Selected Lectures on Science and Engineering
in the Boston Area

This URL calls the correct files:

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 (like exhibits or courses) 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.)   Dates and locales change.   Sometimes speakers change their topic.   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: 20.2016

Email    Online Video    Website    Archives    Sources    Other lists and sites   

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

January 9 - February 3.   For the next few weeks MIT will host an exceptionally rich stew of events called Independent Activities Period.  IAP is for members of the MIT community, but in my experience if unaffilated members of the public show a little common sense about which events to attend -- like staying away from events with enrollment caps -- they will not be turned away.  I have posted a selection of the events about which there seems little question, but you might well find more possibilities if you look yourself.  Details.

Saturday, January 21

9:30 - 12:30p.  "Drawing Butterflies and Moths in Colored Pencil."   Erica Beade.   Harvard Museum of Natural History.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

Noon.  "Scratch."   MIT Museum, 265 Massachusetts Ave.   Details.

Sunday, January 22

Noon.  "3D Printing."   MIT Museum, 265 Massachusetts Ave.   Details.

1p.  "Conifers in Winter."   Robbie Apfel, Arboretum Docent.   Arnold Arboretum, Bussey Street Gate.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

2:30p.  "Seeing Climate Change in Your Backyard."   Alyssa Rosemartin.   Arnold Arboretum, Hunnewell Bldg.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

Monday, January 23

11a.  "On Growth and Form."   L. Mahadevan.   Applied Math Lab.   MIT:  McGovern Auditorium, Whitehead Institute.   Details.

Noon.   "Seeking New Laws."   A Feynman film.   MIT:  6-120.   Details.

1p.  "Wavelets."   Laurent Demanet.   MIT:  2-190.   Details, Abstract.

1:30p.  "An Introduction to Weather Forecasting."   Lodovica Illari.   MIT:  54-915.   Details.

1:30p.  "The First Stars."   Alex Ji.   MIT:  37-252.   Details, Abstract.

2p.  "Giant Telescopes."   Gabor Furesz.   MIT:  37-252.   Details, Abstract.

1:30p.  "Neutrinos from Fission: From basic science to 'practical things'..."   Rachel Carr.   MIT:  6-120.   Details.

3:15p.  "A Predictive Theory for the Atmospheric Circulation of Hot Jupiters."   Tad Komacek.   MIT:  54-915.   Details, Abstract.

4p.  "Protein Engineering Strategies for the Development of Viral Immunotherapies and Vaccines."   Jonathan Lai.   Brandeis:  Gerstenzang 121.   Details.

Tuesday, January 24

1p.  "Consequences of the Declining Marriage-Market Value of Men for Marriage, Fertility, and Children's Living Circumstances."   David Autor.   MIT:  E52-432.   Details.

2p.  "From Zika Virus to Lyme Disease - Integrated Pest Management in Schools."   A panel discussion.   A webinar.   Details, Abstract, Tickets.

3p.   "Materials Lab Workshop: Metal."   Francesca Bewer.   Harvard Art Museums, Materials Lab. lower level.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

4p.  "Discovering a New Approach to Cosmology with the Dark Energy Survey and Gravitational Waves."   Marcelle Soares Santos.   Brandeis:  Abelson 131.   Details.

4p.  "Mitochondrial Parts, Pathways and Pathogenesis."   Vamsi Mootha.   MIT:  32-123.   Details.

4p.  "US Communications at a Crossroads."   Tom Wheeler, Chairman, FCC. .   HLS:  Wasserstein Hall, Milstein East A (room 2036 on the second floor).   Details, RSVP.   A video of this talk will be posted.

5:15p.  "Urban and Immigration History on the Digital Frontier."   A panel discussion.   Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston St.   Details, Abstract, RSVP.

6p.  "Data Visualizations that Bring Data to Life."   Julie Rodrigues and Piotr Kaczmarek.   Boston Public Library.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

6p.  "EnergyVision: A Pathway to a Modern, Sustainable, Low Carbon Future."   Peter Shattuck.   National Grid, Rooms: Valley A&B.   Details, Abstract.

6:30p.  "Reconstructing the Evolution of Stars."   Robert Simcoe.   Belmont Media Center, 9 Lexington St, Belmont.   Details.

6:30 - 8:30p.  "Virtual Teams in Engineering Projects: Managing Complexities, Expectations and Cultural Factors Successfully."   Daniel McGrath.   39 Marrett Rd, Lexington.   Details.

