Selected Lectures on Science and Engineering
in the Boston Area

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The purpose of this list is to convey a sense of the driving issues in contemporary science and technology by showing what people are talking about, although from time to time I include events outside this focus -- such as Hackathons, DIY workshops, and events for young people.

It can be accessed in two ways: as a website and a mailing list.  The website carries events for the next month (roughly).  I add to it several times a week.  The mailing list goes out once a week, usually Sunday nights, and carries events for the next eight days.  You can subscribe here.  And unsubscribe here.

Caveats: The list is not remotely comprehensive and selection criteria are subjective.  I tend to include events that offer a physical speaker and accommodate physical attendance, though unusually interesting webinars might slip in.  Continuing or ongoing events and 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.   Many events are announced at the last minute.   (Some of these get posted to the website, but not many make the weekly mailing.)  It is common for dates and locales to change.  I strongly urge you to doublecheck the "Details" link before you head out, not that that guarantees anything.

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: 27.2156

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

April 27 - 28.  "Biotech 101 for Non-Scientists."   MassBio, 300 Technology Square 8th Floor, Cambridge.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

Thursday, April 28

10a.  "The Structure of Mouse Behavior."   Dissertation seminar.   Alexander Wiltschko.   HMS:  Bldg C, Cannon Room, 200 Longwood Ave.   Details.*

Noon.  "Sacred Rice: Environmental Change and Structural Uncertainty in Rural West Africa."   Online platforms: Webex:; Video conferencing system or application:   Joanna Davidson.   Tufts:  Rabb Room, Lincoln Filene Center.   Details, Abstract.

2p.  "Network Models for Long-Range Planning with Behavioral Biases."   Jon Kleinberg.   Northeastern:  177 Huntington Ave, 11th flr.   Details, Abstract.   Photo ID required.

2:50p.  "Machine Learning Methods for Computational Sustainability."   Liping Liu.   Tufts:  Halligan 102.   Details, Abstract.

3p.  "Coding of Internal Senses: Vagal gut-to-brain circuits."   Erika Williams.   HMS:  Goldenson 122, 220 Longwood Avenue.   Details.*

3:45p.  "Saturn’s Rings as a Probe of Saturn’s Interior."   Dick French.   BU:  725 Commonwealth Ave, Room 502.   Details.

4p.  "Experiments Big and Small."   Sava S. Dimopoulos.   MIT:  34-101.   Details, Abstract.

4p.  "Supermassive Black Hole Growth over the Past 12 Billion Years."   Meg Urry.   Tufts:  Collaborative Learning & Innovation Complex (CLIC), 574 Boston Avenue, Room 401.   Details, Abstract.

4p.  "Temporal Dynamics in the Human Microbiome."   David Relman.   MIT:  32-141.   Details.

4p.  "The Man Who Knew Infinity."   A public discussion of Hardy, Ramanujan,and mathematics.   A panel discussion.   MIT:  2-190.   Details.

4p.  "The Secret Lives of Axons."   David Linden.   MIT:  46-3002.   Details, Abstract.

5p.  "Claim No Easy Victories: Can the Social Sciences Serve the Equity Interest of the Poor?"   Charles M. Payne.   Harvard:  Boylston Hall 110.   Details, Abstract.

5p.  "Reflections on Advanced Identity Representation."   Fox Harrell.   MIT:  56-114.   Details, Abstract.

5p.  "The Energy-Water Nexus."   Michael Webber.   BU:  Questrom School of Business, 595 Commonwealth Avenue, Rm 212.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

6p.  "Chemical Diversity Expressed Through Small-Molecule Performance: diverse readouts, phenotypes, and genetic determinants."   A Meetup.   Paul Clemons and Mathias Wawer.   Broad Institute, Monadnock room, 415 Main St, Cambridge.   Details, RSVP.

6p.  "From Supercontinents to Islands - Evolution in Motion."   Gonzalo Giribet.   Giribet Lab.   Harvard:  Museum of Natural History.   Details.

6p.  "Future of the Museum."   A forum discussion.   MNIT:  10-250.   Details, Registration.   This event will be livestreamed.

6p.  "Pests and Diseases of Woody Plants."   Andrew Gapinski.   Arnold Arboretum, Hunnewell Bldg.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

April 29 - 30.   "The Molecularization of Identity: Science, Metaphors, and Personhood in the 21st Century."   A symposium.   Harvard Kennedy School.   Various locations.   Details, Registration.

Friday, April 29

10:30a.  "What Can We Learn About Auditory Scene Analysis from Autism Spectrum Disorders?"   Hari Bharadwaj.   BU:  ERB 203, 44 Cummington Mall.  Details, Abstract.

2p.  "What Effect does Language have on People?"   Lillian Lee.   MIT:  32-G449.   Details, Abstract.

3p.  "The Smart Grid Opportunity: from Automation to Autonomy."   Sakis Meliopoulos.   Harvard:  Maxwell Dworkin G125.   Details, Abstract.

