TESS readies for takeoff; optoelectronic computer chips; E arth's earliest life

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
April 13, 2018

MIT News: top stories

A weekly digest of the Institute’s research and innovation

TESS readies for takeoff

Satellite developed by MIT aims to discover thousands of nearby exoplanets, including at least 50 Earth-sized ones.

Photonic communication comes to computer chips

Startup’s optoelectronic chips could reduce energy usage by up to 50 percent in data centers while increasing computing speeds.

Brewing up Earth’s earliest life

Large concentrations of sulfites and bisulfites in shallow lakes may have set the stage for Earth’s first biological molecules.

Carbon taxes could make significant dent in climate change, study finds

Several different carbon-pricing approaches would help reduce emissions, and some would be fair as well, researchers report.

Fine-tuning fusion

Postdoc Theresa Wilks finds home on the west coast, helming an MIT collaboration with the DIII-D tokamak fusion reactor.

Dense stellar clusters may foster black hole megamergers

Black holes in these environments could combine repeatedly to form objects bigger than anything a single star could produce.

In the Media

Jenny Anderson of Quartz describes a new study from MIT’s McGovern Institute and others showing that back-and-forth banter proved much more predictive of a child’s language development than the number of words spoken to them. “[MIT graduate student Rachel] Romeo and her colleagues believe that these conversational turns help to actually rewire and grow kids’ brains,” writes Anderson.

New research from MIT and the Whitehead Institute suggests that “the body’s own mechanism for healing” may cause cancerous cells to spread after breast cancer-related surgeries, reports Karen Weintraub for WBUR CommonHealth. “The post-surgical wound-healing response somehow releases…cells that have already spread to distant sites in the body,” explains Prof. Robert Weinberg, “releasing them from the constraints that have previously prevented them from growing actively.”

An international research team, led by postdoctoral fellow Carl Rodriguez, has found that dense star clusters could be a breeding ground for black holes, writes Elise Takahama for The Boston Globe. These star clusters “can create a new black hole that’s more massive and the new massive one can find itself another companion and potentially merge again,” Rodriguez explains.

around campus

Jasmin Joseph: “I love the idea of making an impact on global health”

MIT senior and varsity softball co-captain brings positivity and determination to life-saving biology research.

Q&A: Composer Tod Machover presents “Philadelphia Voices”

Ambitious new piece in his “City Symphony” series features the birthplace of American democracy.

Simple, low-cost E. coli test wins MIT Water Innovation Prize

Nine student teams pitched solutions to global water issues at annual event.

With The Herman Project, home bakers become citizen scientists

Network tracks the evolution of microbial communities in sourdough starter mixtures shared around the world.

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