Professor Xuanhe Zhao designs smooth gel coating for medical materials

July 18th, 20172017 News in Brief

Robert N. Noyce Career Development Associate Professor Xuanhe Zhao recently designed a new soft and slippery yet tough coating that can be applied to plastic and rubber materials such as surgical tubing. The coating makes medical materials more comfortable for patients. The method was recently published in Advanced Healthcare Materials. More information is available on MIT News.

Robert N. Noyce Career Development Associate Professor Xuanhe Zhao recently designed a new soft and slippery yet tough coating that can be applied to plastic and rubber materials such as surgical tubing. The coating makes medical materials more comfortable for patients. The method was recently published in Advanced Healthcare Materials. More information is available on MIT News.

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MIT-Imperial Exchange: Living and working in London

July 18th, 2017Undergraduate Student Life

By Milani Chatterji-Len This summer I am working in a research lab at Imperial College of London through the MIT-Imperial Exchange. The program, which strengthens the relationship between Imperial and MIT, sends students from across many departments at MIT to Imperial, and vice versa, every summer. The other 17 MIT students and I are part of a larger International Research Opportunities Program (IROP) at Imperial, with participating students from Korea, Singapore, Brazil, Canada, Germany and other countries. Along with being an amazing research experience, the program allows us to explore life in London and travel around Europe. Some of the MIT-Imperial Exchange students at the IROP Welcome Afternoon Tea after week one of the exchange. I’m working in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Environment and Water Resources section. My project, under the direction of Professor Wouter Buytaert, improves flood early warning systems in the Himalayan region. For the past few weeks, I have been creating a hydraulic model in MATLAB to attempt to precisely predict river flow during flood events. The project has been a great way to apply MATLAB and fluid mechanics knowledge from classes at MIT to real-world problems. It’s also been exciting working at a university with a different work culture and lab structure. Students from MIT, Imperial, Oxford, and University of Michigan on the pier in Brighton, England. In addition to exciting research, London also offers great travel opportunities. I intend to explore London and travel through the UK and Europe every [...]

By Milani Chatterji-Len

This summer I am working in a research lab at Imperial College of London through the MIT-Imperial Exchange. The program, which strengthens the relationship between Imperial and MIT, sends students from across many departments at MIT to Imperial, and vice versa, every summer.

The other 17 MIT students and I are part of a larger International Research Opportunities Program (IROP) at Imperial, with participating students from Korea, Singapore, Brazil, Canada, Germany and other countries. Along with being an amazing research experience, the program allows us to explore life in London and travel around Europe.

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Some of the MIT-Imperial Exchange students at the IROP Welcome Afternoon Tea after week one of the exchange.

I’m working in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Environment and Water Resources section. My project, under the direction of Professor Wouter Buytaert, improves flood early warning systems in the Himalayan region.

For the past few weeks, I have been creating a hydraulic model in MATLAB to attempt to precisely predict river flow during flood events. The project has been a great way to apply MATLAB and fluid mechanics knowledge from classes at MIT to real-world problems. It’s also been exciting working at a university with a different work culture and lab structure.

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Students from MIT, Imperial, Oxford, and University of Michigan on the pier in Brighton, England.

In addition to exciting research, London also offers great travel opportunities. I intend to explore London and travel through the UK and Europe every weekend, because there are so many exciting places to see in and around the city.

Plus, train, bus, and plane tickets tend to be less expensive because of the advanced European transit systems! This past weekend, I traveled to Brighton with a group of IROP and UROP students at Imperial. Brighton is a beach town on the southern coast of England, with a beautiful (albeit rocky) shore and tons of cute shops and restaurants.

In the following weeks, I will continue working on my research, traveling around Europe (Amsterdam and Paris!) and meeting new students at Imperial. MIT CEE’s participation in programs like this one is great, as it allow us to have amazing new research and living experiences abroad.

