The Climate Of Zika

By: Michael Xie Though this year’s Olympic Games were filled with record-breaking athletes, it seems as if another name took the spotlight in Rio: Zika. The Zika virus caused health and safety concerns around the world as spectators and athletes prepared to head to Brazil in the midst of an epidemic. But was the ZikaContinue reading “The Climate Of Zika”

Our Neighbor, Earth

By: Ian Santana Moore Last August, a team of astronomers at the European Southern Observatory announced a discovery that forever changed how we view our place in the Universe. On nearby Proxima Centauri–a red dwarf star found within a ternary star system containing two much larger blue giant stars–scientists discovered an exoplanet in the habitable zone,Continue reading “Our Neighbor, Earth”

Climate Change Skeptics: Their Arguments, Their Motivations, and How to Critically Evaluate the Knowledge at Hand

By: Jacqueline Epstein Climate change: it’s happening, regardless of how inconvenient it may be to any personal or political agenda. It is not only happening; it is progressively getting worse. To rehash just a few of the many statistics that support these actualities, nine of our planet’s ten warmest years on record have occurred sinceContinue reading “Climate Change Skeptics: Their Arguments, Their Motivations, and How to Critically Evaluate the Knowledge at Hand”

Channeling Out The Heat

By: Hanson Tam Stand under the sun on a sweltering summer day, and your skin becomes sticky with sweat. We take perspiration for granted, often dismissing it as an annoying bodily function. Yet it is profoundly important for mammalian thermoregulation. Sweating allows you to evaporate off excess heat and maintain a steady temperature in theContinue reading “Channeling Out The Heat”

Fighting Smarter Against Cancer

By: Jimmy Thai In 1912, Scientific American stated, “The beginning of the end of the cancer problem is in sight.” This bold claim was based on the work of Nobel laureate Paul Ehrlich, who reasoned in the early 1900s that the synthesis of compounds toxic only to diseased cells would yield the creation of newContinue reading “Fighting Smarter Against Cancer”

A Plan to Eradicate the Zika Virus

By: Jeongmin Lee Over this past summer, the Zika virus infected not only unborn children but also the news, directing the public’s attention towards the medical community. Health segments were filled with descriptions of the Zika virus, research updates, and the quickly rising number of cases. In a consultation of the World Hunger Organization, oneContinue reading “A Plan to Eradicate the Zika Virus”

Why Should We Care About Climate Change?

By: Arjun Mirani On February 14th, 1990, the spacecraft Voyager 1 took an iconic photograph of the Earth from over 4 billion miles away, as it zoomed towards the edge of our Solar System. From this humbling vantage point, our planet appears to be no more than a speck – 0.12 pixels in size –Continue reading “Why Should We Care About Climate Change?”

The Ethics of Self-Driving Cars

By: Caroline Wechsler Nearly anyone in an intro philosophy class, and indeed most people who have some degree of mainstream intellectual knowledge, will recognize the beginnings of the infamous trolley problem: you are the driver of a speeding trolley, and ahead of you on the track are five people. You try to stop the trolleyContinue reading “The Ethics of Self-Driving Cars”

Tackling the Replication Crisis

By: Felipe Flores ‘19 We are in the midst of what has been dubbed the “replication crisis” of science. Recent retrospective analyses reveal the results of several important experiments are inconclusive. We expect research results to be consistent. For this to occur, they must be unbiased and unaffected by conflicts of interest, as well as timelessContinue reading “Tackling the Replication Crisis”

Fall 2016: Hot and Cold

Behold our Fall 2016 issue: Hot and Cold! Articles are posted individually as blog posts (we have linked them below). We also have a PDF version available on our Archives page. Print issues will be available around Harvard’s campus starting early Spring 2017! A big thank you to our fantastic staff—and Happy Holidays! NEWS BRIEFS OSIRIS-REx: A New Frontier afterContinue reading “Fall 2016: Hot and Cold”

Spring 2016: In and Out of Focus

We are happy to release our Spring 2016 issue: In and Out of Focus! Articles are posted individually as blog posts (the links are listed below). We also have a PDF version available on our Archives page. Print issues will be available around Harvard’s campus starting early Fall 2016!   Table of Contents: NEWS BRIEFS LIGO’s Discovery: Understanding the GravityContinue reading “Spring 2016: In and Out of Focus”

The Battlefield is the Lab: Curing Type I Diabetes

By: Felipe Flores Diabetes has aroused great interest in public health experts, physicians, patients and researchers because of its many accompanying conditions and complications, including stroke, blindness, and limb loss (1). However, research is promising to find better forms of treatment, and even a cure. To understand all of this research, one should first understandContinue reading “The Battlefield is the Lab: Curing Type I Diabetes”