Wednesday, January 25

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

Noon.  "Changing Anxious Minds: Cognitive Bias Modification from the Lab to the Real World."   Courtney Beard and R. Kathryn McHugh.   McLean Hospital:  Service Bldg, Pierce Hall.   Details.

Noon.  "How Unusual Are Recent U.S. Northeast Coast Mean Sea Level Changes?"   Christopher Piecuch.   Harvard:  Geological Museum 204.   Details.

1:30p.  "Estimating the Locations of Past and Future Large Earthquake Ruptures in California using Recent M≥4 Events."   John Ebel.   Harvard:  Geological Museum 310.  Details.

2p.  "How the Universe Magnetizes Itself: Instabilities, turbulence and magnetic reconnection."   Nuno Loureiro.   MIT:  1-190.   Details, Abstract.

2p.  "Modeling FUS and C9ORF72 diseases: a Crucial Step Towards Therapeutic Development in ALS and Frontotemporal Dementia."   Clotilde Lagier-Tourenne.   BU:  Keefer Auditorium.   Details.

3p.  "Neural Machine Translation and Other AI Projects at Google."   Mike Schuster.   MIT:  32-G449.   Details, Abstract.

4p.  "Active Swimmers and Passive Flyers."   Eva Kanso.   Harvard:  Pierce 209.   Details, Abstract.

4p.  "Breaking into Language: How infants find structure in patterned input."   Casey Lew-Williams.   MIT:  46-3002.   Details, Abstract.

4:30p.  "A Global Perspective on Obesity-Related Health Disparities in the United States."   Shiriki K. Kumanyika.   BU:  Hiebert Lounge, 72 East Concord.   Details, Registration .   vent will be live-streamed at

5:30 - 9p.  "Climate Preparedness in Massachusetts."   A conference.   MIT:  32-123.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

6p.  "Food for Thought: The Power and Potential of Food as an Educational Tool."   A Panel Discussion.   Le Laboratoire Cambridge, 650 East Kendall S.   Details, Abstract, RSVP.

6:30p.  "Age of Consequences."   A film screening and a Q&A with film producer Sophie Robinson.   Harvard Museum of Natural History:  Geological Museum.   Details.

Thursday, January 26

7:45a.   "Rethinking the American Diet: Optimally Unifying Environmental and Nutritional Sciences."   Gidon Eshel.   Harvard Club, 374 Commonwealth Ave.   Details.

8:30p.  "Dissecting Diversity: Developing Tools to Probe Bacterial Biology at a Single Cell Level."   Sarah Fortune.   Fortune Lab.   Harvard:  Geological Museum 310, 24 Oxford St.   Details.

Noon.  "Changing Anxious Minds: Cognitive Bias Modification from the Lab to the Real World."   Courtney Beard Elias and R. Kathryn McHugh.   McLean Hospital:  Service Building, Pierce Hall.   Details.

Noon.  "Free Independent Health Records."   Adrian Gropper.   Harvard:  Berkman Klein Center, 23 Everett Street, 2nd Floor Conference Room.   Details, Abstract, RSVP.

Noon.  "The Healthier City: Manchester's new approach to health and social care."   Keynote and panel discussion.   Nancy Rothwell.   HSPH:  Kresge G2  Details, Registration.

12:30p.  "Orchestrating Aging Across a Troubled Soma."   Andrew Dillin.   HMS:  Bldg C, Cannon Room.   Details.*

1p.  "Data Visualization Done Differently."   Jonathan Schwabish.   MIT:  E51-325.   Details, Abstract.

2p.  "The Era of Gravitational-wave Astronomy."   Carl Rodriguez.   MIT:  37-252.   Details, Abstract.

4p.  "Arthropod Brains and Their Cambrian Antecedents: Correspondence, Divergence, and Evolutionary Stability."   Nicholas Strausfeld.   Harvard:  BioLabs Lecture Hall, 16 Divinity Ave.   Details, Abstract.

4p.  "The Past, Present, and Future of 21cm Cosmology."   Adrian Liu.   Brandeis:  Abelson 131.   Details.

4:30p.  "Functional Neurological Disorders: Scientific and Ethical Challenges."   Jon Stone and David L. Perez.   HMS:  TMEC 227, 260 Longwood Ave.   Details, Abstract, Registration.*

6 - 9p.  "Gotthard Tunnel – A Record Breaking Engineering Marvel Under the Swiss Alps."   Herbert Einstein.   swissnex Boston, 420 Broadway, Cambridge.   Details.

