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  • Credit: Tom Willard
01/06/2011 08:00:00

What's (Literally) Up with the TARDIS?

If you've walked across campus lately, you've probably noticed the blue box tethered to the southwest corner of Baxter Hall's roof. Perhaps you wondered, "Is it a porta potty? A phone booth?" But if you're a Doctor Who fan, the only thing you wondered was who put the TARDIS up there, and why.

Wonder no more. Less prank than homage to the BBC television program and its iconic police box/time machine, the TARDIS (which is an acronym for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) now atop Baxter is the result of a rare joint effort by students from Caltech and MIT.

The structure was originally built by an MIT contingent, and spent some time atop its Great Dome. It traveled to Pasadena in September, only to spend the intervening months being stored in a jacuzzi before it was rebuilt and hoisted to Baxter's roof by a group of four MIT students and 10 Techers. "We all enjoyed working together to get it up there," says Caltech undergrad Alexander Mouschovias.

The original construction predated BBC America's "Where's the TARDIS?" contest, Mouschovias says, though the students are considering entering the Baxter installation.

How long will the TARDIS be there? And where's it going next? We could tell you, but…we don't actually know. Stay tuned.

Written by Lori Oliwenstein