New research explores horizontal gene transfer

Cassandra Extavour and Leo Blondel provide the strongest suggestive evidence yet that at least part of a specific gene came from bacterial genomes.

Peter Reuell • harvard
June 2, 2020 ~9 min

science-technology bacteria genes faculty-of-arts-and-sciences fas harvard peter-reuell cassandra-extavour horizontal-gene-transfer gene blondel extavour gene-transfer germ-cells leo-blondel osk-domain oskar

Ancient records of Bering Strait flooding offer fresh insights

Tamara Pico, a postdoctoral fellow, is using records of flooding in the Bering Strait to make inferences about how the ice sheets that covered North America responded to the warming climate, and how their melting might have contributed to climate changes.

Peter Reuell • harvard
Feb. 26, 2020 ~6 min

 science-technology  faculty-of-arts-and-sciences  fas  harvard  peter-reuell  reuell  environments-sustainability  sea-level  flooding  science-advances  bering-strait  flood  ice  ice-sheets  paleoclimate  pico  tamara-pico  younger-dryas

Researcher looks at plaque to gain insight about the past

Christina Warinner says ancient dental plaque offers insights into diets, disease, dairying, and women’s roles of the period.

Peter Reuell • harvard
Nov. 19, 2019 ~11 min

 science-technology  anthropology  basic-research  fas  peter-reuell  gsas  plaque  christina-warinner  dental-calculus

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 • harvard
Nov. 14, 2019 ~8 min

 science-technology  physics  faculty-of-arts-and-sciences  fas  harvard  peter-reuell  reuell  fiction  fictional-worlds  frogs  imagination  intuitive-physics  intuitive-psychology  levitating  levitating-frogs  magic  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 • harvard
Oct. 31, 2019 ~6 min

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

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 • harvard
Oct. 23, 2019 ~5 min

 science-technology  robot  robotics  faculty-of-arts-and-sciences  fas  harvard  peter-reuell  reuell  science-robotics  fish  george-lauder  biomechanics  lauder  robot-fish  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 • harvard
Oct. 2, 2019 ~6 min

 science-technology  quantum  faculty-of-arts-and-sciences  fas  harvard  peter-reuell  reuell  science  john-doyle  doyle  quantum-computer  lasers  center-for-ultracold-atoms  kang-kuen-ni  molecular-tweezers  molecules  ni  optical-tweezers  quantum-science-and-engineering-initiative  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 • harvard
Sept. 12, 2019 ~6 min

 science-technology  music  psychology  internet  online  faculty-of-arts-and-sciences  fas  harvard  peter-reuell  reuell  citizen-science  data-science-initiative  mehr  music-lab  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 • harvard
Sept. 4, 2019 ~8 min

 science-technology  education  physics  test  faculty-of-arts-and-sciences  fas  harvard  peter-reuell  reuell  science  proceedings-of-the-national-academy-of-sciences  pnas  active-learning  classrooms  educational-outcomes  learning  lecture  lectures  passive-learning  science-education  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 • harvard
Aug. 27, 2019 ~6 min

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