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Graduate, postdoctoral

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The Wall Street Journal

Postdoctoral associate Adam Forrest Kay’s book “Escape From Shadow Physics: The Quest to End the Dark Ages of Quantum Theory,” is reviewed by Andrew Crumey for The Wall Street Journal. “Consistently interesting” and “energetically written,” the book, “eloquently explains the history behind hydrodynamic quantum analogs,” writes Crumey.  

Forbes

Researchers at MIT have found that prospective job applicants who utilized basic AI modules in their application process were, on average, more likely to get hired and receive higher wages, reports Maria Gracia Santillana Linares for Forbes. “[Applicants] with access to the technology are more likely to get hired without any negative implications [from] employers,” says graduate student Emma Wiles.

Forbes

Cofounded by postdoctoral associate Wen Shuhao and postdoctoral fellows Ma Jian and Lai Lipeng, biotech startup Xtalpi "combines AI, quantum physics, cloud computing and robotic automation to find novel molecules that could be developed into new medicines,” reports Zinnia Lee for Forbes. “Xtalpi has also recently expanded into discovering new chemical compounds for applications such as agriculture, cosmetics, healthcare, as well as petrochemicals and new materials for electric vehicle batteries,” writes Lee.

The Boston Globe

Writing for the Boston Globe, graduate student Sophie Hartley spotlights researchers and arborists battling beech leaf disease  a highly infectious disease caused by microscopic roundworms that “can disrupt a tree’s ability to photosynthesize and therefore survive." “Over the past decade, federal, state, and private agencies have shown up en masse to learn all they can about beech leaf disease, resulting in an extensive body of knowledge to inform policy,” explains Hartley. “By matching the worms’ seemingly unstoppable push with equally relentless research, experimentation, and community support, the hope is that all is not lost. Not yet.” 

Scientific American

Scientific American’s Nick Hilden reports on the influence that popular narratives have on our collective perceptions. Graduate student Pat Pataranutaporn notes: “why do we always imagine science fiction to be a dystopia? Why can’t we imagine science fiction that gives us hope?”

The Hill

The Hill reporter Tobias Burns spotlights the efforts of a number of MIT researchers to better understand the impact of generative AI on productivity in the workforce. One research study “looked as cases where AI helped improved productivity and worker experience specifically in outsourced settings, such as call centers,” explains Burns. Another research study explored the impact of AI programs, such as ChatGPT, among employees. 

Forbes

Forbes selects innovators for the list’s Healthcare & Science category, written by senior contributor Yue Wang. On the list is MIT PhD candidate Yuzhe Yang, who studies AI and machine learning technologies capability to monitor and diagnose illnesses such as Parkinson's disease.

The Guardian

An analysis by MIT researchers has identified “wide-ranging instances of AI systems double-crossing opponents, bluffing and pretending to be human,” reports Hannah Devlin for The Guardian. “As the deceptive capabilities of AI systems become more advanced, the dangers they pose to society will become increasingly serious,” says postdoctoral associate Peter Park. 

Bloomberg

Researchers from MIT and elsewhere have found that “showing AI-generated images of a less car-reliant American city boosted support for sustainable transportation policies,” reports Linda Poon for Bloomberg. “Let’s help them imagine what it would actually be like to live in a car-less neighborhood, and a car-less city,” says postdoctoral associate Rachit Dubey. 

Scientific American

Scientific American reporter Riis Williams explores how MIT researchers created “smart gloves” that have tactile sensors woven into the fabric to help teach piano and make other hands-on activities easier. “Hand-based movements like piano playing are normally really subjective and difficult to record and transfer,” explains graduate student Yiyue Luo. “But with these gloves we are actually able to track one person’s touch experience and share it with another person to improve their tactile learning process.”

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.”

New Scientist

Postdoc Xuhai Xu and his colleagues have developed an AI program that can distribute pop-up reminders to help limit smartphone screen time, reports Jeremy Hsu for New Scientist. Xu explains that “a random notification to stop doomscrolling won’t always tear someone away from their phone. But machine learning can personalize that intervention so it arrives at the moment when it is most likely to work,” writes Hsu.

Boston.com

Graduate student Dhruv Gaur speaks with Boston.com reporter Lauren Daley about his viral message expressing support for Alex Trebek when he competed on “Jeopardy” in 2019, and his experience being invited back for the show’s first invitational tournament. “I listened to a ton of podcasts — old pop culture from the ‘70s ‘80s and ‘90s; history, Shakespeare,” says Gaur of how he prepared for the tournament. “I got really into quiz games on my phone or computer. I was shocked that nobody realized what I was doing because anytime I got a free second I’d be doing a quiz, or asking friends to go to bar trivia.”

Boston Magazine

A number of MIT faculty and alumni – including Prof. Daniela Rus, Prof. Regina Barzilay, Research Affiliate Haddad Habib, Research Scientist Lex Fridman, Marc Raibert PhD '77, former Postdoc Rana El Kaliouby and Ray Kurzweil '70 – have been named key figures “at the forefront of Boston’s AI revolution,” reports Wyndham Lewis for Boston Magazine. These researchers are “driving progress and reshaping the way we live,” writes Lewis.