Last week's earthquake marked the start of tectonic changes in the Cambridge area—U.S. News and World Report just released their 2012 "World's Best Universities" rankings and MIT has leapfrogged over both Cambridge and Harvard to claim glory in the form of a #1 ranking.
In the name of all that is good and veritaffle-ly, how did MIT sneak by? The rankings take into account six factors: academic reputation, faculty-student ratio, citations per faculty, employer reputation, proportion of international faculty, and percentage of international students. But rather than delving into the exact methodology of the rankings, Flyby decided to investigate some more sensible explanations.
John Harvard's wardrobe malfunction. In an act of great kindness, Drew Faust dressed the beloved John Harvard in MIT gear, snapped a pic, and framed the photo for MIT's new president, L. Rafael Reif. Did the editors of U.S. News take note of this incident as a sign of Ivy League weakness?
Spikeball backlash. Recently, the Crimson attacked the sport of spikeball, sparking a vitriolic response from the community. The probability that the editors of the U.S. News are fans of the sport? Low. The probability of at least one editor that is fan? Fair. The probability that said editor managed to manipulate the rankings? Guaranteed. Herein lies the explanation.
Blessings from the Dalai Lama. While Harvard can manage only to persuade such guest speakers as the President of Argentina and Aung Suu Kyi to come to our campus, MIT somehow finagled the Dalai Lama. Having His Holiness on campus must have given the university great karma.
MIT makeovers. MIT recently announced that it was gifting the Great Dome with a skylight. Most often used as a site for pranks—a police cruiser and airplanes have perched atop the Dome—perhaps this is a sign that MIT is getting serious about its image.
If Harvard's drop to third is rattling your hopes and dreams, don't fear! We remain #1 in the national rankings, which are most definitely scientifically precise and of the utmost legitimacy.