Over 11,000 MIT theses from all departments, spanning more than 130 years of scholarship at the Institute, are now available in DSpace, MIT's electronic depository for research in digital format. Theses in DSpace have been either submitted by the student in electronic form or digitally scanned by the MIT Libraries' Document Services department. Since 2004 all new Ph.D. dissertations and master's theses have been included.
Students at MIT have produced more than 110,000 theses since the first fourteen graduates received their bachelor's degrees in 1868. Theses are preserved and made accessible for research because they are a record of work done by students to complete requirements for a degree and provide a reservoir of original research that can be built upon by current scholars and future generations. They also afford avenues of insight into historical trends in the sciences, engineering, and other areas of inquiry.
Two of the theses in DSpace are highlighted here. "Notes on Some Sulpharsenites and Sulphantimonites from Colorado" is by Ellen H. Swallow, who was the first woman to earn a degree from MIT — a B.S. in Chemistry in 1873. Her thesis is a 12-page paper describing the analysis of various mineral specimens.
. . . I was requested to test these specimens sufficiently to ascertain whether they belonged under Stephanite or Tetrahedrite and whether the minerals from the different mines were of the same composition.
"The Spindle Checkpoint: Bubs, Mads, and Chromosome-microtubule Attachment in Budding Yeast" is by Emily S. Gillett, who earned a Ph.D. in Biology in 2005. Gillett's thesis describes her highly specialized research in the field of the biological sciences.
The high fidelity of chromosome transmission in eukaryotes is achieved, in part, by the activity of the spindle checkpoint. This checkpoint monitors the status of chromosome-microtubule attachments and delays the onset of anaphase until all kinetochores have formed stable bipolar connections to the mitotic spindle.
The two theses illustrate the dramatic change in the Institute's programs over 130 years. The first master's degrees were awarded in 1886 and the first doctoral degrees in 1907.
Theses that have not yet been added to DSpace are available for use in the MIT Institute Archives and Special Collections, Room 14N-118, and can be found by searching Barton, the Libraries' online catalog.
Object of the Month: November 2005
MIT Institute Archives