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decolonize science

HS Hosts Workshop on Decolonizing History of Science

April 25, 2019

What might it mean to decolonize the history of science? Several emerging leaders of the field, and many graduate students, have been seeking answers to this question. On April 12 and 13, the Department of the History of Science, with the support of the Gough Whitlam and Malcom Fraser Chair of Australian Studies and Harvard’s Indigenous Studies Program, hosted a workshop examining various “postcolonial” and “decolonial” approaches to remaking the history of science, as well as...

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Harvard works to embed ethics in computer science curriculum

Harvard works to embed ethics in computer science curriculum

January 25, 2019

Barbara Grosz has a fantasy that every time a computer scientist logs on to write an algorithm or build a system, a message will flash across the screen that asks, “Have you thought about the ethical implications of what you’re doing?”

Until that day arrives, Grosz, the Higgins Professor of Natural Sciences at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), is working to instill in the next generation of computer scientists a mindset that considers the societal impact of their work, and the ethical reasoning and communications skills to do so.... Read more about Harvard works to embed ethics in computer science curriculum

Evidence of atherosclerosis found in 16th-century mummies from Greenland

January 23, 2019

What secrets lie in the hearts of our ancestors? Signs of cardiovascular disease, for one, as a team of cardiovascular-imaging experts from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) recently helped discover.

Through a collaboration with an international team of researchers and anthropologists, BWH faculty and staff performed CT scans on five mummies from 16th-century Greenland in the Shapiro Cardiovascular Center early last year. The team was looking for evidence of plaque in the arteries — also known as atherosclerosis — to see if the leading cause of death in the U.S. today was also prevalent...

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New technique enables subcellular imaging of brain tissue 1,000X faster than other methods

New technique enables subcellular imaging of brain tissue 1,000X faster than other methods

January 22, 2019

In the late 19th century, the Spanish anatomist Santiago Ramón y Cajal laid the foundation for modern neuroscience with a microscope, a pen, and some paper. Applying a cell-staining technique to samples of brain tissue, he produced thousands of detailed illustrations that revealed for the first time the intricate complexity of neurons and neuronal networks. Based on his observations, Ramón y Cajal proposed that the neuron was the basic functional unit of the nervous system, a hypothesis confirmed when the electron microscope was invented in the 1950s.

In the decades since, microscopy has...

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Arnold Arboretum’s role as a living lab grows as environmental issues mount

Arnold Arboretum’s role as a living lab grows as environmental issues mount

January 16, 2019

Andrew Groover celebrates the complexity of trees, and makes it his life’s work to unlock how they adapt to their environments. It’s knowledge that’s critical for the U.S. Forest Service research geneticist — he works in California, where concerns about climate change have grown as wildfires there have increased in frequency and intensity.

A practical problem for Groover, who is a University of California, Davis, adjunct professor of plant biology, is...

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Green New Deal Legislators

"Is the Green New Deal For Real?" Prof. Naomi Oreskes on WBURs Radio Open Source

January 10, 2019

The mission, as it turned out, was to transform the American economy and save the country, no less, over twelve years. Franklin Roosevelt called it his New Deal, starting in 1933. New-breed Democrats in Congress today are talking about a Green New Deal, starting now, deep into the crisis of a changing climate that goes way beyond the weather.... Read more about "Is the Green New Deal For Real?" Prof. Naomi Oreskes on WBURs Radio Open Source

Harvard researchers share views on future, ethics of gene editing

Harvard researchers share views on future, ethics of gene editing

January 9, 2019

Medicine is at a turning point, on the cusp of major change as disruptive technologies such as gene, RNA, and cell therapies enable scientists to approach diseases in new ways. The swiftness of this change is being driven by innovations such as CRISPR gene editing, which makes it possible to correct errors in DNA with relative ease.

Progress in this field has been so rapid that the dialogue around potential ethical, societal, and safety issues is scrambling to catch up.

This disconnect was brought into stark relief at the...

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A virtual reality experience of being inside an exploded star

A virtual reality experience of being inside an exploded star

December 21, 2018

Cassiopeia A, the youngest known supernova remnant in the Milky Way, is the remains of a star that exploded almost 400 years ago. The star was approximately 15 to 20 times the mass of our sun and sat in the Cassiopeia constellation, almost 11,000 light-years from earth.

Though stunningly distant, it’s now possible to step inside a virtual-reality (VR) depiction of what followed that explosion.

A team led by Kimberly Kowal Arcand from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) and...

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