Fall 2018: How Far is Too Far?

Our Fall 2018 issue is now available online! Articles are posted individually as blog posts (the articles are linked below), a PDF version is currently displayed on our Archives page, and print issues will be available around Harvard’s campus starting today. We hope you enjoy browsing through this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together! A big thank … Continue reading Fall 2018: How Far is Too Far?

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A Fantastic Voyage Through a Nano-Sized Universe

The 1960s was the birthplace of many tumultuous events, of which the Vietnam War, civil rights movement, and Kennedy assassination were a few. A more obscure, somewhat smaller event, however, was the making of the sci-fi movie Fantastic Voyage. Born from the political upheaval of the Cold War, the movie was a fantastic popularization of … Continue reading A Fantastic Voyage Through a Nano-Sized Universe

AI: Building Trust or Threatening a Cataclysm?

An Introduction Artificial Intelligence (AI) is still a nascent technology with astronomical promises. Nevertheless, AI seems to have kicked up a storm of debates, with people passionately arguing in favor of and against AI. The fear of losing one’s identity, way of life, or livelihood seems to be motivators of resistance (1,2). From tractors to cell … Continue reading AI: Building Trust or Threatening a Cataclysm?

Emerging Mitochondrial Therapies and Their Ethicality

Dubbed the “three-parent baby” by the media, a paper published in Reproductive Biomedicine Online in April 2017 details the live birth of a child through experimental spindle transfer, a procedure which involves the use of mitochondrial DNA from a donor.1 Aside from garnering much publicity, the study has raised important questions in the scientific community … Continue reading Emerging Mitochondrial Therapies and Their Ethicality

CRISPR: How Far is too Far?

It is 2018, only six years after the discovery of CRISPR-Cas9, and genome engineering has become a rapidly evolving, incredibly exciting field. In order to understand why CRISPR-Cas9 is considered a revolutionary technology, it is important to look at the history of genome editing. The field of genetics was originally pioneered by Austrian scientist Gregor … Continue reading CRISPR: How Far is too Far?

Asimov and AI: Investigating the Potential of Robotic Consciousness

Introduction Robots have pervaded popular culture since the dawn of the technological revolution; for nearly a century, authors, filmmakers, artists, and conspiracy theorists have prophesied that robots will someday break free from mankind’s control and wreak apocalyptic havoc. The popular TV show Black Mirror tells stories of futuristic tech run amok, from powerful and dangerous … Continue reading Asimov and AI: Investigating the Potential of Robotic Consciousness

Body-to-Head Transplants: The Future of Medicine or a Modern-day Frankenstein Fantasy?

Scientific history has proven that often the greatest medical breakthroughs go against society’s conventional criterion at that time. Today, society is faced with a pivotal, yet controversial, development in medicine: the body-to-head transplantation (BTH). Some believe that transplanting a head and a brain could perhaps be the final frontier in organ transplantation (1); while others are … Continue reading Body-to-Head Transplants: The Future of Medicine or a Modern-day Frankenstein Fantasy?

Americans Must Fix Their Health Habits Now—or Face the Consequences Tomorrow

Currently in the United States, 70.2% of the American population is either obese or overweight (1). Obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30+, while being overweight signals a BMI of 25+ (2).  This may not be a surprise to many, but we have to examine this statistic closely to understand the harmful health impacts it … Continue reading Americans Must Fix Their Health Habits Now—or Face the Consequences Tomorrow

(Baby You Can’t) Drive My Car: The Ethical Implications of Driverless Cars

Driverless cars are one of the hottest topics in media reporting on science today. The idea that a person may be able to tell a car where to go without having to operate it is alluring, and these vehicles have the potential to increase the efficiency and safety of travel. Scientists have many promising ideas … Continue reading (Baby You Can’t) Drive My Car: The Ethical Implications of Driverless Cars

Spring 2018: Can Science Save Us?

