Engineering In Action

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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Project Sandcastle
Project Sandcastle

On a foggy night in San Francisco, a Bat-Signal appears in the sky. It flickers above a house on the highest hilltop in the city, where five MIT students live in what other people call a “hacker house.” It’s a label the students avoid.

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Fighting ALS with Mind, Hand, and Heart
Fighting ALS with Mind, Hand, and Heart

When Bobby Forster proposed to his girlfriend, they were both covered in beads and face paint, among the hordes at Mardi Gras in New Orleans. He dropped to one knee; she said yes. In an instant, he was on his feet, wrapping his arms around her. They kissed for so long the revelers, hooting for them, ran out of breath.

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