Sometimes, it seems like MIT people only speak in numbers. You'll hear sentences like "I have 6.001 in 10-250 at 2:30, then my Course 9 UROP in Building 46." This is part of MIT-speak. Here's a primer.
Each of MIT's majors - known as Courses, with a capital C - is known by a number (sometimes given in Roman numerals). These numbers are in approximate order of the founding of MIT's course in that area. For example, Courses 1 through 5 represent MIT's original five majors:
- Course 1: Civil & Environmental Engineering (founded as Civil & Topographical Engineering)
- Course 2: Mechanical Engineering
- Course 3: Materials Science & Engineering (founded as Geology and Mining; Geology is now a part of Course 12, Earth, Atmospheric & Planetary Sciences)
- Course 4: Architecture (founded as Building and Architecture)
- Course 5: Chemistry (founded as Practical Chemistry)
Each class - or course, with a lower-case c - in each department also is designated by a number. Hence, the introductory calculus class in Mathematics - Course 18 - is known as 18.01. Similarly, an advanced astrophysics course in the Physics department - Course 8 - is called 8.971.
Also, every building on campus is designated by a number. MIT's Great Dome sits atop Building 10; the I.M. Pei-designed Chemistry laboratory is Building 18. Certainly, the buildings also have names - Building 10 is the Maclaurin Building, and Building 18 is the Dreyfus Building - but usually the number is enough. Some buildings, including the dorms, are more frequently referred to by their proper name, though.
Of course, all of the campus rooms have numbers as well, and follow a straightforward naming scheme: 26-100 is in Building 26, on the first floor, room 100.