Saturday, April 30

9 - 11:30a.  "Know Your Nose: A Public Forum on the Nose and Sinuses."   Mass Eye & Ear, Meltzer Auditorium, 243 Charles St.   Details, RSVP.

9a.  "The Power and Promise of Biodiversity: Restoring Land, Sea and Climate."   A Conference.   Harvard:  Geological Lecture Hall.   Details.

9:30a.   "Intro to Coding Class."   CIC Boston, 50 Milk St, 5th floor Windrose, Conference Room.   Details, RSVP.   This class repeats at 1:30p.

11 - 1p.  "Spring Into Science -- Biology."   MIT Museum, 265 Massachusetts Ave.   Details.

12 - 4p.  "Light Saber Build Party."   A fundraiser.   Parts and Crafts, 577 Somerville Ave, Somerville.   Details, Registration.

1p.  "Maples, Roses, and More."   Rhoda Kubrick, Arboretum Docent.   Arnold Arboretum, Hunnewell Bldg.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

Sunday, May 1

2:30p.  "Bird Nest Botany."   Judith Sumner.   Arnold Arboretum, Hunnewell Bldg.   Details.

May 2 - 3.  "The Origin and Early Evolution of Photosynthetic Life."   A Symposium.   Various locations.   Details, Registration.   Poster.

Monday, May 2

8:30 - 5p.  "ECEDay 2016."   BU:  Photonics Center, 9th floor.   Details, Registration.

11:30a.  "Political Turbulence: How Social Media Shape Collective Action."   Helen Margetts.   Harvard:  Maxwell Dworkin 119, 33 Oxford St.   Details, Abstract.

12:15p.  "Evolution of Motion and Color Vision."   Claude Despian.   BCH:  Folkman Auditorium, Enders Bldg, 300 Longwood Ave.   Details.

1p.  "A Bayesian Framework for Robust Manipulation via Contact Sensing."   Michael Koval.   MIT:  32-D463.   Details, Abstract.

1p.  "Neural Mechanisms Underlying Motor Skill Learning, Adaptation, and Maintenance."   Timothy Otchy.   Harvard:  Northwest B101.   Details.

2:30p.  "The Psychological Lives of the Poor."   Sendhil Mullainathan.   MIT:  6-120.   Details, Abstract.   This event will be webcast.

3p.  "The Zen of Passwords (and the Complexity of Human Computation)."   Santosh Vempala.   MIT:  32-G449.   Details, Abstract.

4p.  "Thinking Fast Makes Changing Slow."   Lydia Villa-Komaroff.   MIT:  E14, Winter Garden Room, and Lecture Room, 6th Floor.   Details.

4:15p.  "The Logic, Urgency and Promise of Tackling Climate Change."   Nicholas Stern.   Harvard:  CGIS-S020, Belfer Case Study Room, 1730 Cambridge St.   Details.

5p.  "Reflections on Emerging Microbial Threats."   James M. Hughes.   MIT:  1-190.   Details.

Tuesday, May 3

Noon.  "Turbulent Landscapes of Pheromones during Olfactory Searches."   Massimo Vergassola.   Harvard:  Northwest 243.   Details.

3p.  "'Eggstreme' Mechanics of Shells."   Pedro Reis.   Harvard:  Lyman 425.   Details, Abstract.

6:30 - 9p   "Intro to Coding Class."   CIC Boston, 50 Milk St, 5th floor Windrose, Conference Room.   Details, RSVP.

Wednesday, May 4

9 - 5p.  "SEAS Design & Project Fair."   Harvard Science Center Plaza.   Details.

6:30p.  "Reframing Creativity as the Biography of an Idea."   Edward Clapp.   Le Lab Cambridge.   Details, Abstract, RSVP.

7p.  "Gastropod."   Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley.   Museum of Science, Cahners Theater.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

7p.  "Planting in a Post-Wild World."   Claudia West.   Cambridge Public Library.   Details.

Thursday, May 5

4p.  "Uncovering the Secret Lives of Single-cells in Large Bacterial Communities."   Elias Manolakos.   MIT:  32-G449.   Details, Abstract.

4p.  "Understanding Chronic Infections through Combinatorial Genetics of Host and Pathogen."   Christopher Sassetti.   MIT:  32-141.   Details.

6p.  "Natural and Induced Earthquakes: The Hidden Threat to Large Cities in the United States."   Marine Denolle.   Harvard:  Museum of Natural History, Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St.   Details, Abstract.

7p.  "Climate Ready Boston."   Bud Ris.   New England Aquarium, Simons IMAX Theatre.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

Friday, May 6

8:30 - 5:30p.  "Big Data, Health Law, and Bioethics."   A Conference.   HLS:  Wasserstein Hall, Milstein East ABC.   Details, Registration.

5:30p.  "Meet the Scientists."   Tufts:  Aidekman Arts Center, 40 Talbot Ave.   Details, RSVP.

Saturday, May 7

11 - 6p.  "International Drone Day."   Innovations and Design Bldg, 23 Drydock Ave, Boston.   Details, Tickets.

