All goes swimmingly

first_imgAt nearly 100 feet long and weighing as much as 170 tons, the blue whale is the largest creature on the planet, and by far the heaviest living thing ever seen on Earth. So there’s no way it could have anything in common with the tiniest fish larvae, which are mere millimeters in length and tip the scales at a fraction of a gram, right?Not so fast, says L. Mahadevan, the Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics, of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, and of Physics.Using simple hydrodynamics, a team of researchers led by Mahadevan was able to show that a handful of principles govern how virtually every animal — from the tiniest fish, to birds, to gigantic whales — propel themselves though water. The study is described in a paper in Nature Physics this month.“What we wanted to investigate was how the speed of an organism changes as a function of how large it is, how quickly it moves, and how much it moves,” Mahadevan said. “To resolve that in detail, however, is very complex, because there are a great deal of differences in morphology and what parts of the body different creatures use to swim. The question is: Is there anything in common across all these organisms? The answer, we found, is yes.”In an effort to uncover those common principles, Mahadevan, working with a postdoctoral fellow in his group, Mattia Gazzola, and a colleague from the University of Nice, Médéric Argentina, began by trying to unpack the physics of how different creatures swim.“The traditional approach to swimming phenomena is to take a certain specimen and accurately characterize it via experiments and/or simulations, and try to generalize from there. But it is very hard to strip out specific biological effects from general principles,” Gazzola said. “We instead thought that while swimmers exhibit a huge diversity in shapes and kinematics, at the end of the day they all live in the water.“Therefore, we thought that if a unifying mechanistic principle existed, it had to lie in the constraints that the flow environment poses to all its inhabitants,” he continued. “And this is a purely physical problem, much easier to solve, since it is not affected by biological vagaries. What I like about this paper is that in one line of algebra we derived a compact formula that accounts for 50 years of experiments. This is an example of how powerful minimal modeling can be.“The basic relationship we wanted to understand was how the input variables — namely the size of the organism, the amount an organism moves, and how quickly it moves — control the output variable, which is effectively the speed at which it moves,” Mahadevan explained. “What we found is that there is a specific relationship, which can be described by in terms of a simple scaling law with two limits.”The first, which corresponds to creatures moving at intermediate speeds, describes situations where the bulk of the resistance is caused by skin friction, because water “sticks” to the organism’s body. At faster speeds, Mahadevan said, the resistance organisms face comes largely from pressure that builds up in front of and around them, which is described by the second limit.“While it wasn’t a surprise that the resistance changed as organisms moved faster, the fact that those challenges could be so simply described was interesting and provocative, because we are talking about organisms that range in size from a few millimeters to the size of a blue whale,” Mahadevan said.Armed with those observations, Mahadevan and colleagues turned to a host of empirical observations that had been made over the past 50-plus years. When the data were plotted on a graph, the researchers found that the swimming speed of virtually every organism, from fish larvae to frogs to birds and even whales, could be described by one of the two equations.The same held true, Mahadevan said, when Gazzola created complex computer models to solve the governing equations of fluid dynamics to describe how different organisms swim.“What is particularly interesting is that all the organisms essentially reach the hydrodynamic limits of performance,” he said. “Our simple theory, which doesn’t distinguish in any detailed way between something like a blue whale and fish larvae — except in the parameters of how large you are, how much you move, and how quickly you move — can describe all this diversity. That suggests there are general principles at work here.”Mahadevan is also the Audrey, Fay, Katherine, and Megan Shutzer Fellow for Science at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study for 2014-15.last_img read more


