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We tried out the first statewide vaccine passport

On June 20, about 20,000 fans gathered at Madison Square Garden in New York City for a Foo Fighters concert. The venue was at full capacity for the first time since the start of the pandemic, but it wasn’t a full return to normalcy: To get in, ticket holders needed to show proof that they’d been vaccinated—in the form of either a paper card or the state’s Excelsior Pass, a much-debated...


MONDAY 5. JULY 2021



FRIDAY 2. JULY 2021


Are computers ready to solve this notoriously unwieldy math problem?

The computer scientist Marijn Heule is always on the lookout for a good mathematical challenge. An associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Heule has an impressive reputation for solving intractable math problems with computational tools. His 2016 result with the “Boolean Pythagorean triples problem” was an enormous headline-grabbing proof: “Two hundred terabyte maths proof...


THURSDAY 1. JULY 2021


Rebalancing the data economy: Startups for a restart

The big data era has created valuable resources for public interest outcomes, like health care. In the last 18 months, the speed with which scientists were able to respond to the covid-19 pandemic—faster than any other disease in history—demonstrated the benefits of gathering, sharing, and extracting value from data for a wider good. Access to data from 56 million National Health Service...


WEDNESDAY 30. JUNE 2021


What being a physician taught one astronaut about living in space

Not all astronauts start off as test pilots. I spoke with David Saint-Jacques, a Canadian astronaut with a medical degree who’s spent 203 days aboard the ISS, and learned some of the career twists and turns one can take on the way into orbit.  Most people would think being an engineer and astrophysicist is enough. You also earned a medical degree—and then topped that by becoming an...

35 Innovators Under 35

The 35 Innovators Under 35 is our yearly opportunity to take a look at not just where technology is now, but where it’s going and who’s taking it there. More than 500 people are nominated every year, and from this group the editors pick the most promising 100 to move on to the semifinalist round. Their work is then evaluated by our panel of judges who have expertise in such areas as artificial...

Cheaper solar PV is key to addressing climate change

In late 2007, less than 10 years into the company’s existence, Google came out swinging on the clean energy front. To a fanfare of plaudits up and down Silicon Valley and well beyond, it declared “RE<C” as its goal: make renewable energy cheaper than coal. The company invested tens of millions of dollars into R&D efforts from concentrated solar power to hydrothermal drilling. Four...

The change chronicles

October 1967 From “How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Live with Irrationality”: Whatever form it takes, resistance to any change is essentially an act of self-protection. When an individual perceives that the consequences of a change conflict with his needs and desires, he will become anxious and fear for his future. … Whether or not the circumstances justify such response is...

The power of us

Though we’ve called it the “Change” issue, this edition of the magazine is really about two things: reflection and empowerment.  For far too many of us, the pandemic has been a study in feeling powerless, and we’ve had little time to reflect as we focus on keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe, employed, and as mentally sound as possible. We’ve been forced to cope almost...

This photographer-scientists collaboration shows the speed of climate change

Climate change is warping geological time, compressing the time scales of natural processes. In photographs taken around the world, Ian van Coller has documented these shifts, reflected in rocks, sediment, and the shrinking of glaciers. Van Coller collaborates with scientists who annotate his images, pointing out key geological features. He also uses historical photos to show changes, juxtaposing...

What does breaking up Big Tech really mean?

For Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Alphabet, covid-19 was an economic blessing. Even as the pandemic sent the global economy into a deep recession and cratered most companies’ profits, these companies—often referred to as the “Big Four” of technology—not only survived but thrived. Collectively, they now have annual revenue of well over a trillion dollars, and…

Why it’s so hard to make tech more diverse

In 2017, MIT Technology Review honored Tracy Chou as one of our 35 Innovators Under 35. At the time, Chou was working to expose Silicon Valley’s diversity issues. As an engineer at Pinterest, she’d published a widely circulated blog post calling for tech companies to share data on how many women worked on their engineering teams. She collected their responses in a public database that revealed...


TUESDAY 29. JUNE 2021


Mapping the way to climate resilience

Many companies don’t know yet how climate change will change their business, but more are taking the inquiry seriously, signaling a new reality—one that calls any companies don’t yet know how for guarding against systemic risk while protecting customer relationships and corporate reputations. Recognizing that reducing carbon emissions is essential to combat climate change, AT&T has made...

Can the most exciting new solar material live up to its hype?

Testing perovskite solar cells in the lab used to require a decent pair of running shoes. The materials fell apart so quickly that scientists would bolt from where they made the cells to where they tested them, trying to measure their performance before the cells degraded in their hands—usually within a couple of minutes. Perovskites have long enchanted researchers with the promise of...

Is Facebook a monopoly? Please define, says judge.

It was never going to be easy to challenge the market power of Facebook, the world’s largest social network and 34th-largest company, by revenue—and on Monday, a US judge further complicated efforts by dismissing two legal complaints against it brought by attorneys general around the country.  Judge James Boasberg of the DC Circuit Court sided with the company in its motion to dismiss two...


MONDAY 28. JUNE 2021


The Northwest’s blistering heatwave underscores the fragility of our grids

The record-breaking heatwave baking the Northwest US offers the latest example of how ill-prepared we are to deal with the deadly challenges of climate change. The triple-digit temperatures in many areas have created soaring energy demands and strains on the grid, as residents crank up fans and air conditioners—in many cases newly acquired units in places that have rarely required them in the...

Venus doesn’t have enough water in its clouds to sustain life

It has long been thought that intense pressures and temperatures on Venus made life at the surface practically impossible. So last September, when scientists announced the possible discovery of phosphine gas in the atmosphere of Venus—a potential biosignature of life—some wondered whether microbial life might be living in the planet’s clouds. They may want to temper expectations. A new...