Selected Lectures on Science and Engineering
in the Boston Area


This URL calls the correct files: bostonsciencelectures.com

Boston supports a pretty impressive culture of public lectures and lecture-like events.  The main purpose of this list is to distill from this culture a sense of the driving issues in contemporary science and technology.  From time to time I include talks outside this focus that seem likely to be of interest to the technical community.

Caveats: The list is not remotely comprehensive and selection criteria are subjective.  Courses, exhibits, and networking meetups with no special focus are not well handled.  I tend to list events that offer a physical speaker and accommodate physical attendance.  Activity falls considerably over the summer and winter holidays.

Most critically:  This is a highly volatile landscape.  Important details change at the last minute.  Some events have limited seating and get sold out.  There is no way I can stay on top of these changes.  Plus I make the occasional error myself (word of which I would be immensely grateful to receive).  For all of these reasons I strongly urge you to doublecheck the "Details" link before you head out.

There are two routes to this list: a website and a mailing list.  The website carries events for the next month (roughly).  I add to it several times a week.  The list goes out once a week, usually Sunday nights, and carries events for the next eight days.  You can subscribe here.  And unsubscribe here.  (Subscriptions from Yahoo! email addresses behave unpredictably.)

Blue boxes represent events advertised as child-friendly; yellow boxes, multi-day events.  I occasionally link to the site of the speaker's lab.  Researchers often see these sites as their preferred medium of communication with the public and put a lot of work into them.  They can carry exceptionally well-posed statements of current issues.

If you see an event that you think I should know about but is not on the website please let me know.  Ditto if you know of a site I ought to be monitoring but does not appear on my list of sources.

I would appreciate your mentioning this list to people with compatible interests.

-- Fred Hapgood

Last update: 20.2001

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Selected Groups, Clubs, Societies, & Meetups
Selected New England Museums
DIY-focused organizations & resources




August 19 - 21.  "Multi-Scale Renewable Energy Storage."   A conference and exhibit.   Northeastern, Raytheon Amphitheatre, Egan Research Center, 120 Forsyth St.   Details, Extract.

Wednesday, August 20

1 - 4p.  "COMSOL Physics Simulation."   Demo of a proprietary physics simulator.   Marriott Boston Burlington, 1 Burlington Mall Road, Burlington.   Details, Registration.

6p.  "How to Tolerate Your Family: lessons all can learn from willows."   Jessica Savage.   Arnold Arboretum:  Southern edge, willow collection.   Details, Abstract.

6:30p.  "AMD Night."   Shankar Viswan and Dave Jessel.   MIT:  E51-335.   Details.

7 - 9p.  "Planning for Healthy Cities."   A forum.   Museum of Science.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

Thursday, August 21

10:30 - Noon.  "Early Explorers."   Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill.   Details, Registration.

6:30p.  "Creature Teachers: Animals from around the World."   Boston Public Library, Jamaica Plain Branch, 12 Sedgewick St.   Details.

9:30a.  "Gravitational Lensing and Telescope Aberrations."   Rebecca Levinson.   MIT:  Marlar Lounge (37-252).   Details, Abstract.

11a.  "Reconstructing Visual Information from Images and Videos."   Christian Richardt.   MIT:  Stata Center (32), D507.   Details, Abstract.

Saturday, August 23

10:30 - Noon.  "Bugs!"   Amy Gunzelmann.   Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford St.   Details, Abstract.

Monday, August 25

2 - 4:45p.  "Building a 21st Century Health Care System."   A symposium.   Tufts:  Jaharis Family Center, Behrakis Auditorium (Room 130), 150 Harrison Ave.   Details, RSVP.

Tuesday, August 26

2p.  "Models for Emotion Recognition in Natural Settings and Perspectives for Energy Efficiency."   Hazem Haij.   MIT:  Stata Center (32), G449.   Details, Abstract.

Thursday, August 28

10:30 - Noon.  "Early Explorers."   Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill.   Details, Registration.

6 - 9p.  "Digital Health: Designing for Behavior Change."   A conference.  Microsoft NERD, One Memorial Drive.   Details, Tickets.

Thursday, August 28

7p.  "The Organized Mind."   Daniel J. Levetin.   Brookline Booksmith.   Details.

