Events

    Viruses: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge

    Viruses are the tiniest but most numerous inhabitants of Earth. Although notorious for causing deadly epidemics, not all viruses are bad. Many are beneficial to their hosts and several play key roles in maintaining the health of ecosystems.

    Paul Turner (Elihu Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Microbiology Program Faculty Member, Yale University) will discuss the “good, bad, and ugly” effects of viruses, from how they invade organisms and wreak havoc in biological systems to how they are used to control pests and develop cancer treatments, among other medical...

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    Art and Science Converge in the Deep Sea

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge

    Lily Simonson and Peter Girguis exemplify the long tradition of artists and scientists working in tandem to explore new worlds—in their case, the magnificent deep sea. Simonson will discuss how the immersive, glowing canvases in her current exhibition at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, Lily Simonson: Painting the Deep, have been shaped by collaborations with scientists—whether exploring the depths of the ocean in a submersible or scuba diving beneath Antarctic sea ice. Girguis will reveal how working at sea with an artist has shaped his research and enabled him to see...

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    Genetics and Ethics in the Obama Administration

    Location: 

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

    Alondra Nelson, president of the Social Science Research Council and professor of sociology at Columbia University, will discuss the Obama administration’s Office of Science and Technology Policy and, in particular, the evolution of the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI).

    If “health is politics by other means,” as Nelson has argued, how does the good biocitizen understand the PMI and endeavors like it, especially given the explicit efforts of its organizers and emissaries to better address racial and ethnic differences in the gathering of data and distribution of research...

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    Making the Earth and Moon

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge

    Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago in a series of giant collisions between other planetary bodies, the last of which produced the Moon. The fingerprints of this process can be seen in the chemical compositions of Earth and the Moon, which are remarkably similar. Mathematical models of Earth’s growth, the Moon’s formation, and their evolution to form metallic cores with rocky mantles and crusts offer greater understanding of these observations.

    Rebecca Fischer (Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University) will look at...

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    Lecture: Investigation of Multi-frequency Raman Generated Spectra

    Location: 

    Physics Department, Jefferson 250, 17 Oxford Street, Cambridge

    This lecture is part of the 2019 Loeb Lectures in Physics, delivered by Donna Strickland, Professor, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Waterloo; Nobel Laureate, Physics 2018

    Since the advent of lasers, many different nonlinear optical techniques have led to shorter, higher-intensity pulses. University of Waterloo is studying Multi-frequency Raman generation (MRG), which efficiently generates a large number of Raman orders spanning the spectral region from the infrared to the ultraviolet. The bandwidth of the Raman orders is sufficient to generate...

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    Lecture: From Nonlinear Optics to High-Intensity Laser Physics

    Location: 

    Physics Department, Jefferson 250, 17 Oxford Street, Cambridge

    This lecture is part of the 2019 Loeb Lectures in Physics, delivered by Donna Strickland, Professor, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Waterloo; Nobel Laureate, Physics 2018

    The laser increased the intensity of light that can be generated by orders of magnitude and thus brought about nonlinear optical interactions with matter.  Chirped pulse amplification, also known as CPA, changed the intensity level by a few more orders of magnitude and helped usher in a new type of laser-matter interaction that is referred to as high-intensity laser physics...

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    Twins in Space

    Location: 

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

    Spaceflight poses unusual stressors to the human body. To ensure that astronauts can perform under daunting conditions, NASA investigators have been studying the effect of long-duration spaceflight on crew members. This lecture will present the findings of the NASA Twins Study, which evaluated twin astronauts in different environments for one year: one in space and one on Earth.

    Learn more about and RSVP for Twins in...

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    Early Science from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)

    Location: 

    60 Garden Street, Phillips Auditorium, Cambridge, MA 02138

    Sam Quinn, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

    NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) began science operations in July 2018, and over the next two years will survey most of the sky in search of small planets transiting the nearest stars, the brightness of which enables studies of planetary compositions and atmospheric properties. These will likely be the planets on which we focus our search for life through the detection of biosignature gases in the planets' atmospheres. However, TESS is not just an exoplanet mission; by monitoring...

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    Exhibition Opening: Measure

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Knafel Center, 10 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

    Anna Von Mertens is an exhibited artist who uses the structures of quilting and drawing to explore the frontiers of human understanding. Her new exhibition "Measure" explores the life and work of Henrietta Leavitt, one of the women “computers” hired to study glass-plate astronomical photographs at the Harvard College Observatory a century ago. Leavitt’s findings provided a unit of measurement for galactic distances. Reimagined in meticulous stitches and intricate graphite marks, Von Mertens examines our current understanding of the size and shape of...

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    The Secret Lives of Roots

    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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    Next in Evolution

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Knafel Center, 10 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

    The Next in Science series provides an opportunity for early-career scientists whose creative, cross-disciplinary research is thematically linked to introduce their work to one another, to fellow scientists, and to nonspecialists from Harvard and the greater Boston area. The focus of this year’s program is in the study of evolution. In this program, two leading researchers will explore the genetic impact of Neanderthal interbreeding with modern humans and consider how people migrated, adapted, and mixed over the course of human history. Two...

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    Growing Woody Plants from Seeds

    Location: 

    Dana Greenhouse, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

    Learn about seed biology, embryo dormancy, and factors present in woody plant seeds. The class will focus on seed storage and various treatment techniques, including over-wintering and aftercare. Appropriate for those who have succeeded at growing some plants from seed and are ready for greater challenges. Post-class nurturing will be required. Fee $55 members; $68 non-members.

    ...

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    The Undiscovered

    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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    What’s Going On in This Graph?

    Location: 

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

    Sharon Hessney, Writer and Moderator of New York Times Learning Network "What's Going On in This Graph?"

    Graphs can go a long way in conveying information that might otherwise take several paragraphs to explain. But it is easy to misread or not fully understand the content and context. In this participatory program, we will decipher several graphs based on data from Arnold Arboretum curators and scientists. We will also look at the data...

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    Small Trees for Small Spaces

    Location: 

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

    Urban and suburban planting spaces are often constrained, often not ideal for accommodating a large oak, linden, or maple tree. But there are many smaller tree species that will thrive in a smaller space and won’t overwhelm the area. Some trees are cultivars that have been selected for their smaller size or narrow characteristics, while others are naturally genetically petite. Guided by the “right plant, right place” philosophy, Laura Mele...

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

    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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