January 26, 2012
"Even if he didn’t quite make it all the way to outer space, as some early reports claimed, a two-inch Lego man, with a fixed grin and a Canadian flag in his hand, did travel about 80,000 feet above the Earth’s surface to the upper stratosphere this month, and he has the stunning video to prove it."
EdX and seven partner universities are now offering nine fully fledged master’s degrees starting at just $9,000, reports Forbes contributor Josh Moody. “Existing industries are evolving while new fields are emerging, and there is a clear demand for the advanced knowledge needed to succeed in this new workplace,” says MIT Prof. Anant Agarwal, CEO of edX.
The Media Lab’s Open Agriculture Initiative is releasing a Personal Food Computer, which uses the same algorithms as the lab and is “capable of growing four plants at a time,” reports Howie Kahn of The Wall Street Journal. Research scientist Caleb Harper hopes the PFC technology, which will be piloted in Boston-area schools, “will expand our knowledge of cultivation on a rapidly changing planet.”
Sloan Prof. Zeynep Ton speaks with Andrew Hill of the Financial Times about The Good Jobs Institute, which she co-founded to help companies create better jobs. Ton suggests that retailers “simplify the way stores operate, standardize processes, train staff to fill multiple roles…and schedule more employees than are needed so they can perform better and engage with customers.”
A preclinical study by MIT researchers successfully eradicated two strains of drug-resistant bacteria using encapsulated probiotics and antibiotics, writes UPI reporter Allen Stone. The researchers believe “these probiotics can replenish the gut microbiome after treatment with antibiotics,” and they hope to use this method to develop new types of bandages.
MIT’s new college of computing represents the Institute’s “first fundamental restructuring in nearly 70 years,” writes Kaveh Wadell of Axios. The college is intended to connect parts of the Institute that have been “siloed from MIT's technology focus” and encourage students “to develop ‘bilingual’ skills: that is, to study computing and another discipline together.”
Prof. Angelika Amon is a recipient of this year’s Breakthrough Prize “for her work on aneuploidy, irregularities in the number of chromosomes,” which could lead to a new understanding of cancer, writes Martin Finucane for The Boston Globe. Prof. Chenyang Xu, Prof. Matt Evans and research scientist Lisa Barsotti received New Horizons Prizes in physics, while Prof. Daniel Harlow received one in math.