Study suggests animals think probabilistically to distinguish contexts

New statistical model may help scientists understand how animals infer whether surroundings are novel or haven’t changed enough to be a new context.

David Orenstein | Picower Institute for Learning and Memory • mit
yesterday ~6 min

Tags: biology memory research behavior school-of-science brain-and-cognitive-sciences center-for-brains-minds-and-machines picower-institute

SMART research enhances dengue vaccination in mice

Sequential immunization might be safer and more effective than the existing tetravalent vaccine.

Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology • mit
Aug. 11, 2020 ~5 min

Tags: health biology vaccines disease viruses research school-of-science singapore-mit-alliance-for-research-and-technology-smart

How airplanes counteract St. Elmo’s Fire during thunderstorms

On the ground, windy conditions strengthen these electrical flashes, but new experiments tell a different story for flying objects.

Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office • mit
Aug. 10, 2020 ~8 min

Tags: aircraft research weather wind school-of-engineering aeronautical-and-astronautical-engineering

Why shaving dulls even the sharpest of razors

Human hair is 50 times softer than steel, yet it can chip away a razor’s edge, a new study shows.

Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office • mit
Aug. 6, 2020 ~7 min

Tags: imaging research metals school-of-engineering materials-science-and-engineering dmse

A new tool for modeling the human gut microbiome

Bacteria linked to Crohn’s disease are difficult to grow in the lab, but MIT engineers have found a way.

Anne Trafton | MIT News Office • mit
Aug. 6, 2020 ~7 min

Tags: medicine bacteria microbes disease research mechanical-engineering school-of-engineering national-institutes-of-health-nih biological-engineering health-sciences-and-technology

Key brain region was “recycled” as humans developed the ability to read

Part of the visual cortex dedicated to recognizing objects appears predisposed to identifying words and letters, a study finds.

Anne Trafton | MIT News Office • mit
Aug. 4, 2020 ~7 min

Tags: neuroscience learning research school-of-science brain-and-cognitive-sciences center-for-brains-minds-and-machines mcgovern-institute

Lava oceans may not explain the brightness of some hot super-Earths

By making their own lava and cooled glass, scientists find these materials likely aren’t responsible for the unexpected glow of some exoplanets.

Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office • mit
Aug. 4, 2020 ~8 min

Tags: physics astrophysics space astronomy exoplanets research school-of-engineering school-of-science kavli-institute planetary-science eaps and-planetary-science

Can a quantum strategy help bring down the house?

Study finds quantum entanglement could, in principle, give a slight advantage in the game of blackjack.

Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office • mit
Aug. 3, 2020 ~8 min

Tags: physics quantum-computing research school-of-science algorithms national-science-foundation-nsf center-for-theoretical-physics

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