Fall/Spring 2019: Growth

WE’RE BACK! Amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Harvard Science Review team has been hard at work putting together this new issue. While this particular volume does not cover the pandemic, we are incredibly excited to share with you an issue focused on regrowth, regeneration, and rebirth. The full issue can be accessed through ourContinue reading “Fall/Spring 2019: Growth”

Fall 2018: How Far is Too Far?

Our Fall 2018 issue is now available online! Articles are posted individually as blog posts (the articles are linked below), a PDF version is currently displayed on our Archives page, and print issues will be available around Harvard’s campus starting today. We hope you enjoy browsing through this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together! A big thankContinue reading “Fall 2018: How Far is Too Far?”

A Fantastic Voyage Through a Nano-Sized Universe

The 1960s was the birthplace of many tumultuous events, of which the Vietnam War, civil rights movement, and Kennedy assassination were a few. A more obscure, somewhat smaller event, however, was the making of the sci-fi movie Fantastic Voyage. Born from the political upheaval of the Cold War, the movie was a fantastic popularization ofContinue reading “A Fantastic Voyage Through a Nano-Sized Universe”

AI: Building Trust or Threatening a Cataclysm?

An Introduction Artificial Intelligence (AI) is still a nascent technology with astronomical promises. Nevertheless, AI seems to have kicked up a storm of debates, with people passionately arguing in favor of and against AI. The fear of losing one’s identity, way of life, or livelihood seems to be motivators of resistance (1,2). From tractors to cellContinue reading “AI: Building Trust or Threatening a Cataclysm?”

Emerging Mitochondrial Therapies and Their Ethicality

Dubbed the “three-parent baby” by the media, a paper published in Reproductive Biomedicine Online in April 2017 details the live birth of a child through experimental spindle transfer, a procedure which involves the use of mitochondrial DNA from a donor.1 Aside from garnering much publicity, the study has raised important questions in the scientific communityContinue reading “Emerging Mitochondrial Therapies and Their Ethicality”

CRISPR: How Far is too Far?

It is 2018, only six years after the discovery of CRISPR-Cas9, and genome engineering has become a rapidly evolving, incredibly exciting field. In order to understand why CRISPR-Cas9 is considered a revolutionary technology, it is important to look at the history of genome editing. The field of genetics was originally pioneered by Austrian scientist GregorContinue reading “CRISPR: How Far is too Far?”

Asimov and AI: Investigating the Potential of Robotic Consciousness

Introduction Robots have pervaded popular culture since the dawn of the technological revolution; for nearly a century, authors, filmmakers, artists, and conspiracy theorists have prophesied that robots will someday break free from mankind’s control and wreak apocalyptic havoc. The popular TV show Black Mirror tells stories of futuristic tech run amok, from powerful and dangerousContinue reading “Asimov and AI: Investigating the Potential of Robotic Consciousness”

Body-to-Head Transplants: The Future of Medicine or a Modern-day Frankenstein Fantasy?

Scientific history has proven that often the greatest medical breakthroughs go against society’s conventional criterion at that time. Today, society is faced with a pivotal, yet controversial, development in medicine: the body-to-head transplantation (BTH). Some believe that transplanting a head and a brain could perhaps be the final frontier in organ transplantation (1); while others areContinue reading “Body-to-Head Transplants: The Future of Medicine or a Modern-day Frankenstein Fantasy?”

Was It a Bounce or a Bang?

When most of us think of the idea of the “big bang”, a massive explosion emerging from nothingness comes to mind. While much of the physics community agrees that such a description is relatively accurate for the start of the universe as we know it, much of the context around the Big Bang remains unknown,Continue reading “Was It a Bounce or a Bang?”

