Hacked! MIT Students Stand with Ahmed Mohamed

by Jay London on September 25, 2015 · 9 comments

in Campus, Campus Culture, Hacks, In the News

Slide background MIT hackers placed an electronic clock and banner in Lobby 7.
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The MIT Facilities Office removed the clock shortly before 11:00 a.m.

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In less than two weeks, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed went from an anonymous Texas high school student to cultural phenomenon.

On September 14, Mohamed was arrested by police who mistook the ninth grader’s self-made electronic clock for a homemade bomb. Within days, the story was viral, buoyed by support from President Barack Obama, who invited Mohamed to the White House; Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who extended an invite to Facebook headquarters; and members of the MIT community, including MIT President L. Rafael Reif.  (Mohamed responded, via Twitter, that MIT was his “dream school.”)

On campus, the MIT community lent their support in the most MIT way possible: a hack. In the early morning of September 18, hackers created their own homemade electronic clock and placed it in Lobby 7, directly above the entrance to the Infinite Corridor.  The clock was accompanied by a banner reading “#ISTANDWITHAHMED,” the ubiquitous hashtag that has accompanied Mohamed’s story.

The hack was removed by late morning but Jose Gomez-Marquez, a designer in the Little Devices @ MIT lab, was able to document the hack and shared his photos with Slice of MIT.

Call it a prank with purpose.

All images via Jose Gomez-Marquez.


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Edward Barrall September 25, 2015 at 12:37 pm

This kind of student and Institute President reaction makes me proud to have attended MIT 54 years ago! May the Institute remain forever vital and the hub of the engineering/scientific universe!!!!


Dan Goor September 25, 2015 at 1:52 pm

Circumstances around the Ahamed situation smell like a calculated political act to again elevate the well designed image of “victims” that radical the Islamic movement darved for itself’; I may be wrong, but I think time will prove me right…


Olawumbe Kimwe November 19, 2016 at 10:55 am

Now that the truth has been revealed, and his family is demanding $15 million, is MIT still going to give this charlatan and fraud a scholarship? He and his family came crawling back from Qatar because he was “homesick”. For what?


Ronald September 25, 2015 at 2:01 pm

Wish people (including our POTUS) learn more about the depth of this story before jumping into any action. Local news at the city where Ahmed’s story toke place already reported more information that doesn’t fit what people have been thinking. For example, Ahmed non-responsive to questions by his teachers, his non-cooperative behavior with the police, past suspicious behavior of his elder sister, the activist role of his father, and refusal of his family to release interview records of this incident (Ahmed is a junior, without his family’s approval, by TX law, the authorities cannot release such records in order to make the situation more transparent to the public). There is also investigation (available in YouTube) by researchers that Ahmed’s clock is not really any innovation. Quite shameful such naïve reactions came from the MIT community.


George March 19, 2016 at 1:59 pm

I admire the PR campaign Islamists have. For a sect that is beheading Christian children, abusing women and represent over 90% of the terrorism in the world, to be able to create sympathy end empathy it takes a brilliant PR campaign.


James K Herms September 27, 2015 at 3:11 am

Radio Shack, 1986 Catalog, 150. “MICRONTA Alarm Clocks. Jumbo LED Digital … 63-765.”
Black’s Law Dictionary. “reverse passing off. [Law field]: Intellectual property. The act … of falsely representing another’s product as one’s own….”


Edward Barrall September 29, 2015 at 7:36 pm

I find the above comments rather amusing. They sound as if they were originated some where in central Texas by a group of NRA members worrying about President Obama invading Texas using the Jade military exercises as cover. After that invasion FEMA would build detention camps, etc. The Muslims would be the jailers. Indeed, much of this fits Rad Right thinking. Paranoia is a tricky thing.

After what happened with the police who should be surprised that the kid was upset and silent? As a parent and grandparent I would have been more than upset with the school and the police! Also, he never claimed that the invention was “original”. Thanks for the reference to the old Radio Shack catalog and the electronic clock kit from the 1980’s! Those were great days. I assure you that assembly of that kit (well designed as it probably was) required exercising unusual manual skill and mental concentration from a 14 year old! As I understood it, he used parts he had picked up around the house and from some electronic’s stores.

I congratulate our President and others for jumping in on this issue while the maximum good could be done. Am I the only one here who remembers being 14?


James K Herms September 30, 2015 at 10:50 pm

Thank you for your response, Mr. Barrall. My comment originated from the People’s Republic of Cambridge, not central Texas. Mr. Mohamed isn’t a Muslim: Muslims don’t steal (intellectual) property. You aren’t the only one here who remembers being fourteen. Your comment is ageist, spiritualist, and statist.
Did I miss anything? 😉


Edward Barrall October 1, 2015 at 9:16 pm

I smell a Troll here. Good bye!


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