Fall 2015: Invaders & Defenders

Check out our Fall 2015 issue on Invaders & Defenders! Articles are posted individually as blog posts (links below). We also have a full issue in ISSUU (below) and PDF format (on our Archives page). Print issues are also available around Harvard's campus! http://issuu.com/harvardsciencereview/docs/hsrfall15invadersanddefenders?e=15877934/31752392     Table of Contents: NEWS BRIEFS AND GENERAL ARTICLES A New Horizon … Continue reading Fall 2015: Invaders & Defenders

Advertisements

To the Rescue: Insects in Sustainable Agriculture

by Ada Bielawski In 1798, Thomas Malthus published his Essay on the Principle of Population and described the limits of human population growth: the population will continue to grow exponentially while the Earth’s resources are able to sustain the increasing food production needed to feed this population. He concluded that, as the population approaches 8 … Continue reading To the Rescue: Insects in Sustainable Agriculture

Earth’s Missiles, Ready to Go?

by Eesha Khare In 1991, an unusual phenomenon was observed following the volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines. After nearly 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide were launched into the stratosphere1—the second largest eruption of this century—the global temperatures dropped temporarily by 1°F. Amid the large-scale destruction, it seemed the Earth was fighting … Continue reading Earth’s Missiles, Ready to Go?

Artificial Superintelligence: The Coming Revolution

by William Bryk The science fiction writer Arthur Clarke famously wrote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Yet, humanity may be on the verge of something much greater, a technology so revolutionary that it would be indistinguishable not merely from magic, but from an omnipresent force, a deity here on Earth. It’s known … Continue reading Artificial Superintelligence: The Coming Revolution

“Invaders from Earth!”: Exploring the Possibilities of Extraterrestrial Colonization

by J. Rodrigo Leal We’ve all seen films or heard stories about the “Invaders from Mars”: aliens coming from other galaxies to colonize Earth and take advantage of its bountiful natural resources. But what if the story happened the other way around? Organizations like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and private companies like … Continue reading “Invaders from Earth!”: Exploring the Possibilities of Extraterrestrial Colonization

Laws of Nature Defending Our Information: Quantum Cryptography

by Felipe Flores Secure communications and data encryption have been very important topics in the popular eye for the past few years, especially after Edward Snowden made public that the NSA attempts to intervene most communications. I, for instance, never thought my information would be that vulnerable and accessible to potential hackers, sponsored by a … Continue reading Laws of Nature Defending Our Information: Quantum Cryptography

Genetically Engineered Viruses Combat Invasive Cancer

by Caroline Wechsler 58-year-old Georgia resident Nancy Justice was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a tumor of the brain, back in 2012. Though her doctors immediately combated the cancer with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, the tumor relapsed in late 2014, stronger than ever. According to her doctors, Justice had only seven months to live because the tumor … Continue reading Genetically Engineered Viruses Combat Invasive Cancer

Genetically Modified Crops as Invaders and Allies

by Sophie Westbrook It’s not hard to tell frightening stories about genetically modified crops. These days, there is even a formula to follow: the soulless company creates dangerous variants, silences the protests of right-thinking environmentalists, and sends biodiversity and public health down the drain. This scenario’s proponents tend to be horrified by transgenic organisms. Unfortunately, … Continue reading Genetically Modified Crops as Invaders and Allies

Microchimerism – The More, The Merrier

by Una Choi Microchimerism, or the presence of genetically distinct populations within a single organism, throws a wrench in the biological concept of sex. Although we traditionally learn that biological females possess two X sex chromosomes and males possess X and Y sex chromosomes, microchimerism is responsible for the presence of cells with Y chromosomes … Continue reading Microchimerism – The More, The Merrier

Fight or Flight: When Stress Becomes Our Own Worst Enemy

by Anjali Chandra We have all heard of the amazing fight-or flight response: the man lifting a 3,000 pound stock Camaro, the woman fending herself against a bear with just a backpack, and the man outrunning a flaming sphere. Adrenaline surging, our body prepares to defend itself against a perceived threat. Our brain engages our … Continue reading Fight or Flight: When Stress Becomes Our Own Worst Enemy

Laws of Nature Defending Our Information: Quantum Cryptography

by Felipe Flores Secure communications and data encryption have been very important topics in the popular eye for the past few years, especially after Edward Snowden made public that the NSA attempts to intervene most communications. I, for instance, never thought my information would be that vulnerable and accessible to potential hackers, sponsored by a … Continue reading Laws of Nature Defending Our Information: Quantum Cryptography

“Invaders from Earth!”: Exploring the Possibilities of Extraterrestrial Colonization

by J. Rodrigo Leal We’ve all seen films or heard stories about the “Invaders from Mars”: aliens coming from other galaxies to colonize Earth and take advantage of its bountiful natural resources. But what if the story happened the other way around? Organizations like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and private companies like … Continue reading “Invaders from Earth!”: Exploring the Possibilities of Extraterrestrial Colonization

Earth’s Missiles, Ready to Go?

by Eesha Khare In 1991, an unusual phenomenon was observed following the volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines. After nearly 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide were launched into the stratosphere1—the second largest eruption of this century—the global temperatures dropped temporarily by 1°F. Amid the large-scale destruction, it seemed the Earth was fighting … Continue reading Earth’s Missiles, Ready to Go?