New evidence on Neanderthal mixing

first_imgNew research on a 45,000-year-old Siberian thighbone has narrowed the window of time when humans and Neanderthals interbred to between 50,000 and 60,000 years ago, and has shown that modern humans reached northern Eurasia substantially earlier than some scientists thought.Qiaomei Fu, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and first author of a paper describing the research, said the sample had a long history before making its way into her hands.The bone was found eroding out of a Siberian riverbank, but no one knows precisely where. The bone changed hands several times before finding its way to the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, where Fu was working with professors Janet Kelso and Svante Pääbo. Fu put the finishing touches on the research after she started in the laboratory of David Reich, HMS genetics professor.Carbon dating and molecular analysis filled in many of the blanks about the sample. Testing determined that the sample was from an individual who lived 45,000 years ago on a diet that included plants or plant eaters and fish or other aquatic life.Reich and Fu said the sample was remarkable because of the extraordinary preservation of its DNA, which allowed Fu, using the latest techniques for ancient DNA analysis, to extract a high-quality genome sequence. The sequence, Reich said, is significantly higher in quality than most genome sequences of present-day people generated for analysis of disease risk.The sequence revealed that the bone came from a modern human, a man whose remains are the oldest ever found and carbon-dated outside of Africa and the Middle East. Comparison to diverse humans around the world today showed that the man was a member of one of the most ancient non-African populations.“The ancient Siberian was related equally to West European hunter-gatherers, North Asian hunter-gatherers, East Asians, and the indigenous people of the Andaman Islands off South Asia,” Fu said. “The fact that this population separated so early indicates that theories of an early split of people who followed a coastal route to Australia, New Guinea, and coastal Asia are not strongly supported by this data.”The research, the forefront of which was in Germany and involved international collaborators including Reich, was published today in the journal Nature.One important aspect of the research is that it obtained a high-resolution estimate of the mutation rate in humans, Fu said.Prior research had given scientists evidence of two possible rates, one twice as fast as the other. Because of this large range, dates obtained from genetic studies have tended to be quite uncertain. By measuring the number of mutations missing in this individual and comparing with people now, Fu was able to obtain an accurate estimate of the rate that mutations accumulated over time. Her work came down definitively on the side of a slower mutation rate, corresponding to between one to two mutations per genome per year.“This is a huge biological result. It’s very important,” Reich said. “I was a partisan of the fast rates until I saw these results. Qiaomei’s work convinced me that the slow rates were correct.”Reich said the findings on mutation rate have sweeping implications, and provide a basis for reinterpreting key dates in human prehistory. Instead of humans and Neanderthals becoming distinct offshoots sometime between 270,000 and 380,000 years ago, for example, the slower rate would put that shift much further back in time, between 550,000 and 770,000 years ago. Similarly, the slower rate pushes back estimates for the date of the separation of African and non-African populations.“The slow mutation rates indicate that the present-day subdivisions among human populations date back to almost 200,000 years ago, well before the period around 50,000 years ago when the archaeological record documents art and new styles of toolmaking,” Reich said. “The implication is that the spread of modern human behavior must have been cultural, at least in part. Based on the genetic dates, it cannot be the case of a single population that developed modern human behavior spread all around the world replacing the other humans who already lived there.”In examining the ancient Siberian’s ancestry, Fu found about 2.3 percent of his DNA came from Neanderthals. That is a bit higher than found in modern humans living outside Africa today — a level that ranges from 1.7 to 2.1 percent — but too small a difference to be statistically significant, Fu said. Her findings on the date of human-Neanderthal mixing dramatically narrowed the likely range to between 50,000 and 60,000 years ago, a much tighter window than the previous range of between 37,000 and 86,000 years ago.“It’s like going up close to something with a camera,” Reich said of getting high-quality data from a specimen this old. “You just get a much better picture. … You can see big bits of Neanderthal ancestry not yet digested by the process of human biology.”The ancient Siberian’s DNA also contained pieces of Neanderthal DNA that were longer than researchers expected. DNA contributed from any individual is broken into smaller pieces with each passing generation during the normal mixing of maternal and paternal genetic material. The longer stretches of Neanderthal material, Reich and Fu said, may be the signature of mixing between Neanderthals and the ancestors of the Siberian individual within a few dozen generations of when he lived, though additional research is needed to ascertain that.“There are lots of potential confounders, so we wanted to be conservative,” Fu said. “Even if we cannot be sure of whether all the interbreeding occurred at once, the big picture is that we can be sure that the recent ancestors of this individual interbred with Neanderthals.”last_img read more


