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For the Heights

Published: Thursday, December 12, 2013

Updated: Thursday, December 12, 2013 01:12

Northeastern University

In preparation for its long-term plan to recruit more professors and expand research at the university, Northeastern University plans to begin the construction of its new science and engineering center next month. The cost of construction totals $225 million, and will provide 630 new jobs, as well as 700 permanent jobs once the project is complete. Northeastern hopes that the building will be open for students and faculty by 2016. The building will six stories, consisting of an auditorium, labs with new scientific equipment, classrooms, offices, and an atrium. The building takes up 3.5 acres, and it is planned to be located near the Roxbury T-stop.

Northeastern is not the only college in the Boston area that plans to expand its science and research centers by building a new facility. Seven colleges in the vicinity have already started construction or are planning to create their own facilities. UMass Amherst has recently finished construction of its sciences facility and plans to finish the other half by 2016. Many colleges hope to finish these construction plans within the next decade.

Over the past two years, the sciences have become a popular area of study. Joseph E. Aoun, the seventh president of the university, described the different sciences as “national imperatives.” Northeastern has made agreements with the neighboring communities in order to build its new facility.

The administration plans to hire more people from that specific neighborhood as well as to provide scholarships for students in these neighborhoods. With this new facility, Northeastern plans not only to better its reputation as a research university but also to serve the community around it.


With Harvard’s recent experiment in its business school to create a less hostile environment for women, it has recently expanded this experiment to its law school. Earlier in the year, a coalition group named Shatter the Ceiling brought to light the sexism that exists within this prestigious school through a brief mini-documentary. The public’s reception was positive, sparking much concern among the students and professors at the university.

Concerns have now shifted to the law school. Statistics showed that women entered law school with LSAT scores similar to men’s, but they start to fall behind. Only 20 percent of law school graduates last year were women.

Recognizing the issue, Harvard has made efforts to change, with 38 percent of the incoming class of 2015 being female. Harvard has acknowledged this to be a long-term process but hopes for results similar to the ones they have seen with the business school.

Boston University

Boston University welcomes David Carr, star media columnist for The New York Times, as its new communications professor. It has been confirmed that Carr will begin this spring semester by teaching a class on media criticisms for graduate students. As of now, this is Carr’s only class, as he still has a weekly column on popular culture in The New York Times.

Carr’s work at Boston University will focus mainly on the development of new business models for digital journalism.

“A lot of journalism education that is going on is broadly not preparing kids for the world that they are stepping into,” Carr said. He will not be given tenure at Boston University but will work on a contract. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Carr double majored in psychology and journalism. He is featured prominently in the 2011 documentary Page One: Inside The New York Times.


MIT has created the world’s hardest tongue twister. After researching the different sounds of words and common mistakes that people make in pronunciation, MIT concluded that the phrase “pad kid poured curd pulled cod” was the hardest tongue twister ever to be created. Researchers tested both combinations of simple words and simple sentences to find the most challenging combination of sounds for an individual to speak. Principal researcher and MIT psychologist Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel said that the difficulty in producing certain sounds repetitively is due to the overlap in brain processes.

 In her last experiment, no participant was able to read or repeat the phrase without error. Shattuck-Hufnagel presented her tongue twister at 166th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in San Francisco on Dec. 5. “If anyone can say this [phrase] 10 times quickly, they get a prize,” Shattuck-Hufnagel said.


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