Engineering seeds to resist drought

A new seed-coating process could facilitate agriculture on marginal arid lands by enabling the seeds to retain any available water. As the world continues to warm, many arid regions that already have marginal conditions for agriculture will be increasingly under stress, potentially leading to severe food shortages. Now, researchers at MIT have come up with [...]

New approach could change how we track extreme air pollution events

Study demonstrates the power of low-cost air quality sensors during volcanic eruption When extreme and dangerous air pollution events strike and blanket the air with hazardous levels of pollution, it causes a major threat to public health and safety. It’s also exceedingly challenging to monitor. The pollutants move quickly through the atmosphere, and can undergo [...]

Visualizing cement hydration on a molecular level

Imaging technique could enable new pathways for reducing concrete’s hefty carbon footprint, as well as for 3-D printing of concrete. The concrete world that surrounds us owes its shape and durability to chemical reactions that start when ordinary Portland cement is mixed with water. Now, MIT scientists have demonstrated a way to watch these reactions [...]

New study examines topology optimization of rigid interlocking assemblies

Building materials and construction is growing and responsible for 11 percent of carbon emissions. How can we design and build better materials and structures that can reduce emissions and have better impacts on the environment? These are some of the questions being investigated in the top+ad lab of Assistant Professor, Josephine Carstensen, where topology optimization [...]

New research examines the fracture mechanisms of graphene

Understanding how materials fracture and break is critical to the design of resilient nanomaterials. Molecular dynamics offers a way to study fractures but is computationally expensive with limitations of scalability. To explore an alternative method, Professor Markus Buehler’s Laboratory for Atomistic and Molecular Mechanics (LAMM) group uses a machine learning model to predict the fracture [...]

Researchers develop Bluetooth powered “virtual virus” to track COVID-19’s spread

A virtual virus spread between smartphones could help track disease transmissions in real-time Throughout the country we have seen states lifting social-distancing measures and spring breakers crowding the beaches of Miami. What is the effect that this will have on the global pandemic? With current technologies we will have to wait until it’s too late [...]

Looking beyond luxury: MIT researchers eye silk as a powerful tool in the fight against climate change and global food sustainability

According to the United Nations, the world has seen a rapid, seven-fold increase to the global population, leading to an important question in our quest to address human impact on climate change: how can we continue to feed everyone without devastating our natural resources? In the United States alone, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates [...]

Research explores why C. difficile infection continues to spread despite increased sanitation practices and intervention methods

Work underscores C. difficile infection is not a common hospital transmission CAMBRIDGE, MA – New research from MIT suggests the risk of becoming colonized by Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) increases immediately following gastrointestinal (GI) disturbances that result in diarrhea. Once widely considered an antibiotic and hospital associated pathogen, recent research into C. difficile has [...]

Silk-based filtration material breaks barriers

When the Chinese first discovered silk, its superior quality and properties were thought so special, it was reserved exclusively for clothing the emperor, his relatives, and dignitaries. And for more than two millennia, the mechanisms of silk production were a highly guarded secret.   Fast forward to today: MIT and Tufts University researchers have discovered [...]