Americans Must Fix Their Health Habits Now—or Face the Consequences Tomorrow

Currently in the United States, 70.2% of the American population is either obese or overweight (1). Obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30+, while being overweight signals a BMI of 25+ (2).  This may not be a surprise to many, but we have to examine this statistic closely to understand the harmful health impacts itContinue reading “Americans Must Fix Their Health Habits Now—or Face the Consequences Tomorrow”

Disagreeing on Brain Death

“Death has been dissected, cut to bits by a series of little steps, which finally makes it impossible to know which step was the real death, the one in which consciousness was lost, or the one in which breathing stopped.” – Philippe Aries, 1975 On June 22 of 2018, a 17-year-old girl named Jahi McMathContinue reading “Disagreeing on Brain Death”

(Baby You Can’t) Drive My Car: The Ethical Implications of Driverless Cars

Driverless cars are one of the hottest topics in media reporting on science today. The idea that a person may be able to tell a car where to go without having to operate it is alluring, and these vehicles have the potential to increase the efficiency and safety of travel. Scientists have many promising ideasContinue reading “(Baby You Can’t) Drive My Car: The Ethical Implications of Driverless Cars”

Spring 2018: Can Science Save Us?

Our Spring 2018 issue is now available online! Articles are posted individually as blog posts (the articles are linked below), a PDF version is currently displayed on our Archives page, and print issues will be available around Harvard’s campus starting Fall 2018. We hope you enjoy browsing through this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together! A bigContinue reading “Spring 2018: Can Science Save Us?”

Vaccines against Opioids: A Solution or a Problem?

Opioid abuse is responsible for billions of dollars of additional healthcare expenditure, and more importantly, about 90 deaths every day in the US alone (1). In the treatment of addiction and eradication of the current opioid crisis, vaccination against street drugs has become a potential therapeutic option. Scientists from the Janda lab (Skaggs Institute) have developedContinue reading “Vaccines against Opioids: A Solution or a Problem?”

Can Blockchain Save our Healthcare System?

“Did the Bitcoin Bubble Just Burst?”1 This latest news headline and many others immediately and frequently catch our attention with key terms such as Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and blockchain. We’ve all heard of the cryptocurrency or digital asset Bitcoin, but few understand it. More importantly, even fewer understand the technology that underlies it: blockchain. Although BitcoinContinue reading “Can Blockchain Save our Healthcare System?”

Aging and Debilitation: The Grave Reality, and Hopeful Future, of Treating Neurodegenerative Disease

Introduction At the start of the new year, during a time usually associated with resolution and new promises, two major pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer and Axovant, both announced the discontinuation of their campaigns to uncover drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, two progressive and debilitating neurodegenerative diseases that stunt cognitive function and deprive individualsContinue reading “Aging and Debilitation: The Grave Reality, and Hopeful Future, of Treating Neurodegenerative Disease”

The Race to Quantum Supremacy

The computer is one of the most revolutionary devices ever invented, and it distinctively marks the landscape of the digital era. We use it to work, learn, teach, read, write, speak, share information, access the government, power hospitals, run businesses, automate industry, perform research, make purchases, secure data, watch movies, drive cars, fly planes, andContinue reading “The Race to Quantum Supremacy”

No More Penicillin: A Future Without Antibiotics?

INTRODUCTION The invisible world of microbes is a scary place. For nearly the entirety of humanity’s existence, infectious diseases have been the leading cause of death. It wasn’t until recently that developments such as antiseptic chemicals, vaccinations, and pasteurization (to name a few) were developed to combat lethal pathogens. Because of those advances, life expectancyContinue reading “No More Penicillin: A Future Without Antibiotics?”

