Tag: School of Science

Where did that sound come from?

The human brain is finely tuned not only to recognize particular sounds, but also to determine which direction they came from. By comparing differences in sounds that reach the right and left ear, the brain can estimate the location of a barking dog, wailing fire engine, or approaching car. MIT neuroscientists have now developed a […]

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Vibrating atoms make robust qubits, physicists find

MIT physicists have discovered a new quantum bit, or “qubit,” in the form of vibrating pairs of atoms known as fermions. They found that when pairs of fermions are chilled and trapped in an optical lattice, the particles can exist simultaneously in two states — a weird quantum phenomenon known as superposition. In this case, […]

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Five MIT faculty elected 2021 AAAS Fellows

Five MIT faculty members have been elected as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The 2021 class of AAAS Fellows includes 564 scientists, engineers, and innovators spanning 24 scientific disciplines who are being recognized for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements.  Mircea Dincă is the W. M. Keck Professor of Energy […]

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Physicists discover “secret sauce” behind exotic properties of a new quantum material

MIT physicists and colleagues have discovered the “secret sauce” behind some of the exotic properties of a new quantum material that has transfixed physicists due to those properties, which include superconductivity. Although theorists had predicted the reason for the unusual properties of the material, known as a kagome metal, this is the first time that […]

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Scientists make first detection of exotic “X” particles in quark-gluon plasma

In the first millionths of a second after the Big Bang, the universe was a roiling, trillion-degree plasma of quarks and gluons — elementary particles that briefly glommed together in countless combinations before cooling and settling into more stable configurations to make the neutrons and protons of ordinary matter. In the chaos before cooling, a […]

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TESS Science Office at MIT hits milestone of 5,000 exoplanet candidates

The catalog of planet candidates found with NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) recently passed 5,000 TOIs, or TESS Objects of Interest. The catalog has been growing steadily since the start of the mission in 2018, and the batch of TOIs boosting the catalog to over 5,000 come mostly from the Faint Star Search led […]

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Encapsulation as a method for preventing degradation in Li-air batteries

Lithium-air batteries were thought promising in the 1970s as a potential power source for electric vehicles, offering energy densities that rival gasoline and significantly surpass conventional lithium-ion batteries. However, scientists over the last few decades have been unable to overcome challenges to practical application of this technology, including reversible charging and low cyclability that results […]

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Babies can tell who has close relationships based on one clue: saliva

Learning to navigate social relationships is a skill that is critical for surviving in human societies. For babies and young children, that means learning who they can count on to take care of them. MIT neuroscientists have now identified a specific signal that young children and even babies use to determine whether two people have […]

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Brave Behind Bars: Prison education program focuses on computing skills for women

A programming language textbook might not be the first thing you’d expect to see when walking into a correctional facility.  The creators of the Brave Behind Bars program are hoping to change that.  Founded in 2020, Brave Behind Bars is a pandemic-born introductory computer science and career-readiness program for incarcerated women, based out of The […]

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Clean room as classroom

MIT undergraduates are using labs at MIT.nano to tinker at the nanoscale, exploring spectrometry, nanomaterial synthesis, photovoltaics, sensor fabrication, and other topics. They’re also getting an experience not common at the undergraduate level — gowning up in a bunny suit and performing hands-on research inside a clean room. During the fall 2021 semester, these students […]

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Seeing the natural world through a mathematical lens

Growing up in Wallingford, Connecticut, David Darrow loved spending time outside, hiking and camping with his Boy Scout troop. He was fascinated by the environment around him, constantly asking questions about the natural world. Now a senior at MIT majoring in math and minoring in German and physics, Darrow is still studying natural phenomena. With […]

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Four with MIT ties honored with 2022 American Mathematical Society prizes

Four mathematicians with MIT ties were recently honored by the American Mathematical Society (AMS). Professors Michel Goemans and Richard Stanley, along with Cornell University Professor David Williamson PhD ’93, are recipients of AMS’s Leroy P. Steele Prizes for 2022. Associate Professor Semyon Dyatlov received the inaugural 2022 Mikhail Gordin Prize, offered jointly by the AMS and the European […]

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Three with MIT ties win 2022 Churchill Scholarships

MIT seniors David Darrow and Tara Venkatadri have been selected as 2022 Churchill Scholars and will embark on a year of graduate studies in the U.K. starting next fall. James Diao, a graduate student in the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology (HST), received the Kanders Churchill Scholarship in Science Policy. The Churchill Scholarship […]

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Synthesis too slow? Let this robot do it.

