How humans’ sense of ‘intuitive physics’ touches fictional worlds

A Harvard study is exploring the way humans’ sense of “intuitive physics” of the real world leaves fingerprints on the fictional universes we create.

Peter Reuell | Nov. 14, 2019 | harvard
~8 mins   

Tags: science-technology faculty-of-arts-and-sciences fas fiction fictional-worlds frogs harvard imagination intuitive-physics intuitive-psychology levitating levitating-frogs magic peter-reuell physics reuell stone tomer-ullman turn-to-stone ullman

Gene flow between butterfly species offers clue to biodiversity

An analysis of 20 butterfly genomes found evidence that many butterfly species — including distantly related species — show a surprisingly high amount of gene flow between them, Harvard researchers found.

Peter Reuell | Oct. 31, 2019 | harvard
~6 mins   

Tags: science-technology butterfly edelman faculty-of-arts-and-sciences fas gene-flow genes genome genomes harvard heliconius hybrid hybridization introgression james-mallet mallet michael-miyagi miyagi nate-edelman peter-reuell reuell

How new plant species get their names

Kanchi Gandhi is one of a small group of global experts who referees the rules of naming new plant species.

Alvin Powell | Oct. 25, 2019 | harvard
~9 mins   

Tags: science-technology alvin-powell botany department-of-organismic-and-evolutionary-biology faculty-of-arts-and-sciences kanchi-gandhi nomenclature

Built for distance and speed, Tunabot can illuminate how fish move

Scientists from Harvard and the University of Virginia have developed the first robotic tuna that can accurately mimic both the highly efficient swimming style of tuna, and their high speed.

Peter Reuell | Oct. 23, 2019 | harvard
~5 mins   

Tags: science-technology biomechanics faculty-of-arts-and-sciences fas fish george-lauder harvard lauder peter-reuell reuell robot robot-fish robotics science-robotics swimming tuna tunabot

Harvard scientists use optical tweezers to capture ultracold molecules

Using precisely focused lasers that act as “optical tweezers,” Harvard scientists have been able to capture and control individual ultracold molecules – the eventual building-blocks of a quantum computer – and study the collisions between them in more detail than ever before.

Peter Reuell | Oct. 2, 2019 | harvard
~6 mins   

Tags: science-technology center-for-ultracold-atoms doyle faculty-of-arts-and-sciences fas harvard john-doyle kang-kuen-ni lasers molecular-tweezers molecules ni optical-tweezers peter-reuell quantum quantum-computer quantum-science-and-engineering-initiative reuell science tweezers ultracold-atoms ultracold-molecules

Online Music Lab studies questions of melody and humanity

Samuel Mehr has long been interested in questions of what music is, how music works, and why music exists. To help find the answers, he’s created the Music Lab, an online, citizen-science project aimed at understanding not just how the human mind interprets music, but why music is a virtually ubiquitous feature of human societies.

Peter Reuell | Sept. 12, 2019 | harvard
~6 mins   

Tags: science-technology citizen-science data-science-initiative faculty-of-arts-and-sciences fas harvard internet mehr music music-lab online peter-reuell psychology reuell samuel-mehr tone-deaf tone-deafness world-music-quiz

Study shows that students learn more when taking part in classrooms that employ active-learning strategies

A new Harvard study shows that, though students felt like they learned more from traditional lectures, they actually learned more when taking part in active-learning classrooms.

Peter Reuell | Sept. 4, 2019 | harvard
~8 mins   

Tags: science-technology active-learning classrooms education educational-outcomes faculty-of-arts-and-sciences fas harvard learning lecture lectures passive-learning peter-reuell physics pnas proceedings-of-the-national-academy-of-sciences reuell science science-education test test-scores

Harvard study: Artificial neural networks could be used to provide insight into biological systems

Martin Haesemeyer set out to build an artificial neural network that worked differently than fish’s brains, but what he got was a system that almost perfectly mimicked the zebrafish — and that could be a powerful tool for understanding biology.

Peter Reuell | Aug. 27, 2019 | harvard
~6 mins   

Tags: science-technology artificial-neural-network biological-neural-network biology deep-learning faculty-of-arts-and-sciences fas haesemeyer harvard heat heat-gradient learning-algorithm martin-haesemeyer neural-network neuron peter-reuell reuell whole-brain-imaging zebrafish


Making a case for ‘managed retreat’ from areas prone to flooding and storms

For decades, the response to flooding and hurricanes was a vow to rebuild. A.R. Siders believes the time has come to consider managed retreat, or the practice of moving communities away from disaster-prone areas to safer lands.

Peter Reuell | Aug. 23, 2019 | harvard
~7 mins   

Tags: science-technology ar-siders climate climate-change faculty-of-arts-and-sciences flooding floods harvard harvard-center-for-the-environment harvey hurricanes katrina managed-retreat michael peter-reuell retreat reuell sandy siders storms

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