Solace and Warnings From Our Planet’s Most Successful Non-Human Farmers

by Rebecca Silbermanfigures by Aparna Nathan It only took a few weeks of the coronavirus pandemic to send the American farm industry reeling. The supply chains that connect soy fields and chicken coops and greenhouses with American tables were not built for a world that lacks steady restaurant traffic or school lunches, where instead consumers are emptying supermarket shelves. There is at once a surplus … Continue reading Solace and Warnings From Our Planet’s Most Successful Non-Human Farmers

Can Calorie Restriction Extend Your Lifespan?

by Isabella Grabskifigures by Jovana Andrejevic In 1935, a scientist named Clive McCay published a startling discovery: rats with severely restricted diets lived up to 33% longer than previously known possible. Over the last few decades, similar experiments have been carried out on countless species, from worms to rodents and even primates.  The specifics vary from study to study, but many show results just as … Continue reading Can Calorie Restriction Extend Your Lifespan?

Why Do I Picture Albert Einstein?

Close your eyes.  Picture a scientist. What does this scientist look like? Beginning in the late 1950s, the stereotypical image of a scientist was of great interest to many anthropologists, including Dr. Margaret Mead and Dr. Rhoda Métraux. They conducted a survey of over 35,000 high school students in the United States, probing what the students believed a scientist to be. The responses were overwhelmingly … Continue reading Why Do I Picture Albert Einstein?

Atmospheric Gases on Other Planets Could Help us Find Alien Life

by Kerry McGowen Have you ever wondered how scientists hunt for alien life on other planets? What are they looking for? Before jumping straight into the search for aliens, scientists look for planets that could support alien life in the first place. However, this is no easy task. In the Milky Way alone, which is the galaxy to which our eight-planet solar system belongs, there … Continue reading Atmospheric Gases on Other Planets Could Help us Find Alien Life

How Microbes Grow

by Molly Sargen figures by Molly Sargen and Nicholas Lue Microbes (also known as microorganisms) are everywhere: on surfaces we touch, in the air we breathe, and even inside us. As suggested by the name, all microbes are too small to be seen without a microscope. Beyond size, microbes are incredibly diverse. Microbes include bacteria, fungi, and protists. To be able to live harmoniously with … Continue reading How Microbes Grow

Fire on Ice: Arctic wildfires are the new symptom of a warming planet

by Aparna Nathan figures by Sean Wilson Last summer, satellite cameras captured a strange image: a shroud of smoke hovering over the Arctic. But beneath these still, swirling clouds, towers of flames punctuated the bleak expanses. In short, the Arctic was on fire. The summer of 2019 saw record-breaking blazes emerge throughout the dry polar desert—known as tundra— and the surrounding forests. Arctic wildfires aren’t … Continue reading Fire on Ice: Arctic wildfires are the new symptom of a warming planet

Insights from the Past: Lampreys give teeth to theories of vertebrate immune system evolution

by Aleks Prochera figures by Jovana Andrejevic Imagine wading through the fresh waters of the Paleozoic era over 300 million years ago. You bump into various ancient marine creatures from fishes adorned with horseshoe-shaped shields to aquatic scorpions the size of a modern-day seal. Around you, however, there also exists an unseen world teeming with microbes: viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Despite their deceivingly microscopic size, these organisms pose a … Continue reading Insights from the Past: Lampreys give teeth to theories of vertebrate immune system evolution

Harvard Underwater

by Jenna Lang figures by Hannah Zucker At some point during my lifetime, Harvard’s campus will flood.  The waters of Boston Harbor will rush around the Charles River dam and surge onto the Harvard Business School campus on one side of the swelling river and onto the Harvard College campus on the other side.  Winthrop House, where my sister will live starting next year, faces … Continue reading Harvard Underwater