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New York Times

Researchers from MIT and other institutions have developed a new virtual-reality technique that has allowed them to unearth the contents of letters written hundreds of years ago, without opening them, writes New York Times reporter William J. Broad. “The new technique could open a window into the long history of communications security,” writes Broad. “And by unlocking private intimacies, it could aid researchers studying stories concealed in fragile pages found in archives all over the world.”

New Scientist

Using X-ray imaging and algorithms, MIT researchers have been able to virtually open and read letters that been sealed for more than 300 years, writes Priti Parikh for New Scientist. “Studying folding and tucking patterns in historic letters allows us to understand technologies used to communicate,” says Jana Dambrogio, a conservator at the MIT Libraries.

The Wall Street Journal

Researchers from MIT and other institutions have used algorithms and an X-ray scanner to decipher the secrets inside a letter that has been sealed since 1697, reports Sara Castellanos for The Wall Street Journal. “This is a dream come true in the field of conservation,” said Jana Dambrogio, the Thomas F. Peterson Conservator at MIT Libraries.

C&EN

Prof. Kristala L. J. Prather speaks with Korie Grayson of C&EN about her career path and her work harnessing the synthetic power of microbial systems. Of the importance of mentorship, Prather notes, “The exponential way in which you can actually have a positive impact is by taking good care of the people who are placed into your academic and intellectual trust. That’s how we make a difference.”

C&EN

In an article for C&EN, Marsha-Ann Watson explores what inspired Prof. Paula Hammond, head of MIT’s Department of Chemical Engineering, to pursue a career in engineering, how her research at MIT has evolved to focus on biomedical applications and the importance of inclusivity and diversity. Hammond recalls how her first female science teacher inspired her love of chemistry: “I learned that I loved chemistry and that I could actually use that interest to perhaps create things,” she explains.

San Antonio Report

Visiting scientist Judah Cohen speaks with Lindsey Carnett of the San Antonio Report about whether climate change may have contributed to extreme winter weather in Texas. “As the Arctic gets warmer than [it normally is] – the risk of severe winter weather increases very linearly,” says Cohen. “When the Arctic is at its warmest, it’s a huge jump in the likelihood or the probability of getting severe winter weather to many eastern U.S. cities.”

CNN

CNN’s Harmeet Kaur spotlights alumna Swati Mohan PhD ’10, who was the guidance and controls operations lead for NASA’s Mars 2020 mission and also served as the mission commentator. Kaur notes that Mohan, who first became intrigued by space while watching Star Trek as a child, was the “eyes and ears” for the historic landing.

Bloomberg

Bloomberg reporter Ashlee Vancee spotlights the work of alumnus Youyang Gu SB ’15, MEng’19, who developed a forecasting model for Covid-19 last spring that was widely considered to be one of the most accurate models of the pandemic’s trajectory. “The novel, sophisticated twist of Gu’s model came from his use of machine learning algorithms to hone his figures,” writes Vancee.

Mashable

Alumna Swati Mohan PhD ’10 served as the mission commentator who confirmed that the NASA Perseverance rover had touched down on Mars last week, reports Mashable. “Mohan led the attitude control system of Mars 2020 during operations, and was the lead systems engineer throughout development. The attitude control system points the vehicle where it needs to be and helps figure out where the spacecraft is oriented in space.”

WHDH 7

WHDH reporter Aisha Mbowe spotlights how the MIT-designed Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) is onboard NASA’s Perseverance rover.

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter Dieter Holger spotlights the MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium. Holger notes that in January “IBM joined a dozen other companies—including Apple Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Boeing Co. —as the inaugural members of the MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium to develop technologies to combat climate change.”

Wired

Writing for Wired, Keith Gillogly spotlights how MIT researchers have devised a new technique that could lead to the development of lab-grown wood and other biomaterials. “The hope is that, if this becomes a developed process for producing plant materials, you could alleviate some of [the] pressures on our agricultural lands. And with those reduced pressures, hopefully we can allow more spaces to remain wild and more forests to remain in place,” says graduate student Ashley Beckwith,

KUOW

Second-year student Darren Lim speaks with KUOW about his work developing a website aimed at making it easier for Washington state residents to book appointment for Covid-19 vaccines. The website “shows which providers in Washington state have vaccines available, and then allows you to click through to their websites to make an appointment.”

Popular Mechanics

Popular Mechanics reporter Kyro Mitchell explores how MIT researchers have created a biodegradable medical patch that could be used to repair internal injuries. Mitchell notes that the patch “can be easily wrapped around robotic tools like a balloon catheter and a surgical stapler and then be inserted into the patient.”

Mashable

Mashable reporter Kellen Beck spotlights how MIT researchers have developed a new medical patch that could be used to repair tears in organs and tissues.” Because internal surgeries involve small, specialized tools, the patch was created to fold around these tools and make insertion and use in tight spaces simpler. The patch resists contamination and biodegrades over time,” writes Beck.