Hugh Pickens writes writes: "It's been said that social graces may be just as important as intelligence and engineering prowess to success as an astrophysicist or computer engineer. But how do you take someone who's grown up in the world of pocket protectors and get them thinking about suits, bow ties and the proper way to hold a wine glass. Now Jennifer Lawinski reports that MIT's Charm School just celebrated its 20th birthday with classes in alcohol and gym etiquette, how to dress for work and how to visit a contemporary art museum. "We're giving our students the tools to be productive members of society, to be the whole package," says Alana Hamlett. "It gets them thinking about who they are and what their impact and effect is, whether they're working on a team in an engineering company, or in a small group on a project, or interviewing for a job." At this year's Charm School students were free to drop in and participate in any of the 20-minute mini-courses being offered that day and students who participated in 10 of the mini-courses were awarded doctorates of charm. Computational biology graduate student Asa Adadey said the free meal was a draw and said he learned in one mini-course not to cut up all his meat at once before eating it. "Who knows? Down the line I may find myself at a formal dinner.""
"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers."
-- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a
particularly vivid fantasy)