6 - 10p.  "Primacy & Arrowstreet."   Booz Allen Hamilton, 50 Milk St, 20th flr, Boston.   Details.

6:30p.  "Why Don’t We All have Cancer?  Natural Immunity Against the Transformed Self."   Mark Cobbold.   Aeronaut Brewert, 14 Tyler St, Somerville.   Details.

Friday, January 27

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

8:30a.  "Dissecting Diversity: Developing tools to probe bacterial biology at a single cell level."   Sarah Fortune.   Sarah Fortune Lab.   Harvard:  24 Oxford, Room 310.   Details.

11:15a.  "RNA Duplexes and the Spliceosome: Basepairing is just the Beginning."   Aaron Hoskins.   Brandeis:  Rosenstiel 118.   Details.

Noon - 2p.  "Solar Observing."   Michael J. Person.   MIT North Court.   Details, Abstract.   Weather Permitting.

4p.  "The Crumpled State: crumpling dynamics and the evolution of damage networks."   Shmuel Rubinstein.   Harvard:  Pierce 209.   Details, Abstract.

Saturday, January 28

10:30a.  "Winter Backyard Birding."   Boston Nature Center:  500 Walk Hill St, Mattapan.   Details.

Noon.  "3D Printing."   MIT Museum, 265 Massachusetts Ave.   Details.

Sunday, January 29

Noon.  "App Inventor."   MIT Museum, 265 Massachusetts Ave.   Details.

Monday, January 30

Noon.  "Networked Cultural Knowledge: Cultural Consensus and Cultural Consonance in Social Networks."   Rosalyn Negron.   Northeastern:  177 Huntington Ave, 11th floor.   Details, Abstract.

12:30p.  "Bacterial Genomics and its Translation to an Improved Understanding and Diagnosis of Infectious Disease."   Maha Farhat.   HMS:  Countway Library, Minot Rm.   Details, Abstract.*

1p.  "The Value of Predictability and the Difficulty of a Good Forecast."   Spencer Glendon.   MIT:  E51-335.   Details.

1:30p.  "Medical Physics."   Udi Meirav.   MIT:  6-120.   Details.

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

4p.   "Sketching and Streaming Algorithms."   Jelani Nelson.   Harvard:  Maxwell Dworkin G115.   Details, Abstract.

5p.  "Climate Science 101: Fundamentals of Climate Science."   Justin Bandoro.   MIT:  E51-325.   Details, Abstract.

6p.  "Introduction to Economics and Policy of Climate Change: How Will You Design a Climate Policy?"   Minghao Qiu.   MIT:  E51-325.   Details, Abstract.

7p.  "A Fish Called Wanda."   Catherine Dulac will discuss the science of attraction.   A Coolidge Science on Screen event.   Coolidge Corner Theater, 290 Harvard St.   Details, Abstract.

Tuesday, January 31

10a.  "From Gene Discovery to Novel Therapeutics in Autism Spectrum Disorder."   Joseph Buxbaum.   MIT:  46-3002.   Details.

Noon.  "An Excursion to Collect Tropical Fungi in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique."   Jason Karakehian.   Harvard:  Herbarium Seminar Room 125, 22 Divinity Ave.  Details.

Noon.  "Not Bugs, But Features: Hopeful Institutions and Technologies of Inequality."   Dan Greene.   Harvard:  Location TBD.   Details, Abstract, RSVP.   Event will be live webcast at 12:00 pm.

12:30p.  "How do Hibernators Deal with Temperature Extremes?"   Elena Gracheva.   Brandeis:  Gerstenzang 121.   Details.

4p.  "Expanding Mechanisms and Therapeutic Targets for Neurodegenerative Diseases."   Aaron Gitler.   MIT:  46-3310.   Details, Abstract.

4p.  "Roman warships in Experiment: Reconstruction and Sailing Tests."   Hans Moritz Guenther.   MIT:  37-252.   Details, Abstract.

4p.  "The Extraordinary Lives of Supermassive Black Holes at the Centers of Galaxies."   Francisc Muller-Sanchez.   Brandeis:  Abelson 131.   Details.

