cambridge pictures, and I have to say the picture with the building obscured by typical NE spring weather looks more like the John Hancock tower (unless it's been renamed since I left, which is entirely possible).

Where are your pictures of Harvard Square?

Anonymous said...

I went looking for an MIT joke, didn't find any that were funny, but did find this which possibly might be amusing to an MIT student who was very tired or on drugs...


A Mathematician, a Biologist and a Physicist are sitting in a street cafe watching people going in and coming out of the house on the other side of the street. First they see two people going into the house. Time passes. After a while they notice three persons coming out of the house.

The Physicist: "The measurement wasn't accurate".

The Biologist's conclusion: "They have reproduced".

The Mathematician: "If now, exactly 1 person enters the house then it will be empty again."


P.S. I thought of you when I read Sally Forth this morning.

(re: Ted's Archie Comics critique)

yellojkt said...

That is the John Hancock Building, Mooselet. I've gone and changed the picture. The Dewey Cheatum and Howe Building is the only shot of Harvard Square to make the set. There are a couple of pictures of Harvard itself in the set.

I need to get back to Boston on a sunnier day for better photos.

Stranger... said...

As a very happy GT alum (ICS 87), I can say the North Avenue Trade School is THE place to go. What does it have over MIT? Compare Cambridge/Atlanta in January. Also GT has sports programs that are often tops in the nation, and, of course, it has lots of character.

My two favorite memories of the school are of meeting my wife, and listing to music in the MLR. (The "Music Listening Room" in the student center where they had several turntables to play Vinyl Records and couches with headphones so you could come in, request something and chill after a particularly nasty calc test.)

yellojkt said...

I spent a LOT of time in the Music Listening Room and I'm glad it's still there, even if they need adaptors for the headphone jacks now.

Anonymous said...

Just letting you know, we GaTech students also call the Campanile The Shaft, for very good reasons...

Anonymous said...

Actually, the MIT joke is pretty funny. It helps if you're in one of the three professions of the joke.

Eric 2.0 said...

As a Georgia Tech Alum myself ('05 INTA/ME), I can point to the fact that "North Avenue Trade School" is actually the original name of Georgia Tech. It started out simply as a trade school teaching engineering. When the University System of Georgia instituted a Technology (read engineering) based school, they chose the North Avenue Trade School as the location, instead of co-locating it with the University of Georgia. I am thankful for that decision, if not for it, we wouldn't have the classic rivalry known nation-wide as "clean, old fashioned, hate"

Anonymous said...

I got here late, and have no idea where your kid chose to go to school, but the the North Avenue Trade School t-shirts are clever and not so nerdy.

I always hated the "GT of the North" concept. The two schools are different.

GTinBoston said...

As a GT alum, I'm VERY proud to be a Ramblin Wreck from Georgia Tech and a helluva engineer! How can you beat getting an amazing degree from one of the top engineering schools in the country, that also has nationally ranked sports teams? AND, I've talked to a bunch of GT grad students that went to MIT undergrad-- and they say GT is HARDER than MIT, thank you very much!

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