Here and There


The Boston Globe and Bay Windows each featured articles last month about Marcel Carne, the late French filmmaker who was the subject of a 1989 biography by Edward Baron Turk, professor of French studies and film in the foreign languages and literatures section. The French Library and Cultural Center in Boston recently hosted a day-long tribute to Mr. Carne in which five of his films, including the landmark 1942 "Children of Paradise," were screened.

"There's a myth that Truffaut and Chabrol and others of the young French directors rejected Carne," Professor Turk told the Globe. This misconception, as well as the mistaken notion that the director was a Nazi collaborator, is refuted in Professor Turk's book, Child of Paradise: Marcel Carne and the Golden Age of French Cinema (Harvard University Press).

In Bay Windows, Professor Turk recalls a visit in the early 1980s by the elderly Mr. Carne, who impressed his host with his joie de vivre as he explored Boston's night life. "He was in his early 70s when I first met him, but he always thought of himself as young," wrote the newspaper, quoting Professor Turk. "He loved hard rock. One of the most interesting and inspiring things about him was that he never considered his career to be over-he was still planning another film up to just a couple of years ago. His sense that his work was unfinished kept him alive."
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When Marguerite "Marge" Meyer first glimpsed the imposing facade of MIT from across the Harvard Bridge, she wanted to forego the job she'd accepted and get right back on the bus that had brought her to Boston from Oklahoma. "I was terrified," she said.

Fortunately, she decided to stay, and in November, she was feted for her 50 years of MIT employment by more than 60 faculty, staff, and past and present students in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE). Professor Emeritus Morris Cohen, her supervisor from the beginning, called the administrative assistant a "remarkable force in our department" and spoke of the considerable contributions she has made to the department and the field of materials science as a whole.

"She took part in the National Academy of Sciences study called the COSMAT Report (Committee on the Survey of Materials Science and Engineering) in Washington, and was the one who convinced us that metallurgy had to be expanded to materials science," Cohen said of what was formerly the MIT Metallurgy Department. "Many of the changes made in our department over the years are due to Marge. She has just been everywhere for everyone."

Formally retired since 1991, Meyer still works part-time in the department. "Everyone jokes about my surviving 50 years at MIT, but I'm very happy with my life," she said. "It's been a great life here."
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New Scientist, Chemical Week and Nature have all recently featured articles on The Chlorine Game, an environmental-diplomacy simulation developed by MIT researchers including Lawrence Susskind, professor of urban and environmental planning. Assuming the roles of United Nations officials, environmental advocates, and trade or environment ministers, players "negotiate" an international treaty regulating pollutant organochlorines-a treaty that has been proposed in reality by the UN Environmental Program.

The Chlorine Game offers both realism and the chance to exercise more flexibility and informality in talks. Most real-life international negotiating sessions "are very formal affairs where people simply repeat what their governments have already approved, rather than doing any real brainstorming," Professor Susskind told New Scientist (October 26).

The article also quoted David Marks, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Program in Environmental Engineering Education and Research, as saying he was "stunned by how well it works" when it was played at a chlorine conference at MIT last June by students and representatives from industry, government and other organizations.

Chemical Week noted that the game can become intense. "You start believing that you're actually the ambassador of the US or China," said graduate student Adil Najam of urban studies and planning. The article added that Mr. Najam recently sent the game to UN staff involved in treaty discussions.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 18, 1996.


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