Events

    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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    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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    My Octopus Teacher: Virtual Panel Discussion

    Location: 

    Mind Brain Behavior Interfaculty Initiative at Harvard—Online

    "My Octopus Teacher", Oscar winner for Best Documentary, follows filmmaker and naturalist Craig Foster as he develops an unusual bond with an octopus living in a South African kelp forest. Come hear four experts discuss the unique human/animal connection captured in this film.

    Learn more about and RSVP for My Octopus Teacher: Virtual Panel Discussion.

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    Vaccine Equity and Efficacy in the United States and the World

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard—Online

    As efforts to distribute COVID-19 vaccines intensify throughout the United States and across the globe, how can we ensure that equity and access are prioritized? This panel seeks to address the challenges and opportunities of equitable public health strategies around COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

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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!

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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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    Virtual Exhibit: Women of the Museum, 1860–1920: Behind-the-Scenes at the Museum of Comparative Zoology

    Location: 

    Harvard Museums of Science & Culture—Online

    For the first time in the museum’s history, women who labored in the collections, offices, and labs of the Museum of Comparative Zoology in the late 19th century are being revealed in a unique online exhibit from the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture. The exhibit is curated by Reed Gochberg, Assistant Director of Studies and a Lecturer on History and Literature at Harvard University.

    Women like Elizabeth Hodges Clark, Elizabeth Bangs Bryant, and Elvira Wood persevered diligently behind-the-scenes, gaining unparalleled expertise in what were previously thought to be men’...

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    A Week-Long Celebration of Earth Day

    Location: 

    Harvard Museum of Natural History—Online

    Join the Harvard Museum of Natural History in celebrating Earth Day with engaging sustainability-themed virtual events and activities for all ages. Join the conversation as Harvard students and experts weigh in on our most pressing environmental challenges, on cutting-edge research, and on promising paths to a more sustainable future. Introduce young minds to environmental science with our live museum animals and HMSC Story Time. Find out how to reconnect with nature and record the biodiversity in your local area. Or, simply indulge in our staff recommendations for...

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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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