FIRST-EVER GROUP RECOGNITION FOR BRIGHT BOYS
"Sixty-five years after they first drew up the plans"
1947-2012: That's a long time!
Some teenage skateboarding clubs have received more recognition for their deeds than the bright boys, by a long shot. For a group that near singlehandedly delivered up Information Technology for us, such lack of appreciation is hard to fathom. But, that’s one of the reasons why I wrote Bright Boys; that and maybe too, I sought to pass a bit of their luster along to receptive readers out of my own respect for their accomplishments.
It takes only a quick Red Line subway trip across the Charles River to the Kendall Square station to see a vivid example of how marginalized the group has become. Upstairs from the station is the Barta Building where they first tossed some lightning bolts around.
Before writing the book, a short time after my research on it was complete or nearly so, as well as a finished monograph, I took a pilgrimage to the Barta Building. My first visit. I was hoping for a jolt of inspiration before writing. I took the Red Line, and a single-use, throw-away camera to memorialize the trip.
As the subway door opened, there laid out along the station wall in neat rows of tiles from floor to ceiling was the history of MIT: from William Barton Rogers straight through to the new millennium. It appeared all inclusive—until one gets to the mid-1940s, 1945 to be exact.
One large tile commemorated the glories of MIT’s famous RadLab (Radiation Laboratory), which mustered out of its wartime service in late 1945. Then came a half inch of grout. The next tile hailed the 1946 beginning and subsequent excellent successes of the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE). But where were the deeds of the Barta Building 1948 to 1953 recorded? There was a missing tile that should have been set between the RadLab and RLE? Nowhere to be found. Could it be the grout?
Things soon got stranger. More>>>