10,000 years ago, in present-day Turkey, ancient innovators mixed the first known form of cement. In the millennia since, cement enabled the construction of the Hagia Sophia, the Colosseum, and Hoover Dam, and today it is the most widely used material in the world.

Now modern innovators are working to transform this classic technology. While cement is cheap, versatile, and reliable, it is also a major contributor to climate change, accounting for 8% of C02 emissions — more than all cars (6%) and planes (2%) combined.

In the United States, cement is on the agenda as policymakers debate ways to…

Is nuclear fusion energy nearing its Kitty Hawk moment?

Fusion energy would produce electricity by fusing atoms — the process that powers the sun — rather than splitting atoms like today’s nuclear energy. After decades of slow, and some say quixotic, research, there were big announcements over the last year and renewed optimism about fusion’s viability.

In September 2020, a team affiliated with MIT and the start-up Commonwealth Fusion Systems published peer-reviewed papers describing a new reactor design. Unlike current fusion reactors in labs, Commonwealth’s model would be the first to reach the milestone of net energy gain — a…

Brennan Morris

Sharing research on technology, business, and public policy.

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