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Brass Rats Found

The missing brass rats which were not delivered to students with last names beginning with the letters “P” through “Z” at the ring delivery event were found Tuesday.

Class of 2004 Ring Committee member Maxwell E. Planck ’04 said in an e-mail message to the class that the 224 rings were shipped Tuesday.

RingComm Vice Chair Nadya Mawjee ’04 said that most of the rings had already been shipped as of yesterday, and some students had already received them. Some students have not yet given Josten’s address information, she said.

Miriam L. Sorell ’04 received her ring yesterday afternoon, much to her surprise. “I didn’t even believe that we’d get them tomorrow,” she said. Sorell said she was annoyed that she travelled all the way to the Museum of Science, only to find her ring was not there.

“I find it hard to figure out where to place the blame in this situation,” Sorell said.

RingComm Chair Douglas J. Quattrochi ’04 said in an e-mail to the class that no compensation would be received for the shipping error by FedEx.

Mawjee said RingComm was trying to determine if some form of compensation could be obtained, but that the group was primarily focused on making sure all rings are delivered. “We’re trying to figure out if something can be done,” she said.

Mawjee said that FedEx could not explain the shipping error, but that Josten’s was seeking compensation for the delivery problem. “Josten’s is planning to sue FedEx,” she said, noting that FedEx admitted their negligence in delivering the rings by letting an unauthorized person sign for the package.

“They don’t know who this guy was at all,” Mawjee said. “Some random guy had the rings.”

Mawjee said that the committee had heard many complaints from disgruntled students, and that “a lot of people are tending to blame the committee.”

“I think it’s difficult to explain to people how this is our ring, too, and we were in the exact same situation,” she said. “We understand that they’re very angry and upset. I would be, too.”

Mawjee said that some members of the committee had received what she called “hate mail.”

“Someone wrote [the committee] an e-mail saying that we were the products of a failed abortion,” she said.

--Kevin R. Lang

Graybiel Wins National Medal of Science

Ann M. Graybiel, the Walter A. Rosenblith Professor of Neuroscience and investigator at MIT’s new McGovern Institute for Brain Research, won a 2001 National Medal of Science, the White House announced yesterday.

The prize is the highest science and technology award given by the U.S. Fourteen National Medals of Science and five National Medals of Technology were awarded by President George W. Bush this year. Graybiel was the only woman medalist.

Her research involves the neurophysiology of the basal ganglia, regions of the brain which control movement and cognition. Problems with the basal ganglia have been connected to Parkinson’s and Huntington’s Disease, as well as neuropsychiatric disorders such as Tourette’s Syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, major depression and addiction.

“It is an enormous privilege to be able to study the brain, and my goal is to help solve problems related to neurological and cognitive function,” Graybiel told the MIT News Office.

Graybiel graduated from Harvard University in 1964, then received her masters in biology from Tufts University in 1966 and her PhD in psychology and brain science from MIT in 1971. She began teaching at MIT in 1971.

Graybiel joins 24 present and past members of the MIT faculty in receiving the National Medal of Science. The most recent winners were Institute Professor Emeritus Robert M. Solow and Professor Kenneth N. Steven of electrical engineering and computer science in 1999.

--Kevin R. Lang