Critical period for learning language; better brain MRI; e ffects of improving infrastructure

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
May 4, 2018

MIT News: top stories


A weekly digest of the Institute’s research and innovation



Cognitive scientists define critical period for learning language


Study shows children remain adept learners until the age of 17 or 18.




Calcium-based MRI sensor enables more sensitive brain imaging


System detects direct signals of neural activity; could reveal patterns underlying behavior.




How much does infrastructure boost an economy?


MIT economist’s historical study details how railroads helped India trade and grow.




Brad Pentelute: In search of novel proteins


Chemistry professor builds on nature to design new drugs and engineer better ways to deliver them.




3 Questions: Melissa Nobles and Craig Steven Wilder on the MIT and Legacy of Slavery project


MIT Community Dialogue series is underway as multi-year research continues.




How to assess new solar technologies


MIT analysis shows when and where advanced photovoltaics would be economic to install.



In the Media



Prof. Parag Pathak, winner of the John Bates Clark Medal, speaks to The Wall Street Journal’s Michelle Hackman about his research on school choice. “What I sometimes find frustrating in conversations about student achievement is they often get sidetracked from the issue of school quality,” Pathak says. “Our job as researchers is exploring the nuances and subtleties.”




New research suggests “children are highly skilled at learning the grammar of a new language up until the age of 17 or 18, much longer than previously thought,” reports Kashmira Gander in Newsweek. “We may need to go back to the drawing board in trying to explain why adults have trouble learning language,” Joshua Hartshorne, who co-wrote the study as a postdoc at MIT, tells Gander.




In an opinion piece for The Boston Globe, Alex Amouyel, executive director of MIT Solve, explains how the initiative is ‘crowdsolving’ thorny global problems through open innovation. “We need to source ideas from innovators all around the world to find the next breakthroughs,” argues Amouyel. “We know talent and ingenuity exist everywhere.”



around campus



Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to headline Solve at MIT annual meeting


May 16-18 event, hosted by MIT Solve, will include remarks from Eric Schmidt, Ursula Burns, Yo-Yo Ma, and Luis Alberto Moreno, among other luminaries.




National Academy of Sciences elects four MIT professors for 2018


Finkelstein, Kardar, Wen, and Zhang honored for research achievements.




Addressing bias, inequality, and accessibility in breastfeeding


Make the Breast Pump Not Suck hackathon at the Media Lab emphasizes social and political issues over engineering.




Featured video: On alien typos and self-care, in conversation with Seth Meyers


Grad student Jonny Sun jokes on late-night TV about his alien persona and the unique challenges of working on a PhD while creating a graphic novel.



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