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New York Times

Former MIT Professor Steven Weinberg, “a theoretical physicist who discovered that two of the universe’s forces are really the same,” has died at age 88, reports Dylan Loeb McClain for The New York Times.

Popular Mechanics

Researchers from MIT and other institutions have been able to observationally confirm one of Stephen Hawking’s theorems about black holes, measuring gravitational waves before and after a black hole merger to provide evidence that a black hole’s event horizon can never shrink, reports Caroline Delbert for Popular Mechanics. “This cool analysis doesn't just show an example of Hawking's theorem that underpins one of the central laws affecting black holes,” writes Delbert, “it shows how analyzing gravitational wave patterns can bear out statistical findings.”

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Laura Krantz reports that edX will be transferred to the education technology company 2U, and proceeds from the transaction will be used by a nonprofit aimed at addressing education inequalities and reimagining the future of learning.

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter Melissa Korn writes that 2U, an education technology company, will acquire edX for $800 million. The proceeds flow to a new nonprofit, led by MIT and Harvard, which will “focus on reducing inequalities in access to education. It will maintain the open-access course platform built by edX, research online and hybrid-learning models, and work to minimize the digital divide that still serves as a barrier for many younger students and adults,” writes Korn. 

United Press International (UPI)

UPI reporter Brian Dunleavy writes that MIT researchers have developed a new way to potentially expand sources of biofuel to include straw and woody plants. "Our goal is to extend this technology to other organisms that are better suited for the production of these heavy fuels, like oils, diesel and jet fuel," explains Prof. Gregory Stephanopoulos.

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Devin Coldewey writes that MIT researchers have created a new nanoengineered material that could prove tougher than Kevlar or steel. “Made of interconnected carbon ‘tetrakaidecahedrons,’ the material absorbed the impact of microscopic bullets in spectacular fashion,” writes Coldewey.

TopUniversities.com

Provost Marty Schmidt speaks with TopUniversities.com reporter Chloe Lane about how MIT has maintained its position as the top university in the world on the QS World University Rankings for 10 consecutive years. “I am honored to have been a part of the MIT community for almost 40 years,” says Schmidt. “It’s a truly interdisciplinary, collaborative, thought-provoking place that encourages experimentation and pushes you to expand your mind. I think it’s a wonderful place to call home.”

Forbes

Graduate student John Urschel speaks with Forbes contributor Talia Milgrom-Elcott about how his mother helped inspire his love of mathematics and the importance of representation. “It’s very hard to dream of being in a career if you can’t relate to anyone who’s actually in that field,” says Urschel. “One of my main goals in life as a mathematician is to increase representation of African American mathematicians.”

United Press International (UPI)

UPI reporter Brooks Hays writes that LIGO researchers have cooled a human-scale object to a near standstill. "One of the questions that we might be able to answer is: 'Why do large objects not naturally appear in quantum states?' There are various conjectures for why that might be; some say that gravity -- which acts strongly on larger objects -- might be responsible," explains Prof. Vivishek Sudhir. "We now have a system where some of these conjectures can be experimentally tested.”

Gizmodo

LIGO researchers have nearly frozen the motion of atoms across four mirrors used to detect ripples in space-time, reports Isaac Schultz for Gizmodo. “We could actually use the same capability of LIGO to do this other thing, which is to use LIGO to measure the random jiggling motion of these mirrors—use that information which we have about the motion—and apply a counteracting force, so that you know you would stop the atoms from moving,” says Prof. Vivishek Sudhir.

New Scientist

New Scientist reporter Leah Crane writes that a set of mirrors at LIGO have been cooled to near absolute zero, the largest objects to be brought to this frigid temperature. “The goal of this work is to help explain why we don’t generally see macroscopic objects in quantum states, which some physicists have suggested may be due to the effects of gravity,” writes Crane.

Mashable

Mashable spotlights how MIT’s baseball pitching coach is using motion capture technology to help analyze and teach pitching techniques. Using the technology, Coach Todd Carroll can “suggest real-time adjustments as a player is pitching so that just one session using the technology improves their game.”

CNN

CNN reporter Ashley Strickland writes about how researchers from the CHIME collaboration have announced that they have detected over 500 fast radio bursts (FRBs) using a radio telescope in Canada. "With all these sources, we can really start getting a picture of what FRBs look like as a whole, what astrophysics might be driving these events, and how they can be used to study the universe going forward," explains graduate student Kaitlyn Shin.

Nature

Scientists from the CHIME Collaboration, including MIT researchers, have reported that the radio telescope has detected more than 500 fast radio bursts in its first year of operation, reports Davide Castelvecchi for Nature. The findings suggest that these events come in two distinct types. “I think this really just nails it that there is a difference,” says Prof. Kiyoshi Masui.

The Boston Globe

The CHIME radio telescope has catalogues more than 500 fast radio bursts (FRBs), which could be used to help map the universe, reports Charlie McKenna for The Boston Globe. FRBs are “kind of like lighthouses or sonar pings,” explains graduate student Calvin Leung, “and for the very first time we’ve shown that we can detect them in large enough quantities that you can really use them to make statements like, ‘Oh, the universe is expanding at this rate,’ or ‘This is how much matter there is in the whole universe.’”