MIT acceptance letters by drone? Admissions office asks applicants to look ‘to the skies’

As owls are to Hogwarts, so are drones to MIT. The university recognizes that drone-delivered acceptance letters may be the perfect way of welcoming the Class of 2019. And even if the admissions office can’t pull off that feat this year, they’ve released a video Friday to tell the world: Yes, they’ve thought about it.

The video opens with Stu Schmill, dean of admissions, marching down the campus’s Infinite Corridor, as if on a mission. He arrives at a basement space, sets down a silver tube, and steps away. A quadcopter arrives, picks up the cargo, and flies out across campus.

Cut to Killian Court, where MIT’s Great Dome cracks open to reveal a swarm of tube-carrying drones. The rest of the video is a delightful montage of various fictitious paths the robotic messengers take around the world, dropping off their cargo.

“Decision day” at MIT, March 14, is extra-special this year. It’s also “Pi Day” in the United States, when, to the delight of nerds of all ages, the date spells out 3.1415 — the first five digits of the mathematical constant pi. At 9:26 a.m. that day, students can log into the admissions portal and check the status of their application. Taken together, that moment in time spells out 3.1415926 — pi to seven digits. The stars align.

It’s safe to say that drones won’t be delivering admission letters simultaneously to the International Space Station and Beijing this year, as the YouTube video suggests. Could there be some other winged prank afoot?

Nidhi Subbaraman writes about science and research. Email her at nidhi.subbaraman@globe.com.
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