Exhuming Defunct Course 20, Faculty Seeks Its Rebirth As BE
By Beckett W. Sterner
Who knew biological engineering could raise the dead?
Having acquired the last critical ingredient — an undergraduate major — the Biological Engineering Division is conjuring up a brew to resuscitate Course 20 at the February 15 meeting of the faculty.
The revival met no opposition when proposed at the December faculty meeting to a strong showing of support by the Biological Engineering faculty.
Formally disbanded in 1988, Course 20, then the Program in Applied Biological Sciences, has had neither faculty nor an undergraduate curriculum since.
The last graduate student in that program was Bruce Woodson, who lost contact with MIT a few years ago. Until that point, Course 20 had lived on as a single page in the Course Bulletin, offering the bare minimum of classes needed to enroll a graduate student: Selected Topics in Applied Biological Sciences (20.921) and Graduate Thesis (20.ThG).
But if all goes as planned Course 20 may soon take on eager new students ready to learn the mysteries of mathy biology. The number, previously incarnated as Food Technology, Nutrition Science, and Applied Biological Sciences, will rise again as Biological Engineering.