Our Spring 2018 issue is now available online! Articles are posted individually as blog posts (the articles are linked below), a PDF version is currently displayed on our Archives page, and print issues will be available around Harvard’s campus starting Fall 2018. We hope you enjoy browsing through this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together! A big … Continue reading Spring 2018: Can Science Save Us?

Vaccines against Opioids: A Solution or a Problem?

Opioid abuse is responsible for billions of dollars of additional healthcare expenditure, and more importantly, about 90 deaths every day in the US alone (1). In the treatment of addiction and eradication of the current opioid crisis, vaccination against street drugs has become a potential therapeutic option. Scientists from the Janda lab (Skaggs Institute) have developed … Continue reading Vaccines against Opioids: A Solution or a Problem?

Can Blockchain Save our Healthcare System?

“Did the Bitcoin Bubble Just Burst?”1 This latest news headline and many others immediately and frequently catch our attention with key terms such as Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and blockchain. We’ve all heard of the cryptocurrency or digital asset Bitcoin, but few understand it. More importantly, even fewer understand the technology that underlies it: blockchain. Although Bitcoin … Continue reading Can Blockchain Save our Healthcare System?

Aging and Debilitation: The Grave Reality, and Hopeful Future, of Treating Neurodegenerative Disease

Introduction At the start of the new year, during a time usually associated with resolution and new promises, two major pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer and Axovant, both announced the discontinuation of their campaigns to uncover drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, two progressive and debilitating neurodegenerative diseases that stunt cognitive function and deprive individuals … Continue reading Aging and Debilitation: The Grave Reality, and Hopeful Future, of Treating Neurodegenerative Disease

The Race to Quantum Supremacy

The computer is one of the most revolutionary devices ever invented, and it distinctively marks the landscape of the digital era. We use it to work, learn, teach, read, write, speak, share information, access the government, power hospitals, run businesses, automate industry, perform research, make purchases, secure data, watch movies, drive cars, fly planes, and … Continue reading The Race to Quantum Supremacy

No More Penicillin: A Future Without Antibiotics?

INTRODUCTION The invisible world of microbes is a scary place. For nearly the entirety of humanity’s existence, infectious diseases have been the leading cause of death. It wasn’t until recently that developments such as antiseptic chemicals, vaccinations, and pasteurization (to name a few) were developed to combat lethal pathogens. Because of those advances, life expectancy … Continue reading No More Penicillin: A Future Without Antibiotics?

One Dose, One Day: The Magic of Xofluza

On February 23, 2018 amidst a worst-in-a-decade flu season, the Japanese pharmaceutical Shionogi & Co. attained approval to sell a new influenza drug in Japan.1 Xofluza (or baloxavir marboxil) works unlike any antiviral previously developed. Instead of preventing infected cells from releasing viral particles, as the established Tamiflu medication does, Xofluza stops the flu from … Continue reading One Dose, One Day: The Magic of Xofluza

Space Biology and the Future of the Human Race

Space biology –– even the name of the field sounds like an oxymoron. Little research has been done in space biology, simply because of how difficult (and expensive) it is to get specimens up in space. Moreover, whatever research that does come from such experiments is not easily replicable and thus, often inconclusive. Yet space … Continue reading Space Biology and the Future of the Human Race

A Shocking Revelation: Deep Brain Stimulation as a Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease, a highly debilitating neurodegenerative disorder, is the most common form of dementia worldwide.1 Those afflicted struggle with issues with memory, thinking, and behavior; the slow, progressive onset of this cognitive decline2 makes it an insidious and emotionally painful illness for patients—nearly 44 million people worldwide3—and their families. More agonizing still: there is currently … Continue reading A Shocking Revelation: Deep Brain Stimulation as a Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease

Fall 2017: The Evolution of Science

Our Fall 2017 issue is now available online: The Evolution of Science! Articles are posted individually as blog posts (the articles are linked below), a PDF version is currently displayed on our Archives page, and print issues will be available around Harvard’s campus starting Spring 2018. We hope you enjoy browsing through this issue as much as we enjoyed putting … Continue reading Fall 2017: The Evolution of Science

Geoengineering: Turning Back the Climate Change Clock?

