Events

    Dissection Dramatics! Flower Form

    Location: 

    Hunnewell Lawn, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston

    This is part of the new Science in Our Park Series. Come to the Arnold Arboretum and be a scientist! Get your hands onto scientific tools, use your observation skills, and share your findings with others.

    Dissection Dramatics will give you ample opportunity to fiddle with microscopes, hand lenses and digital scopes. Discover the secrets contained in a flower as you pull it apart piece by piece. Then test your puzzle making abilities as you attempt to put it back together.

    One adult may bring a maximum of three children; suitable for children ages...

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    Footprints On Another World: Apollo Plus 50

    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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    How Birds Work: Eggs

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

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

    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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    Our Extravagant Universe: The Undiscovery of Cosmic Deceleration

    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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    Film Screening: Lobster War: The Fight Over the World's Richest Fishing Grounds

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge

    Lobster War is an award-winning documentary film about a conflict between the United States and Canada over waters that both countries have claimed since the end of the Revolutionary War. The disputed 277 square miles of sea known as the Gray Zone were traditionally fished by U.S. lobstermen. But as the Gulf of Maine has warmed faster than nearly any other body of water on the planet, the area’s previously modest lobster population has surged. As a result, Canadians have begun to assert their sovereignty, warring with the Americans to claim the bounty.

    Directed...

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    Tree Spotters Citizen Science Program: Basic Training

    Location: 

    Hunnewell Building Lecture Hall or Weld Hill Lecture Hall, Arnold Arboretum, Boston

    With nearly 4,000 different kinds of plants represented in the Arboretum's living collections, every day presents rich opportunities to see something new. If you enjoy learning about plants and their unique characteristics, you can contribute to science as a participant in our Tree Spotters program. This citizen science project opens a window into the Arboretum's phenology: the timing of natural events, such as the leafing out and flowering of trees in the spring and changing foliage colors in the fall. Your observations will assist Arboretum scientists in their studies of the effects of...

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    Lecture: Frontiers in Evolution

    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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    A Far Cry Presents: Sounds of the Universe

    Location: 

    Harvard Ed Portal, 224 Western Ave., Allston

    Three-time Grammy nominated chamber orchestra A Far Cry returns to the Harvard Ed Portal for a cross-disciplinary program that examines the power of gravity and space through a musical lens. Join A Far Cry for an open rehearsal and discussion, in which the ensemble will preview their upcoming concert, Gravity at Jordan Hall, provide a window into their uniquely democratic rehearsal process, and explore the science behind music and the sounds of the universe with MIT theoretical particle physicist and gravitational-wave expert Jesse Thaler.

    A Far Cry Presents:...

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    Lecture: Self-Domestication in Bonobos and Other Wild Animals

    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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    Living with White Sharks

    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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    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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    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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    Lecture: Two-Color CPA Laser Development for Nonlinear Optics

    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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    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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