One Dose, One Day: The Magic of Xofluza

On February 23, 2018 amidst a worst-in-a-decade flu season, the Japanese pharmaceutical Shionogi & Co. attained approval to sell a new influenza drug in Japan.1 Xofluza (or baloxavir marboxil) works unlike any antiviral previously developed. Instead of preventing infected cells from releasing viral particles, as the established Tamiflu medication does, Xofluza stops the flu fromContinue reading “One Dose, One Day: The Magic of Xofluza”

Space Biology and the Future of the Human Race

Space biology –– even the name of the field sounds like an oxymoron. Little research has been done in space biology, simply because of how difficult (and expensive) it is to get specimens up in space. Moreover, whatever research that does come from such experiments is not easily replicable and thus, often inconclusive. Yet spaceContinue reading “Space Biology and the Future of the Human Race”

A Shocking Revelation: Deep Brain Stimulation as a Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease, a highly debilitating neurodegenerative disorder, is the most common form of dementia worldwide.1 Those afflicted struggle with issues with memory, thinking, and behavior; the slow, progressive onset of this cognitive decline2 makes it an insidious and emotionally painful illness for patients—nearly 44 million people worldwide3—and their families. More agonizing still: there is currentlyContinue reading “A Shocking Revelation: Deep Brain Stimulation as a Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease”

Fall 2017: The Evolution of Science

Our Fall 2017 issue is now available online: The Evolution of Science! Articles are posted individually as blog posts (the articles are linked below), a PDF version is currently displayed on our Archives page, and print issues will be available around Harvard’s campus starting Spring 2018. We hope you enjoy browsing through this issue as much as we enjoyed puttingContinue reading “Fall 2017: The Evolution of Science”

Geoengineering: Turning Back the Climate Change Clock?

By: Sandip Nirmel Global warming and climate change pose significant threats to the future of life on Earth. With temperatures increasing by an average of 0.17 ° C each decade, scientists have already begun to witness changes in sea ice melt patterns and to witness increased scope of vector-borne diseases, among other consequences (1). ToContinue reading “Geoengineering: Turning Back the Climate Change Clock?”

Why Racial Prejudice Isn’t Scientifically Sound: The Evolving Concept of Race in Science

By: Jessica Moore “Heart failure (HF) is a big problem, especially for African Americans. If you’re African American, you’re more likely than people in other ethnic groups to get HF at a younger age, and you’re more likely than others to be hospitalized. Unfortunately, African Americans are also more likely to die earlier than areContinue reading “Why Racial Prejudice Isn’t Scientifically Sound: The Evolving Concept of Race in Science”

Cutting Time: A Brief History of Surgery

By: Jeongmin Lee We are walking works of art. From the delicate brain to the flow of blood in our veins, the human body is a dense complex system. The surgeon is expected to cautiously open this living system to mend his or her patient before patching the patient up so that the machination ofContinue reading “Cutting Time: A Brief History of Surgery”

A Political Symbiosis

By: Michael Xie Dr. John P. Holdren is the Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at Harvard University. During the Obama administration, he served as the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the President’s ScienceContinue reading “A Political Symbiosis”

The Evolution of the Tetrapod Forelimb

By: Priya Amin   What is the distal limb pattern of tetrapod forelimbs? The tetrapod distal limb pattern consists of three segments: the stylopod (the first segment of the limb including the humerus), the zeugopod (the second segment of the limb including the radius and ulna), and the autopod (the hand) (1). What is theContinue reading “The Evolution of the Tetrapod Forelimb”

The Limitations of Science Where it Matters Most

By: Will Bryk Without realizing it, you and everyone you know have been desensitized to the biggest questions of existence. Every human gradually accumulates consciousness and awareness of his or her existence from the time of birth up through the teenage years. A baby simply does not have the means to contemplate its own existence,Continue reading “The Limitations of Science Where it Matters Most”

A History of Microscopy

By: Kelvin Li INTRODUCTION Sight, if not the most brainpower hungry sense, is certainly the one we use the most. Think about it, our lives are inundated with visual stimulation from intellectual processes like reading text, watching videos, and interpreting body language and facial expressions to more simple tasks such as walking in a straightContinue reading “A History of Microscopy”

The Theory of Everything, Challenged

By: Connie Cai  Since 2004, there have been 67 anti-evolution education bills introduced by local governments in the United States (1). Three of those bills have been approved in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee. These laws make it legal for public school teachers to criticize the theory of evolution—as well as other politicized topics like climateContinue reading “The Theory of Everything, Challenged”