Lower Extremity Exoskeletons

By: Patrick Anderson In the late 1960s, researchers started to address the prospect of wearable robotic technologies for humans. The majority of these first attempts were intended for enhancing the physical capabilities of able-bodied people, particularly those serving in the military (3). Despite the failure of these initial powered prototypes to attain widespread usage either forContinue reading “Lower Extremity Exoskeletons”

Survival of the Fittest: Darwin’s Evolutionary Theory Applied to Programming Languages

By: Eleni Apostolatos Living organisms are physical manifestations of genetic data. Formally known as deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the genetic code of living creatures is composed of two strands with varying configurations of four bases—adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine. DNA is interpreted and expressed by native molecular machinery within cells. In transcribing and translating the bases,Continue reading “Survival of the Fittest: Darwin’s Evolutionary Theory Applied to Programming Languages”

LIGO’s Discovery: Understanding the Gravity of the Situation

By: Alex Zapien History was made on February 11, 2016 when the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific and Virgo collaboration teams confirmed the existence of gravitational waves, ripples that propagate in the fabric of spacetime generated by gravitational interactions once predicted by Albert Einstein. The announcement sparked widespread excitement in the scientific community. Many describedContinue reading “LIGO’s Discovery: Understanding the Gravity of the Situation”

Immunotherapy Against Cancer

By: Eliot Eton The statistics are alarming: in 2012, there were about 14 million new cases of cancer, and 8.2 million cancer-related deaths (1). Over the next twenty years, the number of new cases is likely to increase by over 70% (1). Approximately 42% of men and 38% of women are expected to develop cancer overContinue reading “Immunotherapy Against Cancer”

Solving the Brain Puzzle

By: Kristina Madjoska Each one contributes to a story, forms a unique context with the pieces around it, and finally emerges as part of a collection of stories that make up one human brain. Scientists from around the world have endeavored to make sense of the way these nanoscale puzzle pieces, or neurons, communicate with eachContinue reading “Solving the Brain Puzzle”

Getting a Feel for Cosmic Events

By: William Bryk Monday morning, October 30, 1961, began quietly on an abandoned patch of tundra in an archipelago located in the extreme north of Russia. A grain tumbled in the mild wind, floating here and there until finally smacking the ground, sending several bacteria to their unfortunate end. Moments later, quite unexpectedly, a 50Continue reading “Getting a Feel for Cosmic Events”

Cellular Senescence: Age and Cancer

By: Una Choi With age comes a bevy of age-related diseases and tissue deterioration. Cellular senescence heavily impacts this process and describes the final, irreversible period during which cells — most often fibroblasts or connective tissue cells — flatten and cease to undergo mitosis after around fifty rounds of replication (1). Senescent cells are at theContinue reading “Cellular Senescence: Age and Cancer”

Critical Periods: Envisioning New Treatments for Lazy Eye

By: Audrey Effenberger “How many circles do you see?” “Two red.” “Two red,” the physician echoes. “I really thought that there was nothing that could be done for my condition beyond childhood,” says adult patient Zach Fuchs in a recent TIME interview (1). He has amblyopia, or lazy eye, a developmental disorder that occurs whenContinue reading “Critical Periods: Envisioning New Treatments for Lazy Eye”

Prions and Small Particles: Micro Solutions for a Macro Problem

By: Caroline Wechsler  Since their formal discovery in 1982, prions have been a mysterious scourge. Very small and not well-defined, these mysterious disease-causing agents are the source of great confusion and grief in the scientific world. But some recent discoveries are shedding new light on how to conceptualize and potentially treat such diseases. What areContinue reading “Prions and Small Particles: Micro Solutions for a Macro Problem”

Eye in the Sky

By: Grace Chen Look up at the night sky. The starry heavens inspire a primitive, instinctive fascination in the human mind. In the 21st century, however, the skies are populated with more than just celestial bodies. Many of the glimmering lights we watch in our night sky are satellites – and they are watching you,Continue reading “Eye in the Sky”

Human Genome Editing: A Slippery Slope

By: Alissa Zhang On January 14, 2016, the Human Fertilization & Embryology Authority (HFEA) approved a research license renewal for research project R0162. The application, submitted by Dr. Kathy Niakan of the Francis Crick Institute in London, proposed to study the roles of certain genes in the early development of human embryos, with promising potentialContinue reading “Human Genome Editing: A Slippery Slope”

Sleeping On Your Desk

By: Jeongmin Lee Maybe it’s 10 in the morning or maybe it’s 2 o’clock p.m., but as soon as that professor starts his or her lecture, blackout. The natural circadian rhythm is severely altered throughout life. For many students, the sleeping cycle hits during class. While some people stay attentive all day working nine toContinue reading “Sleeping On Your Desk”

