SHASS research and feature stories on MIT News

The SHASS research, profile, and feature stories archived on this page are written primarily by Peter Dizikes, Institute Writer for MIT News.

This page also includes selected major stories written by MIT's humanistic academic units, and by the SHASS Communications group in the Office of the Dean.
Additional research and feature stories by SHASS Communications are located on MIT SHASS News and on the MIT SHASS Channel of MIT News.  

To see entries on new faculty books, music and theater works, visit the MIT SHASS Bookshelf.




MIT’s top research stories of 2022

Popular stories this year covered the detection of radio signals from space, a new battery design, immigrants’ entrepreneurial activity, and more.

Should we tax robots?

Study suggests a robot levy — but only a modest one — could help combat the effects of automation on income inequality in the U.S.

Valeria Robayo is putting her own twist on the pre-med experience

Some might find the MIT senior’s studies in management and German to be an odd fit for an aspiring physician. Robayo would disagree.

Physician, heal thyself?

Research shows doctors and their families are less likely to follow guidelines about medicine. Why do the medically well-informed comply less often?

Energy, war, and the crisis in Ukraine

An expert panel examines the implications of energy use and energy policy during Russia’s invasion.



Study: Automation drives income inequality

New data suggest most of the growth in the wage gap since 1980 comes from automation displacing less-educated workers.

Uncovering the rich connections between South Asia and MIT

Showcased in a new exhibit, student research explores the long history of South Asians at the Institute.

Expanding horizons through astronomy and art

Whether spending late nights at the observatory or working on animated films, senior Skylar Larsen is reaching for the stars.

Exploring education from all angles

Senior David Spicer advocates for students at MIT and beyond as he cultivates his interest in education policy.

Facing reality, however painful it may be

In his new book, “Life Is Hard,” MIT philosopher Kieran Setiya offers guidance for tackling the (many) problems we face.

Expanding horizons through astronomy and art

Whether spending late nights at the observatory or working on animated films, senior Skylar Larsen is reaching for the stars.


Where Russia’s invasion of Ukraine stands

MIT panelists see progress for Ukraine, but perils ahead and little chance of a quick resolution.

Bringing it all back home

In MIT visit, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf PhD ’81 offers a road map for creating more manufacturing jobs in the U.S.

Q&A: Melissa Nobles on guest-editing Nature to examine racism in science

MIT chancellor and colleagues help lead special project examining how bias has distorted the scientific enterprise — and how to make things better.


Ethics in action

In MIT’s Experiential Ethics summer course, students grapple with real-world ethical decision making, often while interning in the very fields they’re studying.

MIT named No. 2 university by U.S. News for 2022-23

Undergraduate engineering and computer science programs are No. 1; undergraduate business program is No. 2.

A musician-turned-anthropologist studies venture capitalism in China

Whether learning about new music or a new culture, PhD student Jamie Wong takes a similar approach: Seek out the experts, then “try to play along and keep up.”


AI that can learn the patterns of human language

On its own, a new machine-learning model discovers linguistic rules that often match up with those created by human experts.

Tech in translation

Paul Roquet examines Japan’s position at the leading edge of global trends in personal technology.

John Tirman, political theorist and executive director of the MIT Center for International Studies, dies at 72

An expert on US-Iran relations and human security, Tirman was a prolific author and thoughtful colleague and friend.

Fighting poverty with direct cash payments

The alumni-founded GiveDirectly has delivered over $500 million in cash to impoverished people, letting recipients decide how best to meet their needs.

Caspar Hare, Georgia Perakis named associate deans of Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Computing

The faculty members will work together to advance the cross-cutting initiative of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing.

Measuring the “woodwork effect” in medical insurance
Study: When adults gain access to Medicaid, they sign up their previously unenrolled kids, too — yet many more remain outside the system.

J-PAL expands evidence-to-policy government partnerships to fight poverty worldwide

In collaboration with Community Jameel and Co-Impact, rigorous research will inform social policies and programs.

Christopher Capozzola named senior associate dean for open learning

Distinguished professor and public history advocate will oversee open education offerings and campus-focused services.

J-PAL North America launches two partnership opportunities to research social programs

Evaluation Incubators to provide technical assistance, training, funding to help partners design randomized evaluations of housing stability strategies and state and local programs.


JULY 2022


Review: IT in health care has produced modest changes — so far

Large study of existing research shows incremental improvement in patient outcomes and productivity, without big employment changes.

Economists weigh a new approach to unemployment insurance

Study suggests automatically starting benefits at the outset of a recession would remove uncertainty for workers.

Summer 2022 recommended reading from MIT

Enjoy these recent titles from Institute faculty and staff, including numerous authors from the SHASS community.

JUNE 2022


QS ranks MIT the world’s No. 1 university for 2022-23

Earning the top spot for the 11th straight year, the Institute also places first in 12 subject areas.

Study: Trade can worsen income inequality

Using Ecuador as case study, economists show international trade widens the income gap in individual countries.

When politics is local in the Middle East

Study suggests sectarian identity in the region is tied to domestic matters, not a larger, transnational religious split.

MAY 2022

Why bother with subject-verb agreement?

This aspect of syntax helps us do much more than just build sentences, linguist Shigeru Miyagawa contends.

Approaching human cognition from many angles

Senior Keith Murray combines his interests in neuroscience, computation, and philosophy to better understand human behavior.

Springing people from the poverty trap

Field experiment in Bangladesh shows the poor simply lack opportunities to gain wealth — but a one-time boost can make a major difference.

A bright light on New York’s Bengali past

“In Search of Bengali Harlem,” a new film co-created by Professor Vivek Bald, salutes South Asians who carved out new lives in the US, against the odds.

When dueling narratives deepen a divide

At the latest Starr Forum, John Tirman and his collaborators describe the cultural framework that has worsened US-Iran relations.

From South Africa, a success story for democracy

In a new book, MIT political scientist Evan Lieberman examines a quarter-century of post-Apartheid government and finds meaningful progress.

Virtual worlds apart

Paul Roquet’s new book traces the very different trajectories of virtual reality in the U.S. and Japan.

“Zoom out”: Kealoha Wong ’99 calls on MIT graduates to consider their lives within the enormity of the universe

Hawaii's first poet laureate spoke at an on-campus celebration for the classes of 2020 and 2021.

APRIL 2022

An expanded commitment to Indigenous scholarship and community at MIT

New measures build on insights from a course on the Indigenous history of the Institute, now in its third semester.

Amy Moran-Thomas receives the Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award
The MIT anthropologist is recognized for interdisciplinary work on health, climate, and equity.

Empowering people to adapt on the frontlines of climate change

A new platform will unite climate models, impact predictions, random control trial evaluations, and humanitarian services to bring cutting-edge tools to Bangladeshi communities.

Bringing “cultural diplomacy” to the classics

Wiebke Denecke, an expert in East Asian literature, wants to add to the international, interdisciplinary study of the humanities at MIT.

What Russia’s invasion of Ukraine means for the world

An expert panel explores the war’s impact, from a refugee crisis to China’s role and nuclear tensions.

Q&A: Climate Grand Challenges finalists on using data and science to forecast climate-related risk

Faculty leaders highlight innovations that can close longstanding knowledge gaps and reimagine how the world responds to the climate crisis.

QS World University Rankings rates MIT No. 1 in Linguistics for 2022

MIT is also ranked No.2 worldwide in Economics

Climate Grand Challenges finalists aim to forecast climate-related risk
Faculty leaders highlight innovations that can close longstanding knowledge gaps and reimagine how the world responds to the climate crisis.


MARCH 2022

MIT graduate engineering, economics ranked highly by U.S. News for 2023

Graduate economics is ranked No. 1 in the nation

Q&A: Elizabeth Wood on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

MIT historian analyzes the uncertain dynamics of a global crisis.

Q&A: Climate Grand Challenges finalists on building equity and fairness into climate solutions

Faculty leaders discuss the opportunities and obstacles in developing, scaling, and implementing their work rapidly.



How sectoral employment training can advance economic mobility for workers who face barriers to employment

J-PAL North America publication highlights the promise of sectoral employment programs in combating US wage inequality.

A revolution in learning

Historian Tanalís Padilla’s new book about activist rural schools in Mexico highlights long-running tensions in the nation’s politics.

Fostering media literacy in the age of deepfakes

Online course from the MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality seeks to empower students and educators to critically engage with media.

3 Questions: The future of international education

New MISTI faculty director Evan Lieberman discusses the crucial role of international education for global solutions.

Seven from MIT named 2022 Sloan Research Fellows

Early-career researchers honored for creativity, innovation, and research accomplishments.

Study: Higher minimum wages raise voter turnout

Low-wage workers, who vote infrequently, gain a participation boost when their salaries increase.

From modeling quantum devices to political systems

Senior Sihao Huang uses his background in physics and complex systems to inform his interdisciplinary approach to political science.

Is an armed conflict imminent?

As Russia masses military equipment near Ukraine borders, experts in an MIT forum express concern about possible action and its consequences.


3 Questions: Women’s rights and rising threats to press freedom worldwide

Polish journalist Ada Petriczko, an Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow at MIT, discusses ethical and cross-border journalism, freedom of speech, and the rise of autocracy.

Agustín Rayo named dean of SHASS

Philosophy professor brings deep experience in campus leadership to his role as head of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.

Where legal, voting by those in prison is rare, study shows

The findings suggest voting by incarcerated people is unlikely to affect electoral outcomes, in contrast to some assumptions.

Seeing the natural world through a mathematical lens

Senior David Darrow’s love of math fuels other passions such as mentoring and learning new languages.

Q&A: Dolapo Adedokun on computer technology, Ireland, and all that jazz

MIT EECS student and Mitchell Scholar hopes to play music in Dublin while working on his MS in intelligent systems.

A look at how countries go nuclear — and why some do not

Political scientist Vipin Narang’s new book, “Seeking the Bomb,” makes sense of the complex history of nuclear weapons programs.

At MIT, learning about the language, history, and art of Arabic

Calligrapher Hajj Wafaa shares insights about his craft while MIT Global Languages announces the arrival of Arabic classes.


Popular new major blends technical skills and human-centered applications

Combining computer science, data science, and economics, Course 6-14 prepares students to address thorny quandaries in many fields.

Silicon Valley beckoned, but he went home to Delaware

Senior Max Williamson uses his background in computer science to tackle public policy issues in his home state and on a global scale.

Q&A: David Autor on the long afterlife of the “China shock”

MIT economist’s new research shows U.S. locales hammered by open trade with China have not rebounded, even a decade or more later.


Cures for the health insurance enrollment blues

An experiment in Indonesia shows how much subsidies and in-person assistance spur people to get insurance — and how many people stop trying.

An aspiring human rights lawyer, wielding tools from mathematics and philosophy

Senior Ana Reyes Sanchez has long been drawn to problems involving ethics, decision-making, and rationality.

Is watching believing?

In spreading politics, videos may not be much more persuasive than their text-based counterparts.

Q&A: John Harbison on his new album, “Diotima”

The MIT composer endows his orchestral works with “unexpected” musical elements, while evoking aspiration, hope, and loss.


MIT economist Joshua Angrist shares Nobel Prize

Cited for work building the foundations of “natural experiments” in economic research, Angrist is honored along with David Card and Guido Imbens.