By: Sandip Nirmel Global warming and climate change pose significant threats to the future of life on Earth. With temperatures increasing by an average of 0.17 ° C each decade, scientists have already begun to witness changes in sea ice melt patterns and to witness increased scope of vector-borne diseases, among other consequences (1). To … Continue reading Geoengineering: Turning Back the Climate Change Clock?

Why Racial Prejudice Isn’t Scientifically Sound: The Evolving Concept of Race in Science

By: Jessica Moore “Heart failure (HF) is a big problem, especially for African Americans. If you’re African American, you’re more likely than people in other ethnic groups to get HF at a younger age, and you’re more likely than others to be hospitalized. Unfortunately, African Americans are also more likely to die earlier than are … Continue reading Why Racial Prejudice Isn’t Scientifically Sound: The Evolving Concept of Race in Science

The Limitations of Science Where it Matters Most

By: Will Bryk Without realizing it, you and everyone you know have been desensitized to the biggest questions of existence. Every human gradually accumulates consciousness and awareness of his or her existence from the time of birth up through the teenage years. A baby simply does not have the means to contemplate its own existence, … Continue reading The Limitations of Science Where it Matters Most

The Theory of Everything, Challenged

By: Connie Cai  Since 2004, there have been 67 anti-evolution education bills introduced by local governments in the United States (1). Three of those bills have been approved in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee. These laws make it legal for public school teachers to criticize the theory of evolution—as well as other politicized topics like climate … Continue reading The Theory of Everything, Challenged

Cyborg Bacteria: Catching Light

By: Michelle Koh What is a cyborg? One might imagine Terminator-esqe half-human, half-machine hybrids or other creatures with fantastic mechanical augmentations, but we must direct our attention down to the cellular level—to cyborgian beings that are far smaller. Despite these cyborgs’ underwhelming size, UC Berkeley researcher Kelsey Sakimoto and his fellow researchers of Professor Pei-dong … Continue reading Cyborg Bacteria: Catching Light

Feeling Blue: How Instagram Activity Can Provide Insight Into Behavioral Health

By: Julia Canick In a world that places a high premium on happiness, the prospect of coping with a mental illness as debilitating as depression can be frightening. Scarier still, general practitioners diagnose only about half of major depressive disorder (MDD) cases (1). In an effort to raise this unacceptably low rate of success, Andrew … Continue reading Feeling Blue: How Instagram Activity Can Provide Insight Into Behavioral Health

A (Dis?)harmonious Union: Chimeras

By: Una Choi Background: Animal Chimeras Chimeras prefigure prominently in classical and modern mythology; creatures ranging from the Greek chimera, a monster bearing lion, goat, and serpent anatomy, to the modernized hippogriffs found in popular fantasy fiction today have captured imaginations for centuries. Biologically, animal chimeras are organisms containing two disparate genomes. Natural chimeras are … Continue reading A (Dis?)harmonious Union: Chimeras

Climate Change: What Sweden’s Doing that Trump Isn’t

By: Jia Jia Zhang Imagine living in a greenhouse-gas emission and rubbish free environment. Hard to envision? Not for Sweden. The country’s revolutionary recycling system works so efficiently that Sweden has been importing rubbish from other countries for several years to sustain its recycling plants (1). Even better, as of February 2, 2017, the progressive … Continue reading Climate Change: What Sweden’s Doing that Trump Isn’t

Machine Learning: The Future of Healthcare

By: Puneet Gupta The U.S. healthcare system is a mess. Both the system’s infrastructure, such as the role of insurance companies, and its clinical aspects, such as how care is provided, are lacking in multiple ways. Though improvements in the infrastructure are necessary, this article will primarily discuss and suggest changes to the clinical side … Continue reading Machine Learning: The Future of Healthcare

