News

Toxic inequality

Toxic inequality

October 11, 2016

In 2014, lead began leaching into the water system in Flint, Mich., a majority African-American city where more than 40 percent of residents live below the poverty line. In August, severe ground contamination forced more than 1,000 inhabitants from their homes in East Chicago, Ind. The highest levels of lead- and arsenic-poisoned soil were found in the West Calumet Housing Complex, home mostly to low-income minority families.

Now arriving: Internet of Things

October 5, 2016

While several technical experts highlighted just how smart our appliances, lights, cars, factories, and even cities are becoming, another questioned whether we’re thinking hard enough about what technology should do rather than what it can do.

A hot idea for conserving energy

A hot idea for conserving energy

September 29, 2016

When winter temperatures drop to frigid in Cambridge, the air inside some rooms at Eliot House soars to downright tropical.

That’s because Eliot, an upperclassman dormitory built in 1931, uses a steam-driven heat exchanger to pump hot water through the building whenever the outdoor temperature drops below 48 degrees. To ensure that enough steam reaches radiators at the end of the line, radiators in rooms closer to the input get hotter than necessary.

Teaching computers to identify odors

Teaching computers to identify odors

September 21, 2016

Though scientists have long known that mice can pick out scents — the smell of food, say, or the odor of a predator — they have been at a loss to explain how they are able to perform that seemingly complex task so easily.

But a new study, led by Venkatesh Murthy, professor of molecular and cellular biology, suggests that the means of processing smells may be far simpler than researchers realized.

How the brain develops

How the brain develops

August 16, 2016

The developmental period from childhood to young adulthood is marked by profound physical, social, and emotional changes. But exactly how those changes are reflected in the brain remains something of a mystery.

In an effort to get a clearer picture of how the brain and the connections between its regions change throughout development, Harvard scientists and researchers from three other universities will share a $14 million grant to support one of the most comprehensive brain imaging studies ever undertaken.

Toward a better screen

Toward a better screen

August 10, 2016

Harvard University researchers have designed more than 1,000 new blue-light-emitting molecules for organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) that could dramatically improve displays for televisions, phones, tablets, and more.