Events

    The Peril and Promise of Solar Geoengineering

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge

    Solar geoengineering research aims to reduce the impacts of global climate change. One possibility is to put aerosols into the stratosphere to alter Earth’s energy budget. This emerging technology entails risks and uncertainties, along with serious challenges to global governance. The greatest threat, perhaps, is that it will be used as a technical fix and encourage people to avoid the emissions cuts that are fundamental to curbing long-term climate risks.

    Lecturer David Keith will describe the simple physics underlying the climate’s response to stratospheric aerosols, the...

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    An Evolutionary Journey through Domestication

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge

    As the earliest farmers began to select wild plants and animals that had desirable traits, they initiated a series of genetic changes in these species that gradually made them more suitable for agriculture. Plants became easier to grow, had greater yields, and were of higher quality. Animal species exhibited favorable changes in behavior, coat color, and reproductive traits. Barbara Schaal will discuss how the artificial selection of these species—a pivotal technological achievement—has influenced their genetics, evolution, and capacity to flourish in the care of humans.

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    Research in the Collections: A Scientific Exploration of the Arnold Arboretum

    Location: 

    Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston

    The Arnold Arboretum provides both extensively documented collections for research and the facilities for the researchers—labs, greenhouses, and growing chambers. From around the world, scientists come to use the trees and shrubs in the Arboretum landscape, studying climate change, plant evolution, natural selection, and species adaptation. Join docent Esther Miller to hear about the science of the Arboretum.

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    Wildhood: Coming of Age on Planet Earth

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge

    Adolescence is dangerous, difficult, and destiny-shaping for humans and other animals. In Wildhood (Simon & Schuster, 2019), Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers look across species and evolutionary time to find answers to a single, consequential question: Why do some adolescents safely, successfully, and independently enter the adult world, while so many others do not? The authors apply the results of their five-year study of wild animal adolescence to our species, presenting a new understanding of the dangers, stresses, and challenges we face on our journeys to...

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    Tree Spotters Citizen Science Program: Basic Training

    Location: 

    Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston

    With nearly 4,000 different kinds of plants represented in the Arboretum's living collections, every day presents rich opportunities to see something new. If you enjoy learning about plants and their unique characteristics, you can contribute to science as a participant in the Arnold Arboretum's Tree Spotters program. This citizen science project opens a window into the Arboretum's phenology: the timing of natural events, such as the leafing out and flowering of trees in the spring and changing foliage colors in the fall. Your observations will assist Arboretum scientists in their...

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    Exhibit: Visual Science: The Art of Research

    Location: 

    The Special Exhibitions Gallery, Science Center 251, 1 Oxford St., Cambridge

    This exhibit features images and objects drawn from a variety of disciplines and time periods that show the importance of visual experiences in science. Images have played many roles in scientific research. Images can record fleeting observations, whether a painting of an animal glimpsed in the field or an interaction between sub-atomic particles that lasts a millisecond. They can also make unseen things visible.

    Physical models can make abstract mathematical concepts into something that researchers can touch; properly arranged, sand, metal plates, and a violin bow can make...

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    All That Glitters Is Gold: Gravitational Waves, Light, and the Origin of the Heavy Elements

    Location: 

    Knafel Center, 10 Garden St., Cambridge

    Edo Berger, professor of astronomy at Harvard University, will discuss his efforts to explore the long-standing question of how gold and other heavy elements are created in the universe. In particular, his work aims to demonstrate the creation of these elements in neutron star collisions detected through their gravitational wave emission and the implications of the answer.

    Learn more about and...

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    The Ancient Maya Response to Climate Change: A Cautionary Tale

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge

    Ancient Maya civilization—known for its cities, monumental architecture, ceramics, hieroglyphic writing, and advanced understanding of mathematics and astronomy—suffered a major demise between the tenth and eleventh centuries. The causes continue to be investigated and debated. Paleoenvironmental research over the past twenty years has revealed that the demise coincided with a prolonged intensive drought that extended across the region, providing compelling evidence that climate change played a key role in the collapse of the Maya.

    In this lecture, Billie Turner will examine...

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    Lecture and Book Signing: Assembling the Dinosaur

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge

    Join the Harvard Museum of Natural History and the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments for a free lecture and book signing by Lukas Rieppell, David and Michelle Ebersman Assistant Professor of History at Brown University.

    Dinosaur fossils were first found in England, but a series of late-nineteenth-century discoveries in the American West turned the United States into a world center for vertebrate paleontology. Around the same time, the United States also emerged as an economic powerhouse of global proportions, and large, fierce, and spectacular creatures...

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    Angiosperms and Gymnosperms: The Basics

    Location: 

    Centre Street Gate, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, 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 the Arboretum's guide, Florrie Wescoat, as she points out trees in both groups and describes the characteristics of each.

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    Tree Spotters Citizen Science Program: Basic Training

    Location: 

    Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston

    With nearly 4,000 different kinds of plants represented in the Arboretum's living collections, every day presents rich opportunities to see something new. If you enjoy learning about plants and their unique characteristics, you can contribute to science as a participant in the Arnold Arboretum's Tree Spotters program. This citizen science project opens a window into the Arboretum's phenology: the timing of natural events, such as the leafing out and flowering of trees in the spring and changing foliage colors in the fall. Your observations will assist Arboretum scientists in their...

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    Lecture: Darkness in Distress

    Location: 

    Weld Hill Building, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston

    Join the Arnold Arboretum for a lecture by science journalist Kelly Beatty. Light pollution, simply put, is any unnecessary or excessive outdoor illumination. Sadly, it’s become a pervasive and ugly consequence of modern 24/7 society. Light pollution robs us of the night sky’s beauty, negatively affects the ecosystem, and creates an in-your-face waste of energy. But a new mindset and new technology are poised to slow—and perhaps reverse—this bane of modern life.

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    Exhibition Tour: Small Steps, Giant Leaps

    Location: 

    Edison and Newman Room, Houghton Library, Harvard Yard, Cambridge

    Join curator John Overholt for a guided tour of the exhibition Small Steps, Giant Leaps to learn about the ways early modern science inspired and made possible the historic Apollo 11 moon landing.

    Tours are free and open to the public. No reservation is required.

    Exhibition Tours are also offered on the following dates:

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