Punishment for the people

Professor Lily Tsai’s new book explains how “retributive justice,” the high-profile sanctioning of some in society, helps authoritarians solidify public support.

At the crossroads of language, technology, and empathy

With a double major in linguistics and computer science, senior Rujul Gandhi works to surmount language and cultural barriers, globally and on campus.

Exploring the human stories behind the data

Senior Brian Williams has used bioengineering as a launchpad to combat racism in public health — and he doesn’t want to stop there.


Comparing seniors who relocate long-distance shows where you live affects your longevity

Analysis of Medicare data finds location matters, not just past health behavior.

Encouraging children’s wonder with “Ada and the Galaxies”

MIT’s Alan Lightman co-authors the first title from MIT Kids Press, a new imprint from the MIT Press and Candlewick Press.

Study: As a population gets older, automation accelerates

Economists find companies’ adoption of robots is partly due to shortages in middle-aged labor.

What’s the next chapter in Afghanistan?

A panel of foreign-policy experts surveys the uncertainties facing the country as it returns to Taliban rule.

3 Questions: An anthropologist and a filmmaker on working-class lives in Chicago

A storytelling project by Christine Walley and Chris Boebel explores the social impacts of late 20th century deindustrialization.


3 Questions: Making the 2021-22 school year work for students

Associate Professor Justin Reich co-authors a new report on reimagining K-12 schools for a post-pandemic world.

How authoritarian leaders maintain support

Study finds public anticorruption campaigns bolster leaders, even when such measures lack tangible results.

JULY 2021

A sleep study’s eye-opening findings

Experiment with working poor in India finds no impact from more night sleep, though naps help; rest quality may be key.


“To make even the smallest contribution to improving my country would be my dream”

Master’s student Pavarin Bhandtivej seeks to bring data to bear on policymaking in Thailand.

3 Questions: James Poterba on making infrastructure pay off

MIT economist sees overlooked value in repairs, upgrades, and user fees to help fund projects.

Summer 2021 recommended reading from MIT

Enjoy these recent titles from Institute faculty and staff, including David Kaiser and Alan Lightman.


JUNE 2021


Melissa Nobles named MIT’s next chancellor

Dean of SHASS will move to senior academic post overseeing student life at the Institute.

One nation under contract

MIT historian Caley Horan’s new book chronicles the development of the insurance business into a U.S. behemoth.

MAY 2021


Searching for truth in data from authoritarian regimes

PhD student Minh Trinh studies misreporting of government statistics and the effect on accountability in his home country of Vietnam.

A searching discussion about being Asian American at MIT

Panel explores the complexities of Asian American identity and recognition, at the Institute and in higher education.


Helping students of all ages flourish in the era of artificial intelligence

Responsible AI for Social Empowerment and Education (RAISE) seeks to empower more people to participate in, and benefit from, AI.

Market report: Rising stock wealth does boost spending, employment

Study brings new data to a longstanding question, with findings policymakers can apply.

Study reveals mixed reactions about Covid-19 health disparities

Different social and racial groups have varying views of the problem’s urgency.

APRIL 2021


David Miliband SM ’90 warns of “age of impunity” for despotic governments around the globe

Former British foreign minister says “countervailing power” must be developed to protect human rights and safeguard democracy.

Up for a challenge in the lab and on the mat

While exploring a variety of research opportunities, senior Jose Aceves-Salvador has also thrown himself into mentoring, teaching, and cheerleading.

Study: Sex differences in Covid-19 mortality vary across racial groups

Black women are more vulnerable than white men, illustrating how race and gender intersect to shape health outcomes.

From entrepreneur to climate policy advocate

Whether improving sanitation or addressing climate change, Kiara Wahnschafft is drawn to evidence-based methods for tackling social challenges.

Nine MIT students awarded 2021 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans

Fellowship funds graduate studies for outstanding immigrants and children of immigrants.

“Timber Wars” from Oregon Public Broadcasting wins McElheny Award for local science reporting

Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT also recognizes reporting from The Boston Globe, Detroit Free Press, The Arizona Republic, and Boston’s WBUR.

3 Questions: Emma Teng on anti-Asian American violence in the US

MIT historian, and scholar of assimilation and exclusion, surveys the deeper history behind the current crisis.

MARCH 2021

QS World University Rankings rates MIT No. 1 in 12 subjects for 2021

The Institute was again ranked first in the world for Linguistics.

3 Questions: Claude Grunitzky MBA '12 on launching TRUE Africa University

CIS research affiliate describes his goals in creating a webinar series exploring sustainable development in Africa.

3 Questions: Richard Samuels on Japan’s 3.11 triple disaster and its impact 10 years later

Within minutes, the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown on March 11, 2011, brought an unprecedented wave of death, displacement, and destruction to Japan.

Providing kind networks

Professors Staffilani and Acemoglu honored as “Committed to Caring.”

Kevin Costello: Exploring the intersections of math and music

“I’ll have an idea for a tune, and then I’ll have to think about where I can take it next, just like in a math problem,” says the MIT senior.

Pondering the unknowable

Alan Lightman’s new book explores the riddles of origins, infinities, and other bafflements brought to us by modern science.

3 Questions: Task Force 2021 and the future of MIT’s finances

Glenn Ellison and Danielle Khoury offer takeaways from a detailed reassessment of MIT’s financial picture for a post-Covid world.

Traveling the world for global health solutions

After studying and working on three continents, senior Andrea Orji now seeks to become a physician, eventually working in Nigeria.

Fostering ethical thinking in computing

New case studies series examines social, ethical, and policy challenges of present-day computing activities.




Giving the people what they want?

Political scientist Devin Caughey studies how public opinion influences American politics.

Developing a picture of France

Catherine Clark uses visual imagery to delve into French history, culture, and society.

Building equity into vaccine distribution

MIT economist Parag Pathak works to show how therapies can be allocated fairly; states are now applying the method in their efforts.

3 Questions: Task Force 2021 and the future of MIT education

Anantha Chandrakasan and Melissa Nobles describe themes that emerged from broad discussions on teaching and learning in the post-Covid world.

Finding teammates on and off the field

As captain of MIT’s varsity football team, senior Ben Delhees strives to create community wherever he goes.




Building equity into vaccine distribution

MIT economist works to show how therapies can be allocated fairly; states are now applying the method in their efforts.

Foreign policy advice: Don’t look back

The Biden administration must navigate a new set of global challenges, experts say in MIT panel discussion.

What must the US do to sustain its democracy?

MIT scholars discuss what is needed for the country to support its longstanding form of government.

3 Questions: Daron Acemoglu on the “dangerous situation” still facing the U.S.

The author of “The Narrow Corridor,” about the battle to sustain democracy, weighs in on the country’s political condition.

Understanding art in a time of crisis

Associate professor of music Emily Richmond Pollock studies the way modern opera incorporates the new and the traditional.



A new approach to studying religion and politics

MIT political scientist Richard Nielsen combines ethnography and big data to analyze clerics and preachers in the Islamic world.


Can mammogram screening be more effective?

Study: Healthier women are more likely to follow age-based guidelines, leaving room for better-targeted testing.

A better kind of cybersecurity strategy

New model shows why countries that retaliate too much against online attacks make things worse for themselves.

Straight talk about race in academia

MIT-hosted panel delves into ongoing challenges for Black scholars — and ways for everyone in university settings to start making a difference.




Six MIT faculty elected 2020 AAAS Fellows

Political Science's Prof. Choucri, along with Drennan, Fisher, Gershenfeld, Li, and Rus, are recognized for their efforts to advance science.

Why we shouldn’t fear the future of work

MIT task force wraps up with a final conference, sounds note of optimism that new ideas, better policies can help sustain good careers.

MIT forum examines the rise of automation in the workplace

Technologies like robots and artificial intelligence could partner with humans, not oust them from work, research and business leaders say.

Bhavik Nagda: Delving into the deployment of new technologies

“We need more technologists in the room while policies are formulated,” says the MIT senior.

Report outlines route toward better jobs, wider prosperity

MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future identifies ways to align new technologies with durable careers.

A storyteller dedicated to environmental justice

Exploring her identity through writing has clarified senior Mimi Wahid’s desire to serve rural Southern communities like her hometown.



Democracy in distress?

Experts analyze a global trend: democratic governments that collapse from within while maintaining a veneer of legitimacy.

What are the odds your vote will not count?

MIT professor’s study quantifies how many mail-in ballots became “lost votes” in the 2016 U.S. federal election.

How many votes will be counted after election night?

Study measures the “blue shift” from absentee and provisional ballots, underscores uncertainties of 2020 vote.

Beyond Bitcoin: A new case for novel payment systems

In his latest book, economist Robert Townsend surveys how “distributed ledger” technologies can help emerging economies and many industries.

David Autor receives Heinz Award

A special 25th anniversary award honors the MIT economist for work on employment, trade, and technological change.

India’s culture of coping with cancer

Dwaipayan Banerjee’s new book examines the psychological and social terrain of living with cancer in a country where the disease has long been downplayed.

3 Questions: Chappell Lawson on U.S. security policy

New book, “Beyond 9/11,” explores the country’s multifaceted security needs in the 21st century.

A champion of renewable energy

MIT senior Darya Guettler advocates for climate action and broader deployment of zero-carbon energy sources.



How hunting helped shape elite society

MIT historian’s new book examines the political value early medieval European kings and nobles found in a royal ritual.

3 Questions: Thomas Levenson on a finance scandal for the ages

MIT professor’s new book, “Money for Nothing,” digs into the origins and relevance of Britain’s South Sea Bubble.



Economist Antoine Levy is all over the map

The PhD student is fascinated by local variations in economic activity, and how they drive national policies.

Uncertainty, belief, and economic outcomes

Whether analyzing currency attacks or school choice, economist Stephen Morris seeks “a richer perspective on information structures.”

The Philippines, the US, and a century of military alliance

Christopher Capozzola’s new book examines how military engagement has shaped social connections between the two nations.

“Junior republics,” a unique concept in the history of American childhood

Professor Jennifer Light’s new book explores a movement to instill American democratic values in children.

Masks mandates have major impact, study finds
Analysis shows requiring masks for public-facing U.S. business employees on April 1 would have saved tens of thousands of lives.


JULY 2020



$25 million gift launches ambitious new effort tackling poverty and climate change

The King Climate Action Initiative at J-PAL will develop large-scale climate-response programs for some of the world’s most vulnerable populations.

Stephen Morris named inaugural Peter A. Diamond Professor of Economics

MIT Department of Economics establishes new professorship honoring Institute professor and Nobel laureate.

The urban job escalator has stopped moving

David Autor's new research shows cities have stopped providing middle-class work in recent decades — especially for Black and Latino workers.

J-PAL webinar series on program evaluation draws global audience

Five-day offering provided nearly 2,000 participants with an introduction to the design and use of randomized evaluations to test the effectiveness social programs.


JUNE 2020

When culture clashes with Covid-19

MIT panelists examine the roles of social norms in countries’ differing responses to the coronavirus pandemic.

QS ranks MIT the world’s No. 1 university for 2020-21

Ranked at the top for the ninth straight year, the Institute also places first in 12 subject areas.


MAY 2020


The changing world of work

MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future responds to rapid changes brought by the pandemic.

Who gets ventilator priority?

Paper co-authored by MIT economist proposes a new way to handle medical shortages during the Covid-19 crisis.