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Japan Adventures: Transportation

July 18th, 2017Undergraduate Student Life

By Eric Wong In my two months in Japan, the one aspect of Japanese culture that seems to permeate into everything is the pursuit of perfection. Life in Japan, as seen in transportation, is inseparable from the influence of that goal. Growing up in New York City and relying on the MTA to get back and forth to school every day has left me with a jaded view of public transit. Frequent delays and failing infrastructure are traits that I have come to associate with taking the subway. As for the bus, it was a necessary evil that was to be avoided at all costs. Fast forward to just seven weeks conducting research and exploring Japan, I now see how efficient and effective a well-run transportation network can be. Any branch of public transit, whether it is the upscale Shinkansen, the humble local train, and most surprising for me, the buses all are held to the same degree of professionalism and expectation of promised service. With timetables that are actually followed and orderly stations I find myself excited to take public transit and now see a car as a luxury rather than a necessity. Shinkansen pulling into Shin-Kobe station. Time tables are strictly followed in Japan. The trip from Kobe to Osaka took only 12 minutes (about half the time of a regular train on just a 25 mile trip)! However, as with any system, not everyone can be satisfied. There are always changes to consider. For one, the strict [...]

By Eric Wong

In my two months in Japan, the one aspect of Japanese culture that seems to permeate into everything is the pursuit of perfection. Life in Japan, as seen in transportation, is inseparable from the influence of that goal.

Growing up in New York City and relying on the MTA to get back and forth to school every day has left me with a jaded view of public transit. Frequent delays and failing infrastructure are traits that I have come to associate with taking the subway. As for the bus, it was a necessary evil that was to be avoided at all costs.

Fast forward to just seven weeks conducting research and exploring Japan, I now see how efficient and effective a well-run transportation network can be. Any branch of public transit, whether it is the upscale Shinkansen, the humble local train, and most surprising for me, the buses all are held to the same degree of professionalism and expectation of promised service. With timetables that are actually followed and orderly stations I find myself excited to take public transit and now see a car as a luxury rather than a necessity.

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Shinkansen pulling into Shin-Kobe station.

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Time tables are strictly followed in Japan. The trip from Kobe to Osaka took only 12 minutes (about half the time of a regular train on just a 25 mile trip)!

However, as with any system, not everyone can be satisfied. There are always changes to consider. For one, the strict accordance with published timetables would leave trains that arrived earlier than expected waiting at the station until their scheduled departure that, at times, meant sitting for minutes on end until father time finally caught up. Personally, that extra time spent in the stations was further dampened by their overly utilitarian-based design. While they were effective in directing passengers to their respective platforms, the stations left me uninspired and wanting more. For a space that see thousands of users walk through its gates and under its cover, train stations represent a great opportunity to showcase the local area.

Hats off to you, Japan, for showing this Brooklyn kid what public transportation can really be.

Eric is a rising junior at MIT in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering with a focus on the intersection between structural engineering and architecture. He’s interested in the power and process of design in creating sustainable, captivating structures. This summer Eric is researching structural optimization under Professor Makoto Ohsaki at Kyoto University through CEE and MISTI (MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives).

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Japan Adventures: Kyoto

July 12th, 2017Undergraduate Student Life

By Eric Wong Kyoto is known for its seemingly endless number of shrines and tranquil natural sights. While this is undoubtedly true, it is also very much a city and that’s where the charm of the once imperial capital of Japan comes out. From my apartment in the northern neighborhood of Yoshida, Kyoto there is a seamless mix of a concrete jungle and a literal jungle. Depending on which way you walk, you’ll find yourself lost in two different worlds. A short trip north and you’ll find yourself in front of the Shimogamo-Jinja and transported into ancient Japan with a forest and shrine almost unchanged save for a few security cameras or towered over by Mount Daimonji whose name directly translates to reference the prominent kanji for “big” on its face. View from Ginkaku-ji Temple, also known as the Silver Temple. Looking towards the main entrance of the Konkai-Komyoji Temple complex. As quickly as you can find yourself looking into the past, going in another direction can lead you straight to the heart of a modern city. While it is no New York, the Shijo area reminds you that there is more to Kyoto than mementos of the past. Whether it’s giant panchinko stores, costume renting karaoke, or name brand shopping, there’s a place for that here. Shijo-dori (4th Street), a covered street lined with shops. Street off of Shijo-dori with plenty of food options. For people who, like me, need the proximity of a bustling metropolis but prefers to [...]

By Eric Wong

Kyoto is known for its seemingly endless number of shrines and tranquil natural sights. While this is undoubtedly true, it is also very much a city and that’s where the charm of the once imperial capital of Japan comes out.