5p.  "Climate Science 102: The Global Climate System and Climate Modeling."   Justin Bandero.   MIT:  E51-325.   Details, Abstract.

5:45p.  "Highlights of What We have Learned about Pluto from NASA's New Horizons Mission."   Cathy Olkin.   MIT:  4-270.   Details, Abstract.

6p.  "International Climate Governance and the Role of the United States."   Arun Singh and Michael Davidson.   MIT:  E51-325.   Details, Abstract.

Wednesday, February 1

9:30a.  "Mood-Behavioral Dysregulation in Youth."   Jean Frazier.   McLean Hospital:  de Marneffe 218.   Details.

Noon.  "What Automation can do for You: The benefits and pitfalls of automating your microscopy research."   A panel discussion.   A webinar.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

1p.  "The Origin and Structure of Behavioral Variability."   Jan Drugowitsch.   Drugowitsch lab.   Harvard:  Northwest 243.   Details, Abstract.

2p.  "Delay Discounting and Alcohol Use Disorder: Identifying Associated Endophenotypes."   Suzanne Mitchell.   BU:  Keefer Auditorium.   Details.

4p.  "Towards Greater Autonomy and Safety of UAVs: Collision Recovery for Quadcopters."   Inna Sharf.   Harvard:  Pierce 209.   Details, Abstract.

5p.  "Can Carbon Pricing Solve Climate Change: Lessons from climate policy efforts around the world."   Emil Dimantchev.   MIT:  E51-325.   Details, Abstract.

5:30p.  "The Last Mile in Materials Design: 6 barriers of Separation."   Sadasivan Shankar.   Harvard:  Maxwell Dworkin 119, 33 Oxford St.  Details.

6p.  "Embracing Uncertainty: How our society deals with not knowing and what we can do to prepare for climate change."   Christoph Tries.   MIT:  E52-164.   Details, Abstract.

7p.  "Eight Flavors."   Sarah Lohman.   Museum of Science, Cahners Theater.   Details, Abstract, Tickets.

7p.   "Nurturing the Liberated Landscape."   Larry Weaner.   Cambridge Public Library.   Details, Abstract.

Thursday, February 2

9a.  "The UV Surface Environment on Young Planets: Implications for Prebiotic Chemistry & Life on Other Worlds."   Sukrit Ranjan.   Naito Laboratory 205, 12 Oxford St.   Details, Abstract.

Noon.  "The Auditory System as the Brain's 'Early Warning' System."   Maria Chait.   Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Meltzer Auditorium, 243 Charles Street   Details.

Noon.  "Use of Multiple Antipsychotics Simultaneously – Is it Ever Useful?"   Dorst Ongur.   McLean Hospital:  Service Building, Pierce Hall.   Details.

2p.  "How to Control the Climate."   David Keith.   MIT:  NW17-218.   Details, Abstract.

Friday, February 3

8:30a.  "The News from the RNA World."   Steve Lory.   Harvard:  24 Oxford St., Room 310.   Details.

3p.  "Can We At Least Agree on Science?"   Michael Macy.   Northeastern:  177 Huntington, 11th floor.   Details, Abstract.   Please bring photo id.

6p.  "Women in Data Science."   A conference.   Microsoft NERD, One Memorial Drive.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

Saturday, February 4

10a.  "Your Developing Brain."   MIT:  Kresge Auditorium.   Details.

2p.  "Capturing Feathers, Fur, and Scales with Pencil and Paper."   Erica Beade.   Harvard Museum of Natural History.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

9 - 11:30a.  "Conifer Adaptations."   Nancy Sableski.   Anrold Arboretum, Hunnewell Bldg.   Details.

Monday, February 6

Noon.  "Drug Action at Molecular, Cellular, Organism and Population Levels."   Russ Biagio Altman.   Tufts:  Anderson Hall.   Details.

4p.  "Genetic Eveidence for a Neuro-immune Mechanism in Schizophrenia."   Steve McCarroll.   MIT:  46-3002.   Details.

6p.  "From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds."   Daniel C. Dennett.   Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St.   Details.

Tuesday, February 7

10a.  "Segmenting, Connecting, and Recalling Events."   Christopher Baldassano.   MIT:  46-3002.   Details, Abstract.

Noon.  "Highly Conserved Yet Remarkably Flexible: Leaf pigments, their roles in photoprotection and their detection at multiple scales."   Barry Logan.   Harvard:  Herbarium Seminar Room, 22 Divinity Ave.   Details.