Probing reality through physics, philosophy, and writing

Senior Michelle Xu’s varied interests all involve a desire to understand the universe. “I was just never particularly picky about which way to figure it out,” she says.

Design that makes a difference

Fusing art, science, and product design, senior Jierui Fang has followed — and sometimes created — her own path at MIT.

Study finds stronger links between automation and inequality

Job-replacing tech has directly driven the income gap since the late 1980s, economists report.

Robots help some firms, even while workers across industries struggle

Study finds manufacturing companies that are quick to automate can thrive, but overall employment drops.

How many jobs do robots really replace?

MIT economist Daron Acemoglu’s new research puts a number on the job costs of automation.


APRIL 2020

How growth of the scientific enterprise influenced a century of quantum physics

In a new book, Professor David Kaiser describes dramatic shifts in the history of an evolving discipline.

Will the Covid-19 pandemic change national security?

At MIT’s Starr Forum, experts consider whether the coronavirus crisis might lead to a rethinking of defense strategies.

Six from MIT elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences for 2020

Prestigious honor society announces more than 250 new members.

Q&A: Seth Mnookin on Covid-19 and the public understanding of science

MIT professor and writer examines the large-scale reaction to our new public health crisis.

Taking a new look at ancient books

Classicist Stephanie Frampton traverses disciplines to study how the content and form of writing interacted in the ancient world.

3 Questions: J-WEL leaders on retooling education during a global crisis

MIT Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab executive director Vijay Kumar and faculty advisor Eric Klopfer discuss remote learning responses to Covid-19.

3 Questions: Fotini Christia on new deal-making in Afghanistan

MIT professor of political science discusses a new U.S.-Taliban agreement and whether it will bring peace to the Afghan people.


MARCH 2020


The 2020 U.S. census: Time to make it count

Amid disruptions caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, the MIT community has an important role to play in the 2020 census.

Rolling out remote learning

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, MIT enters a new mode for teaching and learning.

Arizona wildfire series wins Knight Science Journalism’s Victor K. McElheny Award

Judges praise “Ahead of the Fire” for taking a local issue and showing “why it was relevant to everyone in the country.”

Moving beyond “defensive medicine”

Study shows removing liability concerns slightly increases C-section procedures during childbirth.


Why are workers getting smaller pieces of the pie?

Market concentration in the form of “superstar” firms has been lowering labor’s share of GDP in recent decades, a new study finds.

Why do banking crises occur?

In a new book, political scientist David Singer finds two key factors connected to financial-sector collapses around the globe

Agustín Rayo wins 2020 PROSE Award

MIT philosophy professor's “On the Brink of Paradox” honored as one of the best books in professional and scholarly publishing.

Design, power, and justice

In new book “Design Justice,” Associate Professor Sasha Costanza-Chock examines how to make technology work for more people in society.

QS World University Rankings rates MIT No. 1 in 12 subjects for 2020

Institute ranks second in five subject areas.

The case for economics — by the numbers

A multidecade study shows economics increasingly overlaps with other disciplines, and has become more empirical in nature.



How door-to-door canvassing slowed an epidemic

Study finds that in Liberia, volunteers limited damage from Ebola by distributing information within their own communities.

Esther Duflo PhD ’99 to speak at 2020 Investiture of Doctoral Hoods and Degree Conferral Ceremony

MIT professor and alumna shared the 2019 Nobel Prize in economics, which recognized collaborators’ “experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.”

The complex effects of colonial rule in Indonesia

Evidence links Dutch-era sugar production and greater economic activity today.

Singing for joy and service

After surgery to correct childhood hearing loss, Swarna Jeewajee discovered a desire to be a physician-scientist, and a love of a cappella music.

Understanding law in everyday life

Susan Silbey, a pioneer in studying popular attitudes toward the legal system, discussed her research while giving MIT’s annual Killian Lecture.



Book | Blood and politics in India | Dwai Banerjee

In Hematologies, Dwai Banerjee explores the use of blood in political rhetoric, imagery, and activism, and even the politics of blood drives.

In health care, does “hotspotting” make patients better?

Study by MIT economists shows no effect from program intended to reduce repeated hospitalizations by targeting high-cost patients.

Experts join J-PAL North America in advancing conversation on the work of the future

Academic, government, and advocacy leaders gathered to promote collaborative research partnerships to identify strategies that help workers thrive in today’s labor market.



Sandy Alexandre receives Bose Research grants for innovative literature/technology project

A research project in literature, led by Professor of Literature Sandy Alexandre, is one of four MIT projects to receive a Bose Research Grant.


Exploring hip hop history with art and technology

With its centerpiece exhibit for the forthcoming Universal Hip Hop Museum, an MIT team uses artificial intelligence to explore the rich history of hip hop music.

Book | A closer look at the diabetes disaster | Amy Moran-Thomas

In Traveling with Sugar, Amy Moran-Thomas examines how diabetes is reaching epidemic levels in countries across the world.

New health insurance insights

Economists analyze how patients and health care providers value Medicaid

Bringing figures in anticolonial politics out of the shadows

MIT historian Sana Aiyar sheds new light on the complexities of independence movements and global migration.

Six MIT faculty elected 2019 AAAS Fellows

Baggeroer, Flynn, Harris, Klopfer, Lauffenburger, and Leonard are recognized for their efforts to advance science.

Two MIT seniors named 2020 Marshall Scholars

Talya Klinger and Steven Truong, a double major in creative writing and biological engineering, will begin graduate studies in the UK next fall.


Historian of the hinterlands

In overlooked spots on the map, MIT Professor Kate Brown examines the turbulence of the modern world.

MIT art installation aims to empower a more discerning public

With “In Event of Moon Disaster,” the MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality aims to educate the public on deepfakes with an alternative history of the moon landing.

New MIT fellowship program aims to improve student access to quality schools

Program to provide leaders of America’s largest school districts, state agencies, and education nonprofits with tools to improve school performance and enrollment.

Book | Economics for hard times | Abhijit Banerhee and Esther Duflo

In Good Economics for Hard Times, Nobel laureates Banerjee and Duflo examine what we know about the global economy and how to improve it.

Optimizing kidney donation and other markets without money
MIT economist Nikhil Agarwal analyzes the efficiency of markets that match suppliers and consumers but don’t use prices.


Putting the “bang” in the Big Bang

David Kaiser and other physicists simulate critical “reheating” period that kickstarted the Big Bang in the universe’s first fractions of a second.

Economist Stanley Fischer calls for autonomy in central banking

In MIT talk, the former vice chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve reflects on his career as a policy leader.

Book | 3 Questions: Alan Lightman’s new novel about Cambodia and family

In Three Flames, the acclaimed MIT author explores the fractures and bonds among kin in a rebuilding society.

MIT economists Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee win 2019 Nobel Prize
Professors share prize with Michael Kremer of Harvard University, are cited for breakthrough antipoverty work.

Meet the 2019-20 MLK Visiting Professors and Scholars

Six scholars and professors are spending this academic year in engagement with the MIT community.

Book | A look at Japan’s evolving intelligence efforts | Richard Samuels

In Special Duty: A History of the Japanese Intelligence Community, Richard Samuels examines the past and future of Japanese intelligence services in a rapidly shifting world

Book | A new act for opera | Emily Richmond Pollock

In Opera After the Zero Hour, Emily Richmond Pollock examines creative attempts to refashion postwar opera after Germany’s “Year Zero.”

An interdisciplinary approach to accelerating human-machine collaboration

Professor’s startup brings millimeter-scale location tracking to factories, ports, and other industrial environments.


Looking under the surface of politics in Latin America

Associate Professor Danny Hidalgo’s work reveals some difficult truths about money, elections, and political influence.

Book  | The permanent struggle for liberty | Daron Acemoglu

In The Narrow Corridor: States, Societies, and the Fate of Liberty, Daron Acemoglu examines the battle between state and society, which occasionally produces liberal-democratic freedom.

Computing and artificial intelligence: Humanistic perspectives from MIT

How the humanities, arts, and social science fields can help shape the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing — and benefit from advanced computing. — SHASS Communications

Understanding populism

At MIT forum, scholars wrestle with the dynamics of a global political trend.

When rats work to protect human safety

HASTS PhD student Jia Hui Lee studies global differences in how humans relate to other animals, including rats that detect land mines.

MIT report examines how to make technology work for society

Task force calls for bold public and private action to harness technology for shared prosperity.

Comparing primate vocalizations

Study shows Old World monkeys combine items in speech — but only two and never more, unlike humans.


Does cable news shape your views?

MIT study finds partisan news coverage has a bigger impact on viewers without strong media preferences

JULY 2019

3Q: John Tirman on a new US human rights commission

CIS executive director argues a recent commission launched by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is an attempt to redirect the human rights movement. — CIS

Suzanne Berger named inaugural John M. Deutch Institute Professor

Political scientist awarded MIT’s highest faculty honor in new titled position.

Daron Acemoglu named Institute Professor

Versatile economist awarded MIT’s highest faculty honor.

Ankita Reddy ’19 blends anthropology and biology to improve public health

Recent graduate says culturally-aware approaches lead to more-effective medical interventions.  — SHASS Communications

JUNE 2019

Among India’s working poor, sobriety may boost savings

Economist’s study of rickshaw drivers shows effects of alcohol consumption on financial decision-making.

Preliminary reports examine options for MIT Schwarzman College of Computing

Working groups identify key ideas for new college; period of community feedback continues.

At doctoral ceremony, a strong call to provide opportunity for all

Biochemist Squire Booker PhD ’94 says MIT’s new doctoral graduates will “grow as future leaders” by giving back.

MIT chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society inducts 76 students from the Class of 2019

The new members of Xi of Massachusetts, the MIT chapter of PBK, combine the best of humanities, natural science, and social science scholarship.  SHASS Communications

A scholar and teacher re-examines moments in the history of STEM

“I love teaching,” says PhD student Clare Kim. “It’s not that I’m just imparting knowledge, but I want [my students] to develop a critical way of thinking."

3Q: David Mindell on his vision for human-centered robotics

Engineer and historian discusses how the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing might integrate technical and humanistic research and education. SHASS Communications

Communities in the cloud

PhD student Steven Gonzalez studies cloud computing with the eye of an anthropologist. SHASS Communications

QS ranks MIT the world’s No. 1 university for 2019-20

Ranked at the top for the eighth straight year, the Institute also places first in 11 of 48 disciplines.

MAY 2019


A behavioral economist explores poverty and development

Doctoral student Pierre-Luc Vautrey investigates how incorrect beliefs shape economic decision-making.

3 Questions: The social implications and responsibilities of computing

In helping envision the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, working group is focusing on ethical and societal questions.

Q&A: Heather Paxson on a new model for open-access publishing in anthropology

Interim head of MIT Anthropology explains the plan's vision and challenges, plus progress made at an historic MIT workshop. SHASS Communications

Merging machine learning and the life sciences

Through computing, senior and Marshall Scholar Anna Sappington seeks answers to biological questions.

Public opinion study in Europe shows drop in anti-immigration sentiment, among other changes

Surveys spanning recent decades also reveal geographic differences and gender gap in economic views.

Susan Silbey earns faculty’s prestigious Killian Award
Innovative sociologist of law granted MIT’s highest faculty honor.

In cancer research, a winding road to discovery

Book by MIT professor examines the circuitous history behind the investigation of cancer as a contagious illness.

