Events

    2019 Sep 19

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

    4:15pm

    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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    2019 Sep 18

    The Ancient Maya Response to Climate Change: A Cautionary Tale

    6:00pm

    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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    2019 Sep 17

    Lecture and Book Signing: Assembling the Dinosaur

    6:00pm

    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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    2019 Jun 05

    Harvard Science Book Talk: Graham Farmelo

    6:00pm

    Location: 

    Science Center Hall D, One Oxford St., Cambridge

    In The Universe Speaks in Numbers, Graham Farmelo, the award-winning author of The Strangest Man and Churchill's Bomb, takes his readers on a journey from the Scientific Revolution to string theory, highlighting the role of mathematics in guiding the search for the most fundamental laws of nature.

    In this talk, he will be joined by Harvard's own Jacob Barandes in conversation about this new book which explores how the harmonies between physics and mathematics enrich and deepen our understanding of the universe.

    ...

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    2019 May 16

    Footprints On Another World: Apollo Plus 50

    7:30pm

    Location: 

    Phillips Auditorium, 60 Garden St., Cambridge

    Half a century later, Dr. Jonathan McDowell will look back at humanity's first voyages to another world. In December 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 became the first people to enter the gravitational sphere of the Moon, and seven months later, Armstrong and Aldrin headed for the surface in Apollo 11. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union's moon rocket exploded disastrously as its robot probes competed with NASA astronauts in the race to bring home the first moon rocks. Dr. McDowell will explain how the first landing stood at the tip of an immense effort as engineers from California to Cambridge, MA...

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    2019 May 02

    The Human Swarm: How Societies Arise, Thrive, and Fall

    6:00pm

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge

    Join us for a free lecture and book signing by Mark W. Moffett. Based on his new book, The Human Swarm: How Societies Arise, Thrive, and Fall (Basic Books, April 2019), Moffett will discuss the social adaptations that bind societies and distinguish humans from other animal species. Drawing on findings in psychology, sociology, and anthropology, he explores how human society evolved from intimate chimp communities into sprawling civilizations of unrivaled complexity–and will address what is required to sustain them.

    ...

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    2019 May 02

    Why Brain Science Needs an Edit: Non-human Primate Studies in Neuroscience and Biomedicine

    4:15pm

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Knafel Center, 10 Garden St., Cambridge

    This lecture will feature Dr. Mu-ming Poo, the founding director of the Institute of Neuroscience at the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences. In his talk, Dr. Poo will discuss the use of gene-editing tools such as CRISPR in efforts to develop a macaque monkey behavioral model for studying self-consciousness. He will also address the relevant ethical issues associated with gene editing and the use of non-human primates in biomedical research.

    ...

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    2019 Apr 30

    Our Extravagant Universe: The Undiscovery of Cosmic Deceleration

    5:00pm

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Knafel Center, 10 Garden St., Cambridge

    Astronomers have known about the expansion of the universe for nearly a hundred years. Twenty years ago, when we set out to use exploding stars to measure gravity’s predicted effect, we discovered the expansion of the universe to be speeding up! This (un)discovery has been attributed to a “dark energy” that dominates the universe, whose nature is a deep mystery at the heart of physics. Robert P. Kirshner, Clowes Professor of Science, emeritus, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, will explain this phenomenon of cosmic acceleration.

    ...

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    2019 Apr 18

    Lecture: Frontiers in Evolution

    6:00pm

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge

    New approaches to studying evolutionary processes, from genomics to big data, have revolutionized the study of organisms across geological time and geographical space. Join us for a series of short “flash” lectures presented by Harvard graduate students and learn about the range of questions that scientists are asking today about evolution.

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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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    2019 Mar 28

    Viruses: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

    6:00pm

    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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    2019 Mar 12

    Genetics and Ethics in the Obama Administration

    4:15pm

    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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    2019 Mar 06

    Lecture: Two-Color CPA Laser Development for Nonlinear Optics

    4:15pm

    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

    There are a host of nonlinear optical experiments requiring two synchronized pulses having different frequencies. Professor Donna Strickland will discuss how University of Waterloo has developed two-color Chirped Pulse Amplification (CPA) laser systems to carry out some of these nonlinear optics experiments. Currently, they are studying Multi-frequency Raman generation...

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    2019 Mar 05

    Making the Earth and Moon

    6:00pm

    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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    2019 Mar 05

    Lecture: Investigation of Multi-frequency Raman Generated Spectra

    2:00pm

    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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    2019 Mar 04

    Lecture: From Nonlinear Optics to High-Intensity Laser Physics

    4:15pm

    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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    2019 Feb 28

    Evolution Matters: David Quammen and Carl Zimmer

    6:00pm

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge

    Celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Evolution Matters Lecture Series, two of the world’s best-known science writers will engage in a lively and wide-ranging conversation. From a discussion of their latest books on heredity and the history of life on Earth to the story of how two English majors became award-winning practitioners of scientific non-fiction, they will explore the most important idea in biology—evolution.

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