Selected Lectures on Science and Engineering
in the Boston Area


This URL calls the correct files: bostonsciencelectures.com

The main purpose of this list is to convey a sense of the driving issues in contemporary science and technology through a schedule of talks in this area about these issues.   From time to time I include events 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.  I tend to list events that offer a physical speaker and accommodate physical attendance, though unusually interesting webinars might slip in.  Courses, exhibits, and networking meetups with no special focus are not well handled.  Activity falls considerably over the summer and winter holidays.

Most critically:  This is a volatile landscape.  Important details change at the last minute;  some events have limited seating and get sold out;  there are many steps in this process and each step has an error rate.  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.

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: 25.1925

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



Every January, during what MIT calls its Independent Activities Period, the Institute hosts a very wide range of events and activities.  Many seem likely to be of interest to members of this list.  In theory these events are restricted to members of the MIT community; however, my friends and I have been dropping into IAP events that do not have registration, signup, or participation requirements for many years without incident.  I will publish a few of these events, but you might want to review the entire listing yourself.

Monday, January 26

Noon.  "Take the World from Another Point of View."   A Feynman film.   MIT:  4-370.   Details.

Noon.  "Why Studies Fail - Bias and Confounding."   Jessica Paulus.   Tufts: Jaharis Family Center, Behrakis Auditorium, 150 Harrison Avenue.   Details, Registration.

12:10p.  "Automatic Selection and the Evolution of Self-Fertilization."   Jeremiah Busch.   Arnold Arboretum:    Details.

1p.  "Chaos in Dynamical Systems."   Semyon Dyatlov.   MIT:  4-270.   Details, Abstract.

1p.  "Dynamics of Protein and RNA Expression in Developmental Systems."   Marc Kirschner.   MIT:  Whitehead Auditorium.   Details.

1:30p.  "Frontiers in Superconductivity."   Inna Vishik.   MIT:  4-370.   Details, Abstract.

3:30p.  "The Trouble(s) with Galaxy-Galaxy Lensing."   Tereasa Brainerd.   BU:  CAS 502.   Details, Abstract.

4p.  "Tracking Prediction Error."   Lo-Bin Chang.   BU:  MCS 148.   Details, Abstract.

7.  "Big Fish."   A Coolidge Theater Science on Screen Presentation.   Paul Raeburn will discuss the role fathers play.   Details.

Tuesday, January 27

11a.  "Neural Mechanisms that Generate Persistent Behavioral States."   Steve Flavell.   MIT:  Singleton Auditorium (46-3002).   Details.

12:30p.  "#StopEbola: How social networks and mobile technology helped Nigeria contain Ebola."   A Berkman Luncheon.   Aimee Corrigan.   Webcast details.   Podcast details.   RSVP required for lunch.   Harvard: Berkman Center for the Internet and Society, 23 Everett St, 2nd Flr.   Details, RSVP, Summary.

2p.  "Entropy and Society."   Sophia Sklan and Michelle Tomasik.   Third of three lectures.   MIT:  13-2137.   Details, Abstract.

2:30p.  "Exploring the Universe from Near to Far with the Chandra X-ray Observatory."   Mike Nowak.   MIT:  Marlar Lounge (37-252).   Details.

CANCELLED.  3p.  "Using Stem Cells to Find and Test Therapeutics for Neurodegenerative Disease: Can it work?"   Lee Rubin.   MIT:  46-3002.   Details.

3:30p.  "The Aesthetics of Constructing and Deconstructing Materials and Magnets."   Greg Boebinger.   BU:  Metcalf Science Center 109.   Details, Abstract.   Poster.

4p.  "Introduction to Making: Rapid 3D Fabrication at MIT…. and Beyond."   MIT:  Stata Center (32) 155.   Details.

6p.  "Virtual Nations."   Simon Moore.   British Consulate, One Broadway, Cambridge.   Details.

Wednesday, January 28

Noon.  "Molecular Evolution before the Domain Ancestors: Indications for Dramatic Planetary Changes During Life's Early Evolution."   Peter Gogarten.   MIT:  54-915.  Details.

Noon.  "The Distinction of Past and Future."   A Feynman film.   MIT:  4-370.   Details.

1p.  "Adaptation of Meiosis to Whole Genome Duplication."   Kirsten Bomblies.   MIT:  Whitehead Auditorium.   Details.

1 - 4:30p.  "Functional Genomics and Screening."   A course.   HMS:  Tosteson Medical Education Center 227.   Details, Abstract.*

1p.  "What Do We Know about Earliest Life on Earth? Does Biology Constrain the Early Planetary Narrative?"   A panel discussion.   MIT:  54-915.   Details.

