An MIT Alumni Association Publication

A New Brass Rat on the Silver Screen

  • Jay London
  • 6

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When it comes to MIT in the movies, the Institute's most memorable character might be Tony Stark (or whoever is underneath the Iron Mark armor). Stark won Slice of MIT's fictional alumni tournament and notably wears an MIT Brass Rat in the Iron Man films. But earlier this month, the Brass Rat was spotted in another summer blockbuster—Ghostbusters.

Kristen Wiig plays Erin Gilbert, a ghost-busting paranormal investigator and physicist at Columbia University who is also an MIT alumna. Gilbert was spotted wearing a Brass Rat in at least one scene in the movie, and in a case of life imitating art, Wiig was spotted in MIT gear during the filming of the movie.


Image via @AmyChu. Image via @AmyChu

Much like Tony Stark, Erin Gilbert's fictional time at MIT is clouded in mystery. So Slice will leave it you, our MIT alumni community, to begin to piece together her background.

  • When did she graduate, and from what Course?
  • Did she receive her undergraduate or graduate degree at MIT?
  • Where did she live in on campus?
  • And will we see any ghosts at MIT in the Ghostbusters sequel?

Wiig's role as Gilbert is a small part of MIT's role in the film. Read more about MIT post-doc James Maxwell and how his research was used in the film. And learn more about how MIT gave "Ghostbusters" its "geek cred" in an MIT News story from earlier this month.

And bonus points to any MITers who can spot a Brass Rat in any non-Iron Man films. A sleuthing Redditor found actor and actual MIT alumnus Erland van Lidth '77 wearing his class ring as an extra in the 1980 film Stir Crazy. We know there's more out there!

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Sat, 08/20/2016 11:39am

typo in caption of first figure: "an" -> "and"

Brent M. Myers

Sat, 09/10/2016 3:13pm

It looks like Lt. Col James "Rhody" Rhodes is wearing a brass rat in the first Iron Man movie.

Jay London

Mon, 08/22/2016 9:57am

Thank you--fixed!

In reply to by reader

Jim Demers

Sun, 08/21/2016 8:23pm

Better pic - but still not enough detail to pick out a year.

Richard Langer

Sat, 08/20/2016 12:45pm

In the mid-'60s one could get a brass rat from one of the paen shops in Central square

Emil Friedman

Tue, 08/09/2016 4:31pm

From where did they get the brass rat?