Events

    Observatory Night: All That Glitters is Gold

    Location: 

    Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian—Online

    The cosmic origin of gold has fascinated humans for millennia. In this talk, Professor of Astronomy Edo Berger will explore the long-standing question of how gold (and other rare elements) are created in the universe, showing that this process is intimately connected to the collision of neutron stars (the remnants of powerful supernova explosions)—and the production of gravitational waves.

    The Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian sponsors Observatory Nights on the third Thursday of select months. Observatory Nights feature a nontechnical lecture intended for...

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    Wild Collection and Propagation of Rare and Endangered Plants

    Location: 

    Arnold Arboretum—Online

    In Massachusetts alone, plants make up more than half of the total native species that are officially considered Endangered, Threatened, and Rare. In this talk, we will focus on how ex-situ plant conservation, coordinated plant collection efforts, and plant propagation play vital roles in preserving biodiversity and slowing the deleterious effects of climate change.

    We will discuss how collection trips are planned—and how citizen science now plays a role in these efforts—while providing a behind-the-scenes look at the planning process. A large focus will be plant propagation...

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    After-School Animal Encounters: Movement

    Location: 

    Harvard Museum of Natural History—Online

    Can you slither, hop, jump, climb, or even fly? How would you do these things with zero, two, four, or even a hundred legs? As winter melts away and warmer springtime weather blows in, all animals big and small are as excited to get out and move around as we are! Join human museum staffers Javier and Ryan in this live 45-minute family program as they discuss and take a look at some of our amazing animals in motion.

    Advance registration for this family friendly program is required.

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    Tree Mob: Dredging to Renew the Ponds

    Location: 

    Arnold Arboretum—Online

    Maintaining ponds is messy business! Join Associate Project Manager Danny Schissler to learn about the history and upcoming restoration of two of the Arnold Arboretum's most well-loved water bodies, Faxon and Rehder Ponds. Both provide habitat for wildlife and visual delight for humans, and also are part of an essential drainage network within the Arboretum’s landscape.

    Learn more about...

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    What Spiders Have to Say

    Location: 

    Harvard Museum of Natural History—Online

    Consider the spider: eight legs, eight eyes, and a brain the size of a poppy seed. These are some of nature’s most amazing and charismatic creatures, and yet we know so little about their worlds. Paul Shamble will discuss the lives, habits, and marvelous morphologies of these animals—from sensory structures and cognition to locomotion and behavior. Understanding these creatures helps us better understand evolution and diversity—and leads us to ask what it means that even tiny animals inhabit complex lives.

    ...

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    Prosociality in Hybrid Societies of Humans, Agents, and Robots

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard—Online

    Ana Paiva is a computer science professor at Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, and is investigating the design of intelligent interactive systems by creating “social agents'' that can interact with humans in a natural manner. Over the years, she has developed this field by engineering social agents that exhibit specific capabilities, including emotions, personality, culture, nonverbal behavior, empathy, and collaboration, among others.

    Join Paiva to learn about her current investigation into the conditions and mechanisms that drive societies of agents and...

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    Flap, Hop, Caw

    Location: 

    Harvard Museum of Natural History—Online

    Celebrate International Crow and Raven Appreciation Day by taking a virtual swoop through the Peabody Museum. These smart birds play games with each other, display anger and friendliness, and appear in cultural tales from around the world. Flap like a real raven with museum educator Javier Marin and learn more about the birds’ characteristics. Find ravens drawn or carved in Alaskan Native art, enjoy a read-aloud Tlingit tale and make a paper craft with Andy Majewski.

    Ages: 5–7 (with an adult, if needed)

    Cost: $3 members; $5...

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    Bark: Get to Know Your Trees

    Location: 

    Arnold Arboretum—Online

    Due to popular demand, we are offering another session of this free webinar. Led by naturalist and conservationist, Michael Wojtech, you'll learn to identify tree species by their bark and discover why such a variety of bark characteristics exist. Why do some species have smooth bark, while on others it is thick and broken? Why does bark peel? Join us to find out!

    Learn more about and RSVP for "Bark: Get...

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    After-School Animal Encounters: Humans and Animals

    Location: 

    Harvard Museum of Natural History—Online

    Life on planet Earth can sometimes seem unbelievably diverse and resilient, yet we’re more aware than ever of how connected all living beings are to one another. This special Earth Week edition focuses on some of the challenges animals face today, and on what we humans—young and old—can do to help. This event will be fun for the whole family so bring your questions and sense of wonder, and join Javier, Ryan, and some of our amazing animals as they lead you in a live 45-minute program.

    ...

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    Body Builders: How Animals Regenerate New Parts

    Location: 

    Harvard Museum of Natural History—Online

    Regeneration is a remarkable phenomenon in which an animal can regrow parts of its body that are lost or damaged by injury. Humans, for example, can repair some organs, but some animals can rebuild their entire bodies from small pieces of tissue. How do these animals accomplish this feat? And why is it that humans cannot regenerate as well as these animals can? Studies of how regeneration works at the molecular and cellular level are beginning to answer the first question. To answer the second question, we have to understand how regeneration has evolved.

    Mansi Srivastava will...

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    Brine to Batteries: The Extractive Frontiers of the Global Energy Transition

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard—Online

    Thea Riofrancos’s current project, “Brine to Batteries: The Extractive Frontiers of the Global Energy Transition,” explores the politics of the transition to renewable energy through the lens of one of its key technologies: lithium batteries. Based on multisited fieldwork following lithium’s global supply chains from the point of extraction in the Chilean desert, “Brine to Batteries” will be the first scholarly account of the rapidly moving processes shaping the contours of the next energy system—and those of our planetary future.

