Daily Life | Perspectives for the Pandemic

Portrait of Professor Anne McCants


Faculty Reflections | Anne McCants, Professor of History

An ongoing series of notes from the Director of the MIT Concourse Program for her students and others during the pandemic

detail, balcony illustration by Maria Medem, The New York Times


An ode to the humble balcony

In The New York Times, Bernardo Zacka writes: "[A balcony] is private, yet public; exposed, yet secluded. It offers company without the demands of intimacy, and we should never take it for granted again."

portrait of Oprah Winfrey


A Conversation: Alan Lightman and Oprah Winfrey

In this conversation, part of Winfrey's 2020 Vision Tour, Oprah talks with MIT physicist and writer Alan Lightman about the presence, authenticity, and meanings of spiritual experience. 


What the pandemic tells us about personal identity

Kieran Setiya writes in The New Statesman: "We have become more used to seeing others through screens and software, but we are embodied beings and digital communication can feel lacking. What effect will this have on us?" 


Why we need humor at a time like this

At Oxford University Press blog, William Costanzo explores the social and medicinal aspects of humor.

Detail, etching of Isaac Newton


The truth about Isaac Newton’s productive plague

In The New Yorker, MIT Professor of Science Writing Tom Levenson writes that the idea that the plague woke the brilliance in Newton is both wrong and misleading.

image of working remotely via the internet


When the coronavirus pandemic drove life online

On NBC News, MIT Professor Sherry Turkle discusses how the pandemic is inspiring people and groups around the world to use the internet in new and creative ways to connect: "The move online could end up changing what it means to be online," she says.


The virus is a reminder of something lost long ago

In The Atlantic, MIT Professor of Writing Alan Lightman observes that the pandemic may force "many of us to slow down, to spend more time in reflection, away from the noise and heave of the world. With more quiet time, we have an opportunity to think about who we are, as individuals and as a society."

Bulldog puppy with laughing expression


Embracing Humor

"Many studies have shown that laughter and humor have a huge array of benefits, including strengthening the immune system, reducing pain and stress, and increasing energy. If you are going through a difficult experience or feeling down, humor may accidently find you. Embrace it."