A summer of learning

first_img“CHSA is not your typical summer school. It is an intensive learning experience for both the high school students and for the teaching interns from the HGSE. The high school students have the opportunity to learn new things in a different setting and a different context than they may normally do in school, and our teaching interns really get the hands-on experience of learning on the job.  Any time we can give back to our neighbors, that’s a win-win for everyone,” said Beth Simpson, director of the CHSA.This year’s projects ranged from the mathematics of social justice to polynomial roller coasters, from autobiographical demonstrations to identity development.“For our project, we held a series of labs, and at each lab worked on a different art project. But this wasn’t an art class. It was a class to explore the science behind making art. At each lab we learned about a different scientific concept, such as the structure of an atom, or about different types of chemical bonds. At one lab we made tie-dye. At another we soaked paper in cabbage juice and examined how the cabbage’s acidity affected the paint,” said Jessilyn Reese, a teacher at Cambridge Rindge and Latin.Edison Baez, 17, of Roslindale explained how they made paint. “We basically crushed up various compounds to make certain colors, just like they had to do in the olden days. In fact,” he said, “this is the prime way people made paint up until the 14th century, when oil paint was developed.”Things weren’t quite so calm over in biology, where students were trying to help save the world and various animals in it from extinction.“Our project was called the Catastrophe Project,” said biology teacher Maria Chal, a member of HGSE’s Class of 2016. “We took a look at genes and genetic engineering. We looked at strips of DNA, tried to decode them and determine certain characteristics. Then we had to figure out how we could genetically modify that DNA so that our animal could survive certain catastrophes.”Amanuel Tedla, 16, of Cambridge was standing before his project, “Kangasaurus,” a frightening-looking dinosaur that in theory lived in the Amazon rainforest. Kangasaurus was carnivorous, but after a hypothetical catastrophe befell Earth, it was no longer be able to hunt. Tedla needed to figure out if he could genetically modify Kangasaurus so that it would be able to survive on plants, and he did so by taking out genes associated with eating meat and inserting specific genes from cows, allowing the dinosaur to become a certified vegetarian. “Then we had to look at the whole process, and decide if, overall, genetic modification was good or bad,” he said.Others used math for pragmatic purposes.“For my project, I decided to see what it would be like to convert my school gym into a weekend homeless shelter. For the plans, I used math to make it to scale,” said Jake Woisin, 16, of Cambridge. “We got to listen to an actual architect talk about how to lay out a building. It was all pretty interesting.”“This exhibition is by far my favorite thing about being part of CHSA,” said Bailey White, a 2014 graduate of HGSE, who has taught geometry at the summer academy for the past two summers. “The students are just so proud of their projects. It brings everyone together. There’s real pride in what they’ve been able to accomplish this summer, and it’s really nice to see that.” Marly Burgos (from left), Pedro Cintron, and Uchenna Eke introduce a robot named Bob Jr. Students discuss what it takes to make paint. Beyond summer school Pedro Cintron and Scott Bustabad talk at the Cambridge-Harvard Summer Academy’s annual student exhibition. Photos by Matthew Weber/HGSE Communications Cambridge Rindge and Latin School chemistry teacher Jessilyn Reese explains the different labs where students can explore the art of science. As visitors walked into the final student exhibition at the Cambridge-Harvard Summer Academy (CHSA), they were greeted by “Bob Jr. from Harvard,” who directed them to where they needed to go. Bob was decked out in full Harvard regalia. He was handsome. He was polite. And he was a robot, made by two local high school students participating in CHSA as part of their final project.“This was a really great project because it was a little of everything,” said Uchenna Eke, 17, of Cambridge. “Obviously it was computer science because we built a robot and fed it commands. It was physics because we made him move using resistance and energy. It was engineering. It was art. It was many different types of science in one project.“We really put our whole heart into this. At first we thought it would be impossible, but we worked together as a team and really made it happen,” continued Eke, who labored alongside Pedro Cintron, 15, of Hyde Park and Marly Burgos, 16, of Mattapan.Eke and Cintron were just two of the hundreds of students presenting their final projects at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School for the sixth annual CHSA Student Exhibition. CHSA is a partnership among the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), the Cambridge Public Schools, and the Cristo Rey Boston High School, a private Catholic school in Dorchester. The students participated in five weeks of summer enrichment provided by HGSE teaching teams that included a veteran mentor teacher and interns from the Teacher Education Program.last_img read more


