March 9, 2018
The Associated Press reports that Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan are donating $30 million to Harvard and MIT, to help improve literacy skills in elementary school students. “[S]truggling to read can be a crushing blow with lifelong consequences,” said President Rafael Reif.
Prof. Charles Stewart III writes for The Washington Post about a new report from the MIT-run Elections Performance Index (EPI) showing that election administration improved from 2012 to 2016. “The latest EPI shows that we can use objective metrics to chart any policy change aimed at improving voting, and that it’s not as difficult as we thought,” explains Stewart.
Institute Prof. Thomas Magnanti will receive Singapore’s Gold Public Administration Medal for his “visionary leadership” at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), reports Jolene Ang for The Straits Times. Magnanti was cited for his work organizing the university in clusters, which “better supported the interdisciplinary nature of SUTD's programmes and strengthened SUTD's research capabilities.”
HUBweek, an annual festival co-founded by MIT that focuses on ideas for the future, will include a two-day Change Maker Conference this year. J.D. Capelouto writes for The Boston Globe, another HUBweek founder, that this new event “will address a variety of topics, including enabling technologies, diversity, inclusion and accessibility, and civic thinking.”
TODAY reporter Alessandra Bulow speaks with Prof. Jörn Dunkel about how he and his colleagues figured out how to snap a strand of spaghetti without it shattering into many pieces. Bulow notes that the noodles must be bent and twisted at the same time, and “you have to twist really strongly,” explains Dunkel.
Using mathematical modeling, a mechanical fracture device and a camera, MIT researchers found that dry spaghetti can be split into two pieces, reports Allyson Chiu for The Washington Post. The findings could be applied to studying fracturing, explains graduate student Vishal Patil, who notes that, “there’s still a lot to be discovered about fracture control, and this is an example of fracture control.”
Prof. Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research, speaks with Boston Globe reporter Jon Marcus about the growing interest in space and exploration in America. “Discovery, pure and simple, is truth. It’s pure. It’s a beautiful thing,” says Zuber, who has directed several NASA missions and chairs the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Advisory Council.