Events

    Decoding AI: The Science, Policies, Applications, and Ethics of Artificial Intelligence

    Location: 

    Harvard Radcliffe Institute—Online

    Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly permeating many facets of our lives, raising both hope and concern about possibilities for our future. AI is transforming domains as disparate as science, medicine, commerce, government, law, the military, and the arts, and in doing so, it is forcing us to grapple with practical, political, and philosophical questions about humans and the nature of human interaction. The Harvard Radcliffe Institute Science Symposium, featuring speakers from disparate disciplines and industries, will examine AI, its impact, and its ethics by exploring current and...

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    Observatory Night: Cosmic Explosions, from Supernovae to Tidal Disruption Events

    Location: 

    Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian—Online, Livestream

    The biggest explosions in the universe dwarf any we see on Earth. In space, we regularly witness exploding stars that can shine brighter than the rest of a galaxy as a supernova, or a black hole ripping apart a star that's visible from billions of light years away in what's called a Tidal Disruption Event (TDE). In this talk, astrophysicist Yvette Cendes will discuss how we observe cosmic explosions from Earth and learn about them, from Chinese records thousands of years ago to her modern-day observations as a radio astronomer. This will include Yvette's research on supernovae, such as...

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    How Beer Made Kings in Early Egypt

    Location: 

    Harvard Museums of Science & Culture—Online

    The remains of a 5000-year-old brewery found in the ancient Egyptian city of Abydos are providing insights into the relationship between large-scale beer production and the development of kingship in Egypt. Archaeological evidence indicates that the Abydos brewery produced beer on a truly industrial scale—something unparalleled in early Egypt. Matthew Adams will share findings from recent excavations at the brewery and will consider it in context as part of a broad pattern of royal activity at the site that served to define the very nature of kingship at the beginning of Egypt’s history...

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    Did We Evolve to Exercise?

    Location: 

    Harvard Museums of Science & Culture—Online

    Exercise is a paradox: everyone knows it is healthy, but most of us struggle to do it. Further, as technology and machines increasingly replace human labor, fewer people are getting enough exercise. In this talk, Daniel Lieberman will explain how an evolutionary and anthropological perspective on exercise can help. How much exercise did we evolve to do? Is exercise really a magic bullet? Why, how, and to what extent does exercise slow aging and promote health? Is there a best way to exercise? And, most importantly, how can we help each other exercise without nagging or coercing?

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    Novel Interfaces to Support Human Intent Formation and Communication to Humans and Computers Alike

    Location: 

    Harvard Radcliffe Institute—Online

    Elena L. Glassman is the Stanley A. Marks and William H. Marks Assistant Professor at Harvard Radcliffe Institute and an assistant professor of computer science at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, where she specializes in human-computer interaction. Join Glassman as she discusses her work designing, building, and evaluating systems for comprehending and interacting with population-level structure and trends in large code and data corpora.

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    National Fossil Day

    Location: 

    Harvard Museums of Science & Culture—Online

    Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a paleontologist? Celebrate National Fossil Day—an event organized by the National Park Service—with Harvard paleontologists! Take a close look at museum fossils and learn how they are used to help solve mysteries about ancient life. What amazing creatures lived together in ancient oceans? How do fossil tracks, traces, and burrows help us understand how extinct animals lived? How can we reconstruct an animal from just its bones? How did dinosaurs get so big? Bring your curiosity and questions to this online event for kids and families!

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    After-School Animal Encounters: Radical Reptiles

    Location: 

    Harvard Museums of Science & Culture—Online

    What might your life be like if you spent half your day on land and the other half in the ocean? How would you hunt for food if you were only a few inches long? Is one type of snake really all that different from another? Get the answers to these questions and more as human museum staffers Javier and Ryan introduce you to several live animals. Each month we will discuss a different theme while feeding and interacting with some of the museum’s incredible animals!

    Reptiles have lived on Earth for millions of years and over that time have evolved some amazing characteristics and...

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    New Vistas in Astronomy: Imaging a Black Hole

    Location: 

    Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian—Online

    Black holes are cosmic objects so small and dense that nothing, not even light, can escape their gravitational pull. Until recently, no one had ever seen what a black hole actually looked like. Einstein's theories predict that a distant observer should see a ring of light encircling the black hole, which forms when radiation emitted by infalling hot gas is lensed by the extreme gravity near the event horizon. The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is a global array of radio dishes, linked together by a network of atomic clocks to form an Earth-sized virtual telescope that can resolve the...

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    Saving Seahorses to Save Seas

    Location: 

    Harvard Museum of Natural History—Online

    Amanda Vincent, the 2021 Indianapolis Prize winner, has dedicated her career to understanding and advocating for seahorses, which serve as a flagship species for a wide range of marine conservation issues. She is credited with bringing the world’s attention to the 44 known species of seahorses and with developing a collaborative approach to marine conservation that is also improving the status of many other marine fishes, such as sharks, rays, groupers, and eels. Hear how her determination and optimism is saving not only these iconic sea creatures but also our world’s oceans.

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    Inspired by the Harvard Museum of Natural History

    Location: 

    Harvard Museum of Natural History—Online

    The Harvard Museum of Natural History inspires college students and life-long learners to explore a myriad of scientific and creative pursuits. In this program, a group of professionals discuss how their experiences in the museum inspired their careers in science communication and storytelling, while they share images and videos of their favorite museum specimens and stories.

