Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

AAAS Annual Meeting Puts MIT Science and Technology on Display

Published: Friday, February 22, 2013
Last Updated: Friday, February 22, 2013
Bookmark and Share
The 2013 conference, held last week in Boston, featured research presentations, hands-on demonstrations.

The annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) took place Feb. 14-18 at Boston’s Hynes Convention Center. The gathering highlighted a diverse roster of MIT researchers presenting work on everything from human-robot interactions to the convergence of biology and engineering, as well as hands-on demonstrations ranging from tiny model rockets to Lego models of chemical reactions in the atmosphere.

Nearly 10,000 scientists and citizens registered for the conference, including more than 900 journalists from around the world. MIT was represented by about a dozen faculty members and other speakers who presented talks on their research, as well as by students and staffers who engaged in demonstrations at the event’s Family Science Days.

In the dark

Samuel Ting, the Thomas P. Cabot Professor of Physics, summarized 18 years of work to develop a $1.5 billion set of instruments for the International Space Station. Some in attendance had expected that he might use the occasion to present the long-awaited first results of experiments designed to search for direct signs of dark matter in the universe, but Ting said the research team, which consists of six separate groups, was still finishing its analysis of the data and expected to make an announcement in several weeks.

“Everybody has their own interpretations,” Ting said, noting that one of the six teams “has very different theories” from the others. “Certainly we are not going to publish something if it’s not worthwhile.”

Ting said the experiment has examined about 25 billion “events” — impacts by cosmic rays — to search for differences in the ratio of electrons to their antimatter counterparts, called positrons, and for any differences in emissions from different parts of the sky.

Converging on convergence


In another session, Institute Professor Phillip Sharp said that scientific convergence — the ongoing merger of the life, physical and engineering sciences — represents an important new research model for biomedicine. “Convergence will be the emerging paradigm for how medical research will be conducted in the future,” he said, but added that serious policy challenges that must be resolved in order to realize this potential.

Speaking in the same session, Tyler Jacks, the David H. Koch Professor of Biology and director of MIT’s David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, added that this radically new approach holds the potential to chart a new course in cancer research by revolutionizing the disease’s diagnosis, monitoring and treatment.

On a similar theme, Institute Professor Robert Langer spoke on “Challenges and Opportunities at the Confluence of Biotechnology and Nanomaterials.” He described great progress in recent years in the development and commercialization of biomedical innovations through collaboration with materials scientists and engineers.

Hundreds of families, billions of experiments

On Saturday and Sunday, hundreds of families flocked to the AAAS meeting for Family Science Days, which included a series of talks, exhibits and hands-on activities. There, Angela Belcher, the W.M. Keck Professor of Energy, described her lab’s work to harness the power of biological organisms to create new technologies.

“How many of you have ever done a billion experiments?” she asked a group of parents and children, none of whom raised their hands.

In her lab, Belcher explained, it is now possible to do a billion experiments at once, using a beaker full of viruses to extract elements from water and assemble them into batteries or solar cells. She then demonstrated such a virus-built battery in action — a demonstration that she said she had also shown to President Barack Obama during his 2009 visit to MIT.

Other hands-on activities used Lego blocks to show the molecular structure of DNA; gave children a chance to launch tiny, antacid-powered “rockets” made from paper and empty film canisters; and demonstrated airplane-wing function using a miniature wind tunnel and vapor from dry ice. MIT’s D-Lab, which aims to create technologies for use in developing nations, mounted an exhibit that gave children a chance to try out some D-Lab inventions — including devices for shelling corn and for making charcoal briquettes out of charred agricultural waste.

The human side of science

Other talks at the AAAS conference explored subjects in the social sciences, or at the interface between science, technology and the arts. Michel DeGraff, an associate professor of linguistics, described his analysis of Haitian Creole, which has shown that in many ways its structures are more complex than those of related languages. Felice Frankel, a research scientist at MIT’s Center for Materials Science and Engineering, delivered a lecture in which she showed how diagrams, photographs and other research graphics could be improved through a focus on conveying only the most important information in an image.

