Events

    2019 Sep 25

    Wildhood: Coming of Age on Planet Earth

    6:00pm

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge

    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...

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    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 Aug 22

    Garden for Biodiversity

    7:00pm to 8:15pm

    Location: 

    Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston

    Sam Jaffe, naturalist and educator, will present both the collaborative and deceitful nature of insects and plants as they’ve evolved to rely upon one another. This lecture, illustrated with Sam’s gorgeous photographs, will expand your invertebrate knowledge, appreciation, and desire to be the best garden host you can be.

    Cost:
    $10 for members; $15 for nonmembers.

    ...

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    2019 Jul 20

    Angiosperms and Gymnosperms: The Basics

    2:30pm to 4:00pm

    Location: 

    Centre Street Gate, Arnold Arboretum, Boston

    What better place to look for the differences between angiosperms (plants that flower and have enclosed seeds), and gymnosperms (plants with "naked seeds," including conifers, ginkgos, and others), than in the Arnold Arboretum landscape, where over 15,000 plants reside in a living museum. Join our guide as she points out trees in both groups and describes the characteristics of each.

    ...

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    2019 Jul 16

    Lecture: Darkness in Distress

    7:00pm to 8:30pm

    Location: 

    Weld Hill Building, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston

    Join the Arnold Arboretum for a lecture by science journalist Kelly Beatty. Light pollution, simply put, is any unnecessary or excessive outdoor illumination. Sadly, it’s become a pervasive and ugly consequence of modern 24/7 society. Light pollution robs us of the night sky’s beauty, negatively affects the ecosystem, and creates an in-your-face waste of energy. But a new mindset and new technology are poised to slow—and perhaps reverse—this bane of modern life.

    ...

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    2019 Jun 26

    Bonsai Behind the Curtain: Uncovering Their Care and Cultivation

    5:30pm to 6:30pm

    Location: 

    Larz Anderson Bonsai Collection, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston

    Join Manager of Plant Production, Tiffany Enzenbacher, for an evening of exploration into the oldest dwarfed plant collection in the United States. As one of the caretakers of the Arboretum's bonsai collection, Tiffany will highlight many of the procedures used by staff to maintain the health of these captivating specimens.

    Learn more about and register for Bonsai Behind the...

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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 22

    Ethnobotany at Harvard

    12:00pm to 2:00pm

    Location: 

    Harvard University Herbaria, 22 Divinity Ave., Cambridge

    Historically, plants have provided humans with most of our drugs, fibers, food, dyes, perfumes, building materials, and even musical instruments. But how has this diverse and fascinating field been studied and what has been learned? In fact, for over 100 years, Harvard has played a pivotal role in the study of human-plant interactions, leading to the creation of the field of ethnobotany.

    In this interactive lecture we will explore the science and history of some of the most important Harvard botanists and explorers through their unique specimens—now housed in the Harvard...

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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 14

    How Birds Work: Eggs

    7:00pm to 8:00pm

    Location: 

    Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston

    How does an egg become an egg? Why do chickens continue to lay eggs day after day? What controls the shape of eggs? Why do eggs of different species of birds have different colors? And how strong are eggshells?

    In this talk which follows previous talks about bird flight, migration, and feathers, Lorna Gibson answers common questions about bird eggs.

    Learn more...

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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 10

    Lecture: Chasing Ants (And Their Microbes) in the Rainforest

    6:00pm

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge

    Microbes play critical roles in the biology and health of human beings, but we are not the only species that benefits from intimate relationships with microbes. Ants, for instance, rely on the microbial communities living in their guts to process food and make strong armor.

    Corrie Moreau will discuss this unique aspect of ant biology and what it tells us about the diversity and dominance of ants in terrestrial ecosystems, the evolutionary history of social insects, and the broad-scale evolutionary patterns of life.

    ...

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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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