Cyborg Bacteria: Catching Light

By: Michelle Koh What is a cyborg? One might imagine Terminator-esqe half-human, half-machine hybrids or other creatures with fantastic mechanical augmentations, but we must direct our attention down to the cellular level—to cyborgian beings that are far smaller. Despite these cyborgs’ underwhelming size, UC Berkeley researcher Kelsey Sakimoto and his fellow researchers of Professor Pei-dongContinue reading “Cyborg Bacteria: Catching Light”

Feeling Blue: How Instagram Activity Can Provide Insight Into Behavioral Health

By: Julia Canick In a world that places a high premium on happiness, the prospect of coping with a mental illness as debilitating as depression can be frightening. Scarier still, general practitioners diagnose only about half of major depressive disorder (MDD) cases (1). In an effort to raise this unacceptably low rate of success, AndrewContinue reading “Feeling Blue: How Instagram Activity Can Provide Insight Into Behavioral Health”

A (Dis?)harmonious Union: Chimeras

By: Una Choi Background: Animal Chimeras Chimeras prefigure prominently in classical and modern mythology; creatures ranging from the Greek chimera, a monster bearing lion, goat, and serpent anatomy, to the modernized hippogriffs found in popular fantasy fiction today have captured imaginations for centuries. Biologically, animal chimeras are organisms containing two disparate genomes. Natural chimeras areContinue reading “A (Dis?)harmonious Union: Chimeras”

What to do with Virtual Reality

By: Jeongmin Lee Innovators have gone out of their way to open up a new dimension we all can experience as virtual reality; however, one of the greatest questions regarding this technology can be summed in two words: what now? Virtual reality utilizes computer technology to immerse a user into a simulated world. It takesContinue reading “What to do with Virtual Reality”

Climate Change: What Sweden’s Doing that Trump Isn’t

By: Jia Jia Zhang Imagine living in a greenhouse-gas emission and rubbish free environment. Hard to envision? Not for Sweden. The country’s revolutionary recycling system works so efficiently that Sweden has been importing rubbish from other countries for several years to sustain its recycling plants (1). Even better, as of February 2, 2017, the progressiveContinue reading “Climate Change: What Sweden’s Doing that Trump Isn’t”

Machine Learning: The Future of Healthcare

By: Puneet Gupta The U.S. healthcare system is a mess. Both the system’s infrastructure, such as the role of insurance companies, and its clinical aspects, such as how care is provided, are lacking in multiple ways. Though improvements in the infrastructure are necessary, this article will primarily discuss and suggest changes to the clinical sideContinue reading “Machine Learning: The Future of Healthcare”

Innocent Until Proven Free? The Question of Neuroscience and Moral Responsibility

By: Kristina Madjoska “Plead insanity!” you might have heard Detective Cohle say to some of his interrogees in the show True Detective. Even if you have not watched True Detective, chances are you have heard of the term insanity plea. The idea that moral and legal responsibility is alleviated when a person cannot control theirContinue reading “Innocent Until Proven Free? The Question of Neuroscience and Moral Responsibility”

The New Age of Aging Research

By: Eric Sun Aging. To some, this word symbolizes equality, wisdom, and progress; to others, this word represents weakness, disease, and death. To me, aging has taken on a mixed meaning. When I was a small child, I remember lying awake in bed and counting my heartbeats as if the thumping in my chest was alsoContinue reading “The New Age of Aging Research”

The Discovery of Metallic Hydrogen

By: Felipe Flores The generation of metallic hydrogen by Professor Isaac Silvera and postdoctoral fellow Ranga Dias, PhD represents a crucial advance in the field of high-pressure physics. Originally theorised in 1935 by physicists Eugene Wigner and Hillard Bell Huntington, the ongoing project was finally brought to fruition at Harvard University in January 2017. BothContinue reading “The Discovery of Metallic Hydrogen”