Genetically Modified Crops as Invaders and Allies

by Sophie Westbrook It’s not hard to tell frightening stories about genetically modified crops. These days, there is even a formula to follow: the soulless company creates dangerous variants, silences the protests of right-thinking environmentalists, and sends biodiversity and public health down the drain. This scenario’s proponents tend to be horrified by transgenic organisms. Unfortunately, … Continue reading Genetically Modified Crops as Invaders and Allies

To the Rescue: Insects in Sustainable Agriculture

by Ada Bielawski In 1798, Thomas Malthus published his Essay on the Principle of Population and described the limits of human population growth: the population will continue to grow exponentially while the Earth’s resources are able to sustain the increasing food production needed to feed this population. He concluded that, as the population approaches 8 … Continue reading To the Rescue: Insects in Sustainable Agriculture

Genetically Engineered Viruses Combat Invasive Cancer

by Caroline Wechsler 58-year-old Georgia resident Nancy Justice was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a tumor of the brain, back in 2012. Though her doctors immediately combated the cancer with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, the tumor relapsed in late 2014, stronger than ever. According to her doctors, Justice had only seven months to live because the tumor … Continue reading Genetically Engineered Viruses Combat Invasive Cancer

Microchimerism – The More, The Merrier

by Una Choi Microchimerism, or the presence of genetically distinct populations within a single organism, throws a wrench in the biological concept of sex. Although we traditionally learn that biological females possess two X sex chromosomes and males possess X and Y sex chromosomes, microchimerism is responsible for the presence of cells with Y chromosomes … Continue reading Microchimerism – The More, The Merrier

Kinesics: What Are You Really Saying?

by Priya Amin What do shoulder shrugs or crossed arms really communicate? Kinesics, or the systemic study of body behavioral communication,1 is a relatively new subsection in the study of language. More specifically, kinesics describes the importance of body motion behavior in social communication—it is the study of communication through “silent” language. Facial expressions, posture, … Continue reading Kinesics: What Are You Really Saying?

Invading the Human Heart

by Hanson Tam Pathogenic viruses and bacteria routinely invade the human body. But so do curative treatments ranging from drugs to surgery. In a society in which invasion connotes violence and injury, many people avoid acknowledging the intrusive nature of medicine. Awareness is important; it encourages the development of less invasive yet equally effective procedures. … Continue reading Invading the Human Heart

Bio-Inspired Slippery Surface Technology Repels Fouling Agents

by Serena Blacklow A start-up launched late in 2014 from our own Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering is working to commercialize ‘SLIPS’ technology. SLIPS Technologies’ mission is to customize super-repellent surfaces for whatever application under demand. Slippery lubricant-infused porous surfaces (SLIPS) can be formulated to repel water, bacteria, and oil, among other “fouling agents”. … Continue reading Bio-Inspired Slippery Surface Technology Repels Fouling Agents

Tuberculosis Declines in the US but Remains a Global Health Threat

by Jacqueline Epstein By the beginning of the 19th century, tuberculosis (TB) had killed one in seven people who ever lived.1 The disease is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is spread through the air from one person to another. While not every single person infected by the bacterium contracts the disease, people … Continue reading Tuberculosis Declines in the US but Remains a Global Health Threat

Treatment as Prevention: Updates on Efforts to Combat the HIV/AIDS Pandemic

by Elliot Eton The target is 2030. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has ambitiously set 2030 as the year by which we should achieve the end of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which has claimed the lives of 39 million people globally since the first cases were reported in 1981.1 This past year, to … Continue reading Treatment as Prevention: Updates on Efforts to Combat the HIV/AIDS Pandemic

Citizen Science and Sudden Oak Death

by Sophia Emmons-Bell Driving down California’s Highway 101, hugging the coast and cutting through the state’s most famous nature reserves, you will pass by hundreds of diseased tanoaks, bay laurels, and California black oaks. These trees, sick with Sudden Oak Death (SOD), are bruised with red and black splotches and bleed sap from cankers on … Continue reading Citizen Science and Sudden Oak Death

Skin Regeneration in Wound Repair

by Madeline Bradley Unlike some lower invertebrates, like fish and amphibians, which can regenerate all the skin layers and appendages (epidermis, dermis, hair follicles, sebaceous glands, etc.) perfectly, human skin often forms thin scar tissue lacking in appendages.1 The deformed appearance alone can take a serious toll on the quality of life for burn patients … Continue reading Skin Regeneration in Wound Repair

G(ut)enetics: The Genetic Influence of Our Internal Symbionts

by Austin Valido The human body is crowded. From the surface of our skin to the depths of our intestines, we are inundated with microscopic bacterium that aid with everything from defense to digestion. Large-scale scientific endeavors, headlined by the Human Microbiome project, have catalogued millions of species of bacteria and are just beginning to … Continue reading G(ut)enetics: The Genetic Influence of Our Internal Symbionts