Space Tourism and You

By: Priya Amin Apollo, Gemini, and Mercury: these missions achieved several goals, including the first trip to the moon, and allowed the United States to succeed in the Cold War. NASA, or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, has been at the forefront of space exploration since Chuck Yeager’s X-1 flight, which successfully broke theContinue reading “Space Tourism and You”

Redefining Home?: The Discovery of “Planet X”

By: Alex Zapien How should we define the solar system? Most people would point to and agree with the Merriam Webster definition: “the Sun together with the groups of celestial bodies that are held by its attraction and revolve around it”(1). For decades, people have been accustomed to the familiar names of the Sun and theContinue reading “Redefining Home?: The Discovery of “Planet X””

Fall 2015: Invaders & Defenders

Check out our Fall 2015 issue on Invaders & Defenders! Articles are posted individually as blog posts (links below). We also have a full issue in ISSUU (below) and PDF format (on our Archives page). Print issues are also available around Harvard’s campus!     Table of Contents: NEWS BRIEFS AND GENERAL ARTICLES A New Horizon inContinue reading “Fall 2015: Invaders & Defenders”

To the Rescue: Insects in Sustainable Agriculture

by Ada Bielawski In 1798, Thomas Malthus published his Essay on the Principle of Population and described the limits of human population growth: the population will continue to grow exponentially while the Earth’s resources are able to sustain the increasing food production needed to feed this population. He concluded that, as the population approaches 8Continue reading “To the Rescue: Insects in Sustainable Agriculture”

Earth’s Missiles, Ready to Go?

by Eesha Khare In 1991, an unusual phenomenon was observed following the volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines. After nearly 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide were launched into the stratosphere1—the second largest eruption of this century—the global temperatures dropped temporarily by 1°F. Amid the large-scale destruction, it seemed the Earth was fightingContinue reading “Earth’s Missiles, Ready to Go?”

Fetal Microchimerism

by Grace Chen In Greek mythology, a chimera was a grotesque monster formed of a conglomeration of different animal parts…. With the head of a goat, body of a lion, and tail of a snake, the chimera was a fearsome but reassuringly fictional concept. Today, however, scientists know that real-life chimeras do indeed exist. TheContinue reading “Fetal Microchimerism”

Artificial Superintelligence: The Coming Revolution

by William Bryk The science fiction writer Arthur Clarke famously wrote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Yet, humanity may be on the verge of something much greater, a technology so revolutionary that it would be indistinguishable not merely from magic, but from an omnipresent force, a deity here on Earth. It’s knownContinue reading “Artificial Superintelligence: The Coming Revolution”

“Invaders from Earth!”: Exploring the Possibilities of Extraterrestrial Colonization

by J. Rodrigo Leal We’ve all seen films or heard stories about the “Invaders from Mars”: aliens coming from other galaxies to colonize Earth and take advantage of its bountiful natural resources. But what if the story happened the other way around? Organizations like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and private companies likeContinue reading ““Invaders from Earth!”: Exploring the Possibilities of Extraterrestrial Colonization”

Parasitic Cancer: Paradox and Perspective

by Audrey Effenberger Cancer. It’s a big subject, with a dizzying array of forms and manifestations that can affect all parts of the body. As populations around the world age, cancer’s prevalence will continue to grow, and it will become more and more important to understand and treat it. One lesser known variation is knownContinue reading “Parasitic Cancer: Paradox and Perspective”

Laws of Nature Defending Our Information: Quantum Cryptography

by Felipe Flores Secure communications and data encryption have been very important topics in the popular eye for the past few years, especially after Edward Snowden made public that the NSA attempts to intervene most communications. I, for instance, never thought my information would be that vulnerable and accessible to potential hackers, sponsored by aContinue reading “Laws of Nature Defending Our Information: Quantum Cryptography”

Genetically Engineered Viruses Combat Invasive Cancer

by Caroline Wechsler 58-year-old Georgia resident Nancy Justice was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a tumor of the brain, back in 2012. Though her doctors immediately combated the cancer with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, the tumor relapsed in late 2014, stronger than ever. According to her doctors, Justice had only seven months to live because the tumorContinue reading “Genetically Engineered Viruses Combat Invasive Cancer”

Genetically Modified Crops as Invaders and Allies

by Sophie Westbrook It’s not hard to tell frightening stories about genetically modified crops. These days, there is even a formula to follow: the soulless company creates dangerous variants, silences the protests of right-thinking environmentalists, and sends biodiversity and public health down the drain. This scenario’s proponents tend to be horrified by transgenic organisms. Unfortunately,Continue reading “Genetically Modified Crops as Invaders and Allies”