Harvard student wins prestigious piano competition

first_imgTwenty-two pianists, ages 16-21, gathered from across the globe for the week-long event, which included four rounds plus a series of masterclasses and seminars. Awards are also given to the best duo, paired at the beginning of the competition, to perform in the ensemble round. The New York International Piano Competition’s policy of no elimination is unique to the competition; each contestant performed in all four rounds and was judged by a jury of some of the most distinguished members of the music community. Every participant returns home either as a prize winner or finalist award recipient. The level of competition has been uniformly high over the event’s 12 year history; former winners have gone on to win the Gilmore Young Artist Award, The Juilliard School’s William Petschek Recital Award, the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts at Harvard University, the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, the 2010 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition, and some to become National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts Presidential Scholars.Story link The Eighth New York International Piano Competition (NYIPC), presented under the auspices of The Stecher and Horowitz Foundation of New York, has crowned the winners of the competition. Harvard College student Aristo Sham ’18 claimed the Joyce B. Cowin First Prize, along with a $10,000 cash award and concert and recital appearances presented by the Stecher and Horowitz Foundation. Aristo Sham was also awarded Best Performance of the Required Contemporary Work by Lowell Liebermann, who was commissioned to write a piece for the competition. Mr. Sham was also granted $1,500 for this prize.last_img read more


Students shelter homeless youth at Y2Y

first_img 1Guests outside 1 Church St. in Harvard Square wait for 7 p.m., when the Y2Y shelter opens and they can be admitted for dinner and the night. Guests can stay for up to 30 consecutive nights, then must re-enter a lottery for additional time. 5Michael displays his two most prized possessions, his phone and passport. Michael traveled to France recently to visit his aunt, who lives in Nice and paid his way. Michael is an avid Patriots fan, and recounts past playoff games with great passion, acting out plays by quarterback Tom Brady. 7Isabel Parkey ’19 prepares freshly picked fall greens from the Harvard Community Garden on Mount Auburn Street. An effort is made to serve fresh vegetables and fruits in season. 4Michael speaks with student director Nathan Cummings ’18 in the privacy of a bunk room for staffers who work the overnight shift. Harvard student directors such as Nathan, as well as Law School students and youth workers from outside agencies, are available nightly to help guests with housing, health, employment, and personal issues. 12Guests Dorell B. (from left) and Janet B. pose with fifth-year Graduate School of Arts and Sciences student Sam Wellington. Dorell is hoping to enroll at Bunker Hill Community College. Janet is studying to be a veterinarian at Roxbury Community College. Both appreciate the help Y2Y gives them with housing and job issues, as well as the stress-free environment there. Sam studies tuberculosis and will be getting her Ph.D. in chemical biology this spring. She volunteers for nearly 30 hours a week, and appreciates the people focus at Y2Y, so different from her lab work. 3Y2Y shelter guest Michael, 20, looks out from his upper-level bunk. He recently interviewed for a job, and hopes to be asked back for a follow-up. 6Julie Park ’17 (from left), Jina John ’17 of Harvard Law School, and Sue Wang ’17 confer while preparing dinner. Local restaurants donate much of the food. Some is simply reheated, or in the case of sandwiches, served cold, but students also get creative with pasta, rice, and vegetable dishes that provide healthy alternatives to ready-made meals. 13A guest is buzzed into the Y2Y homeless shelter in time for dinner, an overnight stay, and some personal attention. For some, the friendly, nurturing atmosphere at the shelter might feel a bit like the home they always wanted but never had.center_img 8Guest Eva D. stands in the Y2Y shelter common space. She experienced domestic violence in her home. Eva, who is transgender, is very active on the part of LBGTQ and homeless youth. She currently works at a call center for several political and advocacy nonprofit organizations. Y2Y Harvard Square is believed to be the nation’s first student-run homeless shelter exclusively for young adults. It is located at 1 Church St., in the heart of the Square, and serves youth from 18 to 24. A Phillips Brooks House Association program, Y2Y was founded by two Harvard College graduates and is staffed mostly by students at the College.To obtain a bed for a 30-night stay, guests enter a lottery. No drugs or alcohol are allowed, and all guests are screened with a security check at the door. Single-night stays are available on a call-in basis. Y2Y can accommodate 27 people overnight, and provides showers, laundry facilities, clothing, computer access, breakfast, and dinner. Beyond basics, Y2Y offers help with housing, finding jobs, legal services, medical care, and provider referrals, and creates a personalized, nurturing atmosphere for its guests. 10Eva D. stands outside the Y2Y homeless shelter with two meals she was given by shelter staff. Her 30-day eligibility is up and she cannot come inside this evening. She will give one meal to a friend who is waiting down the street, then try to find another shelter where she can spend the night. 2Sleeping quarters at the Y2Y homeless shelter. Beds are somewhat enclosed in this three-tiered structure, with ladders providing access to the upper two levels. The arrangement gives a certain degree of privacy while still allowing guests to look out through windows. 11Y2Y shelter guest Dorell B. grew up in Roxbury, graduated from high school in Dorchester, and has attended two community colleges. A graffiti artist and performer of beat music, he is currently working for a ride service in a non-driving capacity. 9Guest Dyaunnhdre O., left, watches case manager Shreya Mathur ’18 look through housing listings. Dyaunnhdre would prefer to live in a familiar neighborhood. last_img read more


