Frankly, I am disgusted by John Dodge’s recent Solar Decathlon post, “Germans prevail in Solar Decathlon, MIT dogs it” in which he takes a sucker punch at MIT (my grad school alma mater). Reading between the lines, I sense John’s implication that MIT is undeserving of its prestigious reputation because of its less-than-stellar Solar Decathlon 2007 performance.
As is pointed out by one of my blog readers, “MIT didn’t score well primarily because the group wasn’t representative of MIT” (see “Does Solar Decathlon Pedigree Prove Energy Engineering is a Real Discipline?”). The Solar Decathlon house attributed to MIT represented the heroic performance of a small collection of dedicated volunteers with almost zero help from the Institute. MIT allowed its name to be stamped on the house, which is about the extent of support tendered. To get the job done, the MIT Solar 7 group had to plug many holes in their team’s portfolio of expertise by importing experts from outside the Institute hailing from the surrounding Boston sustainable building community. Given MIT’s new emphasis on energy (which this alumnus maintains is a farce designed to steal money from legitimate, pre-existing energy research programs), the Institute should be absolutely ashamed of itself for not allowing the Solar 7 Team full access to the MIT resource base on Day 1.
John, MIT’s 13th place finish at Solar Decathlon 2007 can not be misconstrued to suggest that the teams who placed higher represent inherently better schools. Pound for pound, MIT can eat Darmstadt (or any other engineering school in the Solar System) for breakfast. What we saw at Solar Decathlon 2007 was simply a failure of the Institute to support its own and focus its resources.
By the way, despite entering Solar Decathlon 2007 blind, deaf, sunburned, gagged, bleeding, with two arms and a leg tied behind their back, and a knife plunged in between their shoulder blades, MIT still swept the floor with Carnegie Mellon, Cincinnati, Puerto Rico, Texas A&M, Kansas, Cornell, and Lawrence Tech. Plus, a few of those teams had been in the Decathlon previously in 2005 and should have been way ahead of MIT on their way up the learning curve.
John, to be fair, let’s see a post from you on how ashamed students, faculty, and alumni from those seven super-loser schools should be, having been beaten by a mere crippled shadow of MIT.