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Mars city living: Designing for the Red Planet February 15, 2018 - 6:41pm

How will people live on Mars? An MIT team developed a design concept addressing this question as part of Mars City Design 2017, an international competition focused on sustainable cities on Mars to be built in the next century.

Show the flow February 15, 2018 - 6:41pm

When it comes to teaching, seeing is a key to believing, or at least understanding.

This is the guiding principle of a new class, 1.079 (Rock-on-a-Chip), dedicated to exploring multiphase flow in porous media.

“This course is an opportunity to teach this subject in a completely different way, by visualizing the physics of flow,” says instructor Ruben Juanes, the ARCO Associate Professor in Energy Studies.

MIT brainpower highlighted in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 lists for 2018 February 15, 2018 - 6:41pm

Forbes calls its 2018 30 Under 30 lists an “encyclopedia of creative disruption featuring 600 young stars in 20 different industries.” So it should come as no surprise that these lists are heavily populated by recent MIT graduates and other members of the Institute community.

Microbial communities demonstrate high turnover February 15, 2018 - 6:41pm

When Mark Twain famously said “If you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes,” he probably didn’t anticipate MIT researchers would apply his remark to their microbial research. But a new study does just that.

Cities of the future may be built with locally available volcanic ash February 15, 2018 - 6:41pm

MIT engineers working with scientists in Kuwait have found that volcanic rocks, when pulverized into a fine ash, can be used as a sustainable additive in concrete structures.

Coding, thinking, sharing, building February 15, 2018 - 6:41pm

Sharon Kipruto knew giving birth was a precarious endeavor. In her home country of Kenya, the maternal death rate is much higher than in the United States — 510 deaths versus 23 deaths, per 100,000 live births. In part, that’s because there aren’t enough doctors to meet patient demand. And without visits, women aren’t getting prenatal information that could potentially save their lives.

Kipruto realized this was a problem ripe for intervention. Instead of relying on doctor visits to disseminate information, she thought: “Why not send the information directly to the women?”

New type of virus found in the ocean February 15, 2018 - 6:41pm

A type of virus that dominates water samples taken from the world’s oceans has long escaped analysis because it has characteristics that standard tests can’t detect. However, researchers at MIT and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine have now managed to isolate and study representatives of these elusive viruses, which provide a key missing link in virus evolution and play an important role in regulating bacterial populations, as a new study reports.

New program from MIT offers refugees a career boost February 15, 2018 - 6:41pm

In Amman, Jordan, last week, a class of students — half of them refugees — began a one-year course of study in computer science and entrepreneurship, designed by MIT. The program will earn them a certificate that, along with internships with local companies throughout the program, could help them advance to better-paying positions in the region.

Designing vehicle-sharing networks February 15, 2018 - 6:41pm

The proliferation of smartphones, vehicle-sharing apps, and traffic sensors has amounted to a wealth of data that can be used to provide insight for increasing the efficiency and sustainability of transportation networks.

Such data is particularly valuable to graduate students like Tianli Zhou, a PhD candidate in the Interdepartmental Program in Transportation in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who uses the information to design vehicle-sharing services.

New nanowires are just a few atoms thick February 15, 2018 - 6:41pm

“Two-dimensional materials” — materials deposited in layers that are only a few atoms thick — are promising for both high-performance electronics and flexible, transparent electronics that could be layered onto physical surfaces to make computing ubiquitous.

The best-known 2-D material is graphene, which is a form of carbon, but recently researchers have been investigating other 2-D materials, such as molybdenum disulfide, which have their own, distinct advantages.

School of Engineering welcomes new faculty February 15, 2018 - 6:41pm

The School of Engineering has announced the addition of 16 new faculty members to its departments, institutes, labs, and centers during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic years. With research and teaching activities ranging from personalization in the microbiome to the application of machine learning to naval architecture, they are poised to make vast contributions in new directions across the school and to a range of labs and centers across the Institute.