Book | The (evolving) art of war | Taylor Fravel
In new book, political scientist Taylor Fravel uncovers the modern history of Chinese military strategy.

APRIL 2019

The quest to understand human society scientifically

In STS.047 (Quantifying People), MIT students explore the history of science from the 17th century to the present, through the eyes of statisticians and sociologists. SHASS Communications

MIT Program in Digital Humanities launches with $1.3 million Mellon Foundation grant

Among the program's offerings, the Digital Humanities Lab applies computational tools to humanistic research — and builds a community fluent in both languages. SHASS Communications

From science class to the stock exchange

“I’m all about finding connections,” says senior Stephon Henry-Rerrie about his path from engineering to the financial sector.

David Autor awarded Carnegie fellowship
MIT economist will study U.S. demographics and the urban-rural split in contemporary society.

Candid conversation about race

In MIT talk, Beverly Daniel Tatum urges direct discussion about racial issues at a “polarized” moment in U.S. history.

Can science writing be automated?

A neural network can read scientific papers and render a plain-English summary.

Book | Jump-starting the economy with science | Jonathan Gruber and Simon Johnson

In Jump-Starting America, MIT economists Gruber and Johnson say more public investment in science will create a better economy for all.

Climate expert emphasizes the fierce urgency of now

In MIT talk, Lord Nicholas Stern calls the next 20 years “absolutely defining” for society.


MARCH 2019


Ethics, computing, and AI: Perspectives from MIT

Faculty representing all five MIT schools offer views on the ethical and societal implications of new technologies. SHASS Communications

Making a path to ethical, socially beneficial artificial intelligence

Leaders from government, philanthropy, academia, and industry say collaboration is key to make sure artificial intelligence serves the public good. SHASS Communications

3 Questions: What is linguistics?

MIT Professor David Pesetsky describes the science of language and how it sheds light on deep properties of the human mind. SHASS Communications

Celebrating passionate teachers and enthusiastic learners

At this year's MacVicar Day symposium, faculty and students reflect on the challenges and joys of education in the 21st century.

3 Questions: Why are student-athletes amateurs?

MIT Professor Jennifer Light digs into the history of the idea that students aren’t part of the labor force.

After the Cold War, an uncertain peace

In MIT talk, Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia, explores tensions between the two countries.

Spenser’s "Faerie Queene" as a modern visual comic

Junior Ivy Li, a literature and physics major, adapts a legendary work and innovates in an enduring literary tradition. SHASS Communications

Chernobyl: How bad was it?

A scholar’s book uncovers new material about the effects of the infamous nuclear meltdown.

Study: Democracy fosters economic growth

Researchers find vast gains in productivity after countries democratize.

Learning to study a painful past

Lerna Ekmekçioğlu studies pioneering Armenian women of the 19th and 20th centuries — and helps other scholars enter her field.


Q&A: Why cities aren’t working for the working class
Professor David Autor’s latest research shows how economic polarization stems from urban job loss.

Jumping into new experiences

For senior Héctor Javier Vázquez Martínez, studying and teaching abroad has brought new friendships, new research interests, and a new outlook.

3 Questions: Ken Urban on theater, science, and tech

The MIT Playwrights Lab founder discusses the varied connections between the sciences, technology, and the arts. SHASS Communications


How writing technology shaped classical thinking

Stephanie Frampton’s new book explores the written word in the Roman world.

Science as a social practice

PhD student Marion Boulicault believes in an interdisciplinary path forward for science, feminism, and philosophy.

Spider web music: An inspiring harmony of art and science

"Spider’s Canvas" features the sonification of a 3-D spider web, with each strand “tuned” to a different note. Office of the Arts


Music technology accelerates at MIT

An increasingly popular program is drawing students eager to build — and use — the next generation of tools for making music. SHASS Communications

Looking at justice through the lens of political theory

In Bernardo Zacka’s class 17.01, students explore human values and the many ways of imagining a just society. SHASS Communications

Sound and technology unlock innovation at MIT

Cross-disciplinary projects at MIT probe the technological and aesthetic limits of sound. Office of the Arts

Study offers new view of how cartels work

Less data-sharing among firms can actually lead to more collusion, economists find.

Building a more inclusive future, worldwide

An avid traveler, organizer, and educator, senior Kathleen Schwind helps others develop skills in negotiation and leadership.

What game theory tells us about politics and society

Economist Alexander Wolitzky uses game theory to model institutions, networks, and social dynamics.

Andrew Schneider’s "NERVOUS/SYSTEM" boldly launches MIT Performing

Production kicks off MIT Performing series promoting a research-based artistic practice that aims to serve as a new platform for contemporary performance.  Office of the Arts



MIT Open Learning launches Center for Advanced Virtuality

The new center will explore how MIT can use virtual reality and artificial intelligence and other technologies to better serve human needs. Open Learning Center

When Japan met the world
Inspired by a family background with extensive U.S-Japan ties, historian Hiromu Nagahara explores Japan’s cultural links to other societies.

3 Questions: Stephen Van Evera revisits World War I

A century after its bitter end, the political science professor calls the Great War a wellspring of the 20th century's horrors and tragedies.  CIS

I think, therefore I code

Senior Jessy Lin, a double major in EECS and philosophy, is programming for social good.

Arts benefactor makes lead gift for new MIT music building

Commitment signals transformative moment for the Institute’s music programming. Resource Development

Times Higher Education ranks MIT No.1 in business and economics, No.2 in arts and humanities

Worldwide honors for 2019 span three MIT schools.

Inside the world of livestreaming as entertainment

T.L. Taylor looks at how computer gaming and other forms of online broadcasting became big-time spectator sports.

Novelist Min Jin Lee makes the case for understanding through fiction

At CIS event, “Pachinko” author talks about literature as a way of understanding outsiders in modern culture.  CIS


Analyzing the 2018 election: Insights from MIT scholars

SHASS faculty members offer research-based perspectives with commentaries, plus a Music for the Midterms playlist, and an election book list.  SHASS Communications

Refining the “science” of political science
Teppei Yamamoto examines the methods of his discipline, to help scholars nail down cause and effect.

A passionate advocate for open data
Senior Radha Mastandrea analyzes data from CERN in search of more information about the universe’s fundamental particles.

MIT reshapes itself to shape the future
Gift of $350 million establishes the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing, an unprecedented, $1 billion commitment to world-changing breakthroughs and their ethical application.

MIT alumnus William Nordhaus wins Nobel Prize in economic sciences

Scholar shares award for his work on climate economics.

Amy Finkelstein, Lisa Parks win 2018 MacArthur Fellowships

Health care economist and media studies scholar are the latest MIT faculty to nab prestigious “genius grant.”

Getting serious about food safety

Deborah Blum’s new book explores the unlikely origins of food and drink regulation in the U.S.


Report outlines keys to election security

MIT experts are among co-authors calling for ballot paper trails and other resilient practices to avoid election hacking.

New recording blends old Europe and contemporary Cambridge

Pianist David Deveau’s latest album interprets works by Beethoven, Mozart, and MIT’s own John Harbison.

What makes an educational video game work well?

MIT designers explain their philosophy in a new book, “Resonant Games.”

Book explores milestones of astronomical discovery

In “Dispatches from Planet 3,” Marcia Bartusiak illuminates overlooked breakthroughs and the people who made them.

Civil rights in a complex world
Professor Bruno Perreau examines the relationships between personal identity and public institutions.

Why the “solid South” of midcentury U.S. politics was not so solid

Associate Professor Devin Caughey’s new book looks at a massive political shift that took place in a one-party region.

3 Questions: Database shines a bright light on Washington lobbying

Launch of In Song Kim’s makes it simple to follow the path of money in politics.


What Paris shows us about the history of photography 

MIT professor’s book develops a new narrative about photography and the ways we use it, from the place where it all began.

Risk, failure, and living your life: The economics of being an early-career scientist

Doctoral student Ryan Hill studies factors that influence researchers’ professional paths, while lending his voice to support student families.

JULY 2018

How Africans developed scientific knowledge of the deadly tsetse fly

New book by MIT Associate Professor Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga explores science in action in Africa.

Seth Mnookin brings bestselling author’s touch to teaching science journalism

Science “pushes me to constantly go out of my comfort zone,” says director of MIT’s science writing program.

Environmental regulation in a polarized culture

Doctoral student Parrish Bergquist investigates how politics affects environmental decision-making.

Sasha Costanza-Chock revels in a complex, unknowable future

MIT Media Lab and MIT Press announce winners of the Journal of Design and Science essay competition.

Lisa Parks contemplates the eyes in the sky

Media studies scholar examines the way satellites and other aerial technologies have changed society.

JUNE 2018

Amy Finkelstein emphasizes the value of late-in-life health care spending 

Study debunks notion that large chunks of Medicare go to futile end-of-life care.

Discovering hidden stories in the Flint water crisis

Graduate student Elena Sobrino looks beyond the headlines to study interactions between the city’s people and institutions.

Method man

Alberto Abadie refines the tools of economics — and gets some interesting results along the way.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg tells MIT grads “it’s about people”

Commencement speaker says the greatest opportunities are for humans, not technology.

At doctoral hooding ceremony, a call to make the world “more just, more fair” 

Candis Callison SM ’02, PhD ’10, professor and journalist, tells doctoral graduates they can “shift society” for the better.

MAY 2018

William Rodríguez: Helping others broaden their horizons

MIT senior and Model UN leader William Rodríguez works to encourage the global exchange of ideas.

Professor Devin Caughey demonstrates states' people power 

State-level policy in the U.S. is responsive to public opinion, study shows.

Olken and Banerjee show that for food-aid recipients, information is power

Profs. Olken and Banerjee describe how a simple card explaining a government aid program leads to more rice for poor villagers in Indonesia.

National Academy of Sciences elects four MIT professors for 2018

Economist Amy Finkelstein and three others — Kardar, Wen, and Zhang — are honored for research achievements.


APRIL 2018

3Q: Alan Lightman on science, religion, and our yearning for absolute knowledge

New book, “Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine,” examines the tensions between belief and knowing.

Economist Dave Donaldson asks: How much does infrastructure boost an economy?

Donaldson's historical study details how railroads helped India trade and grow.

Parag Pathak wins John Bates Clark Medal

MIT economist lauded for work on education, market-design mechanisms.

Economists Pathak and Rose among 8 from MIT elected to AAAS for 2018

Prestigious honor society announces 213 new members this year.

Jasmin Joseph: “I love the idea of making an impact on global health”

MIT bioengineering and MISTI student brings positivity, determination to life-saving biology research.

Institute Professor Emeritus Morris Halle, innovative and influential linguist, dies at 94
Halle conducted groundbreaking research, helped found MIT’s linguistics program, and inspired generations of students.

MARCH 2018

KSA meeting puts “Spotlight” on region’s diversity issues
At annual event, Boston Globe’s Spotlight team discusses its latest investigation into racism in Boston.

Fright makes right
Eugenie Brinkema studies the aesthetics and ethics of horror films.

A magician’s imperial mission
MIT scholar’s book illuminates how magic became a tool for Western “reason” — and helped form the field of anthropology.

How often do medical problems lead to bankruptcy?
Poor health is a less common cause of bankruptcy than commonly thought, but it brings other economic woes, study finds.


Is democracy dying?
Scholars and writers tackle a pressing question at an MIT forum.

