"As of this writing, Cambridge seems to be the intellectual capital of the world. I realize that seems a preposterous claim. What makes it true is that it's more preposterous to claim about anywhere else." -- Paul Graham (http://www.paulgraham.com/cities.html)
I lived in Cambridge for a while, and that's absolutely preposterous. The city is merely very full of itself and pretentious, and simply does not have an absolute concentration or monopoly on brains.
In fact, most of the "normal" population of Boston and Cambridge rather resent having to play host to the universities.
Harvard and MIT are practically adjacent by West Coast standards
Given that they're less than two miles away from each other, they're practically adjacent by any standards. You can ride the #1 bus for a while or the Red Line just two stops from MIT to Harvard or vice-versa.
I always thought this was really silly of PG to say. If you had some "intellectuality index" of cities and Cambridge _just_ inched out other cities, it'd be true that it'd be more preposterous to call any other city the intellectual capital of the world -- but it doesn't mean it's still not preposterous to say it about Cambridge.
I might believe Cambridge to the academic intellectual capital of the world, but I don't think it's even close to the overall intellectual capital of the world. For that you'd want to look at economic powerhouse cities like New York, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc.
Applied intellectualism is just as significant - especially for us here in startupland. All of these world cities represent an enormous mass of smart, motivated, educated people who are generating huge impact, much moreso than even the collective sum of a few of the world's best academic institutions.
The claim is pretty absurd whichever way you look at it. As much as I love entrepreneurship, acing that doesn't necessarily make you the most important university in the world. Even if you narrow down the list of candidates to just 2 schools (as, surprise surprise, B Magazine seems to have done out of the gates), Harvard does pretty well in basic science and medicine for example - one would think those count for something...
It's just an opinion with a linkbaity title attached imho.
Literally speaking, of course not since the set of universities doesn't have a universally accepted ordering. The article is making the rhetorical point that at this particular moment other universities are following MIT in a direction which has historically been very alien to them and that this makes MIT the "most important" right now.