Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Something of a fantasy camp for world's top geeks, where elaborate practical jokes known as "hacks" are an art form, MIT sits proudly on the Cambridge side of the Charles River. Tour guides explain how many Smoots it takes to cross the bridge to Boston, a Smoot being a unit of measurement derived years ago from the length of a particularly short student. A president of the institution famously said that an MIT education is "like drinking from a fire house," and there is drinking fountain with nozzle so no one misses the point. More important, all first-term courses are pass-fail, to ease the neophyte transition.