Sharing a passion for science


first_imgOn Monday evening, Harvard Forest Senior Ecologist Elizabeth Crone held her audience at the Arnold Arboretum’s Weld Hill Research Building classroom in rapt attention.  It could have been a college course in theoretical ecology with a touch of sugar maple research.Instead, it was the latest public lecture by a Harvard researcher during the Cambridge Science Festival.Crone, who leads a team of researchers at Harvard Forest, has been studying the reproduction of sugar maples and pollination strategies, including the kinds of bees that visit flowers in tree canopies.  During the lecture, she outlined her team’s research, which points to a correlation between the amount of seeds a tree sets the previous fall — sugar maples are mast seeders, producing heavy seed production followed by years of larger seed crops — and the sugar content of the sap produced.  Given last fall’s heavy seed crop and analysis of maple syrup production, she said, syrup production could be light this year.“The idea that Harvard has everything from maple syrup to the genomes of plants covered is a reminder of the collective power of the plant resources at Harvard,” said Ned Friedman, director of the Arnold Arboretum, who invited Crone to share her research as part of the festival.  In addition to work at Harvard Forest and the Arboretum, University specialists conduct important research on plant life in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and at Harvard University Herbaria.“Basic science has an implication on the economy of states … we’re talking about science having a societal impact,” added Friedman.  “And sharing the science and its impact is part of our job, what we, as academics, should always be doing.”It’s that spirit of sharing — both research and excitement — that is the hallmark of Cambridge Science Festival.The 10-day festival taps researchers, scientists and innovators across Cambridge to share their love of science, technology, engineering, and math at nearly 100 events geared to people of all ages.  The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard are among the festival’s founding sponsors. And this year, more Harvard affiliates than ever before are sharing their research with the public.“Harvard faculty, researchers, and students are involved all the way through the festival,” said P. A. D’Arbeloff, director of the Cambridge Science Festival.  “It’s exciting to see how its has taken off organically in Harvard departments.”Harvard researchers joined forces with stand-up comedians to explain episodes of the history of science at the Harvard Museum of Natural History.  Last Friday night, researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics set up a cluster of telescopes offering passersby a chance to look at the stars in the urban sky and learn that you really could see the rings of Saturn in the city with the right equipment and a little guidance.  And Harvard affiliates, including HMNH staff, participated in the opening Science Carnival.Given last fall’s heavy seed crop and analysis of maple syrup production, she said, syrup production could be light this year, explained Harvard Forest Senior Ecologist Elizabeth Crone. Photo by Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer“All kinds of people are walking up to Harvard researchers and learning about science,” said D’Arbeloff.Cambridge resident Bragadees Madambakkampa was one of them. He happened to stumble on the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics’ urban stargazing in Harvard Square last Friday.   “I was pleasantly surprised to find telescopes pointed at Venus, Mars, and Saturn at Brattle Square,” he posted on the Cambridge Science Festival’s Facebook page. “Thank you so much, I’m proud to call Cambridge home.”“There’s tremendous value for residents who get a glimpse inside local universities and learn about the remarkable research that’s happening there and its important for universities to explain their science to a broader audience,” said D’Arbeloff.  “Plus, who knows where the next great Eric Landers will come from,” she added.“The idea that Harvard has everything from maple syrup to the genomes of plants covered is a reminder of the collective power of the plant resources at Harvard,” said Ned Friedman, director of the Arnold Arboretum. Photo by Jon Chase/Harvard Staff PhotographerUpcoming Harvard events at the Cambridge Science Festival:On Friday, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at First Parish in Cambridge, Harvard Square, David Haig, professor of biology and Edward Glaeser, director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston and Fred Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics, will join faculty from MIT and BU for “Big Ideas for Busy People,” Cambridge’s fast-paced answer to “Ted Talks,” where prominent researchers deliver five-minute talks and take five minutes of questions.Also on Friday, the MIT/Harvard Center for Ultracold Atoms opens its doors to sixth- and ninth-graders to learn about experimental physics.On Saturday, Svante Paabo will discuss human pre-history at 2 p.m. in Science Center B.Also on Saturday, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics scientists at Rocket Day will teach children about solar physics projects and launch 30 to 50 bottle rockets in Danehy Park.See the full festival schedule here.last_img read more

