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Tech Briefs

MIT researchers have developed a, “new laser-based technique that could speed up the discovery of promising metamaterials for real-world applications,” reports Andrew Corselli for Tech Briefs. The technique “offers a safe, reliable, and high-throughput way to dynamically characterize microscale metamaterials, for the first time,” reports Corselli.


New research by Prof. Tavneet Suri and Prof. Abhijit Banerjee explores how to most effectively direct cash to low-income households, reports Dylan Matthews for Vox.  Suri and Banerjee compare “three groups: short-term basic income recipients (who got the $20 payments for two years), long-term basic income recipients (who get the money for the full 12 years), and lump sum recipients, who got $500 all at once, or roughly the same amount as the short-term basic income group,” writes Matthews. “Suri and Banerjee found that the lump sum group earned more, started more businesses, and spent more on education than the monthly group.”

The Hill

Writing for The Hill Prof. Emeritus Henry Jacoby highlights the importance of addressing climate change in discussions of government policy. “If the global emission reduction efforts falter, the ensuing damages to the most vulnerable will be especially dire,” says Jacoby. “The world is already plagued with failed nation-states unable to sustain their population while maintaining political stability. As the number of these nation-state failures increases, there will be hundreds of millions of environmental refugees and stateless people, taxing the available resources of the entire planet.”

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Vivi Smilgius spotlights the MIT Climate Clock, a massive clock being projected onto MIT’s Green Building that uses Celtics, Patriots and other local sports teams as a means to count down to the projected date and time that the planet is expected to have warmed by 1.5 degrees Celsius over preindustrial levels. “Someone might get that there are six Pats games until this event. That makes a lot more sense to people,” said second-year student Norah Miller. “It’s a sense of personal urgency.”


Writing for Politico, MIT Prof. Armando Solar-Lezama and University of Texas at Austin Prof. Swarat Chaudhuri examine the recent executive order on AI. “Especially as new ways to train models with limited resources emerge, and as the price of computing goes down,” they write, “such regulations could start hurting the outsiders — the researchers, small companies, and other independent organizations whose work will be necessary to keep a fast-moving technology in check.”

The Washington Post

Prof. Sara Seager and her colleagues have discovered “a six-pack of planets, formed at least 4 billion years ago,” that orbit a nearby sun-like star named HD110067, reports Joel Achenbach for The Washington Post. “Occasionally, nature reveals an absolute gem,” says Seager. “HD 110067 is an immediate astronomical Rosetta stone – offering a key system to help unlock some mysteries of planet formation and evolution.”

Time Magazine

Prof. Yet-Ming Chiang has been named to the TIME 100 Climate list, which highlights the world’s most influential climate leaders in business. “When it comes to cleantech, if it won’t scale, it doesn’t matter,” Chiang says. “This is a team sport—companies large and small, and governments state and federal, need to work together to get these new technologies out there where they can have impact.” 

Curiosity Stream

Four faculty members from across MIT - Professors Song Han, Simon Johnson, Yoon Kim and Rosalind Picard - speak with Curiosity Stream about the opportunities and risks posed by the rapid advancements in the field of AI. “We do want to think about which human capabilities we treasure,” says Picard. She adds that during the Covid-19 pandemic, “we saw a lot of loss of people's ability to communicate with one another face-to-face when their world moved online. I think we need to be thoughtful and intentional about what we're building with the technology and whether it's diminishing who we are or enhancing it.”

Los Angeles Times

Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Professors Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson examine what the recent issues at OpenAI mean for the future of artificial intelligence. “Sam Altman’s dismissal and rapid reinstatement as CEO of OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, confirms that the future of AI is firmly in the hands of people focused on speed and profits, at the expense of all else,” they write. “This elite will now impose their vision for technology on the rest of humanity. Most of us will not enjoy the consequences.”


Dr. Dara Norman '88, incoming president of the American Astronomical Society, speaks with Swapna Krishna at Wired about data access, scientific merit and her time at MIT. “During one key moment, as an undergraduate at MIT, she looked through a telescope during a class and saw Jupiter for the first time,” writes Krishna. “It was just amazing. It looked like all the pictures, and I was hooked,” says Norman.


Vox’s Rachel DuRose highlights the work of Noam Angrist BS ’13 and his co-founder Moitshepi Matsheng, who were included in the outlet’s 2023 Future Perfect 50 list for their nonprofit Youth Impact, which aims to reduce HIV transmission in Botswana. “The nonprofit is based out of Botswana’s capital of Gaborone and aims to bridge the gap between research and action, taking data-backed health and education solutions and scaling them,” writes DuRose.

The Boston Globe

Prof. Daniela Rus, director of CSAIL, speaks with The Boston Globe’s Hiawatha Bray the future of AI. “Everyone is recognizing that AI can have an impact on their business, and they’re just wondering exactly how,” says Rus. She adds that she foresees, “a future where generative AI is not just a technological marvel, but a force for hope and a force for good.”

The Hill

Writing for The Hill, Prof. Emeritus Henry Jacoby, former co-director of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, and his colleagues make the case for a concerted scientific effort to better understand the risks posed by exceeding climate tipping points. “These risks are becoming more serious with every tenth of a degree of global warming,” they write. “Investment in a better understanding of tipping point risks might be the best investment humanity could now make in the effort to preserve a livable planet.”

Featured Multimedia

The Thriving Stars program in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science is on a mission to improve gender representation in electrical engineering and computer science.

A team of engineers have developed a new 3D inkjet printing system that utilizes computer vision for contact-free 3D printing, letting engineers print with high-performance materials they couldn’t use before. Using this system, researchers are able to print fully assembled, functional, multimaterial devices.

Ellen Roche is an associate professor of mechanical engineering and the associate head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. Her research team develops new devices and therapeutic strategies for repairing the heart and other tissues. Here, she speaks with MIT President Sally Kornbluth about her work, the advantages of taking a nonlinear route to one’s chosen career, and the importance of saying “yes” to unexpected opportunities.

A team of researchers have developed a low-cost fiber, compatible with existing textile manufacturing techniques that contracts in response to an increase in temperature, then self-reverses when the temperature decreases, without any embedded sensors or other hard components.

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