The Science of Creating Fuel

This week’s installment of "The Future in Motion" features a clip from an interview with Dr. Nate Lewis, a chemistry professor at CalTech. He and his team are busy developing a scientific process for mimicking photosynthesis—essentially taking energy from the sun and converting it directly into fuel. It could bring us one step closer to developing truly energy efficient automobiles, something that would help postpone the seemingly inevitable warming of the earth.

As part of this series, every Wednesday until April 7, we will release new interviews with people who are changing the way we get from here to there, from entrepreneurs to policy makers. So far, we've featured interviews with Richard Schaden, Aeronautical engineer and founder of Beyond The Edge; Mitchell Joachim, founder of Terreform ONE; Enrique Penalosa, former mayor of Bogata; Felix Kramer, founder of the non-profit, California Cars Initiative; famous aerospace engineer Burt Rutan; director of MIT Media Lab's Smart Cities Group Bill Mitchell; PhD student at MIT Media Lab, Ryan Chin; and Director of Advanced Mobility Research at Art Center College of Design, Geoff Wardle. The schedule for the following weeks is as follows:


· March 31: Joseph Sussman—Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT. Specializing in "Complex, Large-Scale, Interconnected, Open, Sociotechnical" strategic transportation systems.

· March 31: Douglas Malewicki, Aerospace engineer and inventor of the SkyTran, a Personal Rapid Transit system that uses magnetic levitation tracks to achieve the equivalent of over 200 miles per gallon fuel economy at 100 miles per hour or faster.

· April 7: Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, which promotes the formation of space tourism and other major milestones and the co-Founder of Space Adventures. 

· April 7: Michael Schrage-- Research fellow with the Sloan School of Management's Center for Digital Business and a visiting fellow at Imperial College's London 'Innovation and Entrepreneurship' program.

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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Project 100,000: The Vietnam War's cruel and deadly experiment

Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?

Flickr user Tommy Truong79
Politics & Current Affairs
  • During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
  • The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
  • Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
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Here's how diverse the 116th Congress is set to become

The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.

(Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
  • In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
  • Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
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