Touring Cambridge, the country's original college town
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A class at MIT( Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times )
16. Women might at last be gaining clout at MIT. Or not.
Neuroscientist Susan Hockfield has been MIT's president since 2004, and over the decades, female undergrad enrollment has gradually climbed to 45%. But the numbers are much smaller for grad students and smaller still for faculty -- "the leaky pipeline," they call it.
On the Friday night of my visit, playwright and actress Gioia De Cari addressed that issue (and a few others) in a one-woman show (since closed) at the Central Square Theater -- "Truth Values: One Girl's Romp Through M.I.T.'s Male Math Maze."
Standing before a sold-out audience, De Cari, an '80s MIT grad school alumna, spun and sang tales of desperation, sexism and self-discovery among the numerati. Serious math, she mused, is really thought sculpture, built from the poetry of pattern but comprehensible to only about six people.
At about this point, De Cari grinned wickedly, pulled out her thesis and began reading aloud a passage of stupefying density. Cambridge comedy gold. If you see only one play this year about reflexive nonbinary relations, make it this one.