All articles posted in Science & Technology

EpiPen’s pricing debacle and its impact on patients, insurers

A firestorm erupted this week in response to the phar­ma­ceu­tical com­pany Mylan’s sharp increase in the price of its EpiPen, a life-​​saving treat­ment for severe allergic reac­tions. The com­pany quickly back­tracked, announcing a rebate plan. Here, three North­eastern fac­ulty members—pharmacist Tayla Rose, health­care finance expert Steven Pizer, and health policy researcher Gary Young—explain the clin­ical, eco­nomic, and policy impli­ca­tions of the controversy.

Chew on this: How we believe our meat is raised can influence how it tastes

New research from North­eastern psy­chology pro­fessor Lisa Feldman Bar­rett shows that our beliefs about how farm ani­mals are raised—whether on “fac­tory farms” or in more humane conditions—can shape our meat-​​eating expe­ri­ence, from how we think it smells and tastes to how much we’d be willing to pay for it. “We show that what you feel very directly influ­ences not only how you inter­pret what you see but also very lit­er­ally what you see,” Bar­rett said.

Researchers work to ‘predict’ the future of transit

Through work with London’s transit system, pro­fessor Haris Kout­sopoulos and a doc­toral stu­dent are devel­oping real-​​time pre­dic­tive models to fore­cast the ebbs and flows of transit activity. The tools could aid transit oper­a­tors with real-​​time system man­age­ment and help com­muters avoid crowded sta­tions or trains.

Research sheds new light on proton behavior, draws praise from science community

A dis­covery by a research team led by Northeastern’s Paul Cham­pion upends the under­standing held for cen­turies of pro­tons’ behavior. The researchers—using an ultra­fast pulsed laser system designed at Northeastern—have revealed that pro­tons actu­ally tunnel through ther­mo­dy­namic bar­riers rather than travel over them. Sci­ence mag­a­zine, struck by the results, high­lighted the research in its “Editor’s Choice” column.

Northeastern’s innovative partnership with GE draws broad national media attention

North­eastern and Gen­eral Elec­tric will partner to offer a new accel­er­ated bachelor’s degree in advanced man­u­fac­turing, a first-​​in-​​the-​​nation pro­gram. The part­ner­ship, announced Tuesday by the U.S. Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion, is part of an inno­v­a­tive higher edu­ca­tion ini­tia­tive and gar­nered sig­nif­i­cant national recognition.

Influence of Young Scholars Program reverberates through time

As a rising high school senior, assis­tant pro­fessor Matthew Eck­elman, spent a summer at North­eastern sim­u­lating earth­quakes on a shaker table to eval­uate the sta­bility of land­fill liner sys­tems. Twenty-​​one years later, he’s come full circle, hosting young scholars in his lab, guiding them toward STEM careers.

3Qs: Why better infrastructure could solve Rio’s water problems

The Olympic sailing com­pe­ti­tion began on Monday in Rio de Janeiro’s Gua­n­abara Bay, the site of exten­sive water pol­lu­tion that offi­cials have warned is a health risk for the ath­letes. Here, Geoff Trussell, director of Northeastern’s Marine Sci­ence Center, explains how bad the pol­lu­tion can be for the aquatic ecosystem and what needs to be done to fix the problem.

Researchers find that Android apps can secretly track users’ whereabouts

New research led by North­eastern pro­fessor Gue­vara Noubir reveals that some Android apps may auto­mat­i­cally transmit sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion, such as the routes you travel, through the phone’s built-​​in sen­sors. A mali­cious devel­oper, he says, “can infer where you live, where you’ve been, where you are going.”

Underreporting of Zika is rife; researchers project epidemic’s spread

A team led by North­eastern pro­fessor Alessandro Vespig­nani responded to a “call to arms” to model the spread of the Zika virus, revealing the dis­parity between the number of reported cases and the number of pro­jected cases of this largely asymp­to­matic dis­ease. The results will help coun­tries in the Amer­icas plan a response.

The life and career of an engineering ‘genius’

Beaten by the KGB, branded an anti-​​Soviet activist, and black­balled from acad­emia, Alexander Gorlov fled the Soviet Union, immi­grating to America, where he joined the North­eastern fac­ulty in 1976. Gorlov died in June at the age of 85, leaving behind an impres­sive legacy of inven­tion and cre­ativity, including a tur­bine that gar­nered him inter­na­tional acclaim.

Researchers mine ‘a tsunami of free data’ from space

Geospa­tial intel­li­gence is a rapidly growing field that har­nesses the power of today’s “tsunami of free data” and has a range of appli­ca­tions, from national secu­rity to human­i­tarian relief work to dis­aster response. North­eastern is home to one of just 17 U.S. Cen­ters of Aca­d­emic Excel­lence in Geospa­tial Sci­ences and is a bench­mark for online learning in this very tech­nical field.