New quantum electronic material; soft robotic fish; black hole devours a star

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
March 23, 2018

MIT News: top stories


A weekly digest of the Institute’s research and innovation



Physicists discover new quantum electronic material


With an atomic structure resembling a Japanese basketweaving pattern, “kagome metal” exhibits exotic, quantum behavior.




Soft robotic fish swims alongside real ones in coral reefs


Made of silicone rubber, CSAIL’s “SoFi” could enable a closer study of aquatic life.




Scientists detect radio echoes of a black hole feeding on a star


Signals suggest black hole emits a jet of energy proportional to the stellar material it gobbles up.




In field tests, device harvests water from desert air


MIT-developed system could provide drinking water even in extremely arid locations.




How often do medical problems lead to bankruptcy?


Poor health is a less common cause of bankruptcy than commonly thought, but it brings other economic woes, study finds.




A low-tech solution for high-impact health care


An interdisciplinary team of MIT students develops a solution to improve medical care for refugees as part of the Vatican’s first-ever hackathon.



In the Media



CSAIL researchers have developed a soft robotic fish, known as SoFi, that can “capture high-resolution photos and video with a camera built into its nose,” writes Will Dunham for Reuters. “The robot can be used as a marine biology instrument and also to measure pollution in coastal waters, to create maps, to do inspection, to monitor and track,” said Prof. Daniela Rus.




Research led by Dheeraj Pasham, a postdoc at MIT's Kavli Institute, provides evidence “that black holes feed on passing stars then eject energetic jet streams,” writes Laney Ruckstuhl for The Boston Globe. “Such black hole jet streams can have large implications for the galaxies they enter. Pasham said they can regulate the growth of a galaxy because of their energy levels."




In a new working paper, Prof. Daron Acemoglu and his co-author argue that the rise in automation is linked to the aging of the blue-collar population. “The study shows that workers feeling the brunt of automation in lost jobs and lower wages are between the ages of 36 and 55. Those findings should make it easier for policy makers to track down the most affected workers—and help them survive the robot rush,” writes Ana Campoy for Quartz.



around campus



Yo-Yo Ma calls for “culture in action” to build a better world


Famed cellist delivers MIT’s annual Compton Lecture, adding some musical interludes.




MIT graduate engineering, business, science programs ranked highly by U.S. News for 2019


Graduate engineering program is No. 1 in the nation; MIT Sloan is No. 5.




Lending mind, hand, and heart


Senior Isabella Pecorari is building supportive communities at MIT and beyond.




Nicholas James ’17 named U.S. Air Force Cadet of the Year


Graduate student in aeronautics and astronautics is cited for military, academic achievement and service.



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