February 2, 2017
In this Wired video, Prof. Anette “Peko” Hosoi explains how she and her team designed a material, inspired by semiaquatic mammals, to help keep surfers warm. “We want to understand the physical mechanisms behind the biological solution and then adapt those mechanisms into engineering design."
Boston Globe reporter Bryan Marquard memorializes the life and work of Dana Mead, who chaired the MIT Corporation from 2003 until 2010. Marquard notes Mead was committed to “increasing diversity on the institution’s board,” highlighting how the number of women on the Corporation increased by about 50 percent by the time Mead stepped down.
Writing for Atlas Obscura, Abigail Cain spotlights how Jana Dambrogio, a conservator at MIT Libraries, is building a dictionary cataloging the historical practice of letterlocking. Dambrogio explains that to accurately recreate some of the more intricate locks requires “looking at thousands of artifacts and having the ability to remember them.”
The Wall Street Journal highlights a working paper co-authored by graduate student Charles Rafkin that shows how Americans with the lowest levels of education face a number of disadvantages. Rafkin and his co-author write that, “death rates for the least educated have dramatically diverged from death rates of other groups, in virtually all middle-age race and gender groups.”
Wired reporter Robbie Gonzalez highlights Prof. David Rand’s research showing that reasoning and critical thinking skills allow people to differentiate between real and fake news. Rand explains that he thinks “social media makes it particularly hard, because a lot of the features of social media are designed to encourage non-rational thinking.”