From my apartment in the northern neighborhood of Yoshida, Kyoto there is a seamless mix of a concrete jungle and a literal jungle. Depending on which way you walk, you’ll find yourself lost in two different worlds.

A short trip north and you’ll find yourself in front of the Shimogamo-Jinja and transported into ancient Japan with a forest and shrine almost unchanged save for a few security cameras or towered over by Mount Daimonji whose name directly translates to reference the prominent kanji for “big” on its face.

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View from Ginkaku-ji Temple, also known as the Silver Temple.

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Looking towards the main entrance of the Konkai-Komyoji Temple complex.

As quickly as you can find yourself looking into the past, going in another direction can lead you straight to the heart of a modern city. While it is no New York, the Shijo area reminds you that there is more to Kyoto than mementos of the past. Whether it’s giant panchinko stores, costume renting karaoke, or name brand shopping, there’s a place for that here.

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Shijo-dori (4th Street), a covered street lined with shops.

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Street off of Shijo-dori with plenty of food options.

For people who, like me, need the proximity of a bustling metropolis but prefers to relax by a river, Kyoto is an absolute gem of a destination. Experiencing the seamless integration of relics of its golden days as the capital with the modern city that it has become is worth the trip.

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The Kamo River runs right through Kyoto and provides a relaxing stroll or destination with a gorgeous view.

Eric is a rising junior at MIT in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering with a focus on the intersection between structural engineering and architecture. He’s interested in the power and process of design in creating sustainable, captivating structures. This summer Eric is researching structural optimization under Professor Makoto Ohsaki at Kyoto University through CEE and MISTI (MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives).

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Summer In Santiago

July 7th, 2017Undergraduate Student Life

By Christine Langston I’m spending the summer (or rather winter in the southern hemisphere) in Santiago, the capital city of Chile through a MIT program called MISTI (MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives). I’m interning with the Chilean Agency of Economic Development, and specifically working on the public-private initiative called SE.Santiago. I’m really excited to be a part of this project because its mission is to make Santiago into a Smart City, or a city that incorporates information and technology to make it more sustainable, modern, and safe. I hiked a hill called Cerro Santa Lucia in the middle of the city and was able to see this amazing view of the city streets and the Andes Mountains at sunset.  So far, I’ve shadowed the executive director of the initiative to his meetings and I’ve seen how the government works on a project like this, communicating with over 30 stakeholders, through a combination of innovation workshops, breakfast board meetings, consulting firm meetings, and discussions with professors. My job is completely in Spanish, although many people here know varying amounts of English. I’ve had a great experience meeting a variety of people and looking at the city from different perspectives. I’m working directly under the economic sector of the government, but I’m also doing my research and creating reports under the theme of mobility, on the topics of Ecommerce and urban logistics. Last weekend, I went to Cajon del Maipo in the Andes mountains, where one of the water reservoirs for the [...]

By Christine Langston

I’m spending the summer (or rather winter in the southern hemisphere) in Santiago, the capital city of Chile through a MIT program called MISTI (MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives). I’m interning with the Chilean Agency of Economic Development, and specifically working on the public-private initiative called SE.Santiago. I’m really excited to be a part of this project because its mission is to make Santiago into a Smart City, or a city that incorporates information and technology to make it more sustainable, modern, and safe.

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I hiked a hill called Cerro Santa Lucia in the middle of the city and was able to see this amazing view of the city streets and the Andes Mountains at sunset. 

So far, I’ve shadowed the executive director of the initiative to his meetings and I’ve seen how the government works on a project like this, communicating with over 30 stakeholders, through a combination of innovation workshops, breakfast board meetings, consulting firm meetings, and discussions with professors. My job is completely in Spanish, although many people here know varying amounts of English. I’ve had a great experience meeting a variety of people and looking at the city from different perspectives. I’m working directly under the economic sector of the government, but I’m also doing my research and creating reports under the theme of mobility, on the topics of Ecommerce and urban logistics.

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Last weekend, I went to Cajon del Maipo in the Andes mountains, where one of the water reservoirs for the city of Santiago is located. What an example of civil and environmental engineering (there’s a massive dam). So beautiful! 