1:30p.  "The Secret Life of Quarks."   William Detmold.   MIT:  4-370.   Details, Abstract.

2:30p.  "Alcohol and Self-Control: A Field Experiment in India."   Frank Schilbach.   MIT:  E51-145.   Details.

2:30p.  "Exoplanets with TESS: Alien Worlds in our Backyard."   MIT:  Marlar Lounge (37-252).   Details, Abstract.

4p.  "Designing Biology for Health and Sustainability."   Pamela Silver.   Brandeis:  Gerstenzang 121.   Details.

4p.  "Head Games: Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and the Long-term Consequences of Repetitive Brain Trauma."   Robert A. Stern.   BU:  Sargebt College, 635 Commonwealth Ave.   Details, Abstract.

5 - 7p.  "The Future of Long-Form Visual Journalism."   A panel discussion.   BU:  Photonics 208, 8 St. Mary's St.   Details.

6 - 8p.  "Ethnic Violence."   A conversation.   New England Complex Systems Institute, 210 Broadway, Suite 101, Cambridge.   Details, Abstract, RSVP.

7p.  "Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Psychiatry."   David Mischoulon.   McLean Hospital, de Marneffe.   Details.

7p.  "Unnatural Selection: How We Are Changing Life, Gene by Gene."   Emily Monosson.   Arnold Arboretum, Hunnewell Bldg.   Details, Registration, Abstract.

Thursday, January 29

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

9a.  "Connecting Cancer to Aging: An Evolutionary Approach using In Vivo and In Silico Modeling."   James DeGregori.   Dana Farber:  Smith 308/309.   Flyer.   This lecture will be repeated at Noon at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.   AS8-2072 Conference Room - Large, Albert Sherman Center, Worcester.   Details.

Noon.  "A 'Natural' Experiment: Consumer Confusion and Food Claims."   Efthimios Parasidis.   Harvard Law School:  Wasserstein Hall, Milstein West B, 1585 Massachusetts Ave.   Details.

Noon.  "MIT's Climate CoLab: using collective intelligence to address climate change."   Laur Fisher, Community & Partnerships Manager, MIT Climate CoLab.   Tufts:  | Rabb Room, Lincoln Filene Center.   Details.

Noon.  "The Statistical Crisis in Science."   Andrew Gelman.   Harvard:  William James Hall 765.   Details.

12:30p.  "Finding Order in a Contentious Internet."   Jesse Sowell.   Background reading.   MIT:  E40-298.   Details.

2p.  "Hunting Dark Matter."   Adam Anderson.   MIT:  Marlar Lounge (37-252).   Details, Abstract.

2:30p.  "The Illustris simulation: Evolving the Universe on a Supercomputer."   Federico Marinacci.   MIT:  Marlar Lounge (37-252).   Details, Abstract.


January 30 -31.  "#Hack4Congress: A 'Not-Just-for-Technologists' Event to Fix Congress."   Harvard Kennedy School:  Alison Dining Room, Taubman bldg, 5th flr.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

Friday, January 30

3:15p.  "Trail Detectives' Club."   Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill Street.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

9 - 6p.  "New England Database Day."   MIT: Stata Center (32) 123.   Details, Registration.

Noon.  "Probability and Uncertainty."   A Feynman film.   MIT:  4-370.   Details.

12:30 - 5p.  "The Internet of Things."   A mini-symposium.   Harvard:  Maxwell Dworkin G115, 33 Oxford St.   Details, Registration.

1:30p.  "Little Big-Bang: Relativistic Heavy Ion."   Yen-Jie Lee.   MIT:  4-370.   Details, Abstract.

4p.  "Accelerating the Discovery of Nanoporous and Nanolayered Materials Through Bioinspiration and Simulation."   Sinan Keten.   Harvard:  Pierce 209.   Details, Abstract.

4p.  "Implementing Swarms of Cancer-Fighting Nanorobots."   Sylvain Martel.   Harvard:  60 Oxford St, Room 330.   Details, Abstract.

Saturday, January 31

1 - 3:30p.  "Kids learn to code (CoderDojo)."   Microsoft NERD, One Memorial Drive.   Details, Registration.

10a.  "Winter Backyard Birding."   Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill Street, Mattapan.   Details, Registration.

