Data-driven policy for a better world
Developing strategies to lower the kidney discard rate and improve the kidney placement rate is one of the many problems MIT’s Blueprint Labs focuses on — it's an interdisciplinary group that uses economics- and data-oriented approaches to tackle problems in healthcare, education, and workforce policy.
Nuclear thermal propulsion: a key technology for space exploration
Research and development of nuclear thermal propulsion was stagnant between the end of the Space Race and the 2010s.
Discovering nature’s properties through nonlinear solid mechanics
The study of nonlinear solid mechanics subjects materials to extreme stress or strain to observe their properties and behavior. Examining these extremes enables a more complete understanding of these materials.
What’s it like to design a meal that floats?
What happens to astronauts when dinners, normally served off plates here on Earth, are instead squirted from shriveled plastic packages fitted with sphincters and tubes? When the movement and music of cooking is replaced with the injection of warm water into said packages?
For the love of broccoli
There is broccoli at MIT’s dining halls almost every week. The broccoli is usually steamed or roasted. Although I miss the garlic, ginger, oil, onions, coriander seed, chili, methi, and masala that go well with broccoli, I enjoy eating it bland. I should instead say that I love staring at its details. When broccoli is cooked well with spices, either the details get destroyed or the spices obscure the details. On the other hand, with steamed, unseasoned broccoli, I can look at its hierarchy of stalks that are self-similar at all levels and detailed heads to the point that my food gets cold.
Biosensing with fluorescent emulsions
Moreover, while the published work on this Janus detection system was for Listeria, this method is hardly limited to Listeria. By switching out the antibody from one to another, this system can be applied to practically any pathogen, whether bacterial or viral.
How the leopard gets its spots
Turing showed that with a combination of chemical kinetics (reaction speeds) and diffusion, structures now eponymously known as Turing patterns emerge.
Hen’s hunt for neutrinos
The Hen Lab is an experimental nuclear physics group, and they study the structure of the nucleus through scattering experiments.
Simulating galactic formation
The Caterpillar Project is made to simulate the formation of a large number of Milky Way-like galaxies at a high resolution from a statistical standpoint. The Caterpillar Project aims to understand galaxy formations by using dark-matter-only simulations.
Scientific collaboration in the era of COVID-19
Scientists across MIT and neighboring institutions are coming together to study the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2.
Fighting coronavirus through research
As one of the few labs authorized to conduct research on biosafety level three (BSL-3) viruses, the Gehrke Lab is studying pathologies of SARS-CoV-2 at the Ragon Institute.
Engineering nuclear policy
Interdisciplinary symbiosis inspires Scott Kemp’s work in MIT’s Laboratory for Nuclear Security and Policy (LNSP).
The Holten-Andersen Group’s approach to bio-inspired materials
There is no question that nature is the best engineer. As hard as material scientists try, replicating nature’s intricate processes and networks is a holy grail that often seems nearly unattainable. Instead of attempting to copy nature, some scientists draw inspiration from nature’s mechanisms and apply them to the synthesis of goods for human use. The field of producing materials using design principles from nature is known as bio-inspired material research.
Creating compounds with catalysts
Imagine a world where toxic chemicals abound in the air in the form of unfiltered carbon monoxide from car exhaust. Imagine a world without paper because the pulp cannot be refined into the crisp white sheets we have today. Imagine a world without fertilizer, gasoline, or even plastic. Imagine a world without life because the processes to replicate DNA now take 2.3 billion years. This is the reality of a world without catalysts, which are used to propel reactions in manufacturing, petrochemicals, the human body, and many other areas of life.
Starving cancer by controlling cell proliferation
According to Matthew Vander Heiden, associate professor of biology, the key to addressing the challenge of cancer treatment is understanding the metabolism of mammalian cells.
Targeting tumors with nanoparticles
Since its founding in 1995, the Hammond Lab has been an integral part of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, developing nanoparticles that encapsulate and release drugs to reprogram cancer cells. Chemical engineering department head Paula Hammond ’84, Ph.D ’94 leads research initiatives that range from designing thin films for tissue regeneration to embedding nucleic acids into nanomaterials to silence cancer cell expression.
Thinking about other people’s thoughts
Consider the following thought experiment: Person A and Person B, on a tour of a chemical factory, stop to take a coffee break. Person A finds a pot containing white powder — a powder which is actually sugar, but is labeled “deadly poison.” Person A put some of this powder into Person B’s coffee; Person B drinks it and remains perfectly healthy.
Nobel Laureate Jim Allison talks cancer research, science education, and advice for aspiring researchers
Jim Allison won the Nobel Prize in Physiology in 2018 for pioneering the use of immunotherapy against cancer. In an interview with The Tech, Allison talks about the past, present, and future of cancer research, along with giving some general advice for scientists.
Navigating our cities
With new advancements in technology and the abundance of data, we can better understand the interactions between people and their urban environments. As a result, improvements in urban planning can pave the way for more efficient and environmentally cleaner cities. Researchers at the MIT Senseable City Lab aim to predict and study these improvements from a critical point of view. As conducting research to learn about people’s habits in their urban environment requires members of the lab to consider many diverse viewpoints, the Senseable City Lab is made up of a multidisciplinary team of designers, engineers, computer scientists, biologists, and social scientists. With this diversity of researchers comes a diversity of technologies being utilized in the lab. “Reflecting the diversity of the lab, and the Urban issues, we use big data analysis, machine learning techniques, but also robotics and design,” says the director of the lab, Professor Carlo Ratti.
Unraveling the intricacies of American elections
These issues of voter registration and the lack of security in the election process caught the attention of MIT Professor Charles Stewart, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science and the Founding Director of the MIT Election Data and Science Lab (MEDSL). “The thing that I learned, as well as everybody else in America at the time,” said Stewart, “was that it was possible for you to be active and to vote, and for that vote not to count.”