Nation’s opioid emergency shows in findings on ICUs

first_img Related The same week that President Trump declared the nation’s opioid epidemic a national emergency, investigators at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center reported a sharp rise in opioid-related admissions and deaths at U.S. intensive care units.The new study, published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, is believed to be the first to quantify the impact of opioid abuse on critical care resources in the United States. The findings reveal that opioid-related demand for acute care services has outstripped the available supply.The president announced the emergency designation on Thursday, following the recommendation of a presidential panel focused on the opioid crisis. The panel includes Professor Bertha K. Madras of Harvard Medical School.Analyzing data from the period between Jan. 1, 2009, and Sept. 31, 2015, the Beth Israel researchers documented a 34 percent increase in overdose-related ICU admissions. The average cost of care per ICU overdose admission rose by 58 percent, from $58,517 in 2009 to $92,408 in 2015. Opioid deaths in the ICU nearly doubled during that same period. Rising threat: Death by fentanyl MGH addiction specialist explains synthetic opioid’s role in U.S. epidemic “This study tells us that the opioid epidemic has made people sicker and killed more people, in spite of all the care we can provide in the ICU, including mechanical ventilation, acute dialysis, life support, and round-the-clock care,” said the study’s lead author, Jennifer P. Stevens, associate director of the medical intensive care unit at Beth Israel and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.Using a national hospital database, Stevens and colleagues analyzed almost 23 million hospital admissions of adult patients in 162 hospitals in 44 states over a seven-year period. Among the more than 4 million patients requiring acute care, the researchers found 21,705 who were admitted to ICUs due to opioid overdoses.The researchers’ analysis revealed that opioid-related ICU admissions increased an average of more than half a percent each year over the study period and that patients admitted to ICUs as a result of overdose required increasingly intensive care, including high-cost renal replacement therapy or dialysis. The mortality rates of these patients climbed at roughly the same rate, on average, with a steeper rise in deaths of patients admitted to the ICU for overdose after 2012.These data not only document the scope of the opioid abuse epidemic, they also reveal its complexity. Stevens and colleagues suggest that any opioid overdose-related admission is a preventable one, and that the team’s findings not only represent the need for increased acute care resources, but also for expanded opioid-abuse prevention and treatment.The authors noted that the data they analyzed came mainly from urban academic medical centers and may not reflect overdose-related acute care needs in other settings. They added that their methodology likely underestimates the burden of opioids on acute care resources by focusing on overdose admissions and not counting those due to complications related to drug use.“The pace of the opioid epidemic continues to increase,” said Stevens. “Those of us who work in hospital intensive care units need to make sure we have the tools we need to help patients with opioid use disorders when they are at their sickest, because there doesn’t appear to be any end to this epidemic in sight.”last_img read more


