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Fluid dynamics

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BBC

Prof. Lydia Bourouiba speaks with BBC CrowdSource presenter Marnie Chesterton about her work in understanding how bodily fluids such as snot and spittle spread after leaving the body using high speed cameras.  “What is very clear is that we emit… droplets of a continuum of sizes but they are not coming out alone,” explains Bourouiba. “They are coming out with an air that is in our lungs, that is hot and moist and turbulent, which changes the physical dynamics of the emission and how the drops will evolve.”

Popular Mechanics

Researchers at MIT have created a 3D-printable Oreometer that uses twisting force to determine if it is possible to evenly split an Oreo cookie, reports Juandre for Popular Mechanics. “While studying the twisting motion, the engineers also discovered the torque required to successfully open an Oreo is about the same as what’s needed to turn a doorknob—a tenth of the torque required to open a bottle cap,” writes Juandre.

USA Today

A group of MIT scientists led by PhD candidate Crystal Owens has developed an Oreometer, a device used to determine if it is possible to evenly split an Oreo cookie every time, reports Maria Jimenez Moya for USA Today. “One day, just doing experiments, and, all of a sudden we realized that this machine would be perfect for opening Oreos because it already has … the fluid in the center, and then these two discs are like the same geometry as an Oreo,” says Owens.

Gizmodo

MIT researchers have developed an “Oreometer” to test the optimal way to split an Oreo cookie, an exercise in rheology, or the study of how matter flows, reports Isaac Shultz for Gizmodo. "Our favorite twist was rotating while pulling Oreos apart from one side, as a kind of peel-and-twist, which was the most reliable for getting a very clean break,” explains graduate student Crystal Owens.

CNN

CNN reporter Madeline Holcombe spotlights a new study by MIT researchers exploring why the cream on Oreo cookies always sticks to one side when twisted open. Graduate student Crystal Owens explains that she hopes the research will inspire people "to investigate other puzzles in the kitchen in scientific ways. The best scientific research, even at MIT, is driven by curiosity to understand the world around us, when someone sees something weird or unknown and takes the time to think 'I wonder why that happens like that?'"

Popular Science

Graduate student Crystal Owens speaks with Popular Science reporter Philip Kiefer about her work exploring why the cream filling of an Oreo cookie always sticks to one side. “It turns out there’s not really a trick to it,” Owens says. “Everything you try to do will get mostly a clean break.”

VICE

Graduate student Crystal Owens and her colleagues tested the possibility of separating the two wafers of an Oreo in a way that evenly splits the cream filling using a rheometer, an instrument that measures torque and viscosity of various substances, reports Becky Ferreira for Vice. “After twisting Oreos apart with the instruments, the team visually inspected the ratio of creme on each wafer and logged the findings. A number of variations on the experiment were also introduced, such as dipping the cookies in milk, changing the rotation rate of the rheometer, and testing different Oreo flavors and filling quantities,” writes Ferreira.

TechCrunch

MIT startup Volta Labs is developing a new instrument that can automate the processes used to prepare genetic samples, reports Emma Betuel for TechCrunch. CEO and co-founder Udayan Umapathi ’17 is confident that with the right programming, the platform could allow “liquids to be manipulated in even more complex ways, like using magnetic fields to draw certain molecules out of samples for further analysis,” writes Betuel.

NBC News

Researchers from MIT and Princeton University have found that flooding events will become much more common by the end of the century, especially in New England, reports Evan Bush for NBC. “The researchers used computer modeling to stimulate thousands of ‘synthetic’ hurricanes toward the end of this century and in a scenario where greenhouse gas emissions are very high,” writes Bush.

Popular Science

Popular Science reporter Rahul Rao writes that researchers from MIT and Harvard have whipped up quantum tornadoes, “the latest demonstration of quantum mechanics—the strange code of laws that governs the universe at its finest, subatomic scales.”

Smithsonian Magazine

Researchers from MIT and Harvard have directly observed a quantum tornado, reports Elizabeth Gamillo for Smithsonian. “Scientists observed the tornado-like behavior after trapping and spinning a cloud of one million sodium atoms using lasers and electromagnets at 100 rotations per second,” writes Gamillo.

Reuters

Reuters reporter Andrea Januta writes that using computer models Prof. Kerry Emanuel has found that hurricanes in the North Atlantic have been growing in intensity and frequency as global temperatures have increasing. Emanuel “turned to computer simulations to recreate climate conditions for the last 150 years. Using three different climate models, he then scattered hurricane “seeds,” or conditions that could produce a storm, throughout the models to see how many seeds developed into storms,” writes Januta.

The Washington Post

A new study by Prof. Kerry Emanuel examining the history of hurricanes finds that North Atlantic hurricanes are increasing in frequency and intensity, write Matthew Cappucci and Jason Samenow for The Washington Post. Emanuel “employed a novel approach to evaluate past storm activity,” they write. “Rather than relying on historical observations, which may have gaps, he performed climate modeling to reconstruct a continuous record of hurricane activity over the past 150 years from which to gauge trends.”

ABC News

Prof. Lydia Bourouiba speaks with ABC News about how schools can use ventilation and masks to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. “If we're not wearing a mask, that contamination is building up, particularly when we're in a classroom for hours," says Bourouiba. "But there are simple measures when we bring in fresh air from the outside that are very effective."

The Washington Post

Professor Martin Bazant and Professor John Bush have developed a new safety guideline to limit the risk of airborne Covid-19 transmission in different indoor settings. “For airborne transmission, social distancing in indoor spaces is not enough, and may provide a false sense of security,” says Bazant. “Efficient mask use is the most effective safety measure, followed by room ventilation, then filtration,” adds Bush.