Events

    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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    2019 Feb 14

    Designing Living Things

    6:00pm

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge

    Biology can be a design medium: scientists can now “write” DNA and manipulate microbial behavior. In the future, they could also reshape entire ecosystems. Christina Agapakis is a synthetic biologist, writer, and artist who collaborates with engineers, designers, artists, and social scientists to explore the many unexpected connections between microbiology, technology, art, and popular culture. In this lecture, she will discuss current and potential uses of biotechnology in various fields from agriculture and medicine to consumer goods and renewable energy.

    ...

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    2019 Feb 04

    Twins in Space

    5:00pm

    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.

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    2019 Feb 01

    Combating Antibiotic Resistant Superbugs across Diverse Habitats

    4:00pm

    Location: 

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

    Disease-causing bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to all available antibiotics, causing approximately 700,000 annual deaths globally and costing the US economy $55 billion each year.

    Gautam Dantas will discuss how new genomic and computational technologies are enabling a deeper understanding of how antibiotics affect diverse microbiomes, including the evolution and spread of antibiotic resistance across diverse habitats. These insights enable the design of novel diagnostics and therapeutics for maintaining healthy microbiomes and preventing and treating future...

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    2018 Nov 15

    Early Science from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)

    7:30pm

    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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    2018 Nov 08

    Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past

    6:00pm

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

    David Reich, Professor, Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Senior Associate Member, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT

    Sweeping technological innovations in the field of genomics are enabling scientists to extract and analyze ancient...

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    2018 Nov 08

    Exhibition Opening: Measure

    5:00pm

    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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    2018 Nov 07

    The Secret Lives of Roots

    2:30pm to 4:00pm

    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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    2018 Nov 05

    Next in Evolution

    2:30pm to 5:30pm

    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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    2018 Oct 26

    The Undiscovered

    9:00am to 5:00pm

    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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    2018 Oct 17

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

    5:00pm to 6:00pm

    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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    2018 Oct 16

    Nature vs. Fiction in Sci-Fi Movies

    6:00pm

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA

    Miaki Ishii, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University

    Recent volcanic eruptions in Hawaii and Guatemala remind us of how devastating these geological eruptions can be. Popular culture depictions of volcanic disasters found in movies like Dante’s Peak and Volcano can strongly distort the public’s understanding of volcanic activity and its immediate effects. As with many science-fiction films, Hollywood depictions of natural phenomena don’t always align with the scientific facts. Seismologist Miaki...

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    2018 Oct 15

    Can Baby Corals Improve the Reefs of Tomorrow?

    6:00pm

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA

    Aaron Hartmann, 2017–2018 Sarah and Daniel Hrdy Visiting Fellow in Conservation Biology, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University

    Coral reefs are one of Earth’s most biodiverse and imperiled ecosystems. Corals form the foundation of this ecosystem. Substantial effort is being invested to help adult corals survive environmental degradation, but less attention is paid to their offspring and how they establish themselves on the seafloor. Unlike adult corals, baby corals move about in the water column, perhaps allowing them to...

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    2018 Oct 10

    Genes, Cognition, and Human Brain Evolution

    6:00pm

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA

    Christopher A. Walsh, Bullard Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology, Harvard Medical School; Chief, Division of Genetics and Genomics, Boston Children’s Hospital; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Associate Member, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT

    Despite major scientific advances in sequencing the genomes of species through the animal kingdom, it has been remarkably difficult to identify the genes that enable the unique cultural, aesthetic, and reasoning capabilities of humans. Christopher Walsh will discuss how research on specific genes...

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    2018 Oct 04

    Conserving Biodiversity: A Global Priority

    6:00pm

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA

    Biodiversity is the sum total of life on Earth and a living legacy to future generations. Sadly, it is declining almost everywhere on the planet. Russell A. Mittermeier, recipient of the 2018 Indianapolis Prize, is a biologist and lifelong conservationist who has traveled across 169 countries and discovered more than 20 species in his quest to save biodiversity hotspots. Focusing on nonhuman primates—our closest living relatives—...

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    2018 Sep 17

    Role of Clouds and Particles in Climate…with a Dash of Fog

    6:30pm to 8:00pm

    Location: 

    Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston

    Particles in our atmosphere, whether from the natural environment or from human-built engines, affect climate in ways we don’t yet fully understand. MIT Professor Dan Cziczo will speak of particles and clouds in our atmosphere and how climate is influenced by them. The evening will begin outdoors at Fog x Hill, a Fujiko Nakaya fog exhibit at the Arboretum and then shift indoors for a lecture about clouds and climate. Arrive promptly at 6:30pm to view Fog x Hill, a timed-release landscape...

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    2018 Sep 17

    Saving Coral Reefs in the Florida Keys

    6:00pm

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge MA

    James W. Porter, Josiah Meigs Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia

    Coral reefs support more than a quarter of all marine life, yet many are critically endangered. In the Florida Keys, the once common elk horn coral (Acropora palmata) has experienced steep declines since the 1970s. Preliminary blame was attributed to global warming and coral bleaching, but in fact, a human bacterial pathogen associated with a wide range of serious infections was the culprit. James Porter will discuss how Key West residents are saving these reefs...

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