    ...

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    Biopharma R&D During COVID-19: One Year Later

    Location: 

    Online via Zoom

    The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic brought new challenges and opportunities to biotech and pharmaceutical companies. Several new vaccines and therapies have already been brought to patients. Companies initiated efforts to catalyze collaborative research, new ways of working and social justice. One year into the pandemic, we will examine the initial lessons for biopharma R&D - what worked, what didn’t, and how can the industry sustain momentum on emerging priorities for the future? Join us for a discussion with three of the industry’s top leaders.

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    Members: Not on Display! Treasures of the Mineralogical & Geological Museum

    Location: 

    Harvard Museum of Natural History—Online

    Visitors to the Harvard Museum of Natural History are dazzled by the Mineral Gallery’s beautiful specimens, yet the gallery displays only a fraction of the entire collection.

    While each of the collection’s 300,000+ specimens has great scientific value, a subset also has significant commercial value. Join Curator Raquel Alonso-Perez for a virtual behind the-scenes visit to view specimens that, for security reasons, are not typically on display. You’ll see a rare opal in matrix from Mexico, tourmalines from the first pegmatitic discovery in the U.S., and crystalline gold, among...

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    The Last Common Ancestor

    Location: 

    Harvard Museums of Science & Culture—Online

    The last common ancestor of chimpanzees and modern humans is believed to have evolved in Africa six to eight million years ago. Finding fossil apes and hominins—extinct members of the human lineage—from this period has been challenging. Ashley Hammond will discuss her approach to identifying key evolutionary adaptations of this last common ancestor using 3D technology, analyses of known fossils, and field research at six-million-year-old sites in Kenya. Hammond’s research aims to clarify the origins of bipedality, a key adaptation in human evolution.

    ...

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    Members: Discover Oceania with Ingrid Ahlgren

    Location: 

    Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology—Online

    Join us for a casual evening of conversation with the Peabody Museum’s Curator of Oceanic Collections. Ingrid Ahlgren stewards one of the largest and most historically significant collections in the U.S. from the Pacific Islands, Australia, and Aotearoa/New Zealand. Hear her share some of her recent work, including the exhibit Uncovering Pacific Pasts and the important roles that Harvard University and the state of Massachusetts have played in the history of Oceania. Ingrid will also discuss her upcoming collaboration with Pacific Islanders living in Utah.

    ...

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    The COVID “Next Normal”: Lessons from the NBA Bubble and Vaccine Modeling

    Location: 

    Harvard Medical School—Online

    As the coronavirus pandemic enters a new phase, science that can guide vaccination prioritization and business’ return-to-work strategies are more important than ever. In this webinar, we will explore the experience of the NBA bubble, in which players were sequestered at the Walt Disney World Resort. Data from this longitudinal testing program has important implications for our understanding of the natural history of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the utility of frequent testing strategies. In addition, we will discuss modeling studies that compare different...

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    The Popularization of Doubt: Scientific Literacy & Alternative Forms of Knowledge in the Soviet Union after World War II

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard—Online

    Alexey Golubev, assistant professor of Russian history and digital humanities at the University of Houston, is working on a new book project: a history of Soviet efforts to produce mass scientific literacy after World War II, when tens and later hundreds of thousands of members of the Soviet intelligentsia were recruited to communicate scientific knowledge to the public through popular science lectures, publications, public experiments and debates, and television shows.

    This mass scientific literacy campaign resulted in a diverse and autonomous network of people and ideas in...

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    COVID-19 and the Law: What COVID-19 Teaches Us About Health Justice and the Path Forward

    Location: 

    Harvard Law School—Online

    The COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost all aspects of life in the United States and around the world, disrupting the global economy as well as countless institutions. The issues raised by the COVID-19 pandemic present a critical juncture for the U.S. and other countries around the world. Our actions now have the potential to shape responses to future pandemics, and to ensure institutions serve all of our populations.

    How have our institutions, including the structure of our health care system and its attendant regulations, affected the evolution of the pandemic? What...

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    I Heart Science: Faraway Worlds

    Location: 

    Harvard Museums of Science & Culture—Online

    Break out of the winter doldrums and welcome Harvard science into your home with the all-virtual I Heart Science festival lasting from Friday, February 12 to Monday, February 15. This day’s “Faraway Worlds” theme looks at exploration of places hard to get to such as space, deep oceans, and the distant past.

    During the live webinar, starting at 1:00 pm ET, meet Harvard researchers studying how we study the sun and what we hope to learn from missions to Mars.

    At home, try your hand at investigating light, explore what we know about coelacanths and hear the story...

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    I Heart Science: Love the Earth

    Location: 

    Harvard Museums of Science & Culture—Online

    Break out of the winter doldrums and welcome Harvard science into your home with the all-virtual I Heart Science festival lasting from Friday, February 12 to Monday, February 15. This day’s “Love the Earth” theme looks at how we are taking care of our planet and the geology that makes it all possible.

    During the live webinar, starting at 1:00 pm ET, meet Harvard researchers studying how we can design batteries large enough to power a building and investigate what it takes to save endangered species.

    At home, try your hand at growing crystals, modeling volcanos, and...

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