Four from MIT awarded 2018 Schwarzman Scholarships February 15, 2018 - 6:41pm

Three MIT students — Henry Aspegren '17, Katheryn Scott, and Joshua Woodard — were selected as Schwarzman Scholars and will begin postgraduate studies at Tsinghua University in Beijing next fall. An alumnus, Han Wu MEng '15, was also selected for this highly competitive program.

Schwarzman Scholars are chosen based on demonstrated leadership qualities and potential to bridge and understand cultural and political differences. They will live in Beijing for a year of study and cultural immersion, attending lectures, traveling, and developing a better understanding of China.

Celebrating a decade of interdisciplinary microbiology February 15, 2018 - 6:41pm

Ten years ago, MIT launched the Microbiology Graduate PhD Program. Today, it boasts 28 alumni and 33 current students, and offers a broad, interdisciplinary approach to microbial science and engineering. Between five and eight trainees enroll each year and can choose among more than 50 labs spanning 10 departments and divisions — from biology and biological engineering to chemical engineering and physics.

School of Engineering fourth quarter 2017 awards February 15, 2018 - 6:41pm

Members of the MIT engineering faculty receive many awards in recognition of their scholarship, service, and overall excellence. Every quarter, the School of Engineering publicly recognizes their achievements by highlighting the honors, prizes, and medals won by faculty working in our academic departments, labs, and centers.

The following awards were given from October through December, 2017. Submissions for future listings are welcome at any time.

Cleaner air, longer lives February 15, 2018 - 6:41pm

The air we breathe contains particulate matter from a range of natural and human-related sources. Particulate matter is responsible for thousands of premature deaths in the United States each year, but legislation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is credited with significantly decreasing this number, as well as the amount of particulate matter in the atmosphere.

Intensive agriculture influences U.S. regional summer climate, study finds February 15, 2018 - 6:41pm

Scientists agree that changes in land use such as deforestation, and not just greenhouse gas emissions, can play a significant role altering the world’s climate systems. Now, a new study by researchers at MIT and Dartmouth College reveals how another type of  land use, intensive agriculture, can impact regional climate.

In fieldwork program, students take the lead February 15, 2018 - 6:41pm

A group of MIT students said “Aloha, Hawaii!” during the latest Independent Activities Period, but it wasn’t for a month of vacation. The students were tasked with conducting research and collecting data samples, which will help them further understand the environmental conditions of soil and air quality on the Island of Hawaii (a.k.a. “the Big Island”).

The research was part of the Traveling Research Environmental eXperiences (TREX) program hosted by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), which offers a unique fieldwork opportunity for students.

A microbial approach to agriculture February 15, 2018 - 6:41pm

The ability of animals to digest plant material is facilitated by tiny microbes in the gut that can break down complex carbohydrates. This dependency on microbes is most extreme in herbivores such as cows, which have developed a symbiotic relationship with their gut microbes. Cow microbiomes — the assemblage of microbes that inhabit their digestive system — have tremendous importance for agriculture, as they mediate the conversion of solar energy, stored in plant tissues, into animal protein consumed by humans across the globe.

Sarah Don: Building nuclear connections November 21, 2017 - 5:41pm

Sarah Don says she never expected to land in a management role, but the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE) alumna did just that a couple of years ago when she became assistant superintendent of the MIT Nuclear Reactor Laboratory (NRL) and was promoted to superintendent last year.

“The MIT reactor kick-started my career in nuclear engineering,” says Don ’14, SM ’14. “This role was a wonderful opportunity that came up a couple of years ago, and I've really embraced it.”

Two MIT faculty elected 2017 AAAS Fellows November 21, 2017 - 5:41pm

Two current MIT faculty members have been elected as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The new fellows are among a group of 396 AAAS members elected by their peers in recognition of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science. This year’s fellows will be honored at a ceremony on Feb. 17, 2018, at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas.