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Boston 25 News

MIT researchers have developed a new model that could be used to help determine “how long you will be safe in a room with someone who is positive for COVID-19 based on room type, size and even the ventilation and filtration system,” reports Boston 25 News.

Quanta Magazine

Quanta Magazine reporter Kevin Hartnett spotlights the work of graduate student Ashwin Sah, who has “produced a body of work that senior mathematicians say is nearly unprecedented for a college student.” Sah recalls how he was drawn to mathematics from a young age, noting that some of his “earliest memories are of my mom teaching me basic arithmetic.”

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.”

The Washington Post

In an article for The Washington Post, Prof. Scott Sheffield argues that “circuit breakers” – strict closures for limited periods of time - could be used to help reduce Covid-19 infections. Sheffield and his co-authors explain that circuit breakers could “interrupt viral spread and bring case counts down without the long-lasting social and economic pain of extended lockdowns.”

Stat

STAT reporter Elizabeth Cooney spotlights a new working paper by Profs. Martin Bazant and John Bush that explores the risk of airborne transmission of Covid-19. “Depending on ventilation, mask use, air filtration, and other variables, any indoor space may carry either low or high risk of transmission,” Bazant explains. 

Scientific American

Scientific American reporter Robin Lloyd spotlights how MIT researchers have developed a new app that “allows users to adjust parameters such as mask usage, ventilation, and room size to estimate the indoor transmission risk for SARS-CoV-2 among a given number of people in various types of spaces.”

ESPN

Graduate student John Urschel speaks with Jamison Hensley of ESPN about his efforts aimed at empowering and encouraging more Black students to pursue careers in STEM fields. “Now more than ever, it’s really important that we highlight some of the diverse areas of mathematics that don’t typically get seen every day,” says Urschel.

Wired

Prof. Lisa Piccirillo, The Engine CEO Katie Rae, and several MIT alumni are among the community members honored as part of Wired25, an annual list compiled by Wired that spotlights people who are working to make the world a better place.

Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe, John Wolfson spotlights Prof. Lisa Piccirillo’s work solving the Conway knot problem. “When you perform a calculation, sometimes there’s really clever tricks you can use or some ways that you can be an actual human and not a computer in the performing of the calculation,” says Piccirillo of what drew her to math. “But when you make a logical argument — that’s entirely yours.”

New Scientist

Asst. Prof. Lisa Piccirillo speaks with Chelsea Whyte at New Scientist about what led her to a career in math and how she solved the decades-old Conway knot problem. “In maths, 100 per cent of the days, basically you won’t solve anything,” said Piccirillo. “So you have to learn to be okay with that and still enjoy what you’re doing.” 

Mashable

A study by MIT researchers uncovers evidence that the Earth’s global ice ages were triggered by a rapid drop in sunlight, reports Mashable. The researchers found that an “event like volcanic eruptions or biologically induced cloud formation will be able to block out the sun and limit the solar radiation reaching the surface at a critical rate that can potentially trigger ‘Snowball Earth’ events.”

Forbes

Forbes contributor Bruce Dominey writes that a study by MIT researchers finds global ice ages may have been triggered by a rapid decrease in the amount of solar radiation reaching Earth. “Past Snowball glaciations are more likely to have been triggered by changes in effective solar radiation than by changes in the carbon cycle,” writes Dominey.

Scientific American

Prof. Emeritus Daniel Freedman has been awarded the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for his work devising the theory of supergravity, reports Philip Ball for Scientific American. Freedman notes that the award, “takes the cake—it is the cap of my long career.”

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Martin Finucane reports that Prof. Emeritus Daniel Freedman has been named a recipient of the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for his discovery of supergravity. “The discovery of supergravity was the beginning of including quantum variables in describing the dynamics of spacetime,” explains Edward Witten, chairman of the selection committee.

Forbes

A study by Prof. Dan Rothman finds that increasing greenhouse gas emission rates could trigger a mass extinction in the ocean, reports Priya Shukla for Forbes. Shukla writes that Rothman found if a certain carbon threshold “is breached, it would take tens of thousands of years for the oceans to return to their original unperturbable state.”