Noon.  "Looking Forward: The Next Generation of Biosimilars."   A panel discussion.   HLS:  Wasserstein Hall, Milstein East A (2036), 1585 Massachusetts Ave.   Details, Abstract.

1p.  "Dynamic Drawings for Communication & Design."   Rubaiat Habib.   MIT:  32-G449.   Details, Abstract.

4p.  "Cosmology with Shadows in the Microwave Sky."   Nick Battaglia.   MIT:  37-252.   Details.

4p.  "Longevity Mechanisms in Long-Lived Rodents."   Vera Gorbunova.   MIT:  32-123.   Details.

6p.  "Cloud Computing."   John Conway.   Plus a panel discussion.   Vertex Pharmaceuticals, 50 Northern Avenue, Boston.   Details, Abstract.

7p.  "Is it OCD or an Eating Disorder?"   Jennifer Alosso.   McLean:  de Marneffe 132.   Details.

Wednesday, February 8

4:30p.  "Frugal Innovations for a Developing World."   Bill Thies.   MIT:  32-123.   Details, Abstract.

Thursday, February 9

5:15p.  "Using Data to Predict Fate: Future Insight or Folly?"   A conference.   Harvard:  William James Hall B1.   Details.

February 10 - 20.  "The 42nd Boston Science Fiction Film Festival."   Somerville Theater.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

Saturday, February 11

10 - 4p.  "I 'Heart' Science."   Harvard Museum of Natural History.   Details.

Tuesday, February 14

Noon.  "Hyperloop Law: Autonomy, Infrastructure, and Transportation Startups."   Marvin Ammori.   Harvard:  Location TBD.   Details, Abstract, RSVP.

Noon.  "Putting Marine Plant Diversity on the Map: Phylogenetic Biogeography in the World’s Oceans."   Barnabas Daru.   Harvard:  Herbarium Seminar Room, 22 Divinity Ave.   Details.

4p.  "New Probes of Old Structure: Cosmology with 21cm Intensity Mapping and the Cosmic Microwave Background."   Laura Newburgh.   MIT:  37-252.   Details, Abstract.

Wednesday, February 15

4p.  "Detecting Malware Callouts in Realtime Network Traffic."   Domenic Puzio.   MIT:  32-G882.   Details, Abstract.

4p.  "Human Brain Networks Subserving Cognitive and Affective Function: Normal individual variability, aging, and neurodegeneration."   Brad Dickerson.   MIT:  46-3310.   Details, Abstract.

7p.  "Seeds"   A documentary.   Museum of Science.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

Thursday, February 16

1 - 6p.  "The Future of Transportation, a Boston View."   Dry Dock.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

4p.  "Components and Computations for Building Adaptive Maps of Space."   Lisa Giocomo.   MIT:  46-3002.   Details, Abstract.

6p.  "Symbiosis and the Evolution of Life in the Ocean."   Peter R. Girguis.   Harvard Museum of Natural History.   Details, Abstract.

7:30p.  "Gravitational Waves FOUND."   Rainer Weiss.   Center for Astrophysics:  Phillips Auditorium, 60 Garden St.   Details, Abstract, Tickets.

Friday, February 17

12:30p.  "Boltzmann And The Lattice: A Very Happy Computational Marriage."   Sauro Succi.   Harvard:  Maxwell Dworkin G115.   Details, Abstract.

Monday, February 20

10 - 1p.  "How to Build a Better Moustrap."   MIT Museum.   Details.

Tuesday, February 21

9:30 - 3:30p.  "Workshop: Physical and Virtual Chain Reactions."   MIT Museum.   Details, Abstract, Registration.

Noon.  "Ethnophytotechnology: Harnessing the Drug Discovery Potential of Ethnobotany with Biotechnology."   John De La Parra.   Harvard:  Herbarium Seminar Room, 22 Divinity Ave.   Details.

1p.  "Extreme Crowdsourcing: From Balloons to Ethics."   Iyad Rahwan.   MIT:  32-G449.   Details, Abstract.

4p.  "Tracing the Cosmic Shutdown of Star Formation in Massive Galaxies."   Kate Whitaker.   MIT:  37-252.   Details, Abstract.

Thursday, February 23

1 - 5:30p.  "New Insights in ALS Research."   A conference.   HMS:  Armenise Amphitheater, 210 Longwood.   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.