    Presented in collaboration with the Harvard University Chapter of Storywish, a student-run organization that empowers chronically ill children to read, write, and share their own...

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    The Fossils Are Talking!

    Location: 

    Harvard Museum of Natural History—Online

    Are you curious about what fossils tell us about life on Earth—and how dinosaurs and other ancient animals, in turn, awaken our imaginations to create true and imagined tales? Come along on a journey to find out! The adventure will kick off with children’s book author Elizabeth Shreeve, reading and sharing surprising secrets from her newest book, Out of the Blue: How Animals Evolved from Prehistoric Seas (Candlewick Press, 2021). Elizabeth will make connections between the story of life on Earth and fossils that can be seen in the museum. Harvard College student and...

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    Testosterone: The Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us

    Location: 

    Harvard Museum of Natural History—Online

    While most people agree that sex differences in human behavior exist, they disagree about the reasons. But the science is clear: testosterone is a potent force in human society, driving the bodies and behavior of the sexes apart. As Carole Hooven shows in her book T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us (Henry Holt & Company, 2021), it does so in concert with genes and culture to produce a vast variety of male and female behavior. And, crucially, the fact that many sex...

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    Afterschool Animal Encounters: Pint-Sized Predators

    Location: 

    Harvard Museums of Science & Culture—Online

    What might your life be like if you spent half your day on land and the other half in the ocean? How would you hunt for food if you were only a few inches long? Is one type of snake really all that different from another? Get the answers to these questions and more as human museum staffers Javier and Ryan introduce you to several live animals. Each month we will discuss a different theme while feeding and interacting with some of the museum’s incredible animals!

    Predators come in all sizes. Imagine that you are only a few inches long. How would you get around, hunt for food,...

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    Gravitational Waves: A New Window to the Universe

    Location: 

    Harvard Radcliffe Institute—Online

    The first-ever detections of gravitational waves from colliding black holes and neutron stars have launched a new era of gravitational wave astrophysics. Nergis Mavalvala, dean of and the Curtis (1963) and Kathleen Marble Professor of Astrophysics in the MIT School of Science, will describe the science, technology, and human story behind these discoveries, which provide a completely new window into some of the most violent and warped events in the universe and are helping to solve decades-long mysteries in astrophysics.

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    Inspiration, Empathy and Education: How Cultural Entities Are Helping People Think about Climate in New Ways

    Location: 

    Harvard Museum of Natural History—Online

    As the world has sought to understand the causes and impacts of climate change, the topic has long been situated within the domain of science. In the 21st century, data, studies, reports, and academic/technical discourses have been the central mechanisms by which we learn about and process climate change: its consequences, our roles, and possible solutions. In recent years, however, artists and cultural institutions have developed a powerful interest in the topic and begun to employ myriad strategies by which to explore, draw attention to, and process it. There is an evolving...

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    Science and Cooking Lecture Series 2021

    Location: 

    Harvard Science Center, Hall C, 1 Oxford St., Cambridge

    This year’s Science and Cooking Public Lecture Series celebrates culinary techniques to unlock flavors, ranging from Noma’s edge-cutting fermentation to Bryan Furman’s BBQ to Amanda Cohen’s way of making plant-based charcuterie.

    The 2021 series marks the return to the in-person format and brings to Harvard’s Science Center chefs, Harvard professors, and Science and Cooking enthusiasts. All talks will take place in the Harvard Science Center (1 Oxford St., Cambridge, Mass., Hall C). Masks are required, hand sanitizer will be available, and physically distanced seating is...

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    New Vistas in Astronomy Lecture Series: The Great Dimming of Betelgeuse

    Location: 

    Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian—Online

    In December 2019, the bright red supergiant in the shoulder of the Orion constellation became dimmer. By February 2020, Betelgeuse was historically dim – the faintest the star had ever been in more than a century! Not only did dimming distort the appearance of Orion, but it raised fears that the star was preparing to explode as a supernova. Astronomers using telescopes on the ground and in space followed the star’s behavior and are beginning to understand what caused this extraordinary event. Astronomer Andrea Dupree will delve into the most recent observations and reveal the events that...

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    Sharks: Streamlined Swimmers (Virtual Exhibit)

    Location: 

    Harvard Museums of Science & Culture—Online

    Sharks are some of the oldest and, from an evolutionary perspective, some of the most successful marine vertebrates ever to have lived. They have spent their entire evolutionary history in the aquatic environment, and the body design in many species has been honed over hundreds of millions of years to increase swimming performance. Learn how body form, fins and even the skin, work in concert, enabling sharks to slice through water and execute complex maneuvers with startling speed and precision.

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    How We Incarcerate Young People: A Conversation about Policy and Neuroscience

    Location: 

    Harvard Radcliffe Institute—Online

    Across the United States, children under the age of 18 can be tried as adults in criminal court. Although the practice is condemned by international law, we are the only country in the world that sentences young people to life in prison without the possibility of parole. At the same time, recent developments in neuroscience research demonstrate that the human brain is not fully developed until after the age of 25.

    This program will consider the ways we punish young people in the American criminal legal system and how our policies could be reformed. We will bring together a...

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