The writing on the wall
Did humans speak through cave art? New paper links ancient drawings and language’s origins.

Ouch: Study reveals financial pain after hospitalization
Serious medical problems reduce earnings, hurt employment, and increase debt.

3Q: T.L. Taylor on diversity in e-sports
MIT sociologist’s “AnyKey” initiative aims to level the playing field of online sports.

MIT class reveals, explores Institute’s connections to slavery
Findings show founder William Barton Rogers possessed enslaved persons before coming to MIT; research, community dialogue to ensue.

When numbers started counting
New book by MIT assistant professor chronicles the birth of statistical arguments in public debate.

A deep dive into the effects of trade
MIT economist David Atkin looks beneath the surface of global commerce.


3Q: D. Fox Harrell on his video game for the #MeToo era
The computer scientist’s group has designed a game that gets players to reflect on sexual misconduct in the workplace.

3 Questions: Nick Montfort on shaping the future
New book delves into “future-making” as a noble endeavor.

Innovation, meet organization
Economist John Van Reenen studies the creation and use of technology, from the R&D lab to the workplace.



Street signs

Study shows how seriously investors took the possibility of a democratic revolution during Egypt’s Arab Spring.

Seeking the stories behind the data

MIT Senior Olivia Zhao will study economics as a Marshall Scholar.

How Haiti helps us think differently about history

MIT historian Malick Ghachem gets readers and students to look anew at the Atlantic world.

Four from MIT awarded 2018 Schwarzman Scholarships

Scholars will engage in a year of postgraduate leadership studies at Beijing’s Tshingua University.

Three MIT seniors awarded 2018 Marshall Scholarships

Nick Schwartz, Olivia Zhao, and Liang Zhou will pursue graduate studies in the United Kingdom.


Two MIT students named Rhodes Scholars

Mary Clare Beytagh and Matthew Chun will begin postgraduate studies at Oxford University next fall.

3 Questions: Lisa Parks on drones, warfare, and the media
MIT media studies professor discusses new essay collection analyzing the impact of drones.

Mary Clare Beytagh: Finding poetry in medicine
MIT senior and aspiring physician aims to tell stories that humanize the patients behind medical statistics.

Why some Muslim clerics become jihadists
In his new book, political scientist Richard Nielsen proposes a “blocked ambition” hypothesis.

Why we should welcome warnings
At MIT event, experts call for a new approach to worst-case scenarios.

Connecting through conversation
Whether in Cambridge or Shanghai, MIT senior Joshua Charles Woodard seeks to learn from others’ perspectives and challenge his own.



MIT-Haiti, Google team up to boost education in Kreyòl
Institute-led effort to create STEM lexicon is now available for global translation.

Course helps girls in Botswana avoid HIV and “sugar daddies”
Youth-to-youth program teaches girls about the increased odds of contracting HIV from older men.

Bridging the science-policy divide
For MIT senior Talia Weiss, physics and theater have provided a springboard for new interests in political science.

Nuclear and present danger
MIT security experts discuss how to lower tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.

How philosophy can solve your midlife crisis
MIT professor Kieran Setiya’s book “Midlife” aims to smooth out the rocky road of middle age.



Magic, a microcosm of modern culture
Anthropologist Graham Jones has turned a fascination with magic into a career.

Making sense of nuclear threats
MIT political scientist Vipin Narang explains the strategies of new nuclear powers.

Two sciences tie the knot
A new major combining computer science and economics will prepare students for designing the virtual marketplaces of the future.



Increasing equity through educational technology
Assistant Professor Justin Reich looks to transform educational settings by equipping teachers with the technology tools they need to best serve all students.

Political science debuts on MITx
New online course takes a deep dive into democracy in Africa.

Demo day showcases serious innovation in “playful” tech
Play Labs startups include virtual pets, nausea-reducing virtual reality games, and augmented-reality paintballing.

Investigating the dynamics of war and peace
Erik Sand brings a perspective shaped by eight years of service in the U.S. Navy to his doctoral studies.


JULY 2017

Hospitals that spend more on emergency care yield better outcomes
Study: Investing more in inpatient care relative to longer-term nursing facilities reduces mortality rates.

Why do some neighborhoods improve?
Density of highly educated residents, rather than income or housing costs, predicts revitalization.

Study: Preschoolers learn from math games — to a point
Games found to improve conceptual math skills, but gains may not carry over to primary school.

A simple solution for terrible traffic
Study: Without HOV policies, urban traffic gets much, much worse.


JUNE 2017

Investigating the trap of unemployment
PhD student Aicha Ben Dhia studies France’s labor market from the perspective of local job-seekers.

How J-PAL thinks globally and acts locally
Can an antipoverty program work in different settings? A new report presents a user’s guide to a tough issue.

Is the Pax Americana truly peaceful?
MIT historian John Dower’s latest book decries the militarism of the postwar years.

Testing the metrics
MIT researchers refine yardstick for measuring schools and teachers.


MAY 2017

The U.S. and Mexico: What's the way forward?

MIT event offers look at how U.S.-Mexico relations could revive.

Tiffany Yeh: engineer, pianist, global citizen

Senior Tiffany Yeh explores health care and poverty through working abroad, and cultivates her love of music while at home.

National Academy of Sciences elects six MIT professors for 2017

Bell, Bhatia, Cummins, Duflo, Jensen, and Mavalvala honored for research achievements.

Testing their patients

Medicaid patients wait longer to see their doctors, study finds.


APRIL 2017

Experts gather at MIT to explore new research in education technology

Researchers, policymakers, and education company leaders discuss innovative technologies to improve education for disadvantaged learners.

Three MIT scholars awarded prestigious Carnegie fellowships

Neilsen, Stewart, and Acemoglu receive high-profile grants for research.

Big in Japan

Historian's new book, Tokyoi Boogies Woogie, explores the influence of popular music on the transformation of Japanese society.

3 Questions: Jeanne Guillemin on the Recent Chemical Attack in Syria

Security Studies Program expert on biological weapons discusses the April 4 attack on Syrian civilians that killed at least 80.

Environmentalist and Explorer

Senior Elizabeth Rider uses atmospheric chemistry research to create international connections.

MARCH 2017

3 Questions: Lourdes Melgar on Mexico's Energy Reform

MIT alumna, Robert Wilhelm Fellow, and former Mexican government official discusses opportunities and challenges of recent reforms.  

Lorraine Wong awarded 2017 MIT Collier Medal

MIT senior in brain and cognitive sciences and women's and gender studies honored for community work supporting mental health and women in STEM. 

Global agreements

In new book, MIT linguist expands the horizons of language analysis.  

America's two-track economy

Economist’s new book examines decline of the nation’s middle class.  

Three professors named 2017 MacVicar Fellows

Hare, Hughes, and Yang receive the Institute’s highest undergraduate teaching award.  

MIT graduate programs earn top marks from US News

Graduate engineering and economics programs are No. 1 in the nation; MIT Sloan is No. 4.  

MIT rates No. 1 worldwide, No. 1in Economics and Linguistics, and 10 subjects in 2017 QS World University Rankings

MIT ranked within the top 5 for 19 of 46 subject areas. In the SHASS fields, Linguistics and Economics have both been ranked first in the world.  

“What we’re doing when we try to live our lives well”

Philosopher Tamar Schapiro studies how we blend reason and emotion while refining our adult selves.



Daron Acemoglu wins BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award

Prolific MIT economist honored for path-breaking work.

The power of perceptions

Study shows how information sources affect voters.

MIT senior Lilly Chin wins “Jeopardy!” College Championship

Chin takes the $100,000 grand prize, surpassing 14 on-air contestants and thousands of applicants from colleges around the U.S. Chan's wide-ranging knowledge reflects her studies in both Comparative Media Studies and Engineering. 

Seven MIT researchers win 2017 Sloan Research Fellowships

Alexander Wolitzky, an associate professor of economics in SHASS, and faculty from three other MIT departments are among 126 selected from across the U.S. and Canada.

Measuring “diagnostic intensity”

New study maps U.S. regions where patients appear more ill than they are

3 Questions: Emma Teng on “China Comes to Tech”

New exhibit delves into history of Chinese students at MIT.

A new fight with old battle lines

Bruno Perreau's most recent book, Queery Theory, explores what France’s LGBTQ rights battle says about identity and belonging.


Better wisdom from crowds
MIT scholars produce new method of harvesting correct answers from groups.

Jiwon Park: Reaching out to the world
MIT senior leads diverse projects to help women and students in developing countries.

At least 30 from MIT named to 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 lists

Students, faculty, staff, and alumni honored in "the most definitive gathering of today’s leading young change-makers and innovators."


Evaluating voter experience
Wait times at polls in 2016 election improved in several key states, new survey results show. 

Experts gather at MIT to urge more innovation in health care delivery

Two-day conference explores opportunities for research, innovation, and evidence-informed policymaking to address a range of national health care challenges.

MIT announces MITx MicroMasters program in development economics, with path to full master’s degree

Institute to offer its first “blended-only” master’s program, in data, economics, and development policy.


Steppe by steppe
Mongolian anthropologist Manduhai Buyandelger studies a society in transition.

At forum, MIT community tackles tough ethical questions of climate change
Why is it so hard for human beings to address climate change? What can motivate effective action?

“Uniting through Voice and Song” event celebrates values that connect the MIT community
“At this time of change, it is important that we lift up and celebrate our commitment at MIT to our ongoing values of discovery, freedom of expression and thought, and respect for all people.”

Decoding the medical cost mystery
Providers and patients drive health care spending in roughly equal amounts, study shows.



MIT economist Bengt Holmström wins Nobel Prize
Holmström shares award with Oliver Hart for work on contract theory.

Study: With Medicaid, ER visits remain high for two years
Acquiring health insurance does not lead to drop in emergency room usage.

Making a splash in health care economics
Heidi Williams builds all-new data sets to answer questions about innovation and biomedical research.

Changing the face of conservatism in the U.S.
New book by professor Heather Hendershot explores impact of William F. Buckley’s “Firing Line.”

Provider, improve thyself
Study shows unlicensed health care practitioners in India improve with modest training.



Sound system
In new book, Norvin Richards explores how our voices shape the rules of grammar.

Surrounded by questions
PhD student Nils Wernerfelt deploys the tools of economics to address his many questions about the world.



The safety trap
Lack of secure investments is hindering growth globally, research finds.


JULY 2016

Seeking big answers
PhD student Rebecca Millsop uses philosophy to take on contentious questions about how we define art.

Your child, the literary talent
Literature professor Marah Gubar studies the creative powers of kids.


JUNE 2016

Groovy science, man!
Q&A: David Kaiser on our debt to science’s countercultural turn.

An economist delves into charter schools
PhD student Elizabeth Setren brings data to bear on questions about local education policy.

Why do women leave engineering?
Study: Group dynamics of teamwork and internships deter many women in the profession.

Democracy now
Political scientist Evan Lieberman studies ethnic identity and African politics.


MAY 2016

Why children confuse simple words
Study: Kids have “and/or” problem despite sophisticated reasoning.

3 Questions: Jeffrey Ravel on bringing data to cultural history
MIT conference stems from data-rich historical project on French theater.

Counting calories
Migrants pay more for their home region’s cuisine, even when on the edge of malnutrition.

APRIL 2016

3 Questions: David Autor on global trade and political polarization
Study finds relationship between U.S. job losses due to trade, and political polarization in Congress.

