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Tardigrade or ‘water bear’ will survive until the sun dies

Tardigrade or ‘water bear’ will survive until the sun dies

July 20, 2017

The world’s most indestructible species — a stout, microscopic animal with four pairs of legs, known as the water bear or tardigrade — will survive until the sun dies, according to new research from Oxford University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA).

Tardigrade may be little but they are the toughest form of life on Earth. The water-dwelling micro-animals are known to be able to live for up to 30 years without food or water. They can endure temperatures of up to 150 degrees Celsius, the

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Scientists are using the universe as a ‘cosmological collider’

Scientists are using the universe as a ‘cosmological collider’

July 20, 2017

Physicists are capitalizing on a direct connection between the largest cosmic structures and the smallest known objects to use the universe as a “cosmological collider” and investigate new physics.

The 3-D map of galaxies throughout the cosmos and the leftover radiation from the Big Bang — called the cosmic microwave background (CMB) — are the largest structures in the universe that astrophysicists observe using telescopes. Subatomic elementary particles, on the other hand, are the smallest known objects in the universe that particle physicists study using particle colliders.

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Joint Arboretum and Forest Service program protects trees from pests

Joint Arboretum and Forest Service program protects trees from pests

July 18, 2017

On a warm afternoon in Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum, John DelRosso embarked on a task that was part detective work, part tough love, and reached for his chainsaw.

He was 40 feet up in a 137-year-old maple whose thin crown and dying branches attested to the fact that it had seen better days. DelRosso pruned away dead branches, then focused his attention on living wood, cutting branches that to the layman might seem fine, but to the chief arborist’s eye bore tiny

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Taking cells out to the movies with new CRISPR technology

Taking cells out to the movies with new CRISPR technology

July 12, 2017

Researchers use expensive machinery to develop ways to harness DNA as a synthetic raw material to store large amounts of digital information outside of living cells.

But what if they could coerce living cells, such as large populations of bacteria, to use their own genomes as a biological hard drive that can record information scientists could tap anytime? That approach not only could open entirely new possibilities of data storage, it could also be engineered into an effective memory device able to create a chronological record of cells’ molecular experiences during development

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Whole brain insights in Harvard findings

Whole brain insights in Harvard findings

July 10, 2017

Scientists appear closer than ever to unlocking the black box that is the brain, and they’re doing it with the help of a fish less than half an inch long.

Led by Jeff Lichtman, the Jeremy R. Knowles Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Santiago Ramon y Cajal Professor of Arts and Sciences, Florian Engert, a professor of molecular and cellular biology, and David Hildebrand, a postdoctoral fellow in Engert’s lab, a team of researchers

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Harvard researchers probe protein diversity

Harvard researchers probe protein diversity

July 7, 2017

Proteins make up a wildly diverse class of molecule, with key roles in everything from catalyzing reactions to helping fight off infection to transporting oxygen through the body. Now, Harvard scientists are beginning to provide answers on drivers of that diversity.

Led by Eugene Shakhnovich, a professor of chemistry and chemical biology, and Amy Gilson, a graduate student in Shakhnovich’s lab, investigators have found that the stability of proteins plays an important role in the evolution of

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Conflicting estimates of rise in global temperature resolved

Conflicting estimates of rise in global temperature resolved

July 5, 2017

Harvard University researchers have resolved a conflict in estimates of how much the Earth will warm in response to a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

That conflict — between temperature ranges based on global climate models and paleoclimate records and ranges generated from historical observations — prevented the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from providing a best estimate in its most recent report for how much doubled CO2 emissions will warm the Earth.

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Harvard scientists use simple materials to create semi-soft robots

Harvard scientists use simple materials to create semi-soft robots

June 13, 2017

At the beginning of the decade, George Whitesides helped rewrite the rules of what a machine could be with the development of biologically inspired “soft robots.” Now he’s poised to rewrite them again, with help from some plastic drinking straws.

Inspired by arthropod insects and spiders, Whitesides and Alex Nemiroski, a former postdoctoral fellow in Whitesides’ Harvard lab, have created a type of semi-soft robot capable of standing and walking. The team also created a robotic water strider capable of pushing itself

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Harvard climate study reveals ozone hole risk in Midwest

Harvard climate study reveals ozone hole risk in Midwest

June 8, 2017

Storms common to the Midwest in summer create the same ozone-damaging chemical reactions found in polar regions in winter, according to a new Harvard study. And with extreme weather on the rise, people living in the region could face an increased risk of UV radiation.

Powerful storms in the Great Plains inject water vapor that, with temperature change, can trigger the same chemistry eroding the Arctic ozone, according to a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy

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Physicists create antiferromagnet that may help them better understand superconductors

Physicists create antiferromagnet that may help them better understand superconductors

June 1, 2017

From the moment when physicists discovered superconductors — materials that conduct electricity without resistance at extremely low temperatures — they wondered whether they might be able to develop materials that exhibit the same properties at warmer temperatures.

The key to doing so, a group of Harvard scientists say, may lie in another exotic material known as an antiferromagnet.

Led by physics professor Markus Greiner, a team of physicists has taken a crucial step toward understanding those materials by creating a quantum antiferromagnet from an

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