Alumni News

Ronald Heisser solves problem that baffled Nobel laureate

August 17, 2018
By Keystone Communications Team
Courtesy MIT/Ronald Heisser & Vishal Patil
Courtesy MIT/Ronald Heisser & Vishal Patil















Ronald Heisser '12 helped solve a problem that stumped a Nobel laureate, known as the spaghetti mystery.

Here's the question: Why does spaghetti break into several pieces when you try to bend it in half? The answer comes down to the force that breaks the pasta in half causes secondary shock waves that are strong enough to break other parts of the pasta strand.

That question famously stumped Richard Feynman, the Nobel-winning theoretical physicist.

A pair of French researchers answered that question in 2004

But that only brought up another question: Is there any way to break the pasta in half cleanly? Heisser and fellow MIT student Vishal Patil answered "yes" --  with some help. They discovered that the force that causes the secondary breaks can be dissapated if the pasta is twisted as it's folded.The two graduate students created a machine to put their complex mathematical model to apply the necessary force and released a paper on their experiments in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Their work attracted attention from National Public Radio, the Washinton PostFood and Wine magazine, and the French edition of GQ magazine.

Meagan Day published in New York Times, Vox

August 16, 2018
By Keystone Communications Team

Meagan Day '07, scored a pair of major publishing outlets. She co-wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times, "Think the Constitution Will Save Us? Think Again" that was published Aug. 9.

She also wrote a first-person story on Vox, "Democratic socialism, explained by a democratic socialist."

Meagan currently works as a staff writer for Jacobin magazine, which describes itself as a "leading voice of the American Left, offering socialist perspectives on politics, economics and culture."

Will Nancy Zhou score in Shanghai?

August 14, 2018
By Keystone Communications Team

Nancy Zhou '11, one of the quarterfinalists in the Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition, will learn the results of the competition Sept. 1.

She's one of 36 out of 174 applicants from 33 countries around the world selected to participate in three weeks of live competition rounds that began earlier this month.

The grand prize is $100,000, with second prize of $50,000 and third prize $25,000. Also, a prize of $10,000 will be awarded for the best performance of the Chinese work, Qigang Chen’s "La joie de la souffrance."

For more on the competition, click here.

Here's a video of her performance at the competition:


Nia Clements already getting attention at Trinity

August 14, 2018
By Keystone Communications Team

Even before classes begn at Trinity University, first-year student Nia Clements '18, is already gathering attention there.

The university spotlighted her on its website in a pair of stories.

One of them, From Nye to Nia, traces her interest in the biomedical field from second grade when she noticed a tumor on the class pet rat.

The other story, Getting to Know the Class of 2022, presents her as one of the most notable incoming first-year students, along with an open heart surgery patient, and a pair of national debate runner-ups.

Trinity's classes begin Aug. 22.

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8/17/18 - By Keystone Communications Team