Buckling up to turn
MIT News - Civil & Environmental Engineering, 16 hours ago
Bacteria swim by rotating the helical, hairlike flagella that extend from their unicellular bodies. Some bacteria, including the Escherichia coli (E. coli) living in the human gut, have multiple flagella that rotate as a bundle to move the cell forward. These cells turn somewhat acrobatically by unb...
How anthropogenic emissions interact with organic compounds emitted by trees
MIT News - Civil & Environmental Engineering, 16 hours ago
MIT researchers are conducting fieldwork this summer in the Talladega National Forest in Alabama as part of the National Science Foundation's Southeast Atmosphere Study (SAS), an umbrella study comprising five projects undertaken by scientists from 30 research institutions. At the field site in a cl...
Phytoplankton social mixers
MIT News - Civil & Environmental Engineering, 16 hours ago
Tiny ocean plants, or phytoplankton, were long thought to be passive drifters in the sea - unable to defy even the weakest currents, or travel by their own volition. In recent decades, research has shown that many species of these unicellular microorganisms can swim, and do so to optimize light expo...
Just hanging on: Why mussels are so good at it
MIT News - Civil & Environmental Engineering, 16 hours ago
Unlike barnacles, which cement themselves tightly to the surfaces of rocks, piers or ships, the clamlike bivalves called mussels dangle more loosely from these surfaces, attached by a collection of fine filaments known as byssus threads. This approach lets the creatures drift further out into the wa...
Chisholm awarded the Ramon Margalef Prize in Ecology
MIT News - Civil & Environmental Engineering, 16 hours ago
The government of Catalonia, an autonomous community in Spain, has announced that Sallie (Penny) Chisholm has been selected to receive this year's Ramon Margalef Prize in Ecology. The prize, named for a distinguished Catalonian scientist and founding father of modern ecology, is one of the most pres...
Controlling contagion by restricting mobility
MIT News - Civil & Environmental Engineering, 16 hours ago
In an epidemic or a bioterrorist attack, the response of government officials could range from a drastic restriction of mobility - imposed isolation or total lockdown of a city - to moderate travel restrictions in some areas or simple suggestions that people remain at home. Deciding to institute any...
Broadening the 'SCOPE' of microbial oceanography
MIT News - Civil & Environmental Engineering, August 18, 2014
The Simons Foundation, a New York-based philanthropic organization that supports a range of basic science research, has made its first venture into microbial oceanography with a $40 million award to fund the creation of the Simons Collaboration on Ocean Processes and Ecology (SCOPE), a five-yea...
Learning how things fall apart
MIT News - Civil & Environmental Engineering, August 04, 2014
Materials that are firmly bonded together with epoxy and other tough adhesives are ubiquitous in modern life - from crowns on teeth to modern composites used in construction. Yet it has proved remarkably difficult to study how these bonds fracture and fail, and how to make them more resistant to suc...
Today's annoyances, tomorrow's technology
MIT News - Civil & Environmental Engineering, August 01, 2014
Paper wrinkles, tape tears, cables kink, columns buckle, eggshells break. Pedro M. Reis hopes to transform today's annoyances into tomorrow's technology. Reis, who holds a dual appointment in mechanical engineering and civil and environmental engineering and recently named one of Popular Scienc...
Study: Climate change and air pollution will combine to curb food supplies
MIT News - Civil & Environmental Engineering, July 28, 2014
Many studies have shown the potential for global climate change to cut food supplies. But these studies have, for the most part, ignored the interactions between increasing temperature and air pollution - specifically ozone pollution, which is known to damage crops. A new study involving researchers...
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