Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Knafel Center, 10 Garden St., Cambridge
Gene editing holds extraordinary promise but also raises serious legal and ethical issues. In this science symposium, leading scientists, clinicians, and ethicists will explore case studies of particular therapies and the legal and bioethical implications of gene editing.
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.
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...
In this performance-based lecture, the globe-trotting magician Joshua Jay will pull back the curtain on the way magicians think. He will explore how magicians achieve the seemingly impossible and how people can apply the same strategies to their own lives and work.
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...
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.
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.
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...
In collaboration with Houghton Library’s celebration of the moon landing’s 50th anniversary, the Harvard Film Archive presents films about humans’ exploration of that final frontier. This program features "A Trip to the Moon" with live musical accompaniment, "A Grand Day Out," "One Small Step," and more family-friendly short films!
Cost: $5 Weekend Matinee Admission or free with Cambridge Public Library Card.
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.
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...
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.