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Explorations Introduce Freshmen To Institute's Departments, Centers

By David D. Hsu
News Editor

Freshmen will sign up today to explore topics ranging from theatrical production to space plasmas Thursday.

The Freshman Explorations, sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, are designed "primarily to introduce the incoming freshmen to the various department centers around MIT," said Patrick R. Kwon '97, student coordinator of the program.

In the exploration "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Supersonic Flow... But Were Afraid to Ask," professors and students will provide information about the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, said Assistant Professor James K. Kuchar '90.

Demonstrations will also help "show all the different opportunities in the department," Kuchar said. "Some students don't really know what you can do with an aero/astro degree," he said.

During the "Plasma Fusion Center Overview," graduate students and research staff will give a tour of current experiments, including the Alcator C-Mod tokamak , said Plasma Fusion Center Administrative Assistant Paul R. Rivenberg.

"We wanted freshmen to know that we exist as a center where they can actually do research," Rivenberg said.

The explorations also serve as a "kind of a lead" into freshman classes and seminars offered during the fall semester, Kwon said.

Unlike seminars, the explorations are "geared toward a wider audience," Rivenberg said.

"Seminars are much more detailed," Kuchar said. "This is just a chance for students to come in for a few minutes to talk to somebody," he said.

More explorations than last year

Freshmen will select from a list of almost 40 explorations, up from 31 last year, Kwon said. The number increased because "this year we've put a bit more effort in getting new people involved," he said.

Using the MIT Bulletin as a guide, Kwon asked several professors who did not lead explorations last year if they were willing to participate this year.

While many explorations have limited space, the explorations should not fill up as fast as previous years. Freshmen can attend only two explorations with limited space, but as many explorations as they want with unlimited spots, Kwon said.

Workers will be in Lobby 7 from noon until 4:00 p.m. to oversee sign-ups.

While many other registration processes are now offered on Athena, there are no plans to update exploration registration. "For the amount of effort required to do so, it's not quite worth it now," Kwon said.