Arts and Humanities

Behind ‘Peter Pan’

Behind ‘Peter Pan’

July 18, 2014

In 1904, a kind of lightning struck London’s theater scene. Tuxedo-clad audiences accustomed to somber and serious dramas were stunned by a production set in a whimsical world of make-believe, starring a band of rambunctious children.

One well-known actor and producer, after reading an early version of the shocking new play, became convinced its creator had lost his mind.

Astronomers create first realistic virtual universe

Move over, Matrix - astronomers have done you one better. They have created the first realistic virtual universe using a computer simulation called "Illustris." Illustris can recreate 13 billion years of cosmic evolution in a cube 350 million light-years on a side with unprecedented resolution. Read More.

Social Science

Falling fertility rates

July 3, 2014

In the 1960s, scholar Paul R. Ehrlich warned that a looming global population explosion would usher in mass starvation and death by the end of the 20th century.

If recent data are any indication, Ehrlich’s fears may have been somewhat misplaced. For the past several decades, fertility rates have steadily declined around the world. But many analysts agree that those falling figures are tied to another set of problems.

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Science

Viewing how neurons work

Viewing how neurons work

July 15, 2014

In oncology, the notion of personalized medicine — in which genetic tools can be used precisely to characterize a patient’s cancer and tailor treatment to a genetic profile — is now all but standard practice.

Though personalized treatments for diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), epilepsy, and bipolar disorders have remained frustratingly out of reach for neurologists, Harvard scientists say that could soon change.

Promising Plastic Alternative

Researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have introduced a new bioplastic isolated from shrimp shells. It’s made from chitosan, a form of chitin — the second-most abundant organic material on Earth. Chitin, a tough polysaccharide, is the main ingredient in the hardy shells of crustaceans, the armorlike cuticles of insects, and even the flexible wings of butterflies. Read More.

A decade of breakthroughs

The Harvard Stem Cell Institute began with a group of about two dozen principal investigators in Harvard’s Schools and affiliated hospitals as a pragmatic solution to a political and funding problem and now is a world leader in the exploding field of stem cell biology. Read more.

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