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Wired

Wired reporter Max Levy spotlights Prof. Emery Brown and Earl Miller’s research examining how neurons in the brain operate as “consciousness emerges and recedes—and how doctors could better control it.” Levy writes that “Miller and Brown's work could make anesthesia safer, by allowing anesthesiologists who use the EEG to more precisely control drug dosages for people who are unconscious.”

Science

In an editorial for Science, Prof. Sangeeta Bhatia, Prof. Emerita Nancy Hopkins and President Emerita Susan Hockfield underscore the importance of addressing the underrepresentation of women and minorities in tech transfer. “The discoveries women and minority researchers are making today have great potential as a force for good in the world,” they write, “but reaching that potential is only possible if paths to real-world applications are open to everybody.”

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

WSHU

Profs. Elsa Olivetti and Christopher Knittel speak with J.D. Allen of WSHU about the future of renewable energy in New England. Olivetti notes that the MIT Climate & Sustainability Consortium is aimed at “looking at the role of industry in helping to accelerate the transition to reduce carbon emissions, and the idea is that by convening a set of cross economy, leading companies with the MIT community, we can identify pathways towards decarbonization particularly focused on those industries outside of the energy producing sector.”

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Charlie McKenna writes that MIT researchers have used the spin of black holes detected by the LIGO and Virgo detectors to search for dark matter. "In reality, there is a much broader set of theories that predict or relies on the existence of these very ultra-light particles,” says Prof. Salvatore Vitale. “One is dark matter. So they could be dark matter. But they could also solve other open problems in particle physics.”

The Academic Times

A new study by MIT researches finds that some masses of boson particles don’t actually exist, reports Monisha Ravisetti for The Academic Times. “[Bosons] could be dark matter particles, or they could be something that people call axions, which are proposed particles that could solve problems with the magnetic bipoles of particles,” says Prof. Salvatore Vitale. “Because they can be any of these things, that means they could also have an incredibly broad range of masses.”

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. 

NOVA Next

Hanna Ali of NOVA Next speaks with Prof. Desiree Plata about methane emissions and Prof. Tim Swager about his work developing sensors that could allow users to “see” methane, track down its source and mitigate impacts. “You probably hear headlines all the time, ‘Everywhere we look for plastics in the environment, we find them,’” Plata says. “The same is true of most industrial chemicals, but the problem is I can’t pull out my cell phone and take a picture of [them]. Tim’s sensors are helping to close that gap.”

CNN

Prof. Robert Jaffe speaks with CNN reporter Stephanie Bailey for a piece that explores how the rivalry between Edison, Tesla and Westinghouse helped lead to transformations in the development of electricity. Bailey also features alumnus Joel Jean and his solar tech startup.

United Press International (UPI)

UPI reporter Brooks Hays writes that a new tool developed by researchers from MIT and other institutions can precisely control gene expression without altering the underlying gene sequence. “Scientists hope this new ability to silence any part of the human genome will lead to powerful insights into functionality of the human genome, as well as inspire new therapies for a variety of diseases and genetic disorders,” writes Hays.

New Scientist

In a conversation with New Scientist reporter Jonathan O’Callaghan, Prof. Tanja Bosak discusses her work with the NASA Perseverance rover’s rock reconnaissance mission. “In the middle of a pandemic, I think we needed something good to happen, and that’s why so many people wanted all the science and engineering that goes into landing a rover on Mars to succeed,” says Bosak. “As for what will happen when the samples come back – I can’t imagine. It’s going to be otherworldly.”

Stat

Prof. Emerita Nancy Hopkins speaks with Rebecca Sohn of STAT about the Boston Biotech Working Group’s goal of increasing the number of women leaders and entrepreneurs in biotech and her hopes for the future of women in biotech and the sciences. “You want people to feel that they are free to participate in all the things wherever it leads them,” says Hopkins. “So I think the goal is just that people who really want to do this [pursue biotech] don’t face any greater barrier than anybody else. That everybody has equal access and education to do as they want to.”

Boston Globe

A group of MIT scientists has announced a new plan, called the Future Founders Initiative, aimed at addressing gender inequities in the biotech industry, reports Anissa Gardizy for The Boston Globe. “If we can’t advance discoveries at the same rate for women and men, that means there are drugs, therapies, devices, and diagnostics that are not getting to where they can actually benefit people,” says President Emerita Susan Hockfield. “If as a region we want to continue to lead the world, the best thing to do is not squander our resources.”