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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.

CNN

CNN reporter Maggie Fox writes that MIT researchers have developed a new formula for calculating the risk of airborne Covid-19 transmission in indoor settings. "To minimize risk of infection, one should avoid spending extended periods in highly populated areas. One is safer in rooms with large volume and high ventilation rates," write Profs. Martin Bazant and John Bush.
 

Scientific American

In a forthcoming book, photographer Jessica Wynne spotlights the chalkboards of mathematicians, including Professor Alexei Borodin’s and Associate Professor Ankur Moitra’s, reports Clara Moskowitz for Scientific American

Quartz

MIT researchers are applying machine learning algorithms typically used for natural language processing to identify coronavirus variants, reports Brian Browdie for Quartz. “Besides being able to quantify the potential for mutations to escape, the research may pave the way for vaccines that broaden the body’s defenses against variants or that protect recipients against more than one virus, such as flu and the novel coronavirus, in a single shot,” writes Browdie. 

Education Week

Graduate student John Urschel speaks with Education Week reporter Kevin Bushweller about his work aimed at encouraging more students of color to pursue studies in the STEM fields, particularly math. “What really matters is resources, what really matters is how much a child is nurtured and fed things,” says Urschel. “This is just my opinion, but I would say that, by and large, if I had to choose between giving a child a little bit more innate math talent or a little bit more resources, I think, really, resources is what is a very good and bigger predictor [of future success].”

New York Times

Institute Professor Emeritus Isadore Singer, who became “one of the most important mathematicians of his era,” has died at age 96, reports Julie Rehmeyer for The New York Times. “Dr. Singer created a bridge between two seemingly unrelated areas of mathematics and then used it to build a further bridge, into theoretical physics,” writes Rehmeyer. “The achievement created the foundation for a blossoming of mathematical physics unseen since the time of Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.”

United Press International (UPI)

UPI reporter Brooks Hays writes that MIT researchers have developed a new machine learning algorithm that can anticipate and recognize a protein’s varied structures. “The new AI-system,” writes Hays, “does more than image a diversity of conformations, it can also predict the varied motions of different protein structures.”

The Christian Science Monitor

The Climate Modeling Alliance (CliMA), which includes a number of MIT researchers, is working on developing a new climate model that could be used to create more accurate climate predications that could be useful at the local or regional levels, reports Doug Struck for The Christian Science Monitor. “It’s always a mistake to say that you shouldn’t try something new,” says Prof. Raffaele Ferrari. “Because that’s how you change the world.”

Popular Mechanics

Popular Mechanics reporter Mike Darling spotlights a math problem from an 1876 MIT entrance exam.  The prompt read as follows: “A father said to his son, Two years ago I was three times as old as you; but in fourteen years I shall be only twice as old as you. What were the ages of each?’” 

Newsweek

MIT researchers have developed a model that could help people estimate the risks of contracting Covid-19 in different scenarios, reports Emily Czachor for Newsweek. The tool “provides calculations which estimate how many people can remain within an enclosed space, and for how long, before they are theoretically exposed to the virus.”

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.