Week 4: The city of Cambridge, USA
I am extremely fortunate to be spending summer 2012 in Cambridge. After coming here astonishingly frequently for conferences and mathematics contests, I have finally gotten the chance to live here! It is my pleasure to share with my readers my impressions of the city that I have come to love so dearly.
There are two main regions of the city, the Kendall Square by MIT and the Harvard Square by, well…Harvard. I spend most of my days in Kendall Square, quite understandably. One interesting fact about this area is the people you meet. They come from all over the world and have had amazingly diverse experiences.
It is a wonderful experience to run into someone on the street and to casually start learning about their life experiences. What you learn might surprise you. I have met formerly homeless people who worked hard in high school, went through hard times and are now engineers at MIT.
It is a culinary masterpiece. Not only are there many exotic cuisines to sample, such as some of the best Chinese food I have ever tasted; but there are numerous areas to enjoy your food and drink while a stranger plays music, sings, dances, or lectures you on the history of the city. It is truly an amazing place to be!
One of the most important experiences of being a Cantabragian (resident of Cambridge) is the astounding number of technological companies and research laboratories located within the city limits, no doubt influenced by the academic institutions present therein. As a result, one encounters an amazing number of STEM professionals from every walk of life and geographical location imaginable.
Hearing their stories, listening to their histories, perhaps even trying to walk a mile in their shoes, enriches you as a person far more than merely gleaning technical knowledge from them in a strictly professional conversation. People are much more than just their professional credentials. Really getting to know or live with a colleague from Nebraska or Missouri when you are a New Yorker is an extremely enlightening experience, and not one to be discounted. For example, one of my roommates commented on her surprise that a television report on a meth lab implied that it was a highly unusual event. She exclaimed “Wow! I really am not in Missouri anymore!”
My parents visited me in my MIT dorm and commented that it was rather aged and un-luxurious. They missed the whole point of my living here. I would rather live in a physically unappealing MIT dorm in Cambridge and meet and befriend all these incredible people then live in a palace almost anywhere else.
About the Blogger
Amy Beth Prager is a mathematics educator interested in outreach efforts. She is currently expanding her knowledge of mathematics, computer science and engineering.She is spending the summer in the mathematics department of MIT pursuing coursework in applied numerical methods; taking a class known as 18.085, Computational Science and Engineering. The course teaches methods of applied mathematics useful in engineering and science.