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Civil and environmental engineering

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San Antonio Report

Visiting scientist Judah Cohen speaks with Lindsey Carnett of the San Antonio Report about whether climate change may have contributed to extreme winter weather in Texas. “As the Arctic gets warmer than [it normally is] – the risk of severe winter weather increases very linearly,” says Cohen. “When the Arctic is at its warmest, it’s a huge jump in the likelihood or the probability of getting severe winter weather to many eastern U.S. cities.”

Forbes

Forbes contributor Sharon Goldman spotlights Prof. Yossi Sheffi’s new book, “The New (Ab)Normal,” which examines how companies shifted their operations during the Covid-19 pandemic. Goldman writes that in the book, Sheffi “details how businesses grappled with the chaos of the pandemic, and explores what enterprises are likely to do to survive and thrive in 2021 and beyond, after the pandemic starts to subside.”

The Wall Street Journal

Prof. Yossi Sheffi speaks with Wall Street Journal reporters Sarah Krouse, Jared S. Hopkins and Ana Wilde Mathews about the challenges posed by distributing the Covid-19 vaccine across the country. “Everything has to come together—the packaging, the dry ice, the vials, the material itself. It all has to come together to the same place and have enough of it and exactly the right people there ready to take it,” says Sheffi. “Right now, there’s no conductor to the symphony,” just many parts that each need to work. 

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Mark Sullivan writes that Prof. John Bush and Prof. Martin Z. Bazant have developed a mathematical model that “simulates the fluid dynamics of virus-loaded respiratory droplets in any space, from a cozy kitchen to a gigantic concert hall.”

Boston 25 News

Prof. Yossi Sheffi speaks with Boston 25 reporter Jason Law about how the Covid-19 pandemic is disrupting supply chains. “I don’t think it’s going to be as bad because we are more prepared for this,” says Sheffi of potential impacts caused by the latest rise in Covid-19 cases. “People now in factories and warehouses have dividers that they can work between. Everybody is wearing a mask. People understand the issue better.”

The Wall Street Journal

Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Prof. Yossi Sheffi examines the impact of the presidential election on U.S. – China trade relations. Sheffi notes that “business leaders should keep in mind that the trans-Pacific trade war hasn’t curtailed export shipments to the degree many feared.”

Next Avenue

In an article for Next Avenue that highlights scientists over age 65 who are making “enormous contributions to their fields of expertise,” Diane Estabrook features Prof. Sallie “Penny” Chisholm and her research investigating Prochlorococcus. “The earth operates on solar energy, so understanding Prochlorococcus’ design could help us design artificial photosynthetic machines,” says Chisholm.

The Washington Post

New research from Prof. Lydia Bourouiba finds that guidelines for safe social distancing may need to be updated as researchers gain more information about how the virus spreads, reports Ben Guarino for The Washington Post. “It becomes very important to not think just about a fixed distance. It’s very important to think about the air flow,” says Bourouiba. 

NBC News

Researchers from MIT and the University of Oxford have found that guidelines for social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic may need to be updated to account for factors such as ventilation, crowd size and exposure time, reports Akshay Syal for NBC News.  "It's not just 6 feet and then everything else can be ignored or just mask and everything else can be ignored or just ventilation and everything else can be ignored,” says Prof. Lydia Bourouiba.

Gizmodo

Gizmodo reporter Ed Cara writes that a study co-authored by Prof. Lydia Bourouiba argues that social distancing guidelines likely need to be updated in favor of a more nuanced approach. The researchers found that “rather than think exclusively about personal space,” writes Cara, “people should consider their circumstances.”

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Bryan Marquard memorializes the life of alumna Natalie Adelman Taub, known for her pioneering work in Boston’s construction field. “Why should construction be exclusively a man’s field?” said Taub in 1954, after founding her own firm. “There are many fine women architects, designers, and decorators, so why not women contractors?”

New Scientist

Prof. Eric Alm speaks with New Scientist reporter Elie Dolgin about his work building a repository of gut microbes. “What we are doing is taking a snapshot of the biodiversity of human gut microbes on Earth today,” Alm explains, “and then preserving that for future generations so that we always have the biodiversity that co-evolved with us stored somewhere.”

ABC News

ABC News spotlights how MIT researchers have found that a lobster’s membrane could serve as inspiration for developing new forms of body armor. “The membrane on a lobster’s underbelly is as strong as the rubber on car tires. It could be used as a guide for body armor that allows more mobility without sacrificing protection.”

Newsweek

Newsweek reporter Hannah Osborne writes that MIT researchers have found that a lobster’s membrane, which protects its underbelly, is made of one of the toughest hydrogels in the world. “Its strength and flexibility,” Osborne explains, could “make it an ideal material to use as a blueprint for body armor.”

The Washington Post

Washington Post reporter Peter Holley writes that MIT researchers have found that the soft membrane covering a lobster’s joints and abdomen is as tough as industrial rubber. The researchers discovered, “lobsters could offer a solution to the problem plaguing most modern body armors: the more mobility an armor offers, the less it protects the wearer’s body.”