Sunday, February 1

10a.  "Tracks and Signs."   Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill St., Mattapan.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

Monday, February 2

11:30a.  "Separated by a Common Language? A Unified Framework Bridging the Gap Between Language and Networks."   Oren Tsur.   Harvard:  Maxwell Dworkin 119.   Details, Abstract.

Noon.  "Computational Models of Human Learning, Teaching, and Trust."   Patrick Shafto.   Tufts:  Barnum 008.   Details, Abstract.

12:30p.   "Development in the Digital Age: The role of online platforms & payments in enabling entrepreneurship in emerging markets."   A Berkman Luncheon.   A forum.   Webcast details.   Podcast details.   RSVP required for lunch.   Harvard: Berkman Center for the Internet and Society, 23 Everett St, 2nd Flr.   Details, RSVP, Summary.

3:30p.  "Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) – A New Mission Whose Time Has Come!"   Nathan Schwadron.   BU:  725 Commonwealth Ave, Room 502.   Details.

4p.  "Possible Triggering of the Largest Deccan Eruptions by the Chicxulub Impact."   Mark Richards.   Harvard:  Haller Hall (Geo Museum 102).   Details.

4p.  "Self-Healing Polymers."   Jeffrey Moore.   Brandeis:  Gerstenzang 121.   Details.

4:30p.  "Patent Application Examination at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office."   Gautam Prakesh, Patent Examiner.   Boston Biomedical Innovation Center:  260 Longwood Ave.   HMS:  Tosteson Medical Education Center, 260 Longwood Ave.   Details, RSVP.*

6p.  "Why Trees are Big, Ants are Small and Cells are Tiny."   Jané Kondev.   Solea, Waltham.   Details.

Tuesday, February 3

6p.  "The Cretaceous-Tertiary Mass Extinction: What Really Killed the Dinosaurs?"   Mark Richards.   Harvard Museum of Natural History.   Details, Abstract.

Wednesday, February 4

10 - Noon.  "Scientific Visualization Using MATLAB."   Robert Putnam.   BU:  MCS B27, 111 Cummington Mall.   Details, Abstract.

Noon.  "Before Teotihuacan: Altica and the Formation of Complex Society in the Teotihuacan Valley."   Deb Nichols.   Harvard:  Tozzer 203.   Details.

Noon.  "From the Kilns to the Hearths: Levantine Cooking Pot Technology."   Barak Monnickendam-Givon.   BU:  Gabel Museum of Archaeology, STO 253.   Details.

3:30p.  "Polymer Mechanochemistry and Self-Healing Materials."   Jeffrey S. Moore.   MIT:  56-114.   Details.

4p.  "Advancement of Tools and Techniques for Engineering of Microbial Chemical Factories."   Kristala Jones Prather.   Radliffe Institute:  Sheerr Room, Fay House, 10 Garden St.  Details.

6p.  "Understanding Brain Function: Insights from Genetic and Epigenetic Analysis of CNS Cell Types."   Nathaniel Heintz.   MIT:  Singleton Auditorium (46-3002), 43 Vassar St.   Details, Abstract.

7p.  "Humans and Wildlife: The New Imbalance."   Jim Sterba.   Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge.   Details, Abstract.

Thursday, February 5

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

Noon.   "The Phonological Mind."   Iris Berent.   Harvard:  William James Hall 765.   Details.

5p.  "American Public Opinion on Climate Change: Motivated Cognition?"   Jon Krosnick.   Harvard:  Fong Auditorium, Boylston Hall.   Details.

5p.  "Nanotechnology for Biology, from Single Molecules towards Synthetic Cells."   Cees Dekker.   Harvard:  Pfizer Lecture Hall, 12 Oxford St.   Details.

7p.  "New England Model Engineering Society."   A Meetup focussed on metal working anc machining.   Waltham Library.   Details.


February 6 - 7.  "2015 MassDiGI Challenge."   Game developers launch new games.   Moksa.   Details, Abstract.

February 6 - 16.  "Boston Science Fiction Film Festival and Marathon."   Somerville Theatre.   Details.

Friday, February 6

3:15p.  "Trail Detectives' Club."   Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill St, Mattapan.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

8:30a.  "Competitive Coexistence on Shared Resources Evolves Due to Crowded Growth."   Evgeni Frenkel.   Harvard:  HUCE Seminar Room 310, 24 Oxford St.   Details.

11a.  "Optical Wireless Communications For Next-Generation Data Centers."   Shlomi Arnon.   BU:  Photonics 404/428.   Details, Abstract.

Saturday, February 7

10a.  "Physics."   MIT:  Kresge Auditorium.   Details.

