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In the Media

The Washington Post

Prof. Tali Sharot speaks with Washington Post reporter Kristyn Kusek Lewis about how to spark happiness and embrace novelty. “The neurons in our brains stop responding to things that don’t change,” says Sharot. “We need to make room for the new and unexpected, so our brain filters out the old and expected. We’ve all experienced this physically when jumping in a pool: The water feels cold at first, but then your body acclimates. In the case of a negative emotion, like grief, it’s good that we habituate, because the feelings lessen over time. But when it comes to positive things, we actually enjoy them less as we get used to them.”

New York Times

Prof. Amy Finkelstein speaks with New York Times reporter Sarah Kliff about “the impact of medical debt relief on individuals.” “The idea that maybe we could get rid of medical debt, and it wouldn’t cost that much money but it would make a big difference, was appealing,” says Finkelstein. “What we learned, unfortunately, is that it doesn’t look like it has much of an impact.”

Popular Science

MIT researchers have developed a 3D printer that can use “unrecognizable printing materials in real-time to create more eco-friendly products,” reports Andrew Paul for Popular Science. The engineers “detailed a newly designed mathematical function that allows off-the-shelf 3D-printer’s extruder software to use multiple materials—including bio-based polymers, plant-derived resins, or other recyclables,” explains Paul.

Nature

Nature reporter Amanda Heidt speaks with postdoctoral researcher Tigist Tamir about her experience using generative AI with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. “Whether I’m reading, writing or just making to-do lists, it’s very difficult for me to figure out what I want to say. One thing that helps is to just do a brain dump and use AI to create a boiled-down version,” Tamir explains. She adds, “I feel fortunate that I’m in this era where these tools exist.”

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Ron Miller highlights MIT’s role as a driving force behind the Greater Boston area’s success as a hub for startups. Emily Knight, president of The Engine Accelerator, notes that universities are breeding grounds for new ideas. “There is a lot of research and a lot of infant innovation being translated into companies coming out of these [Greater Boston area] universities,” Knight explains.  

The Boston Globe

Brian Mernoff, manager of the CommLab in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, shares his excitement at having the opportunity to view the solar eclipse with Boston Globe reporter John Hilliard. “A total solar eclipse is a very different way to see the sun and the moon,” Mernoff notes. “You see a black disk in the sky, with all these wispy lines that are coming off the sun, and getting thrown off the edges. It’s just an incredible sight.”

Space.com

NASA astronaut Christopher Williams PhD '12 shares his excitement over the upcoming solar eclipse with Space.com Elizabeth Howell, noting he is most excited that the celestial event will provide unique views of the sun’s outer atmosphere. Williams previously conducted radio astronomy research and helped build the Murchison Widefield Array in Australia during his time at MIT. "It was an incredible experience, because I got to both work on the cosmology and the science behind that,” recalls Williams. 

Science

Science reporter Jennifer Sills asked scientists to answer the question: “Imagine that you meet all of your research goals. Describe the impact of your research from the perspective of a person, animal, plant, place, object, or entity that has benefited from your success.” Xiangkun (Elvis) Cao, a Schmidt Science Fellow in the MIT Department of Chemical Engineering, shares his response from a photon’s perspective. “I am a photon,” writes Cao. “I started my journey entangled with my significant other at the beginning of the Universe. In the past, humans couldn’t understand me, but then physicists created a quantum computer. At last, I have been reunited with my life partner!”

The New York Times

Prof. William Frank speaks with New York Times reporter Katrina Miller about the recent earthquake in the Northeast, and whether the event was caused by motion between the Earth’s tectonic plates. “It’s not quite as obvious, because there is no tectonic plate boundary that is active,” explains Frank. He noted that fault lines from past tectonic plate activity are located around the world, explaining that “some of these faults can still be storing stress and be closer to failure, and it can just require a little bit more to push it over the edge.”

Featured Multimedia

Namrata Kala is an associate professor in applied economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management. She studies the value of employee training and incentives, and how communities adapt to environmental change. Here, Namrata speaks with MIT President Sally Kornbluth about the importance of soft skills training, and the benefits of being a straight shooter.

Mechanical Engineering at MIT has expanded through the years from its traditional areas to encompass many emerging technologies, ideas, and principles. Faculty and staff are engaging in cutting-edge research at the intersection of engineering and physics, math, electronics, biology, computer science, and many other fields of study.

Constructed of maple, steel, and plastic tubing, the computer-controlled kinetic sculpture Whale largely fills one upstairs gallery at the MIT Museum. As its 14 rotors spin, the 20-foot-long piece emits an eerie song intended to last for 225 years—roughly the lifespan of a bowhead whale.

Researchers in the Distributed Robotics Laboratory design and build autonomous, underwater robots. Typically the robots are used to monitor real world environments with real animals and try to study them; but on this day, it's mostly just fun at the pool.

A piano that captures the data of live performance offers the MIT community new possibilities for studying and experimenting with music. The Steinway Spirio | r, a piano embedded with technology for live performance capture and playback, offers students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors the opportunity to engage with this new technology through a series of workshops.

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