Columbia law professors Olatunde Johnson and Carol Sanger assess a momentous Supreme Court decision
In January, researchers developed a cage-like vaccine platform called a mosaic nanoparticle that could help protect against multiple strains of coronavirus; obtained new insights into human decision-making using AI-trained networks playing video games; learned how tiny plants changed the planet nearly half a billion years ago; and studied chaotic systems using a camera that can take up to 70 trillion frames per second.
Meanwhile, the Institute announced that it would remove the names of known eugenics proponents from its buildings, honors, and assets.
February saw the historic landing of NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance on the Red Planet. The 2,263-pound rover, designed and operated by JPL, which Caltech manages for NASA, will spend two years investigating Mars’s Jezero crater, and will collect and cache samples of rocks and sediment for recovery by a subsequent mission.
Here on Earth, seismologists worked with optics experts to develop a method to use existing underwater telecommunication cables to detect earthquakes; physicists advanced the use of exotic materials for future ultrafast computers; and engineers perfected methods to place molecules in particular orientations at specific locations—work that paves the way for the integration of molecules with computer chips.
In March, Caltech researchers announced a non-invasive method that uses ultrasound to read and interpret brain activity related to the intent to move, a major step toward the creation of noninvasive brain–machine implants that can restore movement to paralyzed individuals; located Mars’s missing water; described a long-sought solution to “one of the most stubborn problems in math”; and explained how bacteria evolve resistance to antibiotics and how antibiotics help bacteria eat when nutrients are scarce.
The covid-19 pandemic has reinforced humanity’s dependence on modern tech, but the same tools that enable remote working are also being used to spread disinformation and perpetuate cybercrime. Ambivalence towards technology is nothing new. Read more of our coverage of Science & technology: https://econ.st/3CdkVa5
How has Einstein’s work on photons ushered in a golden age of light? Oliver Morton, The Economist’s briefings editor, explores why laser’s applications have been spectacular and how solar power became the cheapest source of electricity in many countries.
Also, he talks to the scientists scanning the skies with the largest digital camera in the world.
A method for printing 3D objects that can control living organisms in predicable ways has been developed by an interdisciplinary team of researchers at MIT and elsewhere. This technique may lead to 3D printing of biomedical tools that can be customized to fit the physical body and biomarkers of its users.
(Learn more: http://news.mit.edu/2020/3-d-bioprint…)
Listen to an explainer on 3D bioprinting and biohybrid materials: https://soundcloud.com/mitnewsoffice/…