Bank of England upbeat on UK recovery after vaccine rollout


first_imgLONDON (AP) — The Bank of England has kept its key interest rates unchanged amid rising optimism over the British economy’s near-term prospects in the wake of the rapid rollout of coronavirus vaccines. The U.K.’s rapid rollout of coronavirus vaccines has improved the economic outlook and lowered expectations of another move imminently. The bank’s rate-setting committee said the economy is “projected to recover rapidly towards pre-COVID levels over 2021, as the vaccination programme is assumed to lead to an easing of COVID-related restrictions and people’s health concerns.” That reduces the need for more stimulus policies from the Bank of England in the short term.last_img read more

March Madness 2019: Tennessee has success, but didn’t achieve banner season


first_imgSchofield and center Kyle Alexander played their final game as Vols. Alexander performed beautifully, scoring 9 points, grabbing 8 rebounds and blocking 3 shots to keep the Vols competitive in the matchup against Purdue’s dual post threat of 7-3 Matt Haarms and wide-bodied Trevion Williams. Schofield had a brutal first half and scored a single point against the oppresive defense applied by Boilers guard Nojel Eastern. After he dragged Eastern into foul trouble, however, Schofield 20 points in the second half and overtime.It was a winning effort, but wasn’t enough for a win.”They’ve done that: left it better than they found it,” Barnes said afterward. “I always reference that first year here. And Kevin Punter was the one guy that, once we got here in the spring, really bought in. When Kyle and Admiral first got there … those guys were going to put their time in and hold each other accountable. Those were the three guys that got us where we are really today.”When you go back from four years ago, we lost 19 games, then 16. This league is different. This league is a lot different league than it was four years ago. But there’s no doubt that it’s been a blessing to have these guys with us and the fact that they definitely left it better than they found it.” LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Tennessee Volunteers this season won 31 basketball games, tied for most in school history. They twice defeated Kentucky, the standard by which all Southeastern Conference teams are judged. They are in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, which last happened in 2014 and only six times before that. Grant Williams is a first-team All-American, Admiral Schofield is first-team All-SEC and coach Rick Barnes is a finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year award.By any measure, this has been one of the greatest seasons in the program’s history. And not once did Tennessee have the occasion to celebrate.SN’s MARCH MADNESS HQLive NCAA bracket | Live scoreboard | Full TV schedule​After a win, sure; but that’s routine. Even mediocre college teams get to enjoy a victory after half their games. The best, though, strive for that occasion to raise a trophy. Tennessee fell short of that moment four times this season. It needed to beat Purdue in the South Region semifinals to continue its journey to the program’s first Final Four. Without Thursday’s win, it has now achieved greatness while leaving no singular achievement to mark its excellence.”I think we’ve got something special,” Schofield told reporters following the game. “I think that the biggest thing that you have to appreciate is just the culture that we built at Tennessee, winning culture, and I just really appreciate it. I’m just sad that I have to go out on this note.”But I think the biggest thing I can say is we left this program winning. Us four seniors, we left this program winning. That’s the biggest thing. We really came from the bottom, and to make it to the Sweet 16 is a dream come true. Came up a little short.”A college basketball team essentially gets five opportunities to celebrate a championship with either a trophy or ceremonial net-cutting. (Or both). They are not equal in importance, but they all measure something significant: 1) in-season tournament, such as the NIT Season Tip-Off; 2) conference regular-season championship; 3) conference tournament; 4) Final Four; 5) NCAA Championship.Tennessee played Kansas in the finals of the NIT Season Tip-Off but fell, 87-81.Tennessee played at Auburn with a chance to clinch a share of the SEC regular season title but fell, 84-80.Tennessee played Auburn, again, in the finals of the SEC Tournament but fell, 84-64.Tennessee played Purdue in the Sweet 16, overcoming an 18-point deficit to send the game to overtime. There, the Vols fell, 99-94.The Volunteers have run out of chances.MORE: Previewing Tennessee-PurdueTennessee’s situation is similar to what Pitt faced in 2009, when the Panthers rode All-American DeJuan Blair and All-Big East wing Sam Young to 31 victories and a No. 1 NCAA Tournament seed. But those Panthers fumbled a chance at the regular-season title with a puzzling loss to Providence, and then appeared uninterested in the Big East Tournament, losing their first game. When they fell to Villanova and Scottie Reynolds’ buzzer-beater in the East Region final, they wound up as one of the school’s greatest teams — but with no banners to hang.last_img read more