Microchimerism – The More, The Merrier

by Una Choi Microchimerism, or the presence of genetically distinct populations within a single organism, throws a wrench in the biological concept of sex. Although we traditionally learn that biological females possess two X sex chromosomes and males possess X and Y sex chromosomes, microchimerism is responsible for the presence of cells with Y chromosomesContinue reading “Microchimerism – The More, The Merrier”

Fight or Flight: When Stress Becomes Our Own Worst Enemy

by Anjali Chandra We have all heard of the amazing fight-or flight response: the man lifting a 3,000 pound stock Camaro, the woman fending herself against a bear with just a backpack, and the man outrunning a flaming sphere. Adrenaline surging, our body prepares to defend itself against a perceived threat. Our brain engages ourContinue reading “Fight or Flight: When Stress Becomes Our Own Worst Enemy”

Laws of Nature Defending Our Information: Quantum Cryptography

by Felipe Flores Secure communications and data encryption have been very important topics in the popular eye for the past few years, especially after Edward Snowden made public that the NSA attempts to intervene most communications. I, for instance, never thought my information would be that vulnerable and accessible to potential hackers, sponsored by aContinue reading “Laws of Nature Defending Our Information: Quantum Cryptography”

“Invaders from Earth!”: Exploring the Possibilities of Extraterrestrial Colonization

by J. Rodrigo Leal We’ve all seen films or heard stories about the “Invaders from Mars”: aliens coming from other galaxies to colonize Earth and take advantage of its bountiful natural resources. But what if the story happened the other way around? Organizations like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and private companies likeContinue reading ““Invaders from Earth!”: Exploring the Possibilities of Extraterrestrial Colonization”

Earth’s Missiles, Ready to Go?

by Eesha Khare In 1991, an unusual phenomenon was observed following the volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines. After nearly 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide were launched into the stratosphere1—the second largest eruption of this century—the global temperatures dropped temporarily by 1°F. Amid the large-scale destruction, it seemed the Earth was fightingContinue reading “Earth’s Missiles, Ready to Go?”

Genetically Modified Crops as Invaders and Allies

by Sophie Westbrook It’s not hard to tell frightening stories about genetically modified crops. These days, there is even a formula to follow: the soulless company creates dangerous variants, silences the protests of right-thinking environmentalists, and sends biodiversity and public health down the drain. This scenario’s proponents tend to be horrified by transgenic organisms. Unfortunately,Continue reading “Genetically Modified Crops as Invaders and Allies”

To the Rescue: Insects in Sustainable Agriculture

by Ada Bielawski In 1798, Thomas Malthus published his Essay on the Principle of Population and described the limits of human population growth: the population will continue to grow exponentially while the Earth’s resources are able to sustain the increasing food production needed to feed this population. He concluded that, as the population approaches 8Continue reading “To the Rescue: Insects in Sustainable Agriculture”

Genetically Engineered Viruses Combat Invasive Cancer

by Caroline Wechsler 58-year-old Georgia resident Nancy Justice was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a tumor of the brain, back in 2012. Though her doctors immediately combated the cancer with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, the tumor relapsed in late 2014, stronger than ever. According to her doctors, Justice had only seven months to live because the tumorContinue reading “Genetically Engineered Viruses Combat Invasive Cancer”

Parasitic Cancer: Paradox and Perspective

by Audrey Effenberger Cancer. It’s a big subject, with a dizzying array of forms and manifestations that can affect all parts of the body. As populations around the world age, cancer’s prevalence will continue to grow, and it will become more and more important to understand and treat it. One lesser known variation is knownContinue reading “Parasitic Cancer: Paradox and Perspective”

Microchimerism – The More, The Merrier

by Una Choi Microchimerism, or the presence of genetically distinct populations within a single organism, throws a wrench in the biological concept of sex. Although we traditionally learn that biological females possess two X sex chromosomes and males possess X and Y sex chromosomes, microchimerism is responsible for the presence of cells with Y chromosomesContinue reading “Microchimerism – The More, The Merrier”

Kinesics: What Are You Really Saying?

by Priya Amin What do shoulder shrugs or crossed arms really communicate? Kinesics, or the systemic study of body behavioral communication,1 is a relatively new subsection in the study of language. More specifically, kinesics describes the importance of body motion behavior in social communication—it is the study of communication through “silent” language. Facial expressions, posture,Continue reading “Kinesics: What Are You Really Saying?”

The Simple Science of a Grandiose Mind

by Kristina Madjoska If asked the question: what is the similarity between Adolf Hitler and the modern selfie taker, would you be able to respond? Certainly, only one of them is responsible for an aggressive regime that claimed the lives of millions. While they may seem worlds apart, these two personalities do share something inContinue reading “The Simple Science of a Grandiose Mind”