Noon - 6p.  "Bird Taxidermy Workshop."   Mickey Alice Kwapis.   Harvard Museum of Natural History.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

Sunday, May 8

Noon - 5p.  "Small Mammal Taxidermy Workshop."   Mickey Alice Kwapis.   Harvard Museum of Natural History.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

May 10 - 11.   "Exponential Manufacturing."   A Conference.   Westin Waterfront.   Details, Registration.

Tuesday, May 10

10a.  "Translating Metabolic Insights into Therapies."   Craig Thompson.   HMS:  Armenise Amphitheater, 210 Longwood.   Details.*

Noon.  "From Fieldwork to Neurobiology. A Botanical Journey with Cycads."   Dennis Wm. Stevenso.   Harvard:  Herbarium, Seminar Room.   Details, Abstract.

Noon.  "The Body Model Theory of Somatosensory Cortex."   Michael Brecht.   Harvard:  Northwest 243, 52 Oxford.   Details.

4p.  "Biologic Architecture of Age-Related Cognitive Decline."   David Bennett.   MIT:  46-3310.   Details.

4p.  "Communication Amid Uncertainty."   Madhu Sudan.   MIT:  32-G449.   Details.

5:30 - 7p.  "IACS Project Showcase."   Harvard: Northwest Building Cafe, 52 Oxford St.   Details, Abstract.

Wednesday, May 11

4p.  "Going with the Flow: The role of water in Cell Mechanics."   Sean Sun.   Harvard:  Maxwell Dworkin G115.   Details, Abstract.

4p.  "Ionostatic Control of the Sleep-Wake Cycle."   Maiken Nedergaard.   MIT:  46-3002.   Details, Abstract.

6p.  "Linking Drugs, Diseases, and the Druggable Proteome."   Tudor Oprea.   Harvard Faculty Club, 20 Quincy St.   Details, RSVP.

7p.  "The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself."   Sean Carroll.   Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Ave.   Details.

Thursday, May 12

8:30 - 5:30p.  "New Insights on Early Life Stress and Mental Health."   A symposium.   MIT:  46-3002.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

5:30p.  "Why Were Early Humans Successful and Other Hominids Not?"   Christian Tryon.   Aeronaut Brewery, 14 Tyler St, Somerville.   Details.

6p.  "Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?"   Frans de Waal.   Harvard Museum of Natural History, Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford.   Details, Abstract.

7 - 9p.  "Brain-Enhancing Drugs at School: Smart or Not?"   Marisa Silveri.   Museum of Science.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

Friday, May 13

1:30p.  "Spider Superheros."   Chelsea Public Library, 569 Broadway, Chelsea.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

May 14 - 15.  "Food Science Weekend."   Museum of Science.   Details.

Saturday, May 14

10:30a.  "Marine Life!"   Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford St.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

Sunday, May 15

5 - 7:30p.  "Tree Spotters Training."   Arnold Arbortum, Hunnewell Bldg.   Details.

May 16 - 18.  "National Biotechnology Conference."   Sheraton Boston Hotal.   Details, Registration.

Tuesday, May 17

7p.  "Me Want it, But Me Wait: Defining, Measuring, and Improving Self-Regulation in Early Childhood."   Dana Charles McCoy.   Le Laboratoire Cambridge, 650 East Kendall Street.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

Wednesday, May 18

6p.  "Medical Interpretation of Human Genomes."   Heidi Rehm.   Broad Auditorium, 415 Main St.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

Thursday, May 19

6 - 9p.  "Startup Spotlight."   Microsoft NERD, One Memorial Drive.   Details, Registration.

7p.  "The Biomolecular Prototyping Unit (BPU) - Rapidly Asking Questions with DNA."   Peter Carr.   Broad Institute Auditorium.   Details, Abstract.

May 20 - 22.  "Open Data Science Conference."   Boston Convention Center.   Details, Registration.

Friday, May 20

7:30a.  PSA: How to turn a great marker into a public health fiasco (and how to turn it back).   Prostate Cancer Symposium.   Andrew Vickers.   Marriot Newton, 2345 Commonwealth Ave.   Details, Registration.

8 - 1p.  "Clinical and Translational Science (CTS) Graduate Program Symposium."   Joe V. Selby.   Tufts Medical Center, 800 Washington St, Wolff Auditorium.   Details.

Saturday, May 21

10 - 8p.  "BostonVR Devs May Hackathon."   Fresh Tilled Soil, 480 Pleasant Street, Suite A410, Watertown.   Details, Abstract, RSVP.

Tuesday, May 24

2 - 5p.  "From Genetics to Epigenetics to Targeted Therapeutics."   A Conference.   HMS:  Jimmy Fund Auditorium.   Details.*

*Admission to buildings in Harvard's medical area 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, do not invite registration, have sponsors with whom they have no experience, and who are unsure if their ID will guarantee access, might want to email the person cited in the details page and ask.  Inquiries directed at the HMS Dept of Genetics should be emailed to (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  Events in the medical area that do not carry an asterisk have announced explicitly that they are open to the general public.