Paul Penfield, Jr., Nancy A. Heywood, and J. Francis Reintjes, The Legacy of MIT's Building 20, Boston Section, IEEE; Lexington, MA; March 24, 1998. (The Reflector, vol. XLVI, no. 7, p. 16; March 1, 1998.)

The Legacy of MIT's Building 20

Paul Penfield, Jr., Nancy A. Heywood, and J. Francis Reintjes


Building 20 was erected during the Second World War as a temporary building to house the Radiation Laboratory, which was developing radar. Somehow, like a cat with nine lives, it managed to survive to this day. Now, however it really is temporary, because later this year it will be torn down to make way for a new complex of buildings to house MIT activities in computer, information, and intelligence sciences.

In its 55 years, Building 20 has sheltered in its wings many diverse activities, and has come to be loved by its many occupants. Later this month, an all-day celebration of the building will focus on its magical power to bring out the best in people (see the related story).

In this IEEE talk, we will convey the spirit of Building 20 through photographs, descriptions of activities, stories about the building's many colorful characters, and personal reminiscences of former denizens. We will also discuss the proposed Building 20 time capsule.

Paul Penfield, a former resident of B Wing, is Professor of Electrical Engineering and Head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He convened the committee that is planning the commemoration. Nancy Heywood, a member of the project team from the MIT Institute Archives, works in B Wing, and is trying to ensure that materials that document MIT's history are preserved. Frank Reintjes, a former resident of A Wing, is Professor, Emeritus, of Electrical Engineering. He is organizing the commemoration program, and has a special interest in the time capsule.

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Created: Jan 29, 1998  |  Modified: Dec 31, 1998
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