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The Boston Globe

The Boston Globe honored a number of MIT faculty and alumni in their Tech Power Players 50, a list of the “most influential – and interesting – people in the Massachusetts technology scene.” MIT honorees include Professor Yet-Ming Chiang, Senior Lecturer Brian Halligan, Professor Tom Leighton, Professor Silvio Micali, Katie Rae (CEO and managing partner for The Engine), and Professor Daniela Rus (director of CSAIL and deputy dean of research for the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing). 

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Aaron Pressman spotlights the work of Prof. Silvio Micali, who has been honored as one of The Boston Globe’s Tech Power Players 50 for his work in computer science and cryptography. “Micali decided to come up with a more elegant version of the underlying [cryptocurrency] technology, the public database of transactions known as the blockchain,” writes Pressman. “He formed a new startup, Algorand, to pursue a blockchain that would go far beyond bitcoin while reducing costs and electricity usage and speeding up transaction processing.”

The Boston Globe

Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert ’77 has been selected as one of The Boston Globe’s Tech Power Players 50 for his work in artificial intelligence and robotics, reports Hiawatha Bray for The Boston Globe. Raibert recalls how his fascination with developing robot legs was cultivated at MIT. “I went to a presentation where someone showed a very slow-moving legged robot,” said Raibert. “I thought, wow, people and animals aren’t anything like that. ... People and animals have such fantastic locomotion. That was a thing to try to emulate and achieve.”

The Daily Beast

Daily Beast reporter Tony Ho Tran writes that MIT researchers have developed a tiny fuel cell that can transform glucose into electricity. “The team behind the new fuel believes it could potentially be used as a coating on medical implants like artificial hearts or pacemakers,” writes Tran. “Those implants could be powered passively while in use without the need for expensive and cumbersome batteries that take up valuable real estate in the body.”

Forbes

Overjet, co-founded by Wardah Inam SM ’12 PhD ’16, has been awarded landmark clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to use their software aimed at detecting and outlining cavities in patients’ X-rays, reports Alexandra S. Levine for Forbes. “Everybody has had a dental disease,” says Inam. “People have had good and bad experiences. And moving the industry towards making [a] more clinically precise, efficient patient focus is something that will impact every person in the world.”

The Boston Globe

MIT researchers have developed a new fuel cell that takes glucose absorbed from food in the human body and turns it into electricity, reports Gwen Egan for Boston.com. “That electricity could power small implants while also being able to withstand up to 600 degrees Celsius — or 1112 degrees Fahrenheit — and measuring just 400 nanometers thick,” writes Egan.

The Boston Globe

An international team of scientists, including researchers from MIT and Harvard, have found that an artificial intelligence program trained to read X-rays and CT scans can successfully predict a person’s race with 90 percent accuracy, reports Hiawatha Bray for The Boston Globe. The research team “first trained an AI system using standard data sets of X-rays and CT scans, where each image was labeled with the person’s race. The diagnostic images examined by the computer contained no obvious markers of race, like skin color or hair texture,” writes Bray. “Once the software had been shown large numbers of race-labeled images, it was then shown different sets of unlabeled images. The program was able to identify the race of people in the images with remarkable accuracy, often well above 90 percent.”

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter Ryan Dezember visited Prof. Desiree Plata’s lab to learn more about her group’s work developing a new tool to help address climate change. Plata and her colleagues “soaked an odor-eating clay used in cat boxes in a copper solution to create a compound that they say snatches methane from passing air and turns it into carbon dioxide, a much less harmful greenhouse gas.” The new technique has the “potential to greatly reduce the amount of methane in the atmosphere and slow warming temperatures on the planet.”

Gizmodo

Researchers at MIT have built a highly efficient thermophotovoltaic cell that converts incoming photons to electricity, reports Kevin Hurler for Gizmodo. “We developed this technology—thermal batteries—because storing energy as heat rather than storing it electrochemically is 10 to 100 times cheaper," explains Prof. Asegun Henry. 

The Boston Globe

Graduate student and violinist Lily Tsai recently performed in a benefit concert for the Newton Food Pantry and Community Freedge, raising over $1,000, reports Charlotte Howard for The Boston Globe. “Everywhere you go there are going to be people who love to play and give back to the community and bring joy through music,” Tsai said.

Science

Science reporter Jocelyn Kaiser spotlights Prof. Kristala Prather’s work as a scout for a new funding program that will provide her the opportunity to identify “colleagues with an intriguing research idea so embryonic it has no chance of surviving traditional peer review—and, on her own, decide to provide some funding.” Says Prather: “I’m looking forward to giving it a try. I’m a people person, and I like learning new things.”

Popular Science

In honor of Popular Science’s 150th year, reporter Bill Gourgey highlights Prof. Mark Drela and John Langford ’79, MA ’84, PhD ’87 for their work in crafting Perseus, a robotic data-gathering drone used to ply Earth’s polar vortex in July 1992.

The Boston Globe

Julie Chen ’86, SM ’88, PhD ’91 has been named the next chancellor of UMass Lowell, reports Shirley Leung for The Boston Globe. “With three degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she has been a fixture on campus for 25 years,” writes Leung. “Chen is considered one of the region’s leading experts in nanotechnology, earning her the nickname ‘nanoqueen’ in a field that builds structures and devices working at an atomic scale.”

Forbes

Forbes reporter Trond Arne Undheim spotlights the “Manufacturing at MIT Symposium: 2022 and Beyond” conference. “MIT appears to be renewing its manufacturing research and innovation efforts at a pivotal time, with a four-fold focus on technology, workforce development, policy efforts and innovation,” writes Undheim.

Associated Press

Julie Chen '86, SM '88, PhD '91 has been named the next chancellor of UMass Lowell, reports the AP. “I am honored to be selected by President Meehan and the board of trustees as the university’s next chancellor, and I’m excited to work with our great faculty, staff, supporters and partners to provide growing numbers of students with this UMass Lowell advantage in the years ahead,” said Chen.