ENDLESS FRONTIER:
INNOVATIONS IN SCIENCE & ENGINEERING

November 2009

Innovation

Immigrant Scientists Create Jobs and Win Nobels, Op-Ed by Susan Hockfield, MIT President
Of the nine people who shared this year's Nobel Prizes in chemistry, physics and medicine, eight are American citizens, a testament to this county's support for pioneering research. But those numbers disguise a more important story. Four of the American winners were born outside of the United States and only came here as graduate or post-doctoral students or as scientists. they came because our system of higer education and advanced research has been a magnet for creative talent." Read more >>

Energy

Full Cells Get a Boost
Fuel cells, devices that can produce electricity from hydrogen or other fuels without burning them, are considered a promising new way of powering everything from homes and cars to portable devices like cellphones and laptop computers. Their big advantage-the prospect of eliminating emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants-has been outweighed by their very high cost, and researchers have been trying to find ways to make the devices less expensive. Read more >>

Researchers Find Obama An Eager Student
During a tour of MIT labs President Barack Obama saw demonstrations of several clean-energy technologies being developed at MIT: batteries that can be self-assembled by genetically engineered viruses; long lasting high efficiency light bulbs; windows hat can double as solar energy collectors; and structures that could provide offshore windmills with built-in- power storage. Read more >>

Space Technology

American Academy of Arts & Sciences published "The Future of Human Spaceflight: Objectives and Policy Implications in a Global Context"
The report was led by Professor David A. Mindell. "It discusses the current state of the human spaceflight program, emphasizing the importance of establishing a broadly accepted sense of its fundamental purpose. That purpose, the authors note, must carry the burden of justifying the substantial cost and inherent risk to life that all human spaceflight involves." Scott A. Uebelhart, Asif A. Siddiqi, and Slava Gerovitch are additional first authors.

The full report is available at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences website

Heath Science

Protein Linked with Lung Cancer Development
A protein that normally helps defend cells from infection, known as NF-kappaB, can play a critical role in the development of lung cancer, according to MIT cancer biologist.

Their findings suggest that the protein, NF-kappaB, could be a promising target for new drugs against lung cancer, which kills more than one million peopel each year. Read more >>

Possible Origins of Pancreatic Cancer Revealed
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth-leading cause of cancer death in the United State, killing an estimated 35,000 Americans each year. One of the reasons pancreatic cancer is so deadly is that it is hard to detect it in the early stages, and that's partly because scientist aren't sure from which cell(s) it arises. Read more >>