Category Archives: Science & Technology

System monitors radiation damage to materials in real-time

>>Facility could rapidly provide data on how material properties change in a nuclear reactor In order to evaluate a material’s ability to withstand the high-radiation environment inside a nuclear reactor, researchers have traditionally used a method known as “cook and look,” meaning the material is

The privacy risks of compiling mobility data

>>Merging different types of location-stamped data can make it easier to discern users’ identities, even when the data is anonymized A new study by MIT researchers finds that the growing practice of compiling massive, anonymized datasets about people’s movement patterns is a double-edged sword: While

MIT engineers repurpose wasp venom as an antibiotic drug

>>Altered peptides from a South American wasp’s venom can kill bacteria but are nontoxic to human cells The venom of insects such as wasps and bees is full of compounds that can kill bacteria. Unfortunately, many of these compounds are also toxic for humans, making

“Sun in a box” would store renewable energy for the grid

>>Design for system that provides solar- or wind-generated power on demand should be cheaper than other leading options   MIT engineers have come up with a conceptual design for a system to store renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, and deliver that energy

A new way to provide cooling without power

>>Device developed at MIT could provide refrigeration for off-grid locations MIT researchers have devised a new way of providing cooling on a hot sunny day, using inexpensive materials and requiring no fossil fuel-generated power. The passive system, which could be used to supplement other cooling

What happens when materials take tiny hits

>>High-speed camera shows incoming particles cause damage by briefly melting surfaces as they strike When tiny particles strike a metal surface at high speed — for example, as coatings being sprayed or as micrometeorites pummeling a space station — the moment of impact happens so

MIT engineers fly first-ever plane with no moving parts

>>The silent, lightweight aircraft doesn’t depend on fossil fuels or batteries Since the first airplane took flight over 100 years ago, virtually every aircraft in the sky has flown with the help of moving parts such as propellers, turbine blades, and fans, which are powered

Explaining the plummeting cost of solar power

>>Researchers tease apart the factors that have caused photovoltaic module costs to drop by 99 percent The dramatic drop in the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, which has fallen by 99 percent over the last four decades, is often touted as a major success