MIT political scientist awarded prestigious Carnegie fellowship
Taylor Fravel will examine Asia’s maritime conflicts in further depth.

New study shows rich, poor have huge mortality gap in U.S.
In unprecedented detail, lifespan gap shown to be large and growing rapidly.

Identity theft?
Automation helps us in many ways, but does it steal our sense of self?

3 Questions: Alan Brody on “Small Infinities”
As part of MIT 2016 celebration, play about Isaac Newton debuts in U.S.

How network effects hurt economies
Study reveals how woes in one industry can harm others, too.


MARCH 2016

3 Questions: Ben Ross Schneider on Brazil’s crisis moment
As political scandal swirls, are there still signs of economic and democratic progress?

3Q: A world-premiere concert where the audience helps play
MIT’s Eran Egozy on “12,” a chamber music debut with smartphone-driven percussion.

Stealth technology
Clapperton Mavhunga’s work uncovers an Africa where technology is abundant and sophisticated.

Code of the humans
New book by Noam Chomsky and Robert Berwick explores how people acquired unique language skills.



It's all in our heads
Political science PhD student Marika Landau-Wells is using psychology and neuroscience to better understand political behavior.

MIT senior takes on double major in brain and cognitive sciences plus theater arts
Abra Shen pursues medicine and theater, and someday hopes to combine the two.

Into Africa

Entrepreneurs returning home to Africa find great promise, and many challenges.


A cleaner ballot box

In Brazil, auditing voter rolls has shrunk the electorate — to the dismay of incumbents.

Reality check in the factory

MIT professor’s new book shows how labor laws actually get enforced, globally.

Life in the aftermath

MIT historian’s book explores life for Armenians in modern Turkey.

Past and present

MIT’s Tanalís Padilla brings alive the history of political struggles in Mexico.



Stimulus plan?
Interest is growing in brain stimulation devices — and regulating them may prove tricky.

3 Questions: David Singer on China and the renminbi
MIT political scientist looks beyond the headlines about China’s new currency status.

Mapping the history of U.S. state politics
Unique new study shows political orientation of all 50 U.S. states over time.

Senior Alyssa Napier dedicates herself to improving MIT
Chemistry major works to address social justice issues.



Illuminating urban planning
Jennifer Light studies how Cold War military analysis and New Deal resource analysis shaped cities.

Grow your own way
Study: Trade may not help a warming planet fight its farming failures.

3 Questions: Sherry Turkle on “Reclaiming Conversation”
MIT professor talks about our need for face-to-face dialogue, in families, classrooms, and workplaces.

Good thinking
MIT philosopher Kieran Setiya analyzes the sources of moral action.

MIT named No. 1 university worldwide for social sciences
Times Higher Education ranks MIT’s social sciences the best in the world.

3Q: Thomas Levenson on the hunt for Vulcan, the missing planet
New book details the scientific search for a planet — before Albert Einstein halted the quest.



MIT named among three top universities in the world for humanities and arts fields

Times Literary Supplement ranks MIT one of the best in the world.

Facing the global refugee crisis
At MIT event, scholars and relief workers warn current problems could be “the tip of the iceberg.”

Making banking effective for the poor
In India, PhD student Natalia Rigol aims to tap into community knowledge to vet loan and grant applicants.

From screen to stage
MIT’s Jay Scheib and Keeril Makan turn the famous film “Persona” into a new opera.

Robots and us
Should cars be fully driverless? No, says an MIT engineer and historian.



Heidi Williams wins MacArthur “genius grant”
Economist who studies medical research and intellectual property wins $625,000 prize.

QS ranks MIT the world's top university for 2015-16
Ranked No. 1 for the fourth straight year, the Institute also places first in 11 of 36 disciplines.

State of growth
Study: Local and national governments spur growth better in tandem.



Policing sex trafficking in the digital age
Mitali Thakor works with tech companies and police to understand what sex trafficking looks like today.

Timing devices
Anna Mikusheva refines the tools of time-series econometrics to develop better forecasting.


JULY 2015

Study: Firms “underinvest” in long-term cancer research
Tweaks to the R&D pipeline could create new drugs and greater social benefit.

The U.S.-Iran nuclear deal: MIT’s experts size it up
Faculty and specialists weigh in on potential pact and global implications.

Understanding economic behavior through hygiene
PhD student Reshmaan Hussam’s study of Bangladeshis’ economic behavior leads to research on hand-washing.

3 Questions: Michel DeGraff on Haiti’s new policy for teaching in Kreyòl
MIT scholar, and advocate of native-language instruction, backs linguistic change.

3 Questions: Jennifer Light on new media and democracy
MIT historian of technology discusses new work examining “digital citizenship.”

MRIs for a more peaceful world
Neuroscientists and political scientists join together to advance peace and reconciliation.


JUNE 2015

Medical anthropology
Erica Caple James investigates how behavior, culture, and structural inequalities impact health.

Grant to MIT's Poverty Action Lab increases focus on working with governments
Support from Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives seeks to improve policymaking in the fight against poverty.

Chisholm, Rivest, and Thompson appointed as new Institute Professors
Biologist, computer scientist, and musician awarded MIT’s highest faculty honor.


May 2015

Melissa Nobles named dean of SHASS
Political scientist and department head to lead School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.

When citizens disobey
New study suggests people use “constructive noncompliance” to enact change.

3 Questions: Kenneth Oye on regulating drugs
New potential for “homemade” opiates raises oversight issues.

A “graduation” from poverty
Study: Anti-poverty intervention provides sustained boost to incomes and wealth.

Rumors have it
Study: Trying to correct political myths may only entrench them further.

Culture clash
MIT scholar’s new book explores fierce debates over immigration.

National Academy of Sciences elects four MIT professors
Bowring, Mrowka, Poterba, and Seager named for “distinguished” research.


APRIL 2015

3 Questions: Marcia Bartusiak on black holes and the history of science
MIT professor’s new book explores the winding path of scientific discovery.

Eight faculty members elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Among 197 elected this year to the prestigious honorary society, including Sally Haslanger, the Ford Professor of Philosophy, Kathleen Thelen, the Ford Professor of political science, and Iván Werning, the Robert M. Solow Professor of Economics.

Passage from India
New book by Sana Aiyar, an assistant professor of history at MIT, details how Kenya’s Indian immigrants established a foothold in a foreign land.

Deans announce new Institute for Data, Systems, and Society
MIT-wide effort aims to bring the power of data to the people.


MARCH 2015

The rapid rise of human language
New paper authored by Shigeru Miyagawa, Professor of Linguistics and the Kochi Prefecture-John Manjiro Professor in Japanese Language and Culture at MIT, suggests people quickly started speaking in a now-familiar form.

Studying conflict from the ground up

Newly tenured Fotini Christia studies political conflict — making findings that policymakers can use.

SHASS economist Heidi Williams and four other MIT researchers win Sloan Research Fellowships

Faculty specializing in mathematics, chemistry, mechanical engineering, and economics among 126 selected.


Explaining what voters try to hide

New paper shows how “conjoint analysis” can tackle hard political issues.

3 Questions: Amy Finkelstein on testing health care systems

MIT economist explains why randomized trials can improve medical care.

When logic meets rhetoric

Edward Schiappa has studied reason and rhetoric from ancient Greece to “Will & Grace.” 



Does time pass?

Philosopher Brad Skow’s new book says it does — but not in the way you may think.

Is the medical match fair?

Study finds the demand for positions strongly influences medical residents’ salaries.



The “metrics” system

Economist’s new book teaches how to conduct cause-and-effect studies on complex social questions.



By any media necessary
By studying immigrants, book provides a new view on social media and political movements.

Two MIT seniors and an alumnus named Rhodes Scholars

Elliot Akama-Garren ’15, Anisha Gururaj ’15, and Noam Angrist ’13 are among 32 winners nationwide.

3 Questions: Elena Ruehr on her three premieres this month

Composer debuts three new works, including an opera to be performed at MIT on Nov. 21.

Fitzgerald to step down as dean of SHASS

After nine years, dean will return to her position as a professor of the history of technology.

A MOOC sees its greatest impact in the classroom at MIT

Flipping a classroom enhances student and faculty experience.

Dresselhaus and Solow win Presidential Medal of Freedom

Two Institute Professors are among 19 new recipients of the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Unboxing the Chomsky Archive

A new website offers a glimpse at a lifetime of work, and the chance to support it.

Study aims to shorten Election Day lines

New MIT-led research effort applies the science of lines to the polling place.



Study: Workplace diversity can help the bottom line
MIT economist Sara Ellison scrutinizes firm data suggesting diverse offices function more effectively.

Can the U.S. and Russia make more progress on nuclear security?

State Department official lauds enforcement of New START Treaty, but cites need for more work.

Former NSA inspector general joins MIT Center for International Studies


Why sign rights treaties?

Study: Autocratic leaders who sign human-rights treaties seek political gain, not material benefits.

Creating user-friendlier environments

Federico Casalegno designs technology environments that keep human experience at the center of user experience.

3 Questions: Jonathan Gruber on the cost of smoking

Leading health care economist weighs in on a proposed cost-benefit analysis of smoking.

Alumnus Jean Tirole wins Nobel Prize in economic sciences

Former faculty member lauded for framework for regulating dominant firms in imperfect markets.

Caught in the social safety net

Andrea Campbell gives a firsthand perspective on the effects of means-tested social insurance programs




3 Questions: Calestous Juma on African development
MIT event spotlights new approaches to economic growth on the continent. Interview by Peter Dizikes

Keeping score
Newly tenured professor of Music Michael Cuthbert dives into old music to recreate the art of centuries past Story by Peter Dizike

Q&A: John Durant and David Kaiser on spurring public interest in science
Report on novel forms of science engagement raises new questions about outreach. Story by Peter Dizikes  

Making the case for Keynes
Peter Temin’s new book explains how John Maynard Keynes’ ideas relate to today’s global economy. Story by Peter Dizikes 



Inspired readings
Meet MIT professor Arthur Bahr, who makes medieval literature come alive. Story by Peter Dizikes

The history man
Nuclear security expert Francis Gavin brings a historical approach to the study of international politics. Story by Peter Dizikes


JULY 2014


Economist Nancy Rose to take DOJ position
Expert in regulation and market competition will take leave to spearhead DOJ’s economic analysis. Story by Peter Dizikes

Study: Contrary to image, city politicians do adapt to voters
Urban politicians in the U.S. are responsive to voters’ views, regardless of the form of government. Story by Peter Dizikes 

Pulitzer Prize-winner to head Knight Science Journalism at MIT

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Deborah Blum will join MIT in 2015 as the director of Knight Science Journalism at MIT. Story by SHASS Communications and MIT News

3 Questions: Kenneth Oye on the regulation of genetic engineering
Political scientist discusses regulatory gaps in assessing the impact of “gene drives.” Story by Peter Dizikes

Time to rethink foreign policy?
In a new book, political scientist Barry Posen makes the case for a more limited U.S. military strategy. Story by Peter Dizikes



JUNE 2014


From contemporary syntax to human language’s deep origins
New paper amplifies hypothesis that human language builds on birdsong and speech forms of other primates. Story by Peter Dizikes



MAY 2014


The varieties of nuclear strategy
In a new book, MIT political scientist examines the multiple political uses of nuclear weapons. Story by Peter Dizikes