Saturday, August 30

10 - Noon.  "Starting Compost."   Norton Stonehurst Community Garden, Norton & Stonehurst Sts, Dorchester.   Details, Registration.

Tuesday, September 2

3 - 6p.  "The Social Brain - New Opportunities for Discovery and Technology Development."   A workshop.   MIT:  46-3002.   Details, Registration.

Wednesday, September 3

4p.  "Active Asteroids."   David Jewitt.   MIT:  54-915  Details.   Abstract.

6:30p.  "Restoring Balance with Noise."   James Collins.   Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway.   Details, Abstract.

Thursday, September 4

6p.  "What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions."   Randall Munroe.   Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St.   Details.

Friday, September 5

11a.  "From Planning to Learning 'human-aware' Robot Movement."   Jim Mainprice.   The Autonomous Robot Collaboration Lab.   MIT:  Stata Center (32) D463.   Details, Abstract.

Noon.   "Near-Term Climate Change: Projections and Mitigation."   Steven Smith.   Harvard:  Pierce Hall 100F.  Details, Abstract.

3p.  "The Library Beyond the Book."   Jeffrey T. Schnapp and Matthew Battles.   Harvard Bookstore, 1256 Massachusetts Ave.   Details.

7p.  "This is Improbable Too: Synchronized Cows, Speedy Brain Extractors and More WTF Research."   Marc Abrahams.   Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Ave.   Details, Abstract.

Monday, September 8

Noon.  "Using the Global Electric Circuit (GEC) to Monitor Climate Change."   Colin Price.   MIT:  54-915.   Details.

4p.  "Investigating Molecular and Evolutionary Mechanisms through Protein Fitness Landscapes."   Dan Bolon.   MIT:  56-114.   Details.

6:30p.  "The Ethics of the Human Genome Project."   First session of a bi-weekly class.   MIT:  w20-303, Private Dining Room # 3.   Details.

Tuesday, September 9

1:30p.  "Access, Equality and Molecular Diagnostics for Global Health."   Cathie Klapperich.   Klapperich lab.   Wyss Institute:  3 Blackfan Circle, Room 521.   Details, Abstract.

4p.  "The Search for 100 Earths."   Debra Fischer.   MIT:  Pappalardo Room (4-349).   Details, Abstract.

Wednesday, September 10

12:30p.  "Engineering Immunity Against Infectious Disease."   Alejandor Balazs.   HMS:  New Research Building 1031, 77 Ave. Louis Pasteur.   Details.*

1p.  "Democratization of Next-Generation Imaging, Diagnostics and Measurement Tools through Computational Photonics."   Aydogan Ozcan.   Wyss Institute, 3 Blackfan Circle, Room 521.   Details, Abstract.


September 11 - 13.   "Resting State / Brain Connectivity."   A conference.   MIT:  W-16.   Details.

Thursday, September 11

1:30p.  "Opening Ceremony for the Harvard Yard Archaeology Project."   Harvard Yard, outside Matthews Hall, rain or shine.   Details.

4p.  "The Impact of Space Weather on the Global Atmospheric Electric Circuit."   Colin Price.   BU:  725 Commonwealth Ave, Rm 502.   Details.

Friday, September 12

Noon.  "Strong Vegetation-mediated Chemical Forcing of Climate in Modern and Deep Time."   Nadine Ungar.   Harvard:  Pierce Hall 100F  Details.

5 - 8p.  "Living in the Future."   Multiple Presentations.   Details.

7p.  "TEDx Cambridge."   7 Cambridge Center.   Details, Registration.

7p.  "The Bee: A Natural History."   Noah Wilson-Rich.   The Best Bees Company.   Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Ave.   Details, Abstract.

Monday, September 15

4-6p.  "The Deep History of a Living Planet."   Andrew Knoll.   First of a series of lectures and panel discussions exploring the links between human evolution and the environment.   Harvard:  TBA.   Details.

6:30p.  "Charismatic Megaflora: What do Old Trees Look Like?"   Neil Pederson.   Arnold Arboretum:  Hunnewell Bldg.  Details, Abstract, Registration,.

Tuesday, September 16

Noon.  "Short-Lived Climate-Forcing Pollutants: Current Research at the IASS."   Mark Lawrence.   Harvard:  Pierce Hall 100F.  Details.

