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Smooth fetal brain.

How, not why, the human brain folds

February 1, 2016

The distinctive troughs and crests of the human brain are not present in most animals; highly folded brains are seen only in a handful of species, including some primates, dolphins, elephants, and pigs. In humans, folding begins in fetal brains around the 20th week of gestation and is completed only when the child is about 18 months old.... Read more about How, not why, the human brain folds

Reproductive strategies

Reproductive strategies

December 10, 2014

It’s a cliché to say it takes a village to raise a child, but it’s a cliché some creatures have taken to heart.

A handful of animals, including ants, bees, termites, and some birds, are what scientists call “eusocial.” That is, they live in tight-knit groups in which some individuals give up some of their reproductive capacity to care for the offspring of others.

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Leverett’s evolution

Leverett’s evolution

December 9, 2014

Leverett House’s McKinlock Hall reopened to students at the beginning of the academic year after 15 months of reconstruction. McKinlock is the second completed project in the House renewal initiative, which is one of the largest and most ambitious capital improvement campaigns in Harvard College history and a major campaign priority.

“There is almost too much to say. The architects and the renovation team did a fabulous job of finding new and very imaginative ways of using the space in the face of all the accessibility constraints. The light...

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Parents make a weekend of it

Parents make a weekend of it

November 11, 2014

With Cambridge in autumn’s full embrace, the families of Harvard first-year undergraduates flocked to campus for the annual Freshman Parents Weekend, Nov. 7-8.

The weekend featured activities designed to give parents a glimpse of the Harvard College experience. For most parents, this was the first time they’d been back to Harvard since dropping off their teens for the start of the academic year.

“Our daughter was happy to see us, which made us happy,” said Segun Abegunrin.

Abegunrin made the trip east with his wife, Desireia, from their home in Los Angeles to...

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Activating a new space

Activating a new space

November 10, 2014

The activation of German artist Rebecca Horn’s installation “Flying Books Under Black Rain Painting” (2014) in the Harvard Art Museums began quietly, almost without the audience even realizing it.

One minute, the wall alongside the museums’ Prescott Street entrance was just a plain white surface two stories high, from which a mechanical “painting machine” and three hardcover books protruded.... Read more about Activating a new space

Foreshadowing feminism

Foreshadowing feminism

November 10, 2014

 

Decades before the Civil War, girls as young as 11 helped gather signatures on anti-slavery petitions sent on to a recalcitrant U.S. Congress. That simple act of canvassing became a crucible of activism that transformed the American political landscape, propelling generations of women into social causes after the war.

So argues a new paper co-written at Harvard. The “skills and contacts” that canvassing conferred on women who opposed slavery, wrote Harvard political scientist Daniel Carpenter in the American Political Science Review, “empowered their...

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A sense of Wonder

A sense of Wonder

November 4, 2014

In a nod to her latest subject, the historian Jill Lepore made it clear that she wasn’t about to back down from a fight for justice.

“If you want to doubt that Wonder Woman is a feminist project, we’ll have to take that outside,” the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History jokingly warned a Radcliffe audience on Thursday while discussing her new book, “The Secret History of Wonder Woman.”

As it turns out, explained Lepore, the superheroine’s backstory is...

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Rapid-fire evolution

Rapid-fire evolution

November 4, 2014

Though it’s often portrayed as a process that takes place over thousands of years, under the right circumstances the evolution of enhanced traits in a species can occur with surprising speed. Exhibit A involves green anoles.

The only anole species native to the United States, these small lizards are typically found on or near the base of trees, where they feed largely on insects. When brown anoles were introduced to this country in the 1950s, these highly invasive lizards quickly began to crowd out the native species, and drove green anoles off the forest floor to higher...

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