9:30 - Noon.  "Herps! The Amazing World of Reptiles and Amphibians."   Joe Martinez.   Harvard Museum of Natural History, 9:30a.   Details, Registration.

9:30 - 4:30p.  "Urban Permaculture."   Toby Hemenway.   Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill St, Mattapan.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

Sunday, February 8

1p.  "Fun Indoor and Outdoor Experiments."   Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill Stret, Mattapan.  Details, Abstract, Registration.

Noon.  "Metropolitan Area Water Supplies."   Marcus Kempe, Executive Director.   Waterworks Museum, 2450 Beacon St.   Details, Abstract.


February 9 - 10.  "Tissue Engineering & BioPrinting: Research to Commercialization."   Wyndham Boston, Beacon Hill, 5 Blossom St.   Details, Abstract.

Monday, February 9

Noon.  "New Fossil Discoveries from the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa."   Jeremy De Silva.   BU:  232 Bay State Rd, Rm 505.   Details.

3p.  "Integrating Theories to Understand the Nature of the Human Mind."   Glenn Gunzelmann.   Tufts:  Pearson Lab 104.   Details, Abstract.

3:30p.  "Black Holes and Galaxies in the Cosmic Web: Do all star-forming galaxies host an AGN?"   (AGN = Active Galactic Nucleus).   Ryan Hickox.   BU:  725 Commonwealth Ave, CAS, Room 502.   Details.

4p.  "Water on the Moon and Chronology Using Lunar Radar Data."   Bradley J. Thomson.   Lincoln Lab Cafeteria, 244 Wood St.   Details, Abstract.

5p.  "Group Love."   Mahzarin Banaji.   Harvard:  TBD.   Details, Abstract.

7p.  "Evil Dead II."   A Coolidge Corner Science on Screen Presentation.   Steven Schlozman will review the relevant science. &p; Coolidge Corner Theater, 290 Harvard Ave. :    Details.

Tuesday, February 10

6 - 9p.  "Automated Harnessing of Complex Distributed Attributes for Robust Object Recognition."   Robert McConnell.   Olin College, Milas Hall Auditorium, 1000 Olin Way, Needham. :    Details, Abstract.

7p.  "Organic Pollutants in the Ocean: How do they End Up on our Dinner Plates?"   Loretta Fernadez.   Northeastern:  Marine Science Center, Murphy Bunker Classroom, 430 Nahant Rd, Nahant.   Details, Abstract.

7p.  "The Internet Is Not the Answer."   Andrew Keen.   Harvard Book Store:    Details.

Wednesday, February 11

9:30a.  "Sex Differences in Stress-related Behavior and Neural Circuitry."   Elena Chartoff.   McLean:  de Marneffe 218.   Details.

Noon.  "Eating local? Nature and origins of the first agricultural groups in the South Caucasus."   Bastien Varoutsikos.   Harvard:  Tozzer 203.   Details.

4 - 6p.  "Can the Aviation Industry Achieve Carbon Neutral Growth?"   Gregg G. Fleming.   Lincoln Lab:  Auditorium, 244 Wood St.   Details, Abstract.

4p.  "Self Control and the Teen Brain: Arrested Development or Adaptive Evolution?"   BJ Casey.   Brandeis:  Gerstenzang 121.   Details.

7 - 9p.  "Crops, Water, and Climate Change: What Can We Learn from the Maya?"   A forum.   Museum of Science, Cahners Theater.   Details, Abstract.

Thursday, February 12

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

Noon.  "Women and Addiction."   Shelly F. Greenfield.   McLean Hospital:  Pierce Hall, Administration Bld.   Details.

2:50p.  "Measuring Personalization of Web Services."   Alan Mislove.   Tufts:  Halligan 102.   Details.

4p.  "Nanotherapeutics for Neurological Disorders."   Elizabeth Nance.   Harvard:  60 Oxford, Room 330.   Details, Abstract.

4 - 6p.  "On Machines, Humans, and Our Common Future."   Rosalind Picard.   Gorden College, Ken Olsen Science Center, Loggia and MacDonald Auditorium.   Details.

4p.  "Pain in Arthritis: Why Does It Hurt?"   Yvonne C. Lee.   BWH:  Shapiro Breakout Room. 70 Francis St.   Details, Abstract.*

4p.  "Specificity and Modules in Circuits for Motor Control."   Silvia Arber.   HMS:  TMEC Amphitheatre, 260 Longwood Avenue.   Details.*

4:30p.  "Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Change."   Susan Solomon.   MIT:  E19-623.   Details.