4p.  "Entering the Era of Petascale Optical Astronomy."   Mario Juric.   MIT:  Marlar Lounge (32-252).  Details, Abstract.

4:30p.  "Romania's Abandoned Children: Deprivation, Brain Development, and the Struggle for Recovery."   Charles A. Nelson III.   Countway Library of Medicine, Minot Room, 10 Shattuck Street.   Details, Abstract.

7p.  "What Stays in Vegas: The World of Personal Data—Lifeblood of Big Business—and the End of Privacy as We Know It."   Adam Tanner.   Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Ave.   Details, Abstract.

Wednesday, September 17

12:10p.  "The Influence of Cloud Feedbacks on the Leading Modes of Climate Variability."   Katinka Bellomo.   MIT:  54-915.   Details.

6p.  "Airbnb Tech Talk."   TBD.   Harvard:  Maxwell Dworkin 123.   Details, Abstract.

6:30 - 8:30p.  "Buzz about Bees."   Noah Wilson-Rich and Chensheng (Alex) Lu.   Bantam Cidar, 40 Merriam St.   Details.

7p.  "The Copernicus Complex: Our Cosmic Significance in a Universe of Planets and Probabilities."   Caleb Scharf.   Harvard Book Store, 1256 Masachusetts Ave.   Details, Abstract.

Thursday, September 18

4 - 5:30p.  "Discovery Research with Electronic Medical Records."   Tianxi Cai.   HSPH:  Kresge G2.  Details, RSVP.

4p.  "Towards Topological Microfluidics: Harnessing surface, elastic and viscous interactions at micro-scales."   Anupam Sengupta.   Brandeis:  Abelson 229.   Details.

6p.  "Bird Extinctions in the Hawaiian Islands."   Helen James.   Harvard:  Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St.   Details, Abstract.

Friday, September 19

Noon.  "Emulating Natural Systems for Geologic CO2 Capture and Storage, and to Enhance Subsurface Permeability."   Peter Keleman.   Harvard:  Pierce Hall 100F.   Details.

Monday, September 22

7p.  "Urban Greening for Urban Birds."   Paige Warren.   Arnold Arboretum:  Hunnewell Bldg.   Details, Abstract, Registration.


September 23 - 25.  "Emtech 2014."   MIT Media Lab, 75 Amherst St.   Details.

Tuesday, September 23

4p.  "Following Single mRNAs in Living Cells."   Robert Singer.   MIT:  Stata Center, Kirsch Auditorium (32-123).   Details.

4p.  "Galaxies on FIRE: Stellar feedback and galaxy evolution."   Dusan Keres.   MIT:  Marlar Lounge (37-252).   Details, Abstract.

6p.  "Life at Colonial Harvard: The Archaeological Evidence."   Diana Loren.   Harvard:  Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St.   Details, Abstract.

6:30p.  "Introduction to Botany."   K.N. Gandhi.   First of eight sessions.   Harvard:  Herbaria.   Details, Registration.

Wednesday, September 24

7p.  "Gentleman Thief."   Apollo Robbins and John Gabriell.   Museum of Science.   Details, Abstract.

Thursday, September 25

7 - 9:30p.  "Reverberations: Spiders and Musical Webs."   Tomás Saraceno and Markus Buehler.   Laboratory for Atomistic and Molecular Mechanics.   MIT Museum, 265 Massachusetts Ave.   Details.

4p.  "Science of Rock 'n' Roll."   Ning Fang.   BC:  Merkert 130.   Details.

7p.  "American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood."   Paul Greenberg and target=_"new">Alex Hay.   New England Aquarium,   Details, Abstract.



*Admission to Harvard's medical area buildings often requires ID issued by a "Harvard Medical School Affiliate".  A list of these institutions can be consulted here.   Persons interested in events in the medical area that are not explicitly public, that have sponsors with whom they have no experience, and who are unsure if their ID will guarantee access, might want to email the contact person cited in the details page and ask.  Inquiries directed at the HMS Dept of Genetics should be emailed to esexton@genetics.med.harvard.edu (or 617-432-7666) at least one day before the event.  Events in the medical area that do not carry an asterisk are those that I think are prepared to receive the unaffiliated.

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