The Olin Lingo

Like many schools, Olin developed a vocabulary of its own. Here are some examples.

1 min read

Ant Farm: The Academic Center, the school's largest building, where all classes and lab sessions take place.

Co-curriculars: Non-degree courses on a variety of topics. Examples: "Ornithology for Engineers," taught by dean of student life Rod Crafts; "Introduction to Origami," taught by staff member Nick Tatar; "The Art and Traditions of Middle Eastern Dancing," taught by physics professor Zhenya Zastavker; and "Readings in Leadership and Ethics," taught by President Richard K. Miller.

ICB: Integrated Course Block. Freshman math and physics are taught in combination with practical engineering projects. ICB combines relatively traditional lectures delivered in classrooms with hands-on projects that take place in studios. For example, students learn multivariable functions and electromagnetism in math and physics classes, and then work on circuit design in project sessions.

Learning Continuum: Olin believes that learning happens not only through courses, homework, and research work, but also through extracurricular activities, such as volunteer service, student clubs, recreation, and sports.

NINJA: A teaching assistant. Acronym for Need Info Now, Just Ask.

Olin Triangle: A triangle that represents Olin's educational philosophy, each side corresponding to one of its three main components: engineering, liberal arts, and entrepreneurship.

Passionate Pursuits: Olin students are expected to have interests and hobbies they are passionate about. The school encourages these activities, which are as diverse as French literature and trapeze lessons, by providing faculty guidance and, often, funding.

Things That Go Bang: A first-year course in which students build high-voltage devices such as Tesla coils, metal can crushers, coin shrinkers, and electromagnetic rail guns. The course is now part of the first year's ICB.

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Special Report: Top Tech 2021

After months of blood, toil, tears, and sweat, we can all expect a much better year

1 min read
Photo-illustration: Edmon de Haro

Last January in this space we wrote that “technology doesn't really have bad years." But 2020 was like no other year in recent memory: Just about everything suffered, including technology. One shining exception was biotech, with the remarkably rapid development of vaccines capable of stemming the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year's roundup of anticipated tech advances includes an examination of the challenges in manufacturing these vaccines. And it describes how certain technologies used widely during the pandemic will likely have far-reaching effects on society, even after the threat subsides. You'll also find accounts of technical developments unrelated to the pandemic that the editors of IEEE Spectrum expect to generate news this year.

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