Volume 125, Number 51 Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139 Tuesday, November 1, 2005
MITs Oldest and Largest
By Kelley RivoireEDITOR IN CHIEF
Accusations continue to swirl around work done by Luk Van Parijs, a former professor in the Biology Department and Center for Cancer Research who was fired by MIT last week for committing scientific mis-conduct while at the Institute. New doubts have been raised about the veracity of data in papers Van Parijs wrote prior to joining the MIT facul-ty in 2000, and the institutions where he did his previous work are consid-ering investigative action.
A report of an investigation by New Scientist released Friday calls into question three papers that each have uncanny similarities in fig-ures cited as coming from differ-
ent sources. In a 1998 paper in the journal Immunity (Volume 8, page 265274), clusters of dots and even outliers in graphs of flow cytometry data from different mice are practi-cally identical. Similar questions arise in figures in a 1999 Immunity paper (Volume 11, pages 281288) and a 1997 paper in the Journal of Experimental Medicine (Volume 186, page 11191128), according to the report.
Van Parijs, who admitted to fab-ricating and falsifying data during MITs investigation into his work at the Institute, did not return requests for comment, but wrote in an e-mail to New Scientist that None of the data for the figures you mention have been falsified. I am collaborating
fully with the inquiries and I cannot comment further at this time.
A statement from Lynne Hern-don, president and CEO of Cell Press, which publishes Immunity, said, We take all scientific miscon-duct very seriously and we will be looking into these cases in detail be-fore determining what actions, if any, may be necessary from the journal.
Early this month, Caltech be-gan looking at work done by Van Parijs while he was a postdoctoral researcher at the university, said Jill Perry, director of media relations at Caltech. The inquiry, which should be completed early November, is being conducted by Elliot M. Mey-
By Brian KeeganSTAFF REPORTER
For the second time in its two-year existence, MITs new under-graduate admissions portal crashed on the eve of an application deadline. According to a notice on the MyMIT portal, the deadline for Early Action applications has been extended from today to Friday, Nov. 4 as a result of technical issues that occurred over the weekend.
Meredith E. Walsh, associate di-rector of admissions for IT, wrote in
an e-mail, We have not definitely identified the source of the problem yet. This is not at all related to the problems we experienced last year.
In a posting on his admissions blog, Ben Jones, communications manager for the admissions of-fice, cited load bouncing issues coupled with 4000 [applicants] do-ing their apps at the last minute as factors contributing to the technical issues.
The MyMIT portal had techni-cal difficulties last year when a bug
caused shutdown for two days. An inappropriate configuration setting had allowed prospective students to inadvertently see another registrants information, of which there was one known case, Walsh wrote. There has been no such security breach this year, she wrote.
Jones said in an e-mail that he does not believe that the outage will affect applicants image of MIT. Whenever we run into problems, we
By John A. HawkinsonSTAFF REPORTER
Information Services and Tech-nology will be looking at a radical restructuring of billing for all tele-phone and networking services at MIT, according to Allison F. Dolan, IS&Ts director of telephony.
The restructuring could poten-tially eliminate monthly charges for each telephone line and IP address, replacing them with a central charge. Changes to the pricing model would take effect July 2007 for fiscal year 2008. Dolan said that pricing for fiscal year 2007, starting July 2006, would likely remain the same as cur-rent pricing.
Speaking Friday at an invita-tion-only IS&T-sponsored forum, Dolan described the current billing practices as archaic. IS&T breaks down phone charges into local and long distance, Dolan said, but those charges have been decreasing. Dolan said that the billing for network ser-vices is structured around the num-ber of ethernet jacks, but the campus is becoming increasingly wireless.
Currently, network service is billed at $17 per IP address per month, and telephones are billed at $20$37 per phone, depending on type. Housing pays $3 for telephones in dormitories, and students desiring full phone service must pay the dif-ference: $17 dollars.
Dolan suggested several ways that a price restructuring might work: a fixed cost per person; funding from the general Institute budget; or a cost per person in proportion to salary, meaning, for example, that a pro-fessors contribution would be larger than a janitors.
This month, IS&T will convene
a committee from across the Insti-tute to produce a concrete proposal by spring 2006. That proposal would then be reviewed by the Institutes Budget Finance Steering Group in August, with a final decision made around September 2006.
By Yi Zhou
The new Study Abroad Office is slated to open in Building 26 in sev-eral months, when the new assistant dean to lead it is selected. Because there have been many applications for the position, the selection process has taken longer than expected and caused a delay, said Peggy S. Enders, associate dean for undergraduate edu-cation.
An offer for the position should be extended mid-November, and the new dean is expected to start work in early January, Enders said. Applicants have come from both MIT and outside the Institute, she said. Enders had said earlier that she hoped the office would open at the end of September.
The new dean will facilitate stu-dents study abroad efforts and focus on working with departments at MIT to identify schools in other countries where faculty would be comfortable with sending students to, Enders said.
She also said the proposed loca-tion for the Study Abroad office, 26-153, is only temporary and that she hopes the office will be moved in a few years to a more student-friendly environment that can fit more than three students at a time.
With the increased visibility of the study abroad program, more students should be encouraged to take advan-tage of overseas opportunities. The culture is changing, Enders said. It used to be that if you were at MIT, you stayed at MIT. But its really good that the faculty now know that its im-portant for individuals to gain some sense of other cultures and ways of learning.
Until the office opens, students interested in studying abroad can ob-tain information through the Careers Office and the Cambridge-MIT Ex-change program.
CHUN LI THE TECH
Jack-o-lantern balloons and other Halloween decorations festoon the Student Center as part of the annual Halloween performance by MIT Concert Band.
RAY C. HETHE TECH
Yang Ruan 07 of the MIT Womens Polynesian Dance Troupe performs in a typical Tahitian dance entitled Iorana, which means hello or welcome. The dancers won Best Large Group Act at Sigma Kappa Late Night on Saturday.
In Short MIT Police have a new Web site (http://web.mit.edu/cp/www/). The site features crime bulletins and crime logs dating back about two weeks.
Nokia and MITs Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory announced a new part-nership last week that will focus on mobile computing technology. A Nokia Research Center Cambridge will be built near MIT as part of the partnership, according to an MIT press release.
Aero-Astro Professor Eugene E. Covert has been named the recipi-ent of the 2006 Daniel Guggenheim Medal, which recognizes notable achievements in aeronautics. Previ-ous recipients include Charles Stark Draper 26 and Orville Wright.
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OPINIONCassi Hunt explains why she practices the under-appreciated art of physics.
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Van Parijs Research at Caltech, Brigham Drawing New Scrutiny
Early Action Deadline Extended After MyMIT Web Site Shutdown
Phone, Network Costs May Change in FY08
After Delays, Study Abroad Dean Will Be Selected Soon
The WeatherToday: Mostly clear, 69F (21C)
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Details, Page 2
IS&T, Page 17
MyMIT, Page 14
Van Parijs, Page 13