Radcliffe welcomes Boston students for justice-focused workshop

first_imgHarvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study was one of seven Boston-area higher education institutions to host Boston Public School students on Aug. 5­–9 as part of the Summer of HOPE Institute.Radcliffe, in partnership with the Boston Public Schools (BPS) and the Juvenile Alternative Resolution Program of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, designed a curriculum focused on socio-emotional learning, personal narrative, and the concepts of justice and injustice.The workshop reflected Radcliffe’s new strategic plan, Radcliffe Engaged, which channels Dean Tomiko Brown-Nagin’s vision of active engagement between institutions of higher learning and local communities. Radcliffe convened facilitators and guest speakers from across Harvard to work with BPS students to build a community of trust and respect, engage in difficult conversations, explore one another’s stories, and delve into examples of activism from the “Papers of Angela Y. Davis,” now housed at Radcliffe’s Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America.Facilitators and guest speakers included Melissa Bartholomew, a racial justice fellow and instructor in ministry at Harvard Divinity School; Jarrett Drake, a doctoral candidate in the department of anthropology in Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; David Harris, managing director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute at Harvard Law School; Shawon Jackson, an M.P.P. candidate at Harvard Kennedy School and an M.B.A. candidate at Stanford University; Tracie Jones, director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE); David Knight, a doctoral candidate at the University of Chicago who holds a master’s from HGSE; Nicole Morris, a master’s candidate at Harvard Divinity School; Darien Pollock, a doctoral candidate in the department of philosophy in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; Kaia Stern, Radcliffe’s first practitioner-in-residence and a lecturer at the Graduate School of Education; and Aysha Upchurch, director of HipHopEx and a lecturer at the Graduate School of Education.Students started the week by offering definitions of justice and injustice and imagining ways to build a more just world, exploring their ideas through music. The students analyzed videos and lyrics by Carrie Underwood, Beyoncé, and Dead Prez, which led to a debate on art and activism.Later, students connected Davis’ writings to their own values, drawing on such sources as “Get It Together: An Open Letter to Black High School Students from Angela Davis, Marin County Jail, March 23, 1971” to examine history through a contemporary lens. In the letter, Davis writes, “Our people, and particularly you, my youth, are growing conscious of our power, our strength.” Decades later, her questions for young people have lost none of their immediacy: What will you do with your voice and freedom? How will your voices help us move toward a world where we can all be free? Read Full Storylast_img read more