Researchers in the lab of Bradley Pentelute, MIT professor of chemistry, have invented a fully automated fast-flow instrument that can synthesize peptide-nucleic acids in a single shot. By automating the process of synthesizing CPP-conjugated peptide-nucleic acids (PPNAs) using the robot dubbed “Tiny Tides” by the research team, typical PPNA synthesis time was reduced from multiple […]

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In Down syndrome cells, genome-wide disruptions mimic a senescence-like state

In Down syndrome, the third copy of chromosome 21 causes a reorganization of the 3D configuration of the entire genome in a key cell type of the developing brain, a new study shows. The resulting disruption of gene transcription and cell function are so similar to those seen in cellular aging, or senescence, that the […]

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Physicists detect a hybrid particle held together by uniquely intense “glue”

In the particle world, sometimes two is better than one. Take, for instance, electron pairs. When two electrons are bound together, they can glide through a material without friction, giving the material special superconducting properties. Such paired electrons, or Cooper pairs, are a kind of hybrid particle — a composite of two particles that behaves […]

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Making computation come alive

As a Martian lander descends toward the Red Planet’s surface, when can its parachute be safely deployed? Open it too early, while the lander is hurtling through the atmosphere, and it might tear off — but open it too late and the lander might not slow down enough to prevent a catastrophic crash landing. There […]

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Physicists watch as ultracold atoms form a crystal of quantum tornadoes

The world we experience is governed by classical physics. How we move, where we are, and how fast we’re going are all determined by the classical assumption that we can only exist in one place at any one moment in time. But in the quantum world, the behavior of individual atoms is governed by the […]

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Predator interactions chiefly determine where Prochlorococcus thrive

Prochlorococcus are the smallest and most abundant photosynthesizing organisms on the planet. A single Prochlorococcus cell is dwarfed by a human red blood cell, yet globally the microbes number in the octillions and are responsible for a large fraction of the world’s oxygen production as they turn sunlight into energy. Prochlorococcus can be found in […]

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Kerstin Perez is searching the cosmos for signs of dark matter

Kerstin Perez is searching for imprints of dark matter. The invisible substance embodies 84 percent of the matter in the universe and is thought to be a powerful cosmic glue, keeping whole galaxies from spinning apart. And yet, the particles themselves leave barely a trace on ordinary matter,  thwarting all efforts at detection thus far. […]

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Scientists build new atlas of ocean’s oxygen-starved waters

Life is teeming nearly everywhere in the oceans, except in certain pockets where oxygen naturally plummets and waters become unlivable for most aerobic organisms. These desolate pools are “oxygen-deficient zones,” or ODZs. And though they make up less than 1 percent of the ocean’s total volume, they are a significant source of nitrous oxide, a […]

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MIT in the media: 2021 in review

From Institute-wide efforts to address the climate crisis to responding to Covid-19, members of the MIT community made headlines this year for their innovative work in a variety of areas. Faculty, students, and staff were on the front lines of addressing many pressing issues this year, raising their voices and sharing their findings. Below are […]

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MIT community in 2021: A year in review

During 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic continued to color much of the year, as MIT saw both the promise of vaccines as well as the rise of troubling new variants. The Institute also made new commitments to climate action, saw the opening of new and renovated spaces, continued in its efforts to support its diverse voices, […]

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MIT’s top research stories of 2021

Despite the pandemic’s disruptions, MIT’s research community still found a way to generate a number of impressive research breakthroughs in 2021. In the spirit of reflection that comes with every new orbit around the sun, below we count down 10 of the most-viewed research stories on MIT News from the past year. We’ve also rounded […]

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Could acid-neutralizing life-forms make habitable pockets in Venus’ clouds?

It’s hard to imagine a more inhospitable world than our closest planetary neighbor. With an atmosphere thick with carbon dioxide, and a surface hot enough to melt lead, Venus is a scorched and suffocating wasteland where life as we know it could not survive. The planet’s clouds are similarly hostile, blanketing the planet in droplets […]

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MIT engineers produce the world’s longest flexible fiber battery

Researchers have developed a rechargeable lithium-ion battery in the form of an ultra-long fiber that could be woven into fabrics. The battery could enable a wide variety of wearable electronic devices, and might even be used to make 3D-printed batteries in virtually any shape. The researchers envision new possibilities for self-powered communications, sensing, and computational […]

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