3 Questions: Johannes Haushofer on the psychology of poverty
Does a mental “feedback loop” prevent the poorest from exploring ways to change their lives? Story by Peter Dizikes

Q&A: David Autor on inequality among the “99 percent”
In new Science piece, MIT economist aims to move the inequality discussion beyond the “1 percent.” Story by Peter Dizikes

A new kind of media theory
MIT professor Fox Harrell works to enrich the subjective and ethical dimensions of the digital media experience. Story by Peter Dizikes

Film, form, and feeling
MIT professor’s new book studies formal properties of movies and the structure of our emotions. Story by Peter Dizikes

The anthropology of humanitarianism
Anthropologist Erica James examines the effectiveness of aid to those on the margins of society. Story by Peter Dizikes



APRIL 2014


How a health care plan quickly lowered infant mortality
Study: Improved hospital access lowered infant death rate among Thailand’s poor within a year. Story by Peter Dizikes

What’s the future of wealth — and inequality?
At MIT, “rock star” economist Thomas Piketty presents, defends work on inequality. Story by Peter Dizikes

3 Questions: Michael Greenstone on the experimental method in environmental economics
MIT economist makes the case for new quasi-experiments as a way of studying environmental issues. Story by Peter Dizikes



MARCH 2014


A scholar who thinks globally and acts locally
Political scientist David Singer produces innovative research on international financial policy. Story by Peter Dizikes  

3 Questions: John Tirman, executive director of MIT’s Center for International Studies, on the warming U.S.-Iran relationship
New book examines misunderstandings as two nations try to work out a permanent deal on nuclear weapons. Story by Peter Dizikes  

What’s next for Ukraine?
At MIT, experts discuss the long-term implications of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict in Crimea. Story by Peter Dizikes



Inside the minds of voters
Teppei Yamamoto, Assistant Professor of Political Science, proposes a new polling method to reveal how voters make choices at the ballot box. Story by Peter Dizikes  

After the U.S. leaves Afghanistan, then what?
In a talk, Vipin Narang, Assistant Professor of Political Science, examines the implications of the military drawdown for regional rivals India and Pakistan. Story by Peter Dizikes  

Intellectual property
MIT Associate Professor of Literature Sandy Alexandre explores the complex relationship between black literature and history. Story by Peter Dizikes  

Cold case: A linguistic mystery yields clues in Russian
David Pesetsky's, the Ferrari P. Ward Professor of Modern Languages and Linguistics and head of MIT’s Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, new book explains how the quirks of Russian numerals can tell us something deep about the universal properties of grammar. Story by Peter Dizikes  


Gruber outlines key upcoming moments in Affordable Care Act rollout
MIT expert weighs in on health plan’s status as legislation becomes reality. Story by Peter Dizikes  

Study: Having Medicaid increases emergency room visits
Unique study on Oregon’s citizens sheds light on critical care in the U.S. Story by Peter Dizikes  


The surprising story of Mongolian shamanism
MIT anthropologist finds that after Soviet domination, a rebirth of shamanism helped Mongolia rewrite its own history. Story by Peter Dizikes  

How should we use our intelligence?
MIT event exposes fault lines among high-ranking former government officials on NSA’s data-gathering programs. Story by Peter Dizikes  

Water, water everywhere: But is there enough to drink?
At MIT, experts address the challenges of supplying clean, safe water to a growing world population. Story by David Chandler  

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli visits MIT in support of assistive technology and global poverty reduction
Daylong visit highlights work by MIT researchers and others at CSAIL and J-PAL. Story by Chuck Leddy  

Polarized labor market leaving more employees in service jobs
Study: U.S. job market is putting more workers in positions with limited upside and leverage. Story by Peter Dizikes  

New medical operations
At MIT’s ‘Innovations in Health Care’ conference, industry experts discuss how to maintain quality while reining in costs. Story by Peter Dizikes   


3 Questions: Benjamin Olken on the economic impact of climate change
MIT economist has co-authored a new survey on the burgeoning research about the effects of the changing climate. Story by Peter Dizikes  

Five from MIT named AAAS fellows
The professors were recognized by their peers for their efforts to advance science or its applications. Story by the MIT News Office  

An economist with a goal
MIT senior Jonathan Tebes sees economics as a way to alleviate poverty in the US, Tanzania, and beyond. Story by Jessica Fujimori, MIT News correspondent  

A new path for growth
In a new book, MIT political scientist Ben Ross Schneider sets out an agenda for growth with greater equality in Latin America. Story by Peter Dizikes  

Dower granted major 'lifetime achievement' award in history
MIT professor recognized as ‘pre-eminent scholar’ in East Asian history. Story by MIT News Office  

Lincoln Palmer Bloomfield, professor emeritus of political science, dies at 93
Longtime member of the MIT faculty was noted for his work on containing conflict and averting nuclear escalation. Story by MIT News Office





Doctor, doctor: Why the job market for married couples in medicine works well
New study in the growing ‘market design’ field of economics explains how a job-market algorithm helps land couples in the same locations. Story by Peter Dizikes  

Building culture in digital media
Fox Harrell’s new book presents a ‘manifesto’ detailing how computing can create powerful new forms of expression and culture. Story by Peter Dizikes  

The 'Great Rent Wars' of New York
Historian Robert Fogelson’s new book uncovers the origins of rent control in a World War I-era fight between tenants and landlords for control of New York real estate. Story by Peter Dizikes   

Adrift in a sea of change
In a new book, MIT historian Rosalind Williams examines the deep tension authors Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson, and William Morris felt about technology. Story by Peter Dizikes  

Alumnus Robert J. Shiller wins Nobel Prize in economic sciences
Economist is honored for his work on the long-term fluctuations of asset prices. Story by Peter Dizikes  

An experiment puts auditing under scrutiny
Unique study reduces pollution in India while calling conventional auditing markets into question. Story by Peter Dizikes  

Advantage, Arnaud
Economist Arnaud Costinot studies international trade — and has helped revive interest in economics’ venerable Theory of Comparative Advantage. Story by Peter Dizikes  

In search of transparency
Former military analyst and whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg speaks on the need for open public discussion of vital issues. Story by Peter Dizikes




Broadcasting rights
MIT professor Heather Hendershot studies the conservative movement’s strategic use of television through the decades. Story by Peter Dizikes


Achieving an innovation nation
MIT report emphasizes need to turn U.S. innovation strengths into growth. Story by Peter Dizikes


Race and class
MIT historian Craig Wilder documents the manifold links between universities and the slave economy in colonial America. Story by Peter Dizikes


3 Questions: Suzanne Berger on converting innovation into growth
As MIT’s PIE Commission releases its findings on the innovation economy, a focus on finding ways to help new ideas reach the market.  Story by Peter Dizikes


The unknowns surrounding Syria
At MIT, foreign-policy experts discuss the complications of another potential military intervention in the Middle East. Story by Peter Dizikes


3 Questions: Christopher Capozzola on the history of chemical-weapons bans
MIT historian discusses the longstanding ‘taboo’ against chemical weapons, and international attempts to eliminate them. Story by Peter Dizikes


Mappers, modelers and an anthropologist
HASTS doctoral student Tom Schilling is conducting an anthropological study of geology, forestry and First Nations-led mapping and modeling in rural British Columbia. Story by Jessica Fujimori


In The World: Mapping the logistics of megacities
New open-source online maps generated by MIT students provide details of urban supply chains. Story by David L. Chandler


Big game hunter
MIT sociologist T.L. Taylor studies the subcultures of online gaming and the nascent world of online e-sports. Story by Peter Dizikes



Rethinking investment risk
Does financial innovation inherently lead to greater risk in markets? An MIT economist takes a new look at the problem and says it does. Story by Peter Dizikes

Empowering women in Afghanistan
By placing some women in local leadership positions, an innovative development aid program integrates women into civic life, and may have economic benefits. Story by Peter Dizikes



JULY 2013

How anti-poverty programs go viral
Study: Getting the well-connected to spread the word helps more people learn about microfinance programs in rural India. Story by Peter Dizikes

Linguistic puzzler
Graduate student Rafael Nonato travels to the fringes of the Amazon rainforest to explore the Brazilian native language of the Kĩsêdjê. Story by Jessica Fujimori, MIT News correspondent

The long history of 'Eurasian' identity
MIT historian’s new book studies cross-cultural Asian-American families since the 19th century. Story by Peter Dizikes

Innovative study estimates extent to which air pollution in China shortens human lives
New quasi-experimental research finds major impact of coal emissions on health. Story by Peter Dizikes


JUNE 2013

Re-thinking ethnic favoritism in politics
Study shows ethnic-based distribution of goods in African politics is not continuous, but instead intermittent and limited in scope. Story by Peter Dizikes

Diversifying your online world
In a new book, MIT’s Ethan Zuckerman asserts that we need to overcome the Internet’s sorting tendencies and create tools to make ourselves ‘digital cosmopolitans.’ Story by Peter Dizikes
That ’70s show
In a new book, journalist and MIT fellow Christian Caryl recounts the epoch-shaping political, religious and economic upheavals launched in the year 1979. Story by Peter Dizikes

MAY 2013

The strangely familiar browsing habits of 14th-century readers
MIT professor’s book digs into the eclectic, textually linked reading choices of people in medieval London. Story by Peter Dizikes

Striking a balance on taxes
Research by PhD student Stefanie Stantcheva touches on taxation, student loans and education incentives. Story by Shraddha Chakradhar

Using literature to understand violence against blacks
MIT professor Sandy Alexandre studies the literary record to shed light on the history of lynching in the United States. Story by Peter Dizikes

How to make factory conditions better
After years of research into global production systems, an MIT political scientist is convinced that government, not just the private sector, must help keep workers safe. Story by Peter Dizikes

How Medicaid affects adult health
Study: Health insurance helps lower-income Americans avoid depression, diabetes, major financial shocks. Story by Peter Dizikes

APRIL 2013

Decoding ‘noisy’ language in daily life
Study shows how people rationally interpret linguistic input. Story by Peter Dizikes  

MIT and Haiti sign agreement to promote Kreyòl-language STEM education
Initiative designed to help Haitians gain technical education. Story by Peter Dizikes  

China and Japan remain miles apart on uninhabited isles
At MIT event, diplomats and scholars reinforce high stakes, lack of progress on Asian territorial dispute. Story by Peter Dizikes  

Deep in the field
Book details how economist Robert Townsend has spent two decades in rural Thailand, exploring the links between household finances and economic growth. Story by Peter Dizikes  

3Q: Jeffrey Ravel on the French past and our future
With MIT hosting a global French history conference, a look at the international growth of — and changes in — the field. Story by Peter Dizikes  

MARCH 2013  

Helping students master data
An undergraduate econometrics class gets students to think critically about their own research. Story by Peter Dizikes  

Four professors named 2013 MacVicar Fellows
Griffith, Miller, Schulz and Teng awarded the Institute’s highest undergraduate teaching honor. Story by the MIT News Office  

Sizing up Japan, after the disaster
MIT political scientist examines Japanese stasis after nuclear meltdown at Fukushima. Story by Peter Dizikes  

The science of politics
Jens Hainmueller looks for experiments to answer tough political questions. Story by Peter Dizikes  

Nate Silver presents forecasting work as antidote to ‘terrible’ political pundits
In MIT talk, celebrated election forecaster offers critique of media, advice to students and hints about his future projects. Story by Peter Dizikes  


