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Affordable housing that raises the bar

Daryl J. Carter, MArch ’81, SM ’81 grew up in the predominantly Black neighborhood of Core City on Detroit’s west side during the ’60s and ’70s, when redlining practices that reinforced segregated housing were still commonplace. The Federal Housing Authority and private banks denied low-interest loans to buyers in such neighborhoods, solidifying economic hardship for generations. Some...

Amit Sinha and Deepali Perti Sinha

“Because of my time at MIT, I had the training and opportunity to work with some of the smartest people throughout my career,” says Amit Sinha, chief technical officer and president of research and development, operations, and customer service at Zscaler, a cloud-based information security company. “Plus, my friends and colleagues think I’m smarter than I actually am!” Joking aside, he...

Digital body language for the post-pandemic era

The awkward pause on a Zoom call. The brusque, ambiguous email. The context-free meeting invite. When online interactions are so easily misconstrued, effective communication is essential. As the author of the new book Digital Body Language, Erica Dhawan, MBA ’12, trains corporate leaders to connect fluently in this new era of remote work, with clients ranging from the US Army to Pepsi to...

For this MIT couple, cancer research is the family business

Organic chemistry classes can create all sorts of memories, but few as lasting and meaningful as those of Alfred Singer ’68 and Dinah (Schiffer) Singer ’69. Since meeting while taking 5.41 in 1965—and graduating from MIT with degrees in biology (Dinah) and philosophy with a minor in biology (Al)—they have built an enduring marriage and influential careers at the National Cancer Institute...

Looking to space to cure osteoarthritis

In 1976, Alan Grodzinsky ’71, ScD ’74, was feeling a little frustrated.  He had spent two years teaching a basic course on semiconductor physics and circuits in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, learning the material in the fast-moving field as he went along. That didn’t leave him any time for research. Then a golden opportunity arose. With the...

Productive dialogue across lines of power

While working toward his PhD in sociotechnical studies at Stanford University in the 1980s, William Rifkin ’78 examined how a water quality control board in California handled disputes over pollution cleanup costs. The board was entirely Republican, while its technical staff seemed to be primarily Democratic—yet 99% of the time, the sides reached mutually agreeable resolutions. How? Rifkin...

Steady beat

The corridors of WMBR are quiet—empty of the DJs who should be combing the shelves in search of the perfect song, the engineers ensuring that the equipment is broadcasting to the whole Boston area. MIT’s campus radio station closed its doors in the basement of Walker Memorial in March 2020, when the Institute sent staff and students home at the start of the covid-19 pandemic. Though the campus...

The power of simple innovations

A labyrinth of rooms stretches across the third floor of N51, the weathered gray building that has long housed the MIT Museum. The rooms look more like a handyperson’s workshop than a scientist’s lab. There’s woodworking equipment, metalworking equipment, hammers, wrenches, and dozens of boxes just for storing bike parts. Cookstoves line a windowsill. Pots that cool food through evaporation...

Yup’ik fishing ancestry inspires Alaskan engineer and author

For Mia Heavener ’00, much of life revolves around water. As a senior civil engineer for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), she designs water systems for communities in her home state. And in her time off, she often works with her family’s commercial fishing business, which started with her great-grandmother. Nearly every summer she takes part in a three-week expedition to...


TUESDAY 26. OCTOBER 2021


The way forward: Merging IT and operations

Reihaneh Irani-Famili knows a little about the fault line running through just about every business today: the IT/OT divide. Now vice president of emergency planning and business resiliency at gas and electricity company National Grid, Irani-Famili was in previous jobs a translator of sorts between information technology, which manages data and applications, and operational technology, which...

Investing in people is key to successful transformation

People can be your most important catalyst for digital transformation—or the greatest obstacle. When people-related challenges to transformation progress emerge, the problems are usually very easy to identify but much harder to solve. The challenge is not awareness. Organizations realize that cloud transformations are hard and that they need highly skilled, motivated staff to carry…

Why the trial data supports covid-19 vaccines for children

On Tuesday, a panel of experts at the FDA will meet to discuss whether Pfizer’s covid vaccine should be approved for 5-to-11-year-olds in the US. If that group says yes, the decision will go to the CDC’s immunization advisory board, known as ACIP, which meets next week. According to Anthony Fauci, if both those groups give the thumbs up, vaccinations for millions of children could begin in...

How AI could solve supply chain shortages and save Christmas

With the supply-chain disruptions of the past two years showing no signs of easing anytime soon, businesses are turning to a new generation of AI-powered simulations called digital twins to help them get goods and services to customers on time. These tools not only predict disruptions down the line, but suggest what to do about it. Desperate companies struggling with the collapse of just-in-time...


MONDAY 25. OCTOBER 2021


Forget dating apps: Here’s how the net’s newest matchmakers help you find love

Katherine D. Morgan was “super burnt out” on dating apps. She’d seen people using services like Tinder and Bumble—but they didn’t make a lot of sense to her. “A lot of my friends were talking about how they had had success, and I was just like, ‘I wish there was another way,’” she says. So she took matters into her own hands. In July, she made a Twitter thread, inviting people...


FRIDAY 22. OCTOBER 2021


How AI is reinventing what computers are

Fall 2021: the season of pumpkins, pecan pies, and peachy new phones. Every year, right on cue, Apple, Samsung, Google, and others drop their latest releases. These fixtures in the consumer tech calendar no longer inspire the surprise and wonder of those heady early days. But behind all the marketing glitz, there’s something remarkable going on.  Google’s latest offering, the Pixel 6,...


WEDNESDAY 20. OCTOBER 2021


Decarbonizing industries with connectivity and 5G

Around the world, citizens, governments, and corporations are mobilizing to reduce carbon emissions. The unprecedented and ongoing climate disasters have put the necessity to decarbonize into sharp relief. In 2021 alone these climate emergencies included a blistering “heat dome” of nearly 50 °C in the normally temperate Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada, deadly and destructive...

Rediscover trust in cybersecurity

The world has changed dramatically in a short amount of time—changing the world of work along with it. The new hybrid remote and in-office work world has ramifications for tech—specifically cybersecurity—and signals that it’s time to acknowledge just how intertwined humans and technology truly are. Enabling a fast-paced, cloud-powered collaboration culture is critical to rapidly growing...

Surgeons have successfully tested a pig’s kidney in a human patient

The news: Surgeons have successfully attached a pig’s kidney to a human patient and watched it start to work, the AP reported today. The pig had been genetically-engineered so that its organ was less likely to be rejected. The feat is a potentially huge milestone in the quest to one day use animal organs for human transplants, and shorten waiting lists. How it worked: The surgical team,...


TUESDAY 19. OCTOBER 2021


Getting value from your data shouldn’t be this hard

The potential impact of the ongoing worldwide data explosion continues to excite the imagination. A 2018 report estimated that every second of every day, every person produces 1.7 MB of data on average—and annual data creation has more than doubled since then and is projected to more than double again by 2025. A report from McKinsey Global Institute estimates that skillful uses of big data could...