• "Fast-forward Genetics" Induces Mutations to Produce Higher-Yielding Crops

    by
    Scope Correspondent
    This month, a team of scientists announced that they had identified and combined key genetic mutations to significantly increase fruit production in tomato plants. These new mutations arose from a breeding technique called induced mutation, where seeds are sprayed with DNA-altering chemicals. It's a research endeavor so risky that some describe it as "spray and pray"--but this time, it appears to have paid off.
  • Slower Wind Speeds Spell Rapid Environmental Change

    by
    Scope Correspondent
    Winds of change are coming, and they’re bringing poised to upend entire ecosystems. Over the last 30 years, average surface wind speeds over areas in Europe, Central Asia, Eastern Asia and North America have slowed by about 10 percent. The potential effects of “global stilling” could affect land, air and aquatic systems worldwide.
  • Underwater ‘superglue’ developed from mussels and bacteria

    by
    Scope Correspondent
    Mussels, pounded by the oceans’ waves, fasten themselves to rocks as a matter of survival. Bacteria cast protein nets to hold onto surfaces for dear life. Now MIT researchers have combined the two in a clever new way, producing the best-ever underwater glue inspired by Mother Nature—and a potential replacement for today’s surgical stitches.
  • Lies Have Longevity On the Internet

    by
    Scope Correspondent
    According to joint research from the University of Washington and Northwest University, untrue internet rumors have a long life on the world wide web, even after they’ve been debunked.
  • MIT Once Boasted the Strongest Magnet in the World

    by
    Scope Correspondent
    Bert Little, host of the Science Reporter TV episode “Big Magnets,” looked into the camera in 1961 and gravely promised that soon MIT “will house the strongest magnets in the world.”
  • Solving the Impossible Problem: John Clark Sheehan’s Quest for Synthetic Penicillin

    by
    Scope Correspondent
    One afternoon in 1942, Randolph Major called John Clark Sheehan into his office. Major, the balding, self-effacing director of research at Merck Pharmaceuticals, was offering Sheehan his choice of research projects. Merck was looking into two interesting compounds: the steroid cortisone and the antibiotic penicillin. Sheehan said he was comfortable with steroid research, but Major interrupted him to say that Lewis Sarrett, a recent hire, was also qualified in this area.

Hunting Down the Puzzle

It’s early afternoon on Friday, Jan. 16. On the third floor of MIT’s Building 34, three classrooms are buzzing with excitement. This is the assigned home base for Team PuzzFeed, whose members are clustered at round tables, refreshing their laptop screens impatiently. They’re waiting for 1:17 p.m. — the slated start time for the 2015 MIT Mystery Hunt. “It’s up!” someone shouts, and the team cheers as the first puzzles load online.  Sarah Schwartz ’15 reports.