Engineering In Action

Putting Projects at the Forefront
Putting Projects at the Forefront

Rose Wang loves to work on projects — especially ones that exceed the bounds of her declared majors, economics and computer science. She thrives on do-it-yourself design solutions. Her latest involves making an aerodynamic drone. “We’ll see how that goes,” she says.

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Taking The Engine for a Test Drive
Taking The Engine for a Test Drive

Innovators, investors, and entrepreneurs worldwide are waiting on news of the first companies chosen to be part of The Engine. Founded by MIT, The Engine is a combination of long-term investment, resources, and services for founders working on “tough tech” that prioritizes high-impact solutions to big problems over early profits. This summer a group of MIT students got a taste of what it’s like to be inside The Engine’s space in Central Square, near the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They may not be members of The Engine’s first cohort of startups, but they still had a chance to warm up the space, so to speak, for those chosen.

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Apophis Is Coming!
Apophis Is Coming!

Alissa Michelle Earle is rehearsing in front of her class. She stands before a presentation slide, and reads: “Mission Motivation: Apophis is coming!”

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Entering the Animal World
Entering the Animal World

On a field trip, Harriet Ritvo and her MIT students went to look at preserved animals on public display, or stored as lab specimens, in collections housed at Harvard University. They encountered hundreds of species, some up close: touching the wings of a pickled bat, the silky fur of a mink, and the sharp claws of a lynx and a lion.

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The Creation of a Public Engineer
The Creation of a Public Engineer

“In my lab, we bridge a gap,” says Hadley Sikes. “We try to figure out how to take established science and implement it in clinical practice in a reliable, easy and cost-effective way.”

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Genuine Enthusiasm for AI
Genuine Enthusiasm for AI

On an afternoon in early April, Tommi Jaakkola is pacing at the front of the vast auditorium that is 26-100. The chalkboards behind him are covered with equations. Jaakkola looks relaxed in a short-sleeved black shirt and jeans, and gestures to the board. “What is the answer here?” he asks the 500 MIT students before him. “If you answer, you get a chocolate. If nobody answers, I get one — because I knew the answer and you didn’t.” The room erupts in laugher.

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The Warmup
The Warmup

With graduation on the horizon, MIT students Gabe Alba and Victoria Gregory have work to do. They have a promising idea, a series of prototypes, and if all goes according to plan, a trendy product that will satisfy a coffee drinker’s desire.

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The Sanity of the Long-Distance Runner
The Sanity of the Long-Distance Runner

Polina Anikeeva is ready for Patriots Day. Like the thousands of other runners who make their way from Hopkington, Massachusetts, all the way to that last turn onto Boylston Street in the heart of Beantown, she has her own reasons for running the Boston Marathon; among them: the desire for a balanced life within academe.

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Putting Data in the Hands of Doctors
Putting Data in the Hands of Doctors

Regina Barzilay is working with MIT students and medical doctors in an ambitious bid to revolutionize cancer care. She is relying on a tool largely unrecognized in the oncology world but deeply familiar to hers: machine learning. 

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Solid-State Learning
Solid-State Learning

When Jeffrey Grossman teaches solid-state chemistry, he keeps it moving. His shoes click across the front of the lecture hall floor with the cadence and energy of a tap dance. He spins toward the chalkboard and rapidly jots down equations. He pauses to hold up a large 3-D model of the atoms in a crystal structure, passes it into the sea of 400 students in the room, then resumes his lecture — without once breaking his rhythm.

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