Events

    2021 Mar 15

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

    6:00pm to 7:00pm

    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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    2021 Mar 02

    Members: Discover Oceania with Ingrid Ahlgren

    6:00pm to 7:00pm

    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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    2021 Feb 13

    I Heart Science: Tiny Creatures

    1:00pm to 2:30pm

    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 “Tiny Creatures” theme looks at bacteria, viruses, and other microbial creatures.

    During the live webinar, starting at 1:00 pm ET, meet live tardigrades, also known as water bears. Watch recorded videos featuring Harvard scientists who study bacterial resistance, ways to test for viruses, and how bacteria grow.

    At home, try your hand at making a water-drop microscope, comparing...

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    2020 Dec 10

    What Old Chimps Can Tell Us About Healthy Aging

    3:00pm to 4:00pm

    Location: 

    Harvard Alumni Association—Online

    Humans are living longer lives than ever before and so it is critical to understand the process of aging. It has become increasingly recognized that successful aging is not just about physical health but also about our social lives.

    Chimpanzees are our closest living relative and also lead long and complex lives. In this talk, you’ll learn what chimpanzee aging can tell us about human aging.

    Learn more...

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    2020 Oct 15

    Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier

    7:00pm

    Location: 

    Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian—Online

    The first person who will set foot on Mars is alive right now. We believe this, but even if we're wrong we know the first crew to arrive there will look nothing like the ones that landed on the Moon fifty years ago.

    Our world has changed for the better, and ASTRONAUTS tells the story of the women who built this better world. The main character and narrator is Mary Cleave, an astronaut you may not have heard of. It's not because so many people have been to space; only a few hundred have! It’s because this graphic novel isn’t about fame. No astronaut you'll ever meet took the...

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    2020 Oct 14

    Wonderful Cambrian Beasts

    6:00pm to 7:00pm

    Location: 

    Harvard Museum of Natural History—Online

    Earth is home to a vast diversity of organisms that collectively define the modern biosphere. How did this diversity come to be? Javier Ortega-Hernández will discuss his approach to answering this question by studying organisms that lived more than half a billion years ago in the Cambrian Period (485–541 million years ago). By focusing on the earliest-known animals—some of the most versatile to ever exist—Ortega-Hernández aims to reconstruct the early evolutionary history of major animal groups and contribute to our understanding of Earth’s biodiversity.

    ...

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    2019 Nov 07

    Adversity, Belonging, and Survival Among Baboons

    6:00pm

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge

    Join the Harvard Museum of Natural History for a public lecture with Susan Alberts, Robert F. Durden Professor of Biology and Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University. 

    The social environment—both in early life and adulthood—has major effects on human health and survival. But how and why does the social environment get “under the skin” to also affect our physical health? Susan Alberts pursues this question by studying wild baboons in Kenya. Baboons, like humans, evolved as savannah dwellers. They rely on social relationships to solve problems and—like humans...

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    2019 Jul 20

    Angiosperms and Gymnosperms: The Basics

    2:30pm to 4:00pm

    Location: 

    Centre Street Gate, Arnold Arboretum, Boston

    What better place to look for the differences between angiosperms (plants that flower and have enclosed seeds), and gymnosperms (plants with "naked seeds," including conifers, ginkgos, and others), than in the Arnold Arboretum landscape, where over 15,000 plants reside in a living museum. Join our guide as she points out trees in both groups and describes the characteristics of each.

    ...

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    2019 Jun 26

    Bonsai Behind the Curtain: Uncovering Their Care and Cultivation

    5:30pm to 6:30pm

    Location: 

    Larz Anderson Bonsai Collection, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston

    Join Manager of Plant Production, Tiffany Enzenbacher, for an evening of exploration into the oldest dwarfed plant collection in the United States. As one of the caretakers of the Arboretum's bonsai collection, Tiffany will highlight many of the procedures used by staff to maintain the health of these captivating specimens.

    Learn more about and register for Bonsai Behind the...

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    2019 May 14

    How Birds Work: Eggs

    7:00pm to 8:00pm

    Location: 

    Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston

    How does an egg become an egg? Why do chickens continue to lay eggs day after day? What controls the shape of eggs? Why do eggs of different species of birds have different colors? And how strong are eggshells?

    In this talk which follows previous talks about bird flight, migration, and feathers, Lorna Gibson answers common questions about bird eggs.

    Learn more...

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    2019 Apr 09

    Lecture: Self-Domestication in Bonobos and Other Wild Animals

    6:00pm

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge

    Domesticated animals such as dogs, pigs, and horses often sport floppy ears, patches of white hair, and other features that are unknown in their wild ancestors. These traits—collectively referred to by scientists as a “domestication syndrome”—are the result of breeding less aggressive individuals.

