In memoriam Daniel Barclay
March 18, 1985 - April 19, 2007
|Text and videos of the gathering in celebration of Daniel's life (memorial service)||Photos and writings||Donate to memorial fund|
|Order DVDs and CD of video of memorial services and website files||Newspaper stories||Read and post memories of Dan|
"He gave more to the school than we were able to give
-Eric Hartwig, former principal of Menlo-Atherton High School
Dan was an amazing young man with a wide
variety of interests. Dan's quirky sense of humor came through every
day, and also in his debate topics and in his writings. He had written a
screenplay and novel which were as yet unpublished. He enjoyed hanging out
with his friends, playing video games, keeping up with politics and current
events, and writing. There are links below to many of the items he
During his last two years at MIT, Dan spent most of his spare time with the MIT Parliamentary Debate team, traveling to tournaments and preparing arguments. A nationally-ranked debater he was scheduled to compete in the National Debate Championships and had previously been invited to the World Debate Tournament. Dan graduated from MIT with a bachelors in economics, and was only weeks away from receiving his masters degree in political science when he died.
Dan's thesis for his masters degree was a mathematical model for predicting the outcomes of US elections.
The model correctly predicted: George Bush's re-election in 2004, a Democratic Party victory in the 2008 presidential
election, and the re-election of that Democratic president in 2012. We are still
waiting to see if his prediction will be correct, for a Republican
presidential victory in 2016. He used this model to place on-line bets on
elections. He made thousands betting on the 2004 presidential election, some of
which he used in 2006 to purchase futures in Hillary Clinton for
President. Those futures quadrupled by the time of Dan's death.
Dan had accepted a job with a Boston financial advising firm so he could remain
in the Boston area with his friends after graduation.
While at Menlo-Atherton High School from 1999-2003, Dan was the anchor of his school's Quiz Bowl team, which was undefeated for his entire four years. His senior year, competing single-handedly against the top four-person teams in northern California, he won every match. He was an Eagle Scout, and in 2002 became one of only 300 high school students nationwide to qualify as a National AP Scholar while still a high school junior. Also in 2002, he published a paper in a national peer-reviewed journal with the results of research while working a summer job at the US Geological Survey. By 2007, he had published three more papers in national peer-reviewed journals.
Dan died when his small boat sank. He was following in the well-known MIT tradition of "hacking" by doing something unexpected to bring a smile to people's faces. One of his hacks is in the permanent collection of the MIT Museum. On April 8, 2007, Dan decided to do a "hack" to publicize his novel. He set out to re-enact the opening scene of his novel, in which the intrepid American Revolutionary War-era hero takes his one-man boat into Boston's Harbor and single-handedly attacks and sinks a British warship. Dan was going to hang a "fake bomb" sign on the USS Constitution, a Revolutionary War-era warship, moored in Boston Harbor. Unfortunately, his boat got caught by the wind and current and he was swept out to sea. The little boat couldn't handle the waves and swells of the open ocean, and it capsized.
We have set up a memorial endowment for the MIT debate team, and have installed a memorial bench at Menlo-Atherton High School, where he and his friends used to stand at lunch every day. Dan is survived by his parents, Sue Kayton and Michael Barclay, his sister Rachel Barclay, and three grandparents - Paula Kayton, Myron Kayton, and Eleanor Barclay.
A gathering in celebration of Dan's life was held at Menlo-Atherton High School on Saturday June 2, 2007 in the San Francisco area, and a memorial service was held at MIT in April 2007. You can order DVDs with videos of both events, and a CD containing all the files on this website. The transcribed text, videos and photos from the June celebration are available online, and so are the streaming video of the 30-minute MIT memorial service. If you don't already have RealPlayer installed on your computer, you will need to install the latest version of RealPlayer to view the MIT streaming video.
It is a tradition in
our family for new babies to be named for the recently departed. In
November 2008, a newborn cousin was named Danielle in his memory.
He did so much in so few years. We never will know what he would have accomplished. We miss you, Dan.
You can read and share photos and memories of Dan by posting them here.
There were many sides to Dan - check out some of the links below
Videos, photos and text from memorial service on June 2, 2007
For those with access to Facebook, there is a group In Remembrance of Daniel Barclay.
Video of Dan's highlights on the TV show Quiz Kids. 3 minutes in length - turn the volume way up to hear the audio. The TV show dedicated its 2007-8 season to Dan - see the dedication graphic.
Some of the debate cases he ran - some serious, some very off-the-wall
Video of a rap presented to the UBC debate team thanking them for a well-run tournament
Stata Center hack sign #1 (now part of the permanent collection of the MIT Museum)
Stata Center hack sign #2 (Posted after sign #1 was removed)
Stata Center hack sign #3 (as of April 18, 2007, this sign was still posted in the Stata Center)
His unpublished action novel Agent of Freedom in PDF format. Subject to copyright protection but may be read and enjoyed for personal, noncommercial use without restriction. Or download the Word version.
Kumquat: A Play in Five Acts. Unfinished parody of Shakespeare, co-written with his sister Rachel. Starring Mustachio, Imbroglio, Portfolio, Hernia, and the lovely Anemia.
Fractured Fairy Tale written at an unknown date, probably while in high school.
Email received May 2008 from researcher referencing the Field Act report
Diary of trip to Spain in 1999
The Taming of the Shoe - written in 1995, Daniel's first send-up on Shakespeare
The Brave Fish, one of Dan's first stories, written in third grade, for an assignment explaining why a constellation is named for a person or an animal.
My Struggle - college application essay
The Week from Hell, an essay by the father of one of Dan's friends about Dan's death
His almost-finished thesis, a math model for predicting the outcomes of US presidential elections. Chapter 2, Chapter 3 with references. He was working on the introduction and Chapter one when he died.
Tongue-in-cheek Powerpoint presentation given to his thesis design class explaining his proposed thesis topic.
Newspaper articles - some are more accurate than others, so take them all with the proverbial grain of salt.
San Francisco Chronicle April 24, 2007
San Francisco Chronicle "Quiz Whiz Leaves No Gap Unturned" archived story from March 13, 2003