Monthly Archives: May 2006


Now that I’ve finished college and all my grades are in, I can extract some patterns. The patterns are helped by the fact that at MIT, A+ = A = A-. I can therefore summarize my grades in the following way:

If the class was Physics, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Math, or Spanish, I got an A.
Otherwise, I got a B.

I would say that’s a pretty striking pattern.

Memorial Day

It wasn’t until about late last night that I realized it was Sunday, and I had to be home by Monday afternoon for the Memorial Day Picnic, an annual event at our house that always draws a crowd (this year, 42 guests). I drove back immediately, without doing laundry or getting dinner, and arrived home around midnight.

Today was the picnic, which went very well. I got to spend time with old friends, play some volleyball, and watch Red Dawn, one of the worst movies I’ve seen in quite some time.

I have no schedule, which is very disconcerting. It’s especially odd because I know I have to be back in Boston by commencement, and probably well before. I was planning on going back immediately, but everyone wants me to stay…


Sara left for home this morning. I helped her pack up, mainly just by moving boxes in and out of the elevator. It was a sad moment when she left, since I probably won’t see her for a few weeks, but not too sad, since we have the whole summer in front of us.

Now I don’t know what to do with myself. The people around the house don’t seem to need very much help, if any, so I’m occupying myself by reading up on the computer market.

I’m planning on replacing my computer, so I’m doing my homework. I’ve read dozens of laptop reviews today, and I still don’t feel like I know what’s going on. Of course, it doesn’t help that I haven’t really figured out what I’m looking for.


I haven’t been posting recently, as things have stayed busy after finals. Hopefully, I’ll catch a break some time before graduation.

A few points are worth noting. My petition to the SOCR for communications requirement was approved. Third time’s the charm, it seems. This is a very good thing, as without it I would have had serious difficulty graduating.

I’ve spent the past few days working around the house, trying to get “house hours” credit that I’ve been missing out on all term. I’ve been scrubbing and carrying for a few days now.

My weblog is under attack by spammers, so I’ve received over 800 comments. If you posted a comment, it’s probably mixed in with them. I hope to set up an automated solution to filter out the fake comments soon.

Tonight I had dinner with Sara and her mother on Newbury street. It was a lovely evening.

Actually Done

I am actually done. Yesterday was my last exam, and I would have written about it sooner, but I’ve been taking care of business pretty much continuously since then. The exam went well enough. I wouldn’t say I really know the material (I hate transistors), but I do feel like I managed to puzzle out right answers, mostly through extensive use of the included formula sheet.

After the exam the TAs informed me that I had submitted a blank answer sheet online for the class project (I’m dumb). The only other place the answers were written down was on the answer sheet that I’d handed in, so I took a picture of it with my new cell phone, went to the nearest computer lab, and transcribed the answers. The pictures were a little blurry, but totaly sufficient for the purpose.

I spent all last night working on the new Student House website, putting on all the last-minute touches before I have to leave.

Soon: graduation!

3.99 down

1 final exam to go.
Today’s exam was 6.045, which went well enough, with two caveats:
1. About 15 minutes into the test, my desk (actually a large folding table) spontaneously collapsed, making an enormous crash and sending my test materials flying in all directions.
2. I completely forgot to do half of one problem.

Tomorrow is 6.012, possibly my least favorite class of all time, and my last undergraduate academic experience. I can’t wait.


In response to enormous popular demand, I present my two latest and greatest works.

WARNING: Do not read either of the following if you have anything else to do at all, including twiddling your thumbs, herding cats, or trying to roll a large boulder up a large hill.

Mapping Bulk Electrical Properties with Non-Contact RF Measurements (my thesis)

Emotion and Uncertainty in the Many Histories of the German Bomb (final paper for my history of science class)

EDIT: Broken Link fixed. I’m dumb.


I had a very exciting day. I woke up early, biked to school, and finished up my thesis. I converted it to the official MIT thesis style, which, has it turns out, expanded it from 20 pages to 43. I printed out a copy of the thesis on acid-free archival bond paper (as required) and biked back to BIDMC to get my advisor’s signature. He signed the cover sheet, and I biked back to the physics department to hand it in. As it turned out, in order to hand it in I first needed to collect two red thesis covers from the basement of the Hayden library, hidden in the northwest corner behind the Soviet journal archives.

Once I handed in my thesis, my next task was to file a petition to count one of my math classes as a physics CI-M. I filled out the petition, wrote a letter explaining why it should be granted, got the assent of the physics department coordinator, and turned it in to the Subcommittee on the Communications Requirement (this is my third petition to them).

Having filed my petition, I made an appointment with my Harvard professor to collect my grade early, in order to submit it to the MIT registrar before they decide whether or not I graduate. Harvard grades normally arrive late, and are not added to the transcript until the next semester. This is fine for everyone except second term graduating seniors taking courses that fill a degree requirement at Harvard: i.e. me.

The most exciting part of my day, though, was probably discovering that they’ve painted bicycle lanes on the Harvard bridge. This is huge.

In other news, I may actually study for finals this year, because Sara is going to keep me honest.

EDIT: Sara points out that this last line may give you the impression that I make a habit of dishonesty on finals. That’s not what I mean; it’s just that the weather is finally getting nice, and I don’t have any classes…you can see how one might forget to study.