    Drawing from his new book, The Goodness Paradox (2019, Pantheon Books), Richard Wrangham will show that our cousin apes, the bonobos, also exhibit a domestication syndrome, making them the first clear example of a “wild domesticate.” Self-domestication in the wild now seems...

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    2019 Apr 02

    Living with White Sharks

    6:00pm

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge

    The Cape Cod white shark population has increased in recent years in response to the dramatic increase in the seal population. Shark sightings—some close to popular swimming and surfing beaches—are becoming more frequent and negative interactions between sharks and humans have become a real concern.

    Gregory Skomal has studied and tracked white sharks in the Atlantic for more than 30 years. In this lecture, he will examine the behavior, ecology, natural history, and population dynamics of this species, and how scientific research can help sharks and humans coexist in the Cape...

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    2018 Nov 07

    The Secret Lives of Roots

    2:30pm to 4:00pm

    Location: 

    Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

    The Arnold Arboretum is full of spectacular specimens from around the world that any visitor will appreciate. However, what they observe is only half the story. How a tree uptakes water and nutrients, stays grounded in place, stores energy, and sometimes even propagates itself, is all thanks to its roots. Join horticulturists Andrew Gapinski and Conor Guidarelli as they unearth these questions and more during an exclusive look into the extraordinary world of roots.

    ...

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    2018 Oct 26

    The Undiscovered

    9:00am to 5:00pm

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Knafel Center, 10 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA

    To paraphrase Louis Pasteur, sometimes luck favors the prepared mind, as when Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin by noticing that mold growing accidentally in his lab seemed to kill bacteria. This 2018 Radcliffe Institute science symposium will focus on how scientists explore realities they cannot anticipate. Speakers from across the disciplines of modern science will present personal experiences and discuss how to train scientists, educators, and funders to foster the expertise and open-mindedness needed to reveal undiscovered aspects of the world around us.

    ...

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    2018 Oct 17

    Here Come the Seeds: The Journey of a Seed from Collection to Propagation at the Arboretum

    5:00pm to 6:00pm

    Location: 

    Larz Anderson Bonsai & Penjing Collection, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

    Manager of Plant Production, Tiffany Enzenbacher, will discuss the Arnold Arboretum's propagule collection and documentation procedure. She will also display some of the different types of fruits, nuts, and seeds that are in the process of becoming the next generation of Arboretum plants. Seed showcased will be those collected during Tiffany's 2018 expedition to the Ozarks, as well as those collected on other institutional collecting trips.

    Free,...

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    2018 Oct 16

    Nature vs. Fiction in Sci-Fi Movies

    6:00pm

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA

    Miaki Ishii, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University

    Recent volcanic eruptions in Hawaii and Guatemala remind us of how devastating these geological eruptions can be. Popular culture depictions of volcanic disasters found in movies like Dante’s Peak and Volcano can strongly distort the public’s understanding of volcanic activity and its immediate effects. As with many science-fiction films, Hollywood depictions of natural phenomena don’t always align with the scientific facts. Seismologist Miaki...

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    2018 Oct 15

    Can Baby Corals Improve the Reefs of Tomorrow?

    6:00pm

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA

    Aaron Hartmann, 2017–2018 Sarah and Daniel Hrdy Visiting Fellow in Conservation Biology, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University

    Coral reefs are one of Earth’s most biodiverse and imperiled ecosystems. Corals form the foundation of this ecosystem. Substantial effort is being invested to help adult corals survive environmental degradation, but less attention is paid to their offspring and how they establish themselves on the seafloor. Unlike adult corals, baby corals move about in the water column, perhaps allowing them to...

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    2018 Sep 17

    Role of Clouds and Particles in Climate…with a Dash of Fog

    6:30pm to 8:00pm

    Location: 

    Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston

    Particles in our atmosphere, whether from the natural environment or from human-built engines, affect climate in ways we don’t yet fully understand. MIT Professor Dan Cziczo will speak of particles and clouds in our atmosphere and how climate is influenced by them. The evening will begin outdoors at Fog x Hill, a Fujiko Nakaya fog exhibit at the Arboretum and then shift indoors for a lecture about clouds and climate. Arrive promptly at 6:30pm to view Fog x Hill, a timed-release landscape...

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    2018 Sep 17

    Saving Coral Reefs in the Florida Keys

    6:00pm

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge MA

    James W. Porter, Josiah Meigs Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia

    Coral reefs support more than a quarter of all marine life, yet many are critically endangered. In the Florida Keys, the once common elk horn coral (Acropora palmata) has experienced steep declines since the 1970s. Preliminary blame was attributed to global warming and coral bleaching, but in fact, a human bacterial pathogen associated with a wide range of serious infections was the culprit. James Porter will discuss how Key West residents are saving these reefs...

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