USA Page 2
We ascended the "Hoover Tower", affectionately known as Hoover's last erection, to catch a better view of the campus. It was... very nice.
In addition to all the academic's offices and clasrooms and lecture halls, there were also fairly large museums on campus, including this one which had an impressive display of Rodin sculpture out the front. These doors are... the "Gates of Hell", from which "The Thinker" was drawn (you can see him, looking over the door).
Standford's Athletics facilites are mighty impressive... I spent no small amount of time just perving on the track...
It was difficult to capture the impressiveness of the Stanford campus in one shot, so here is a picture of the "front door", the main quad from the north (notice that, in the northen hemisphere, the sun light comes from the south, which is why this photos didn't come out very well.
While in transit at LA international airport, on my way to Boston, I managed to spot one of the new super-sized Airbus A380 planes. It didn't look particularly big, until you realised how far away it was.
Cambridge (20/3/2007 - 25/3/2007)
Cambridge Massachusetts, famous for being home to Harvard University and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Not only that, but they are but a mere 30 minute walk from each other. How convenient. I stayed at a lovely guesthouse which was smack in between both of them.
Due to delays, I got into Boston at about 2am on the coldest day in March for like... 60 years or something. Yay. It was very cold, thankfully, it warmed up a bit during the course of my stay. This is the view from the window of the place I was staying at.
The famous JFK school of government. Kind of ironic that the best photo I took of the logo and name happened to be on a barrier...
The name says it all. The Ivy League originally referred to just the athletic competition of 8 private universities located in the North Eastern United States. It has since become representative of the educational philosophy of those very old schools - elitism, academic excellence, having too much money etc.
Harvard, not being satisfied with just the one athletics track, has two. One of them is indoors... (I mean... what if it snows?) and the whole facility is very spiffy indeed. Their football stadium (yes, STADIUM!) wasn't snowed-under, it had a gigantic inflatable tent set up over the playing field which was heated, so that teams could train all year round.
Something must happen in between the time that these people are children and when they become grad students... becuase most of the ones I've met are pretty sharp.
The "Nerd Culture" at MIT isn't frowned upon. As a matter of fact, it is strongly encouraged.... some of these titles in the bookstore are an indication of that.
MIT's athletics track was interesting in that the lanes were alternating colours. I wonder if the grey surface is slightly faster than the red.
In the middle of the track, aside from the "keep off the grass" sign, there was a plastic canine of some sort. Standing next to it, is my guide, Peter McNamara who is a current PhD student here.
Speaking of the Nerd culture, this is the marking on one of the many bridges that cross the Charles river. Apparently, some time ago, a fraternity decided to measure the bridge using the unit of measurement, the "Smoot". Where Mr. Smoot, then a fresher, was laid on his back and... used as a yardstick to measure the bridge.
The great dome at MIT. It is quite impressive. Unfortunately, during my visit, nothing was placed on the dome. In the past, there have been a myriad of things placed on the dome as pranks, from giant wooden screws to police cars.
After doing some crosswords in the maths common room, we ventured up to Peter's living quarters to drop some stuff off before hitting the town. The view from his window is quite magnificent. Here, we look across the Charles river at the Boston skyline.
That night, after dinner, we went to the pub to socialise with some of the grad students. There are quite a few international students here, for example, the two rightmost people in the shot are from Portugal and Italy respectively.
The bar closed at about 1:30 so... we ventured back to the maths department and played table tennis in the basement (as you do). I asked if there were any 24-hour libraries at MIT, no there weren't (though some libraries opened until quite late). Then I asked if there were any 24-hour computer labs - ALL computer labs at MIT are 24-hour...
The next day, I went back to Harvard to have a look around its many museums. Here is a view of the small, but quaint museum of scientific instruments.
The Harvard Museum of Natural History loved its little models. Here are some butterflies.