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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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...
This is the third lecture in the Arnold Arboretum's 2021 Director's Lecture Series. Tiya Miles takes up the pecan tree as inspiration for exploring the meaning of trees in the lives of enslaved African Americans. Using a family heirloom, slave narratives, oral histories, and missionary records, her talk underscores the importance of trees in the Black experience of captivity and resistance, ultimately revealing the centrality of the natural world to Black, and indeed human, survival.
At the time of its founding in 1872, the land on which the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is sighted was a patchwork of farmland and forest. As the Arboretum was planted, pathways were developed to lead people through the picturesque landscape. As the landscape developed, economies shifted, wars took place, and directors changed. Each of these factors subtly influenced shifts in the park’s path system. Join the Arnold Arboretum on Zoom with Jared Rubinstein as he reveals the layers of change in this beloved landscape.
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.
Arnold Arboretum propagator Sean Halloran will provide an overview of dormant season grafting principles: reasons to graft, how it works, and the materials and environment required for success with this propagation technique.
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...
Joan Fitzgerald, Professor of Urban Planning and Policy at Northeastern University, will build on key concepts in her new book, Greenovation: Urban Leadership on Climate Change (2020). She’ll discuss how cities are rethinking their approach to climate action by placing racial justice at the forefront. She’ll draw from recent experiences with Providence, Austin, and Oakland in creating participatory planning processes and new priorities for a just transition to a carbon-free society. She’ll conclude by discussing how the transition can be linked to jobs in the green economy.
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.
Peter Del Tredici, Senior Research Scientist Emeritus at the Arnold Arboretum, and Rosetta Elkin, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at McGill University, converse about the nature of urban environments. Peter will begin the program with a brief overview of the plant observations he makes in his book, Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast. Following this, Peter and Rosetta will discuss both ecological and design elements that come into play in the cities and suburbs that we call home. Up for discussion are the environments that humans intentionally and unintentionally...
Creature Features, a new online series from the Harvard Art Museums, offers a chance for families with children ages 6 and up to explore magical creatures across the collections through close looking and curious exploration with museum staff.
Join Egyptologist Jen Thum for an interactive, family-friendly look at animals in ancient Egyptian art and life! Participants are encouraged to download and color along with our free activity book, Coloring Ancient Egypt...
Painting Edo at the Arnold Arboretum is a collaboration between the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and the Harvard Art Museums, inspired by the exhibition Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection. Observing artworks from the exhibition alongside the living collections of the Arnold Arboretum, we invite you to marvel at the remarkable accuracy and spirit with which artists of the Edo period (1615–1868) rendered their botanical...
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...
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.
This lecture explores whether it is possible to achieve both social justice and environmental sustainability in efforts to mitigate urban flood risk. The expanding scale of urban flooding under climate change has renewed interest in large-scale restoration projects that make room for water in metro centers. However, ecologically functioning green infrastructure – unleashed rivers, sprawling wetlands – is inconsistent with the current governance landscape of fragmented local governments seeking to maximize local land values and minimize affordable housing. Moreover, even...
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...