In a keynote address before a packed auditorium, Sherry Turkle, the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology, described her concern at the growing trend of transferring a variety of human-centered tasks, such as the care of children and the elderly, from human caregivers to robots. People too readily act as if machines have personalities, and even feelings, she said. This “new normal,” she added, “comes with a price,” and may ultimately change human relationships for the worse.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 4,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 5,300+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Unique Visual Stimulation May Be New Treatment for Alzheimer’s
Noninvasive technique reduces beta amyloid plaques in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease.
Thursday, December 08, 2016
How the Brain Recognizes Faces
Machine-learning system spontaneously reproduces aspects of human neurology.
Wednesday, December 07, 2016
Radiation-Free Imaging in the Brain
Scientists create sensors that use proteins to detect particular targets through induced blood flow changes.
Monday, December 05, 2016
New Method for Analyzing Crystal Structure
Exotic materials called photonic crystals reveal their internal characteristics with new method.
Monday, November 28, 2016
Biomarker Guiding Cancer Therapy
Biologists link levels of Mena protein to breast cancer cells’ sensitivity to chemotherapy.
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Capsule Achieves Long-Term Drug Delivery
Novel drug delivery method could aid in elimination of malaria and treatment of many other diseases.
Monday, November 21, 2016
Synthetic Cells Isolate Genetic Circuits
Encapsulating molecular components in artificial membranes offers more flexibility in designing circuits.
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Turning Greenhouse Gas into Gasoline
New catalyst provides design principles for producing fuels from carbon dioxide emissions.
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
New Approach Against Salmonella
Researchers have developed a strategy to immunize against microbes that invade the gastrointestinal tract, including Salmonella.
Tuesday, November 08, 2016
Laser Particles Could Provide Sharper Tissue Images
New imaging technique stimulates particles to emit laser light, could create higher-resolution images.
Tuesday, November 08, 2016
Engineers Design New Weapon Against Bacteria
Researchers have successfully engineered antimicrobial peptides that can kill bacterial strains resistant to existing antibiotics.
Thursday, November 03, 2016
Predicting Cancer Cells’ Response to Chemotherapy
Researcher develop method for testing cell ability to perform different types of DNA repair, which can reveal tumors’ sensitivity to drugs.
Wednesday, November 02, 2016
Nanobionic Spinach Detects Dangerous Chemicals
Scientists have changed spinach plants into biosensors that can detect harful chemicals and wirelessly relay the information.
Tuesday, November 01, 2016
Fighting Cancer with the Power of Immunity
Researchers at MIT have used a combination of four different therapies to activate both of the immune system’s two branches, producing a coordinated attack that led to the complete disappearance of large, aggressive tumors in mice.
Friday, October 28, 2016
Fighting Cancer with Immune Response
New treatment elicits two-pronged immune response that destroys tumors in mice.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Scientific News
Big Genetics in BC: The American Society for Human Genetics 2016 Meeting
Themes at this year's meeting ranged from the verification, validation, and sharing of data, to the translation of laboratory findings into actionable clinical results.
Stem Cells in Drug Discovery
Potential Source of Unlimited Human Test Cells, but Roadblocks Remain.
Automated Low Volume Dispensing Trends
Gain a better understanding of the current and future market requirements for fully automated LVD systems.
Personality Traits, Psychiatric Disorders Linked to Specific Genomic Locations
Researchers have unearthed genetic correlations between personality traits and psychiatric disorders.
Forensic 3D Documentation of Skin Injuries
In this study, the validity of using photogrammetry for documenting injuries in a pathological context was demonstrated.
3-D Printed Dog’s Nose Improves Vapor Detection
By mimicking how dogs get their whiffs, a team of government and university researchers have demonstrated that “active sniffing” can improve by more than 10 times the performance of current technologies that rely on continuous suction to detect trace amounts of explosives and other contraband.
New Markers for Forensic Body-fluid Identification
University of Bonn researchers have successfully identified specific Micro-RNA signatures to help forensically identify body fluids.
Genetics Control Regenerative Properties Of Stem Cells
Researchers define how genetic factors control regenerative properties of blood-forming stem cells.
Major Neuroscience Initiative Launched
Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute invest $115 million to further expand neuroscience research, while Caltech construct $200 million biosciences complex.
Making It Personal
Cancer vaccine linked to increased immune response against leukemia cells.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
4,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,300+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!