An MIT Alumni Association Publication

What do the Sound of Music and the MIT class 2.009 have in common—besides iconic status? It turns out they both do a strikingly similar rendition of the song “Do Re Mi.”

Taught by Professor David Wallace SM ’91, PhD ’95, 2.009 (currently titled Product Engineering Processes) is legendary. The capstone class for mechanical engineering undergraduates gives students a taste of real-world product development and ends with eight teams presenting their product launch in Kresge Auditorium. The highly anticipated event looks more like a concert than a final presentation.

The rigorous class is also known for its media content, produced by Wallace and students. “In 2.009 we are building a culture and community that feels joy in doing the work, in design, and in pushing to do things exceptionally,” says Wallace. “The videos and photography are a part of building the culture and celebrating this community.” The content also reflects on lessons learned in the class, and many of the videos are used as transitions between teams at the final presentation.

The Sound of Music tribute was initially titled “Do-Re-Ween,” fulfilling the annual tradition of a 2.009 Halloween video, and then recreated to match the original film version of “Do Re Mi” cut for cut. It was intended as a team-building project for the course. In the video, Wallace is dressed as a character called Danger David, introduced at the start of the term as part of the 2018 project theme. Teams were tasked with creating a product that could address and mitigate a danger. Results included devices to rescue a boat passenger who’s fallen overboard and to help an ambulance driver navigate speed bumps. Featured in the video are eight hazard-symbol-shaped characters, each color representing one of the class’s teams.

For Wallace, who has led 2.009 since he began teaching at MIT In 1995, the class remains a source of great pride and inspiration. “I enjoy the quest to provide the strongest learning opportunities that I can and to keep pushing to do better than last time. There’s a joy in the drive to excel, and there are a lot of great people, students and staff, to share the journey. It’s a team effort. In 2.009 it’s great to see students ‘do it for real,’ feel their passion, and form their future career paths as technical innovators.”

Even if you didn’t take 2.009, seeing the Sound of Music reenacted across campus is a delight. Enjoy!