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Harvard

Science

Detecting industrial pollution could be an effective approach to finding ET

According to researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), we might soon be able to detect hints of technologically advanced alien civilizations by measuring high levels of polluting gases in the atmospheres of distant exoplanets. The approach should become viable soon after the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is launched in late 2018.Read More

Space

Astronomers discover exoplanet with longest known year

With the aid of NASA's Kepler spacecraft, a team of astronomers, including members from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, has discovered an exoplanet with the longest yearly cycle ever recorded. The planet, imaginatively named Kepler-421b, takes an impressive 704 days to orbit its parent, a dim type K star.Read More

Science

Artist creates a living copy of Vincent Van Gogh's ear with relative's DNA

If you thought cloning mice, frogs and extinct mammoths to be challenging, how about cloning Vincent Van Gogh's ear? Dutch artist Diemut Strebe has grown a living replica of the ear that Vincent Van Gogh reportedly sliced off in a troubled episode, using genetic material from one of Van Gogh's direct descendants. With a lifespan of 80 years or more, the ear could live as long as any one of us, says Strebe, who is investigating the idea of replicating people from historical DNA. Read More

Good Thinking

Harvard uses projection technology to shine new light on faded Rothko murals

Fans of the abstract work of American painter Mark Rothko are in for a treat later this year. Harvard Art Museums has announced a seven-month exhibit called Mark Rothko’s Harvard Murals, set to open in November featuring six panels Rothko made for Harvard in 1961 and 1962, as well as a series of related studies. Besides the opportunity to see works that have not been displayed for more than a decade, visitors will be able to see the murals in a new light, thanks to new digital restoration technology. Read More

Space

Kepler-10c: The planet that shouldn't exist

Despite being currently offline, the Kepler space telescope is still turning up surprises. One of them is an Earth-like planet that’s so large that astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics call it a “mega-Earth.” Planet Kepler-10c is 17 times heavier than the Earth, and may require scientists to rethink their ideas on planet formation and the likelihood of life in our galaxy.Read More

Medical

Low-power laser triggers stem cells to repair teeth

Ranking among the X-Men probably isn't all that it's cracked up to be, but who wouldn't want their uncanny ability to regenerate lost bone or tissue? New research into tooth repair and stem cell biology, from a cross-institution team led by David Mooney of Harvard's Wyss Institute, may bring such regeneration one step closer to reality – or at the very least, give us hope that we can throw away those nasty dentures. Read More

Medical

"Heart disease-on-a-chip" could usher in an age of personalized medicine

When we've previously heard about "organs on a chip," they've been miniature recreations of healthy organs. If they're being used for research into the treatment of health problems, however, then it only makes sense that those "organs" should have something wrong with them. With that in mind, a group of Harvard scientists have created the world's first lab-grown sample of functioning human heart tissue that has a cardiovascular disease. Read More

Medical

Harvard researchers find protein that could reverse the aging process

Researchers from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) have shown that injections of a protein dubbed GDF11, when administered to older mice, appear to cause a reversal of many signs of aging. Analysis showed that every major organ system tested displayed signs of improvement, with the protein even appearing to reverse some of the DNA damage which is synonymous with the aging process itself. Read More

Science

Scientists observe cosmic inflation and quantum gravity in the Big Bang

In a discovery that has profound implications for our understanding about the beginnings of the universe, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics this morning announced evidence of so-called primordial B-modes in the cosmic microwave background (CMB). These B-modes directly show quantum gravitational waves originating during the inflationary period of cosmic evolution, from about 10-36 sec to 10-32 sec after the Big Bang, and give us a direct view of physical processes taking place at 1016 GeV – a trillion times more energetic than particle collisions at the Large Hadron Collider.Read More

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