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


New drug-detecting tool could help save lives

The landscape of the illegal drug trade changes constantly, particularly amid the current opioid crisis. Law-enforcement officers regularly find or confiscate pills, powders, and other substances and need to know their composition as quickly as possible to determine legal charges and sometimes to issue lifesaving warnings. Carfentanil is a case in point. This cousin to […]

Caitlin McDermott-Murphy | Nov. 13, 2019 | harvard
~7 mins   

Tags: health-medicine basic-research caitlin-mcdermott-murphy cambridge carfentanil chemistry christoffer-abrahamsson dea drug-analysis drug-enforcement-administration engineering-technology fas fentanyl forensic-science george-whitesides law-enforcement opioid-epidemic

After his wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Arthur Kleinman shares what he learned

Harvard Professor Arthur Kleinman’s wife, Joan, began to struggle with a rare form of early Alzheimer’s disease at 59. Eight years after losing her, he chronicles their journey in “The Soul of Care: The Moral Education of a Husband and a Doctor.”

Jill Radsken | Oct. 31, 2019 | harvard
~10 mins   

Tags: health-medicine the-soul-of-care alzheimers arthur-kleinman caregiving fas health-care hms jill-radsken medical-anthropology psychiatry

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

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

Discovery of object with multiple stars offers an opportunity for insight into our own planet

Planets that are even a little like Earth are hard to find. That’s why when astronomers like Jennifer G. Winters come across a body that may be solid, rocky, and possibly have its own atmosphere, they get excited. And especially so in a case like this: For although it is statistically unlikely to host life

Clea Simon | Oct. 23, 2019 | harvard
~5 mins   

Tags: science-technology clea-simon dwarf-planets fas harvard-smithsonian-center-for-astrophysics jennifer-winters planets science

In ‘Why Trust Science?’ Naomi Oreskes explains why the process of proof is worth trusting

Harvard Professor Naomi Oreskes, author of "Why Trust Science?," discusses the five pillars necessary for science to be considered trustworthy, the evidentiary value of self-reporting, and her Red State Pledge.

Jill Radsken | Oct. 22, 2019 | harvard
~13 mins   

Tags: science-technology merchants-of-doubt climate-change fas history-of-science jill-radsken naomi-oreskes red-state-pledge why-trust-science

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

Study finds gut microbes adapt quickly to changes in food preparation

Scientists have recently discovered that different diets — say, high-fat versus low-fat, or plant-based versus animal-based — can rapidly and reproducibly alter the composition and activity of the gut microbiome, where differences in the composition and activity can affect everything from metabolism to immunity to behavior.

Clea Simon | Oct. 2, 2019 | harvard
~8 mins   

Tags: health-medicine clea-simon cooking fas gut-microbiome human-evolutionary-biology katia-chadaideh-corinne-f-maurice kylynda-bauer nature-microbiology peter-turnbaugh rachel-carmody vayu-maini-rekdal

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