Innocent Until Proven Free? The Question of Neuroscience and Moral Responsibility

By: Kristina Madjoska “Plead insanity!” you might have heard Detective Cohle say to some of his interrogees in the show True Detective. Even if you have not watched True Detective, chances are you have heard of the term insanity plea. The idea that moral and legal responsibility is alleviated when a person cannot control their … Continue reading Innocent Until Proven Free? The Question of Neuroscience and Moral Responsibility

The Discovery of Metallic Hydrogen

By: Felipe Flores The generation of metallic hydrogen by Professor Isaac Silvera and postdoctoral fellow Ranga Dias, PhD represents a crucial advance in the field of high-pressure physics. Originally theorised in 1935 by physicists Eugene Wigner and Hillard Bell Huntington, the ongoing project was finally brought to fruition at Harvard University in January 2017. Both … Continue reading The Discovery of Metallic Hydrogen

Habitat Conversion: A Major Driver of Species Loss

By Priya Amin What causes species loss? As biodiversity has become increasingly threatened, the call to understand the impact of human activity on species around the world has become particularly urgent. Drivers of species loss include climate change, pollution, and habitat conversion. Climate change has been linked to rising levels of carbon dioxide, which are … Continue reading Habitat Conversion: A Major Driver of Species Loss

Spring 2017: Changing Reality

Our Spring 2017 issue is now available online: Changing Reality! Articles are posted individually as blog posts (the articles are linked below), a PDF version is currently displayed on our Archives page, and print issues will be available around Harvard's campus starting Fall 2017. We hope you enjoy browsing this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together! … Continue reading Spring 2017: Changing Reality

OSIRIS–REx: A New Frontier after New Horizons

By: Alex Zapién It has been over a year since the New Horizons spacecraft approached Pluto in July 2015. Now, New Horizons continues its path into space much like New Frontier, the project responsible for New Horizons, continues its progress. New Frontier is also responsible for Juno, the space probe that successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit … Continue reading OSIRIS–REx: A New Frontier after New Horizons

The Falcon 9 Fireball Investigation

By: Alex Zapién On September 1, 2016, the Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (better known as SpaceX) lost one of its 70-meter (229-foot-tall) Falcon 9 rockets when it unexpectedly exploded during a simulated countdown on a launch pad in Cape Canaveral, Florida (1). The incident occurred two days before its intended launch, and eyewitness testimonies described … Continue reading The Falcon 9 Fireball Investigation

Waving Goodbye to the World’s Water and Energy Woes with Tidal Power and Desalination

By: Kristine Falck The state of the globe today puts the world’s future in question. We have a burgeoning population heading on 7.4 billion people, an 80% reliance on fossil fuels, and an imminent fresh-water shortage. By 2035, current estimates predict world energy consumption to increase by 50% as well as world water consumption by over … Continue reading Waving Goodbye to the World’s Water and Energy Woes with Tidal Power and Desalination

Perspectives On Artificial Intelligence

By: Eric Sun Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot commodity in the modern world. Machines are now capable of reading and transcribing books, recognizing speech, analyzing big data, playing chess and Go at superhuman levels, and identifying objects through computer vision. Corporate giants like Google, Intel, and Amazon have poured hundreds of millions of dollars … Continue reading Perspectives On Artificial Intelligence

Hyperthermophiles and Cryophiles: The World’s Most Extreme Organisms

By: Priya Amin Imagine diving into the Gulf of California and reaching a 120 °C hydrothermal vent located deep on the seafloor. Rich in hot hydrogen and carbon dioxide gas, these vents seem to spell death for any creature that dares to swim by. But if you look closely, you’ll notice an organism that not … Continue reading Hyperthermophiles and Cryophiles: The World’s Most Extreme Organisms