Concepts familiar from grade-school algebra have broad ramifications in computer science.
Professors and students will have a chance to chat informally outside the classroom over the midday meal during the first-ever "Invite A Professor to Lunch" Week.
During the week of April 7-11, students will be encouraged to ask their professors to lunch at MIT or local restaurants from 11am-3pm. MIT Dining Services and sponsoring restaurants, including Rebecca's Cafe, Royal East, Papa Razzi and Indian Globe, are offering discounts for registered students. After a student or group of students issues an invitation to a professor, they must register the lunch at The Source in the Student Center. Students then receive a card they can show at their dining location to receive the discount.
Faculty members who are interested in participating are invited to announce the program during their classes and to wear an "Invite Me to Lunch, I'm Available" button.
The program is being organized by Afreen Siddiqi, a sophomore in mechanical engineering, and Farheen Qadir, a sophomore in chemical engineering, at the suggestion of Rick Gresh, assistant advisor to the Campus Activities Complex Program Board. Ms. Siddiqi and Ms. Qadir are co-directors of the program board's Recreational and Educational Activities Committee. "The program board hopes to instill a campus culture that fosters relationships between the faculty and students, and this lunch week is one such effort toward that end," Ms. Qadir said.
"I'm delighted the students have taken the initiative in organizing this program," said Professor Lawrence Bacow of urban studies and planning, chair of the faculty. "I'm sure the faculty will look forward to participating. I hope one of my students asks me."
"It's a splendid idea, and I commend the students who took the initiative to get it launched," said Rosalind Williams, dean for undergraduate education. "Education never works better than when there is a close personal relationship between student and teacher, and having lunch together is a great way to begin or develop such a relationship. I hope the local restaurants are crowded with students and professors during the week of April 7-11, and I hope to be among the crowd."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 3, 1997.