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The iconic MIT home page Spotlight features a daily-changing image and design that focuses on advances in research, technology and education taking place at the Institute. Though some Spotlights do run multiple days - for example Friday's spot usually runs through the weekend, we work very hard to maintain the daily-changing tradition. We've combed our servers and have compiled a digital archive of the Institute home page through the years - well over 2000 images. Enjoy!
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Seeing beneath the surfaceToday’s Spotlight features a photograph, taken by Bryce Vickmark of Bilge Yildiz, associate professor in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT.

Academics were always important for Bilge Yildiz, the daughter of two math teachers, as she was growing up in and around Izmir, Turkey. Her parents, Yildiz says, were her inspiration for appreciating “the importance of education and hard work.”

But they never wanted to teach her math at home — instead expecting her to go figure out, for herself, whatever she needed to know. This, Yildiz says, was perhaps one of the most important things she learned from her parents — a lesson that has helped her greatly in her career.

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The MIT home page Spotlight showcases the research, technology and education advances taking place at the Institute every day.

What makes it as a Spotlight image is an editorial decision by the MIT News Office based on factors that include timeliness, promotion of MIT's mission, the balance of interest to both internal and external audiences, and appropriateness.

We do welcome ideas and submissions for spotlights from community members, but please note we are not able to accommodate all requests. We are unable to run event previews or promotions as spotlights; for those looking to promote an event, we are happy to include your listing as an event headline on the homepage (when space is available). For more information, e-mail the spotlight team.

Request a Spotlight or Event Headline, here.
The weakest links

The weakest links

Today’s Spotlight features an image, courtesy of the researchers, showing a simulation of a polymer network, the red segments represent polymers that have looped onto themselves

Many of the objects we encounter are made of polymers — long chains of repeating molecules. Networks of polymers form manmade materials such as plastics, as well as natural products such as rubber and cellulose.

Within all of these polymeric materials, there are structural flaws at the molecular level. To form an ideal network, each polymer chain would bind only to another chain. However, in any real polymeric material, a significant fraction of the chains instead bind to themselves, forming floppy loops.

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