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?
At their simplest, the sounds that surround us — from a baby’s cry to heavy metal — are merely vibrations in the air. It’s the job of the ears to capture those vibrations and convert them into neural signals that can be processed by the brain, enabling us to make sense of our aural environment.
When artist David Buckley Borden arrived at the modest shack that serves as his Harvard Forest workshop, he found a shelf still loaded with old gear and field equipment — holdovers from the building’s previous life as a storage shed.
His first thought was to clean house, but as he went through the objects, he understood that each said something about the forest and the people who work there. Left-behind stuff turned out to be exactly what he needed. Read more about Creative path through Harvard Forest
Inside a bony structure that spirals like a snail shell in a human’s inner ear, roughly 15,000 “hair” cells receive, translate, and then ship sound signals to the brain. Damage to these cells from excessive noise, chronic infections, antibiotics, certain drugs, or the simple passing of time can lead to irreparable hearing loss. Read more about Replacing damaged ‘hair’ cells may help treat hearing loss