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The New York Times

Prof. Junot Díaz’s book, “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” has been named one of the 100 best books of the 21st century in The New York Times Book Review. The Pulitzer Prize-winning debut appears at number 11. “Díaz’s first novel landed like a meteorite in 2007, dazzling critics and prize juries with its mix of Dominican history, coming-of-age tale, comic-book tropes, Tolkien geekery and Spanglish slang…but the real draw is the author’s voice: brainy yet inviting, mordantly funny, sui generis.”

The Wall Street Journal

Prof. Armando Solar-Lezama speaks with The Wall Street Journal reporter Isabelle Bousquette about large language models (LLMs) in academia. Instead of building LLMs from scratch, Solar-Lezama suggests “students and researchers are focused on developing applications and even creating synthetic data that could be used to train LLMs,” writes Bousquette. 

The Wall Street Journal

Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Prof. Emeritus Marcia Bartusiak reviews “Accidental Astronomy: How Random Discoveries Shape the Science of Space,” a new book written by Oxford astrophysicist Chris Lintott. The book touches on the field’s familiar history, notes Bartusiak, but “more fun are the lesser-known stories” of amateur astronomers and unexpected findings. “Mr. Lintott conducts this breezy tour with an engaging voice, a diverting sense of humor and a humble awe for the wonders of the universe,” writes Bartusiak. 

New York Times

Prof. Kerry Emanuel speaks with New York Times reporter Christopher Kuo about the expectations for the upcoming hurricane season. When discussing Hurricane Beryl, Emanuel says “usually the June and July storms are relatively benign. They don’t get up to full strength, so it’s very rare to have this.” 


MIT spinout, Cogito, uses “advanced voice analytics to scrutinize voice tons and speech patterns, not just during customer interactions but also within internal team communications,” reports Andre Shojaie for Forbes. “By providing real-time feedback to representatives, Cogito helps them adjust their emotional tone and empathy levels accordingly,” explains Shojaie. “This application significantly reduces stress and cultivates a supportive work environment by enhancing interpersonal interactions among team members.”

Popular Mechanics

Prof. Larry Gurth and University of Oxford Prof. James Maynard have uncovered a new finding “about how certain polynomials are formed and how they reach out into the number line,” reports Caroline Delbert for Popular Mechanics. Gurth and Maynard “claim they’ve proven [Dirichlet] polynomials have a certain number of large values, or solutions, within a tighter ranger than before.” 

The Washington Post

Prof. of the Practice Elisabeth Reynolds speaks with Washington Post reporter David Lynch about the Biden administration’s efforts to reduce dependance on Chinese equipment such as ship-to-shore cranes.  "In the face of China as an economic and political and national security threat, we have to rethink some strategies,” says Reynolds. “And regardless of the product and regardless of the country, we don't want to be beholden to a monopoly supplier. That's a bad strategy.”

Scientific American

Prof. Kerry Emanuel speaks with Scientific American reporter Chelsea Harvey about the future of hurricane forecasting and preparations. “I can’t predict the future, but I’m optimistic that things will get better,” says Emanuel. “And you’ll see people moving away from risky places, which is already beginning to happen. And those who elect to stay [will be] paying a lot of insurance or retrofitting houses to be built stronger.”

The Boston Globe

Prof. Emerita Mary-Lou Pardue, a cellular and molecular biologist whose work “formed the foundation for key advancements and discoveries in understanding the structure of chromosomes,” has died at age 90, reports Bryan Marquard for The Boston Globe. Pardue “was a role model of what women in science can be at a time when there weren’t a lot of those, and a trailblazer as a woman,” emphasizes Ky Lowenhaupt, manager of the Biophysical Instrumentation Facility at MIT, “but also a trailblazer as a scientist who didn’t do things along the path that other people took.”


Knight Science Journalism program director Deborah Blum joins guest host Diana Plasker on NPR’s “Science Friday” to share summer science book recommendations. When asked what types of books are popular, Blum says “I think that people just remain fascinated by some of the ways that science makes the world more interesting, more beautiful. People are always drawn to the kind of books that allow you to look at the world in a new way and kind of go, wow.” 

Nobel Prize Conversations

Prof. Moungi Bawendi, a recipient of the 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, speaks with Nobel Prize Conversations host Adam Smith about the joys of visualizing quantum mechanics, the inspiration for his Nobel-prize winning work and his love of music. “Being in a place like MIT and being exposed to engineering and other scientific fields and medicine across the river and Harvard Medical School and a lot of startups around here, you really are exposed to so many things that are so interesting and I love that,” says Bawendi. “Those things give me ideas of how to go back to the lab and take different directions.” 


Prof. Sherry Turkle joins Manoush Zomorodi of NPR’s "Body Electric" to discuss her latest research on human relationships with AI chatbots, which she says can be beneficial but come with drawbacks since artificial relationships could set unrealistic expectations for real ones. "What AI can offer is a space away from the friction of companionship and friendship,” explains Turkle. “It offers the illusion of intimacy without the demands. And that is the particular challenge of this technology." 

Scientific American

Prof. Larry Guth and University of Oxford Prof. James Maynard have improved a previously discovered mathematical estimate contributing to the process of solving the Riemann hypothesis – an open question in number theory and mathematics, reports Manon Bischoff for Scientific American. Guth and Maynard have “provided new food for thought to tackle the 160-year-old puzzle,” writes Bischoff.  

New York Times

New York Times reporter Siobhan Roberts highlights the various MIT faculty and students who have contributed to the “serious recreational mathematics” behind the Rubik’s Cube phenomenon. Various mathematicians, including Prof. Erik Demaine, organized a two-day special session to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Rubik’s Cube. 


STAT lists “The Exceptions: Sixteen Women, MIT, and the Fight for Equality in Science,” by Kate Zernicke as a “best book on health and science to check out this summer.”  The book focuses on Prof. Nancy Hopkins’ “career, which culminates in not only numerous scientific successes but also a collaborative effort with 15 other women faculty demonstrating evidence of gender discrimination at MIT,” explains STAT. “This work led to studies to address gender equity at nine other universities.”