Memorial Service for Jerome Lettvin, 1920 - 2011, Sunday, Sept. 25, Stata Center

Friday, September 23, 2011 (All day)

A memorial service for professor emeritus Jerome Lettvin, who died in Hingham, Mass., on April 23, will take place on Sunday, Sept. 23, at 9am in the Kirsch Auditorium (room 32-123) in the Stata Building (building 32) at 32 Vassar Street on the MIT campus where Building 20 once stood.

The family and close friends have provided the information below for those in the EECS/MIT community who might not be aware of the event.

To get there:

  • If you take a taxi, get out at the Dreyfoos (Vassar Street) entrance.
  • If you take the Red Line, the closest stop is Kendall/MIT, about 3 blocks (a 6 minute walk) to the corner of Main and Vassar.
  • If you take the bus, the closest stop is at Mass Ave and Albany Street.
  • If you drive, the parking garage is beneath Building 32. Check the attached map to locate the ramp.
  • If you drive and have Handicap plates or sticker, there is a drive next to the building that will let you park near Dreyfoos West Entry, the closest entrance to the Kirsch Auditorium. Check the attached map.
  • Parking has been prepaid, but please see the last paragraph.



Map of first floor of MIT Stata Center




The Kirsch Auditorium is on the first floor and fairly easy to get to. (See the map above). The red lines on the floorplan show the route from the Dreyfoos and Dreyfoos West Entries entrance. Signs and attendants in the parking garage will guide you to the best elevators for getting to the auditorium.


The Kirsch is an auditorium style classroom with seating for >300, a large screen and blackboards. Access will be primarily from the first floor, but if you have a problem negotiating stairs, you should let us know so we can ensure your comfort and mobility.

The Program:0900-0910 Introduction: Gill Pratt; 0910-0930 Biography: Mark Abrahams; 0930-1000 David Lettvin, Ruth McCambridge, Jonathan Lettvin; 1000-1030 W Saidel, C Searle, J Kanwisher, A Grant, E Gruberg; 1030-1045 Break + Snacks + Recorded music of Theodore Lettvin; 1045-1100 S Waxman: (for self and J Moore); 1100-1130 F Axelrod, E Lettvin, J McCambridge, J Moses, H Fell; 1130-1145 C Epstein: Bandwidth and Bad Driving; 1145-1200 E Newman: Glia and the Brain; 1200-1230 A Buck, J Dubinsky, K Haase, H Lin, M Brill; 1230-1300 Lunch + Recorded music of Theodore Lettvin; 1300-1400 Lunch continues + Open Mike; 1400-1430 R Bernstein, S Raymond, P Pangaro, L Perelman, G Sussman; 1430-1445 S Raymond: Leftovers; 1445-1500 G Geiger: Manifesto on Dyslexia; 1500-1515 M Minsky, M Lurie, L Young, L Stoller; 1515-1600 J Lettvin: Seeing Stars; 1545-1600 P Cariani: Clooge Plots; 1600-1630 Open Mike + Snacks; 1630-1645 Closing Remarks

Food:The food and drink provided are for those guests who have already responded. If you were not on the guest list as of 22 September, please provide your own snacks and lunch.

Video: The entire memorial will be recorded. Segments of the video will be available later this year. Music: The music played during the memorial is recordings of recitals performed by Jerry's brother Theodore Lettvin. We expect to make a downloadable playlist or CD of that music available. Book: A book of transcripts, blog entries and photographs is in preparation. Blog: There is a blog at where we encourage you to share your stories and memories of Jerry.

Website: The website is the repository for much of the additional information about Jerry. You will find a list of his papers with links to some of them, Jerry's translations of Christian Morgenstern's poetry, and more. An archive of newspaper articles will appear there within the next couple of months.

As always, if you have any photos, recordings, or anecdotal evidence that Jerry actually existed and is not a collective hallucination, please forward them to David Lettvin ( for inclusion in the "Jerry Lettvin Experience".

The last paragraph!A part of the expense of Jerry's memorial is funded by the MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department. The remaining cost is privately funded and comes to a little more than $40/person for lunch, parking, attendants and other amenities. If you can contribute toward these expenses, we would appreciate it. There will be a donation box at the auditorium for those who wish to contribute any amount (cash or a check made out to Janey and Gill Pratt). If you wish to contribute by mail, let me know so I can send you the address to use. This is voluntary so you can contribute less, or even nothing, if it is a burden.