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MIT researchers respond to hurricanes Irma and Maria February 21, 2018 - 11:17am

As Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria approached the Caribbean late this summer, public and private supply chains already affected and stretched thin by August's Hurricane Harvey had to ramp up again. Coordination was even more critical in order to leverage all available logistics capacity to meet human needs.

School of Engineering awards for 2017 February 21, 2018 - 11:17am

The School of Engineering recently honored outstanding faculty, undergraduates, and graduate students, with the following awards: 

Identifying optimal product prices February 21, 2018 - 11:17am

How can online businesses leverage vast historical data, computational power, and sophisticated machine-learning techniques to quickly analyze and forecast demand, and to optimize pricing and increase revenue?

A research highlight article in the Fall 2017 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review by MIT Professor David Simchi-Levi describes new insights into demand forecasting and price optimization.

A concrete solution February 21, 2018 - 11:17am

Cement materials, including cement paste, mortar, and concrete, are the most widely manufactured materials in the world. Their carbon footprint is similarly hefty: The processes involved in making cement contribute almost 6 percent of global carbon emissions.

The demand for these materials is unlikely to decline any time soon. In the United States, the majority of concrete bridges, buildings, and pavement-lined streets, erected in the 1960s and 1970s, were designed in an era with fewer environmental stresses to infrastructure and built to last 50 years at most.

Establishing interdisciplinary approaches to agriculture and fundamental biological processes February 21, 2018 - 11:17am

From optimizing food production to feed a growing population to discovering the fundamental behaviors and processes of biopolymers, faculty in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) are leveraging the interdisciplinary nature of the department to establish two new, innovative projects.

Saving Venice, MIT-style February 21, 2018 - 11:17am

This summer, MIT professors Paola Malanotte Rizzoli of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) and Andrew Whittle of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) led an intensive workshop with several Italian faculty exploring key challenges facing Venice. Ten MIT students and seven students from the University of Venice (IUAV) joined their engineering and urban planning expertise during the first two weeks at a research camp in Pellestrina, a small island in the Venetian Lagoon.

Phytoplankton and chips February 21, 2018 - 11:17am

Microbes mediate the global marine cycles of elements, modulating atmospheric carbon dioxide and helping to maintain the oxygen we all breathe, yet there is much about them scientists still don’t understand. Now, an award from the Simons Foundation will give researchers from MIT's Darwin Project access to bigger, better computing resources to model these communities and probe how they work.

MIT space hotel wins NASA graduate design competition February 21, 2018 - 11:17am

An interdisciplinary team of MIT graduate students representing five departments across the Institute was recently honored at NASA's Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts-Academic Linkage Design Competition Forum. The challenge involved designing a commercially enabled habitable module for use in low Earth orbit that would be extensible for future use as a Mars transit vehicle. The team’s design won first place in the competition’s graduate division.

Inspiring the next generation of engineers February 21, 2018 - 11:17am

The halls of MIT were abuzz with 30 children and teenagers eager to be civil and environmental engineers for a day.

All relatives, friends or neighbors of members of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), the young additions to the community were on campus for the second annual CEE Kids Camp, a day filled with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) activities that showcased research topics throughout the department.

Peatlands, already dwindling, could face further losses February 21, 2018 - 11:17am

Tropical peat swamp forests, which once occupied large swaths of Southeast Asia and other areas, provided a significant “sink” that helped remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But such forests have been disappearing fast due to clear-cutting and drainage projects making way for plantations. Now, research shows peatlands face another threat, as climate change alters rainfall patterns, potentially destroying even forested peatlands that remain undrained.

Building to better weather the storm February 21, 2018 - 11:17am

The Atlantic hurricane season has officially begun and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting “above normal” storm activity this year. That could mean significant damage to coastal communities — some of which are still recovering from last year’s hurricane season.

A deep dive into research February 21, 2018 - 11:17am

Ignacio Estay Forno handled his research project with care. “It was like my baby,” says the junior, who is majoring in electrical engineering and computer science (EECS).

His project, conducted in collaboration with graduate student Di Zhu in EECS professor Karl Berggren’s lab, focused on developing an array of detectors that could spot single photons, furthering a technology that is used in fast-paced communications and can reach near-gigabit speeds between the Earth and the moon. “I was involved heavily in every single step,” Estay Forno says.

Microbe generates extraordinarily diverse array of peptides February 21, 2018 - 11:17am

It’s one of the tiniest organisms on Earth, but also one of the most abundant. And now, the microscopic marine bacteria called Prochlorococcus can add one more superlative to its list of attributes: It evolves new kinds of metabolites called lanthipeptides, more abundantly and rapidly than any other known organism.

New nanowires are just a few atoms thick February 21, 2018 - 11:17am

“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.

Four from MIT awarded 2018 Schwarzman Scholarships February 21, 2018 - 11:17am

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.

MIT brainpower highlighted in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 lists for 2018 February 21, 2018 - 11:17am

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.

A new perspective on ancient materials inspires future innovation February 21, 2018 - 11:17am

Contemporary building materials are guaranteed for only about 100 years, yet structures built in Ancient Rome have survived for millennia. Questions about what accounts for this discrepancy in durability and resilience, and what engineers could learn from ancient technologies, are central to the research interests of Admir Masic, the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT.

Show the flow February 21, 2018 - 11:17am

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.

Gut microbes can protect against high blood pressure February 21, 2018 - 11:17am

Microbes living in your gut may help protect against the effects of a high-salt diet, according to a new study from MIT.

The MIT team, working with researchers in Germany, found that in both mice and humans, a high-salt diet shrinks the population of a certain type of beneficial bacteria. As a result, pro-inflammatory immune cells called Th-17 cells grow in number. These immune cells have been linked with high blood pressure, although the exact mechanism of how they contribute to hypertension is not yet known.

How to build better silk February 21, 2018 - 11:17am

When it comes to concocting the complex mix of molecules that makes up fibers of natural silk, nature beats human engineering hands down. Despite efforts to synthesize the material, artificial varieties still cannot match the natural fiber’s strength.

But by starting with silk produced by silkworms, breaking it down chemically, and then reassembling it, engineers have found they can make a material that is more than twice as stiff as its natural counterpart and can be shaped into complex structures such as meshes and lattices.