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Nuclear science and engineering

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Newsweek

MIT researchers have developed a new machine learning model that can identify and track blobs of plasma created in controlled nuclear-fusion research, reports Ed Browne for Newsweek. “Fusion research is a complex, multidisciplinary project that requires technologies from many fields,” explains graduate student Woonghee “Harry” Han.

The Boston Globe

In a cartoon for The Boston Globe, Sage Stossel highlights research underway at the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center, where scientists are working on developing the future of fusion energy.

TechCrunch

MIT researchers have developed a new hardware that offers faster computation for artificial intelligence with less energy, reports Kyle Wiggers for TechCrunch. “The researchers’ processor uses ‘protonic programmable resistors’ arranged in an array to ‘learn’ skills” explains Wiggers.

Newsweek

Nuclear science experts say that the potential shut down of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) in Ukraine can lead to energy implications and climate change, reports Anna Skinner for Newsweek. "The Earth is heating up, and we don't have any way to stop it right now except to stop putting more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere," says Prof. Michael Golay. "The nice thing about nuclear is it doesn't emit much in the way of greenhouse gases."

Associated Press

A new proposed economic bill could provide “game-changing” incentives for the nuclear energy industry, reports Jennifer McDermott and Mary Katherine Wildeman for the Associated Press. The bill “is really substantial,” says Prof. Jacopo Buongiorno. “This should move the needle in terms of making these technologies economically viable right off the bat.”

The Washington Post

Prof. Yoel Fink speaks with Washington Post reporter Pranshu Verma about the growing field of smart textiles and his work creating fabrics embedded with computational power. Fink and his colleagues “have created fibers with hundreds of silicon microchips to transmit digital signals — essential if clothes are to automatically track things like heart rate or foot swelling. These fibers are small enough to pass through a needle that can be sown into fabric and washed at least 10 times.”

New Scientist

Postdoctoral researcher Murat Onen  and his colleagues have created “a nanoscale resistor that transmits protons from one terminal to another,” reports Alex Wilkins for New Scientist. “The resistor uses powerful electric fields to transport protons at very high speeds without damaging or breaking the resistor itself, a problem previous solid-state proton resistors had suffered from,” explains Wilkins.

Newsweek

Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), an MIT spinout, has signed an agreement with the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) to “support the fastest path to clean commercial fusion energy,” reports Ed Browne for Newsweek. “CFS says its agreement with UKAEA could involve exchanges of knowledge and collaboration on things like fuel, modeling, manufacturing and maintenance,” writes Browne. 

Popular Mechanics

Researchers from MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) and Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) are working on making commercial nuclear fusion a reality, reports Juandre for Popular Mechanics. “CFS will build [the tokamak] SPARC and develop a commercial fusion product, while MIT PSFC will focus on its core mission of cutting-edge research and education,” says Prof. Dennis G. Whyte, director of the PSFC. 

KITV

Kealoha Wong ’99, Hawaii’s first poet laureate, shares his excitement at being selected to deliver the keynote address at the graduation celebration for the classes of 2020 and 2021. “It’s a huge honor, I never would have thought in a million years that something like this would happen,” says Kealoha. “I feel as if I am ready to let these words fly.”

Boston Business Journal

MIT announced five projects "targeting the world's toughest climate riddles" that were selected following a rigorous two-year competition, reports Benjamin Kail for Boston Business Journal. “Climate Grand Challenges represents a whole-of-MIT drive to develop game-changing advances to confront the escalating climate crisis, in time to make a difference,” says President L. Rafael Reif.

Bloomberg Radio

Research engineer Paul Woskov speaks with Bloomberg Radio host Tom Moroney and Joe Shortsleeve about his work with Quaise Energy in developing a laser to drill holes into the earth. “There is a lot of heat contained within our planet. The amount of heat that is present, if tapped, could supply all of our energy needs for several million years,” says Woskov.

The Boston Globe

Researchers from MIT and MIT spinoff Quaise Energy speak with Boston Globe reporter David Abel about their work developing a new way to drill as deep as 12 miles into the Earth’s crust, using a special laser, which could provide a way to tap the geothermal energy in the rocks. “This is game-changing,” Woskov said. “We now have the potential to exploit an energy source that . . . could unleash the virtually limitless supply of energy beneath our feet.”

Science World

Science World reporter Hailee Romain spotlights Prof. Anne White, head of the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, and her research on nuclear fusion in a piece highlighting the groundbreaking contributions of women in science. White believes “nuclear fusion has the potential to become a revolutionary energy source and is developing ways to make that possible,” writes Romain.

New York Times

New York Times reporter William J. Broad speaks with Prof. R. Scott Kemp about the safety risks associated with the nuclear power plants in northern Ukraine amid the Russian invasion. “There’s some risk of a direct hit,” said Kemp. “But I imagine they’ll do everything possible to avoid that because they don’t want to deal with the fallout.”