How Many

MIT Students

does it take to

Change a Lightbulb?

Students at MIT can build working universal computers from Tinker Toys(tm) and Crazy Glue(tm). They can build a robot from things found in trash cans that is capable of feeding mashed carrots and Tang(tm) to a 6 month-old without making a mess. They can calculate a good estimated of the 2010 GNP for Bhutan from the second law of thermodynamics and one page of the Wall Street Journal.

But they can't change lightbulbs.

It just isn't done that way.

First you need:

Nothing at MIT can involve that many people without the sponsorship or patronage of a faculty member: The professor will establish a Center for Lightbulb Operation and Technology (CLOT). She or he will then need: Okayyyy. Now we're ready for some students: Great! Things are looking good: This is the takeoff point: At this point, since the original lightbulb hasn't yet been identified and changed, we'll need: These people will assign one of the UROP undergrads to report on the lightbulb. He will report that there are no longer any incandescent, screw-base lightbulbs on the MIT campus. The task will be passed to: who will determine that illuminating devices at at MIT consist of: Annnd YES! Now, everybody at MIT knows (though you may not) that Building 20 is a frame-and-asbestos-slate building built during WW II for military research. It has been scheduled for demolition once each year since 1953. It is currently scheduled for demolition. Many important scientific developments have taken place in Bldg. 20 during the last 50 years and many important scientists and engineers have fond memories of its creaky floors and unpretentious spaces. So we will immediately need: At this point, we are ready to change the lightbulb. In fact, we're ready to analyze, document and conserve three lightbulbs together with their social context, physical infrastructure and theoretical framework. We're ready to publish 3 graduate theses and a monograph on related theory.

But we're out of money.

The solution recommended (imposed if necessary) by the Chancellor is to merge CLOT (and the CLOT-TTC program) with the Program for Studies in Learning for Illuminative Industrial Media and Education (PSLIIME) which has significant surplus funds , resulting in PSLIIME-CLOT under the direction of:

with the supervisory and financial oversight of: Ho hum.

Did I mention that the three incandescent lightbulbs were in a men's room un-renovated since 1944 and were left-hand thread? The PSLIIME-CLOT folks are developing a project under the working title of:

Rethinking Parity: Lightbulb Chirality and its Quantum-mechanical, Educational and Marketing Implications in the Context of Globalization

in collaboration with the Sloan School.