Author of “Longitude” and “Galileo’s Daughter,” Dava Sobel in her latest book tells the story of the female “computers” who worked at the Harvard College Observatory from the late 19th through the mid-20th century analyzing stellar data captured on a growing collection of photographic plates. Using complicated calculations, the women classified the stars, determined their brightness, and even discovered new stars, nebulae, and novae. Many of their findings led to important discoveries about the universe, and their work helped clear obstacles for women in science.Read more about Star analysts of Harvard College Observatory inspired new book by Dava Sobel
A Harvard researcher seeking a model for the earliest cells has created a system that self-assembles from a chemical soup into cell-like structures that grow, move in response to light, replicate when destroyed, and exhibit signs of rudimentary evolutionary selection.
It is well known that as plants grow, their stems and shoots respond to outside signals such as light and gravity. But if all plants have similar stimuli, why are there so many different stem shapes? Why do a weeping willow branches grow downward while nearby poison ivy shoots upward?