Monthly Archives: October 2010

October 25, 2010

Benjamin Rapoport is working on fuel efficiency for marathoners

Most marathon runners know they need to consume carbohydrates before and during a race, but many don’t have a good fueling strategy. Now, one dedicated marathoner — an M.D./Ph.D. student in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology — has taken a more rigorous approach to calculating just how much carbohydrate a runner needs to fuel himself or herself through 26.2 miles, and what pace that runner can reasonably expect to sustain.

The result is a new model, described in the Oct. 21 issue of the journal PLoS Computational Biology, which allows runners to calculate personalized targets using an estimate of their aerobic capacity.

The Harvard-MIT scientist, Benjamin Rapoport (former Hugh Hampton Young fellow), was inspired by his experience in the 2005 New York Marathon. As he entered Manhattan for the last several miles of the race, his legs just didn’t want to keep up the pace. He was experiencing a common phenomenon among marathoners, known as “hitting the wall.” Essentially, the body runs out of fuel, forcing the runner to slow down dramatically.

Continue reading the article in the Harvard Gazettephoto by Justin Ide

October 23, 2010

NASA missions uncover the moon’s buried treasures

Nearly a year after announcing the discovery of water molecules on the moon, scientists Thursday revealed new data uncovered by NASA’s Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO.

The missions found evidence that the lunar soil within shadowy craters is rich in useful materials, and the moon is chemically active and has a water cycle. Scientists, including co-author Maria Zuber, head of MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, also confirmed the water was in the form of mostly pure ice crystals in some places. The results are featured in six papers published in the Oct. 22 issue of Science.

“NASA has convincingly confirmed the presence of water ice and characterized its patchy distribution in permanently shadowed regions of the moon,” said Michael Wargo, chief lunar scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington and former Hugh Hampton Young fellow. “This major undertaking is the one of many steps NASA has taken to better understand our solar system, its resources, and its origin, evolution, and future.”

Continue reading the article in MIT Media Relations.