Three weeks in to my internship in Chile, I’d describe life here as comfortable. I take the metro to work every day, make my own food at my apartment I’m sharing with another MIT student, and get together with other Americans on some weeknights and the weekends. It’s the little things that are different that surprise me and throw me off, reminding me that I’m in another country. Like not being able to understand everything people are saying around me in the metro and trying to remember the different words and variations for excuse me when we arrive at my station and I need to get through the crowd. Or in the supermarket, having to weigh your produce before you get to the check out, not being able to find milk and eggs in the refrigerator section, and being asked if you’d like to pay for the supermarket bill ‘sin cuotas or con cuotas’, all at one time or in billable parts. I’m still at the age that everything I do by myself makes me feel like such a credentialed adult – like I survived the most difficult test yet. Because every task has just a little more stress here, due to the language translation and the crowds of people of the city, any still moment I have, I find myself letting out a sigh of relief.

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Me in Valparaiso, a costal city about 1.5 hours west of Santiago. 

Christine Langston is a rising junior at MIT in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and is interested in systems engineering, specifically how technology can improve cities in the areas of transportation, business, and sustainability. She is spending the summer in Santiago, Chile while interning at the Chilean Agency of Economic Development through MISTI (MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives).

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ONE-MA3 2017: The Finale

July 5th, 2017ONE-MA3 2017

By Sierra Rosenzweig For ONE-MA3’s last day together in Italy, we had a lot of work planned. We started the day by pulling our boulders out of the oven and taking samples of the interior and exterior layers of the cooked gypsum. We put the boulders in a grinder and crushed them into a fine powder that could be used to make into sculptures. Collecting samples of the gypsum after pulling it out of the oven Once we ground the gypsum, we mixed it with water, making it moldable for a few moments before becoming hard. We tried lots of different gypsum to water ratios to find the optimal mixture that would allow us to mold what we needed without it setting and cracking first. We made trinkets with the gypsum while we experimented, including six-sided die and hands molded with rubber gloves. Our final creation was a ceiling tile with the MIT logo that was permanently placed in the workshop where we created our frescoes earlier in the week. A gypsum peace sign molded from one of the rubber gloves Once our work was finished, we started our American Independence Day celebrations. To celebrate, we went on a truffle hunting trip with a dog that would help sniff out truffles! We collected our truffles and brought them back to town where our hosts were waiting with hamburgers and hotdogs for our American style supper. We were surprised with an American flag and some flying lanterns which we launched into [...]

By Sierra Rosenzweig

For ONE-MA3’s last day together in Italy, we had a lot of work planned. We started the day by pulling our boulders out of the oven and taking samples of the interior and exterior layers of the cooked gypsum. We put the boulders in a grinder and crushed them into a fine powder that could be used to make into sculptures.

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Collecting samples of the gypsum after pulling it out of the oven

Once we ground the gypsum, we mixed it with water, making it moldable for a few moments before becoming hard. We tried lots of different gypsum to water ratios to find the optimal mixture that would allow us to mold what we needed without it setting and cracking first. We made trinkets with the gypsum while we experimented, including six-sided die and hands molded with rubber gloves. Our final creation was a ceiling tile with the MIT logo that was permanently placed in the workshop where we created our frescoes earlier in the week.

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A gypsum peace sign molded from one of the rubber gloves

Once our work was finished, we started our American Independence Day celebrations. To celebrate, we went on a truffle hunting trip with a dog that would help sniff out truffles! We collected our truffles and brought them back to town where our hosts were waiting with hamburgers and hotdogs for our American style supper. We were surprised with an American flag and some flying lanterns which we launched into the night sky. Our trip was concluded by watching our lanterns drift away as we walked through town waving our American flag.

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Omar poses with his truffle next to our truffle dog, Chak

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Gianfranco and Marco pose with the American flag that they painted for us in celebration of the Fourth of July

 

This summer, Professor Admir Masic is leading a program on Materials in Art, Archaeology and Architecture (ONE-MA3), in which MIT undergraduates are conducting three weeks of fieldwork in Privernum, Pompeii and Turin as a prerequisite for the Fall 2017 MIT course, 1.057 Heritage Science and Technology.  The program involves real-world analysis of ancient infrastructures and materials and focus on teaching ways to improve sustainability of the future through the study of ancient successes.

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