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Wired

Research scientist Clara Sousa-Silva speaks with Wired reporter Abigail Beall about phosphine, a molecule that she has spent the past decade investigating. “Phosphine is a horrific molecule, it’s foul in every way,” she says. “It’s almost immoral, if a molecule can be.”

National Public Radio (NPR)

Prof. Martin Zwierlein speaks with Madeline Sofia and Emily Kwong of NPR’s Short Wave about his work with ultracold quantum gases and observing superfluid states of matter. “Luckily we have techniques to actually take rather beautiful pictures of this quantum soup of these whirlpools of individual atoms,” says Zwierlein, “to try and make it out of this invisible realm and make it very real, touchable.”

The Boston Globe

MIT seniors Danielle Grey-Stewart and Ghadah Alshalan have been selected for the 2021 Rhodes Scholarship program, reports Gal Tziperman Lotan for The Boston Globe.

Science

Writing for Science, Charlie Greenwood spotlights how MIT researchers are building upon their pioneering work twisting sheets of graphene together to create superconductors by using twisted graphene to develop working devices. “Many researchers are excited by the promise of exploring electronic devices without worrying about the constraints of chemistry,” writes Greenwood.

USA Today

A team of astronomers, including MIT researchers, have identified fast radio burst emanating from a magnetar in our galaxy, reports Doyle Rice for USA Today. “The radio pulses are the closest ones detected to date, and their proximity has allowed the team to pinpoint their source.”

The Verge

Prof. Kiyoshi Masui speaks with Verge reporter Loren Grush about how astronomers have detected fast radio bursts coming from a magnetar within our own galaxy. “This is the missing link,” Masui says. “Now we’ve seen a fast radio burst coming from a magnetar, so it proves that at least some fraction of fast radio bursts we see in the universe come from magnetars.”

Popular Mechanics

Graduate student David Berardo has demonstrated how science enthusiasts can measure the speed of light at home using a bar of chocolate and the microwave, reports Caroline Delbert for Popular Mechanics. After microwaving the chocolate for about 20 seconds, “what you’ll see is a specific pattern of melting that shows the wavelength of the microwaves that power your oven.”

New York Times

A study co-authored by senior lecturer Richard Price explores the physics behind a spiraling football pass, reports Kenneth Chang for The New York Times. “I went on to apply some pretty simple mathematics and do what physicists do," says Price. “Which is to try and throw away all of the irrelevant details and get the heart of something.”

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal Jason Gay spotlights a new study co-authored by Senior Lecturer Richard Price that explores the physics behind the spiraling flight of a thrown football. “Physicists get interested in stuff that bores other people,” Price explains. “When you combine torque with the gyroscopic effect of the angular momentum, the two work together, so that in an average sense, the spin axis is very close to tangent to the path.”

The Hill

Writing for The Hill, Martin Greenwald, deputy director of MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center, explores the potential of fusion power. Greenwald examines how recent advances in high-temperature superconductors and recent investments in fusion technology from the private sector could “alter the landscape and offer the possibility of a dramatic speed-up in the development of this new energy source.”

CBS Boston

CBS Boston spotlights how Andrea Ghez ’87 has been awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics for her work discovering a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. “It really represents the basic research - you don’t always know how it is going to affect our lives here on Earth, but it is pushing the frontier of our knowledge forward," says Ghez, "both from the point of view of pure physics (understanding what a black hole is), and then also their astrophysical world in the formation and evolution of galaxies.”

The Boston Globe

Andrea Ghez ’87 has been selected as one of the winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics for her work advancing our understanding of black holes. "Black holes, because they are so hard to understand, is what makes them so appealing,'' says Ghez. “I really think of science as a big, giant puzzle.”

The Washington Post

MIT researchers have published a series of new papers demonstrating that the design for the SPARC compact nuclear fusion reactor “is both technically feasible and could produce 10 times the energy it consumes,” reports Dino Grandoni for The Washington Post.

Popular Mechanics

Popular Mechanics reporter Caroline Delbert writes that new research by MIT scientists provides evidence that the compact nuclear fusion design they are developing should be feasible. Delbert writes that the researchers may be able to get the SPARC reactor online within 10 years by “improving materials and shrinking costs.”

Scientific American

Scientific American reporter Daniel Garisto spotlights how a team of MIT researchers has uncovered hints of anomalous activity in heavy isotopes. “We’re not claiming to have discovered anything like a new particle,” says Prof. Vladan Vuletić. “Most likely, we are measuring new nuclear physics, but there is the possibility of something else going on.”