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Alumni Letters

Letters from our readers.
January 8, 2007

Celestial Intervention

I’m very impressed by the ar­ticle about my classmate Rusty Schweickart and his continuing extraordinary extraterrestrial activities (” Defending the Planet ,” November/December 2006). We were all proud of his Apollo and space station feats, but now he may save our planet.

Actually, there may have been some celestial power behind how our class, and now Tech Review readers, became more aware of this impending cosmic crisis and Rusty’s team’s endeavors to intervene. My own challenge for our 50th-reunion trip to Chatham was arranging an exciting package of outdoor activities–golf, sailing, fishing, etc. But a heavenly tempest of wind and rain forced us indoors–to the bar, TV, bridge, and gossip–until Rusty’s charming wife, Louise, urged us to have Rusty regale us all with the show he’d done across Europe the previous week. His classmates were enthralled; how wasted could have been a day playing in the Cape Cod sunshine. Our support of his efforts could enhance the likelihood of making our 75th MIT reunion.
Warren Briggs ‘56
Marion, MA

Red Coats’ Contributions

It was a thrill to see two articles in the November/December issue (” The ‘Most Sought-After Class’ ” and ” Defending the Planet “) highlighting members of the Class of 1956, now the “freshmen” of the Red Coat Society. I cannot help but be impressed by the extent to which a single class can participate in technologic advance on a world scale. Members of our class were deeply involved in the early exploration of the moon, in development of the Internet, and in creation of technology that facilitates today’s ubiquitous cell phone.

Less visibly, perhaps, our class was involved in the transition of computer capabilities from the Age of the Whirlwind to the Age of the Laptop, from a time when owning your own computer meant being a programmer to a time when software comes “bundled.” We have seen the complete development of the interstate highway system, and we remember when the red and blue lights atop the old John Hancock marked the highest structure in Boston. Some of us were engaged in nuclear weapons testing that helped bring about the end of the Cold War. We played a part in the transition of air travel from “prop” to “jet.” We have been active witnesses to the launching of hundreds of satellites, where once there were none. In all the changes of the past 50 years, it has been our privilege to participate in ways large and small. It is safe to say that this is a class that made a difference.

I think it is equally safe to say that we are not unique. I am confident that each class makes its own significant and observable contribution. The world of tomorrow will be a very different place because of what each class is contributing, or will contribute, before its members don the Red Coat.
T. Guy Spencer ‘56
Sarasota, FL

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