New insight into how people choose insurance plans
Study: Consumers avoid high-deductible plans if they expect to reduce their use of medical care. Story by Peter Dizikes  

Knight Fellowship has made its mark on science journalism
MIT-based program has provided research experience for hundreds of reporters. Story by David L. Chandler  

Robert Bishop, MIT economist and dean, dies at age 96
A member of the MIT community for seven decades, he was a scholar of microeconomic theory, an innovative teacher, and a dean who helped expand the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Story by Peter Dizikes  

How human language could have evolved from birdsong
Linguistics and biology researchers propose a new theory on the deep roots of human speech. Story by Peter Dizikes  

What’s the cost and financial value of college?
At MIT, experts say evidence shows the payoff from college education remains high. Story by Peter Dizikes  

3 Questions: Charles Stewart ranks the voting systems in the 50 states
A new Pew Center project, spurred by MIT research, studies how well states run their elections. Story by Peter Dizikes  


The hidden history of Bengali Harlem
MIT professor’s new book details the overlooked waves of South Asian immigrants to the United States. Story by Peter Dizikes  

The Natural Experimenter
MIT economist Josh Angrist’s meticulous ­methods have influenced scholars for two decades. Now he’s zeroing in on what makes some schools better than others. Story by Peter Dizikes  

The high value of water
Study: People willing to pay more for running water report much higher levels of happiness when they have it. Story by Peter Dizikes  

Hard times in Chicago
MIT anthropologist’s new book recounts the painful aftermath when steel plants suddenly closed in the American heartland. Story by Peter Dizikes  

Why are Japanese cartoons a global hit?
MIT scholar’s new book heralds ‘creative collaboration’ with the masses as the key to anime’s worldwide popularity. Story by Peter Dizikes  

Why some immigrants get citizenship
Study: Country of origin a 'massive disadvantage' for some immigrants, regardless of qualifications. Story by Peter Dizikes  

Duflo, Lander, Lewin to lead spring-semester MITx courses
EdX takes stock of last semester’s MITx courses; data will be used to improve education online and in the classroom. Story by Jennifer Chu  


The health-insurance markets of the (very near) future
Policymakers must address ‘tension’ between competition and ease of use. Story by Peter Dizikes  

The subculture of cheese
MIT anthropologist looks inside the growing world of do-it-yourself American cheese-makers. Story by Peter Dizikes  

3 Questions: David Kaiser on Thomas Kuhn’s paradigm shift
Scholars mark 50th anniversary of 'The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.' Story by Peter Dizikes

Study: At most a third of us show a consistent approach to financial risk
Empirically rich new study finds most people alter their risk-management approach depending on the type of financial decision. Story by Peter Dizikes  


Knowing the score
At MIT, composer Keeril Makan has found a home for his innovative works. Story by Peter Dizikes

How civil wars evolve
MIT political scientist’s book shows how even the bloodiest conflicts feature pragmatic alliances—not just ancient sectarian divisions. Story by Peter Dizikes



Explained: Margin of error
When you hear poll results reported with a certain margin of error, that’s only part of the story. Story by David Chandler  

How Jonathan Gruber became ‘Mr. Mandate’
An MIT economist’s path to the center of health-care policymaking in Washington. Story by Peter Dizikes

The state of the U.S. election system
New report from MIT and Caltech notes gains in voting-machine technologies, but warns they could be cancelled out by errors introduced through mail and Internet voting. Story by Peter Dizikes

3 Questions: Charles Stewart sizes up the 2012 election
MIT political scientist and voting expert weighs in on the state of the presidential campaign, the shifting demographics of America, and the tossup U.S. Senate races. Story by Peter Dizikes

DeGraff awarded $1 million NSF grant to continue linguistics research in Haiti
Funding will help develop classroom tools to teach science and math in Creole for the first time. Story by Peter Dizikes




3 Questions: Violence and protests in the Muslim world
MIT political scientist Fotini Christia talks about the attacks on U.S. and Western embassies in North Africa and the Middle East. Story by Peter Dizikes


Q&A: Junot Díaz on his new book
The MIT professor and Pulitzer-winning writer talks about the people and ideas in his newest work, This Is How You Lose Her—and explains why women form a big part of his core audience. Interview by Peter Dizikes

Understanding gambling addiction
For machine gamblers, it’s not whether they win or lose—it’s how much they play the game. Story by Peter Dizikes


AUGUST  2012


The economic cost of increased temperatures
Study: Warming episodes hurt poor countries and limit long-term growth. Story by Peter Dizikes

Study: Many Americans die with ‘virtually no financial assets’
Innovative research shows large divergence in retirement saving outcomes, with the single elderly faring worse than married couples. Story by Peter Dizikes  

Five MIT researchers win presidential early career honors
Parag Pathak, Economics, among them. Story by the MIT News Office Staff 


JULY 2012 

Economist Robert Townsend wins Frisch Medal
Prestigious prize granted for research on Thailand’s villages. Story by the MIT News Office Staff 


JUNE 2012


3 Questions: Andrea Campbell interprets the Supreme Court’s health care decision
An MIT political scientist whose work was cited in one justice’s opinion weighs in on the ruling and its implications. Story by Peter Dizikes

Bits of buildings: How is computing changing the architect’s job?
In a new book, an MIT researcher looks at the influence of high-tech simulations on the profession of architecture.  Story by Peter Dizikes

Economists find evidence for famous hypothesis of ‘comparative advantage’
Why do nations trade goods instead of producing more themselves? An old theory, that countries specialize in the products they make well, may be on the money. Story by Peter Dizikes

The complexities of cognitive comparisons
In experiments, linguists examine how we make everyday judgments about groups of objects. Story by Peter Dizikes


MAY 2012


Taking credit
When Thailand’s government started offering microfinance loans to villagers, did anyone benefit? An MIT economist investigates. Story by Peter Dizikes 

3 Questions: Hanna Rose Shell on the hidden history of camouflage
Historian of technology’s new book traces the surprisingly recent invention of a standard military practice. Story by Peter Dizikes 

Studying school quality, to fight inequality
New MIT center examines education and its lifelong effects. Story by Peter Dizikes

Game Theory, in the real world
MIT economist Parag Pathak engineers practical solutions to complicated education problems. Parag Pathak Photo: Dominick Reuter For students in New York and Boston, who have a range of options beyond. Story by Peter Dizikes 


APRIL 2012 


Economist Amy Finkelstein wins the John Bates Clark Medal
MIT economist lauded for work on health care markets. Story by Peter Dizikes  

13 MIT faculty elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences three from MIT SHASS
Philsopher Stephen Yabol, Economists Amy Finkelstein and David Autor elected. Story by the MIT News Office Staff 

Four from MIT win Guggenheim Fellowships Makan and Yablo from MIT SHASS
Story by the MIT News Office Staff 

A Tough Calculation: Why don't more women go into engineering?
Study by Anthropologist Susan Silbey reveals why female students remain wary of the engineering workplace. Story by Peter Dizikes

MARCH 2012


What lies ahead for science and science writing?
10th anniversary of MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing celebrates past, looks to future. Story by Jessica Fujimori


All the difference in the world
In new book, economists Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson assert that above all else, political institutions — not culture or natural resources — determine the wealth of nations. Story by Peter Dizikes

Inequality offensive
At MIT forum, economists evaluate the consequences of increasing inequality in America, and suggest solutions. Story by Peter Dizikes 

Four professors named 2012 MacVicar Faculty Fellows
Broadhead, Kaelbling, Kaiser and Rose awarded the Institute’s highest undergraduate teaching honor. News Office Staff 

If the people will lead
MIT panel on the future of black politics, scholars discuss the need for civic engagement at a time of economic stress.   Story by Peter Dizikes



When (and where) work disappears
Study: Overseas manufacturing competition hits U.S. regions hard, leaving workers unemployed for years and local economies struggling.  Story by Peter Dizikes

3 Questions: Adam Berinsky on the unpredictable GOP campaign
Political scientist who studies public opinion assesses a campaign with wildly fluctuating polls.  Story by Peter Dizikes

Historian of Science Charles Weiner dies at 80
Longtime faculty member was a pre-eminent analyst of the political, social and ethical dimensions of contemporary science.  Story by the MIT News Office Staff 



3 Questions: John Harbison on his sixth symphony
The Pulitzer-prize winning composer discusses his latest major work, premiering January 2012 at the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  Story by Peter Dizikes

Leading by example
Study by Esther Duflo | The presence of female politicians boosts aspirations, educational achievement of young women.  Story by Peter Dizikes



3 Questions: Stephen Van Evera on the withdrawal from Iraq
A look at the prospects for peace as U.S. troops leave.  Story by Peter Dizikes

Bridging the divide
New study co-led by political scientist Fotini Christia shows how integrated institutions can lead diverse populations to cooperate in rebuilding countries.  Story by Peter Dizikes

Nobel laureate: Long path to economic renewal, but energy innovation could help
Robert Solow, Professor of Economics emeritus says investments in energy and infrastructure could help revive the economy.  Story by Peter Dizikes



A Tocqueville for our Time
MIT Historian Arthur Kaledin's new book re-evaluates of Democracy in America, and emphasizes Alexis de Tocqueville’s doubts and concerns about politics in the United States. Story by Peter Dizikes

Allen Lin ’11, MEng ’11 named Marshall Scholar
Recent alum will hone interests in policy, synthetic biology through study in the United Kingdom.  Story by the MIT News Office Staff 

How we (should) decide
MIT Philosopher Caspar Hare aims to develop theories of practical rationality that may just help us make real-world decisions. "In philosophy, there’s nothing you can’t think,” Hare says. “Everything’s on the table, and the values are all about rigor and clarity, exploring how to use a thought and seeing where it goes."  Story by Emily Finn

Stephanie Lin wins Rhodes Scholarship
Lin, an MIT senior who is majoring in biology with a minor in applied international studies, has received a Rhodes Scholarship to study next year at Oxford University. She is one of 32 American recipients selected this weekend by the Rhodes Trust.  Story by the MIT News Office Staff 

Townsend wins Laffont Prize in Economics
MIT economist Robert M. Townsend, an expert in the ways financial systems and practices can contribute to the growth of developing economies, has been named winner of the Jean-Jacques Laffont Prize in economics for 2011.  Story by the MIT News Office Staff 

Political Scientist Taylor Fravel decodes China’s foreign policy
Fravel’s work has gained attention because of an unanticipated finding growing out of his doctoral research: In the last several decades, to a greater extent than has been generally understood, China has often struck pragmatic compromises in foreign-policy disputes with its neighbors. Fravel’s 2008 book, Strong Borders, Secure Nation: Cooperation and Conflict in China’s Territorial Disputes, reveals this tendency and analyzes the reasons for it.  Story by Peter Dizikes

Summers: To end slump, United States must spend
In MIT remarks, former Treasury secretary calls for the ‘common sense’ cure of more government spending to spur growth. “No thoughtful person can look at the U.S. economy today and believe that the principal constraint on expansion of output and employment is anything other than the lack of demand experienced by firms,” Summers said. That is, not enough consumers in the country have sufficient spending power; government programs employing more people would change that, he asserted. “If the private sector is either unable or unwilling to borrow and spend on a sufficient scale, then there is a substantial role for government in doing that. That’s the right macroeconomics. It’s also common sense.” 
Story by Peter Dizikes