Habitat Conversion: A Major Driver of Species Loss

By Priya Amin What causes species loss? As biodiversity has become increasingly threatened, the call to understand the impact of human activity on species around the world has become particularly urgent. Drivers of species loss include climate change, pollution, and habitat conversion. Climate change has been linked to rising levels of carbon dioxide, which areContinue reading “Habitat Conversion: A Major Driver of Species Loss”

Dimensional Analysis

By: Julia Canick Most people accept that reality has three spatial dimensions. But what if that is not true? Scientists are now considering the notion that we inhabit a holographic universe—that is, a universe in which we exist on a two dimensional surface where the information on the surface is presented in three dimensions. TheContinue reading “Dimensional Analysis”

Spring 2017: Changing Reality

Our Spring 2017 issue is now available online: Changing Reality! Articles are posted individually as blog posts (the articles are linked below), a PDF version is currently displayed on our Archives page, and print issues will be available around Harvard’s campus starting Fall 2017. We hope you enjoy browsing this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together!Continue reading “Spring 2017: Changing Reality”

OSIRIS–REx: A New Frontier after New Horizons

By: Alex Zapién It has been over a year since the New Horizons spacecraft approached Pluto in July 2015. Now, New Horizons continues its path into space much like New Frontier, the project responsible for New Horizons, continues its progress. New Frontier is also responsible for Juno, the space probe that successfully entered Jupiter’s orbitContinue reading “OSIRIS–REx: A New Frontier after New Horizons”

The Falcon 9 Fireball Investigation

By: Alex Zapién On September 1, 2016, the Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (better known as SpaceX) lost one of its 70-meter (229-foot-tall) Falcon 9 rockets when it unexpectedly exploded during a simulated countdown on a launch pad in Cape Canaveral, Florida (1). The incident occurred two days before its intended launch, and eyewitness testimonies describedContinue reading “The Falcon 9 Fireball Investigation”

Choosing The Right Reality

By: William Bryk The average teen in the United States spends 9 hours a day using technological media (1). That statistic might have been shocking 10 years ago, but nowadays we skim it and then quickly move on to the next trending article on BuzzFeed. The onslaught typically begins in the morning. You open yourContinue reading “Choosing The Right Reality”

Waving Goodbye to the World’s Water and Energy Woes with Tidal Power and Desalination

By: Kristine Falck The state of the globe today puts the world’s future in question. We have a burgeoning population heading on 7.4 billion people, an 80% reliance on fossil fuels, and an imminent fresh-water shortage. By 2035, current estimates predict world energy consumption to increase by 50% as well as world water consumption by overContinue reading “Waving Goodbye to the World’s Water and Energy Woes with Tidal Power and Desalination”

Perspectives On Artificial Intelligence

By: Eric Sun Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot commodity in the modern world. Machines are now capable of reading and transcribing books, recognizing speech, analyzing big data, playing chess and Go at superhuman levels, and identifying objects through computer vision. Corporate giants like Google, Intel, and Amazon have poured hundreds of millions of dollarsContinue reading “Perspectives On Artificial Intelligence”

Hyperthermophiles and Cryophiles: The World’s Most Extreme Organisms

By: Priya Amin Imagine diving into the Gulf of California and reaching a 120 °C hydrothermal vent located deep on the seafloor. Rich in hot hydrogen and carbon dioxide gas, these vents seem to spell death for any creature that dares to swim by. But if you look closely, you’ll notice an organism that notContinue reading “Hyperthermophiles and Cryophiles: The World’s Most Extreme Organisms”

Engineering Cellular Memory

By: Una Choi NATURAL CELLULAR MEMORY – PHAGE Λ We often think of memory as tied innately to the brain. Humans can perceive, encode, and consolidate an event through activation of brain components like the hippocampus (1). Memory allows us to record finite events into lasting impressions, and past memories can affect our future perceptionsContinue reading “Engineering Cellular Memory”