6 - 8p.  "ATHack."   A multidisciplinary hackathon to help people with disabilities.   MIT:  10-105.   Details, Register.

6p.  "The Art and Science of Cheese."   Rachel Dutton and Ihsan Gurdal, Formaggio Kitchen).   Harvard:  Geological Museum Room 100, 24 Oxford.   Details.

6p.  "The Art of Way-Finding."   John Huth.   Harvard Science Center E, 1 Oxford Street.   Details, Abstract.

6 - 8:30p.  "Using Gamification to Juice User Engagement."   B. Price Kerfoot.   QStream, 200 Wheeler Rd, Burlington.   Details.

Friday, February 13

3p.  "The Eureka Myth: Creators, Innovators, and Everyday Intellectual Property."   Jessica Silbey.   Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Ave.   Details.

Saturday, February 14

1p.  "Winter Wildlife Hike."   Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill Street, Mattapan.   Details, Registration.

Sunday, February 15

Noon.  "The World Of Water Tanks: An Underappreciated Art Form."   Marcus Kempe, Executive Director.   Waterworks Museum, 2450 Beacon St.   Details, Abstract.

Tuesday, February 17

February 17 - 20.  "Owls, Hawks, and Falcons."   Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill Street, Mattapan.   Details.

3:30p.  "The Architectures of Exoplanetary systems with Kepler Data."   Jason Steffen.   BU:  725 Commonwealth, CAS, Room 502.   Details.

4:30p.  "Modeling Malaria's Spread."   Caroline Buckee.   MIT:  E19-623.   Details.

6p.  "Whale Conservation and the Future of the Oceans."   Joe Roman.   Harvard Museum of Natural History, 24 Oxford St.   Details, Abstract.

Wednesday, February 18

4p.  "Encounters with the Strange and the Familiar: A Saturn-based strategy for the search for extraterrestial life."   Jonathan Lunine.   Harvard:  Haller Hall (Geological Museum 102).   Details, Abstract.

6:30p.  "SoC Update: How embedded Linux is changing the PC ecosystem."   (SoC = System on a Chip).   MIT:  E51-315.   Details.

Thursday, February 19

4p.  "A Day in the Life of the Ocean's Microbiome: The Transcriptomic Motion Picture."   Ed DeLong.   MIT:  Stata Center (32) 141.   Details.

6 - 8p.  "The Origins of Maya Civilization: New Insights from Ceibal."   Takeshi Inomata and Daniela Triadan.   Museum of Science:    Details.

6p.  "“Understanding and Combating the Stigma of Borderline Personality Disorder."   Karen Adler.   McLean Hospital:  de Marneffe 132.   Details.

7:30p.  "Sniffing the Air of Alien Earths."   Sarah Rugheimer.   Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics:  Phillips, 60 Garden.   Details, Abstract.

Friday, February 20

1 - 3p.  "Let's Talk about Foams."   Reynolds Advanced Materials, 45 Electric Ave, Brighton.   Details, Registration.

Saturday, February 21

9 - 4p.  "I (Heart) Science."   Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford Street.   Details, Abstract.

Monday, February 23

3:30p.  "Star Formation Across Space."   Daniela Calzetti.   BU:  725 Commonwealth, CAS, Room 502.   Details.

Tuesday, February 24

3p.  "A Rough View of Friction and Adhesion."   Mark Robbins.   BU:  Metcalf SCI 109.   Details.

3p.  "Translational Neuroscience."   Second of six lectures.   Tyrone Cannon.   MIT:  46-3002.   Details.

6p.  "Natural History Collections and Evolution."   James Hanken.   Harvard Museum of Natural History, 24 Oxford.   Details.

Tuesday, February 25

6:30p.  "Bioinspired Materials."   Joanna Aizenberg.   Honeycomb, Le Laboratoire Cambridge, 650 East Kendall St.   Details, RSVP.

Wednesday, February 26

12:30 - 6p.  "Connected Things."   A conference.   MIT Media Lab, E14-245, 75 Amherst St.   Details, Registration.

Thursday, February 27

8 - 11a.  "Big Data Summit: Impacts on Workforce and the Economy."   A conference.   State Street Channel Center, 1 Iron St.   Details, Tickets.



*Admission to buildings in Harvard's medical area often (but, confusingly, not always) 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 call 617-432- 7666) at least one day before the event.  Inquiries pertaining to events at Harvard's New Research Building should be directed to Karen Barry at kbarry6@partnes.org.  Events in the medical area that do not carry an asterisk appear (to me) willing to accept the unaffiliated.

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