Harvard partners with national labs on quantum computing

first_img Harvard Quantum Initiative Co-Director Lukin on ‘quantum supremacy’ and Google’s announcement of its achievement Harvard’s quantum leap Toward an unhackable quantum internet Riding the quantum computing ‘wave’ Researchers demonstrate the missing link for a quantum internet As quantum science and engineering come into their own, co-directors of new initiative say anything is possible “We are doing the basic research into a new quantum-computing platform — individually controlled arrays of single molecules,” said Doyle. “This new center will seed our ideas into other areas of research as we, in turn, learn about new developments made with other quantum platforms. I’m so thankful for all the hard work from people in the Harvard Quantum Initiative who made it possible for us to be part of this center.”Doyle and Lukin will be working with Markus Greiner, also a George Vasmer Leverett Professor of Physics, and Kang-Kuen Ni, the Morris Kahn Associate Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and of Physics, on this project.The Quantum Science Center, led by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory outside Knoxville, Tenn., likewise will receive $115 million over five years to develop topological quantum materials for manipulating, transferring, and storing information, and transition this knowledge to the private sector for use in practical applications such as quantum computers and sensors.Amir Yacoby, professor of physics and of applied physics, will lead one of the research directions focused on developing new approaches for sensing quantum matter. Prineha Narang, assistant professor of computational materials science at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), is also a member of this research team.Yacoby and Narang’s work will focus on using quantum sensing techniques to explore quantum materials. Quantum materials exhibit exotic and often mind-boggling properties, such as quantum fluctuations, quantum entanglement, quantum coherence, and topological behavior. These materials could be powerful platforms for quantum technologies — if researchers can understand and harness their underlying properties. Yacoby and Narang plan to use superconducting circuits and magnonic excitations to find new ways to explore these powerful materials on the mesoscale.“The Quantum Science Center is about transforming typically fragile quantum states into resilient, controllable, and scalable quantum systems in order to realize the promise of quantum technologies,” said Narang. “It’s an incredible team of people, and I’m super excited to not only partner with Oak Ridge National Lab over the next five years but also to forge relationships with the industry partners, particularly Microsoft and IBM, who will be crucial to translate our fundamental work into technology.”The Co-Design Center for Quantum Advantage, headquartered at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y., on Long Island, will receive $115 million over five years to develop materials, devices, software, and applications that will serve as a platform for the next generation of quantum computing capabilities. The goal is to overcome the limitations of today’s early stage quantum computers and propel the field forward to unlock new capabilities to tackle real-world challenges.Yacoby is a member of a research team that is focusing on developing a multi-probe scan system for exploring quantum materials and, in particular, superconducting qubits.“These research centers will allow us to develop new methodologies to unravel hidden properties of quantum materials,” said Yacoby. “In turn, these new material properties will lead to new quantum technologies with unprecedented capabilities.”The DOE also announced that Evelyn L. Hu, the Tarr-Coyne Professor of Electrical Engineering and Applied Science at SEAS and co-director of the Harvard Quantum Initiative, will sit on the National Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee (NQIAC), which will counsel the White House on QIS policy.“I am tremendously honored to be part of the NQIAC, to be able to work with outstanding colleagues to help guide a national policy in this transformative area of science technology,” Hu said. “I hope to serve as a conduit of information between perspectives at the national level and the wealth of exciting quantum activities at Harvard and the Boston area.”In addition to the DOE-funded QIS research centers, Harvard quantum engineers and scientists are involved in several other new quantum centers and institutes funded by the National Science Foundation. Lukin, Narang, and Marko Lončar, the Tiantsai Lin Professor of Electrical Engineering at SEAS, are PIs in the recently announced Engineering Research Center for Quantum Networks (CQN), headquartered at the University of Arizona in Tucson. CQN aims to create foundations for the future quantum internet by developing key technologies and new functional building blocks connecting quantum processors over local and global scales.Doyle and Susanne Yelin, professor in residence at the Department of Physics, will serve as co-PIs in the newly launched NSF Quantum Leap Challenge Institute for Enhanced Sensing and Distribution Using Correlated Quantum States. This institute, led by the University of Colorado in Boulder, will design, build, and employ quantum sensing technology for a variety of applications in precision measurement.“These funded centers are important steps toward stronger collaboration between leading academic groups, national labs, and industry in this rapidly developing field,” said Lukin. “We at Harvard are looking forward to extending and broadening these engagements that will benefit science, technology, and society.” Harvard scientists will take leading roles in a new federal government effort to advance quantum computing, an experimental technology that could make it possible to perform calculations at speeds inconceivable today and usher in game-changing innovations in medicine, artificial intelligence, drug development, and other fields.The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced last week the creation of five new Quantum Information Science (QIS) Research Centers across the country. These centers, led by DOE national laboratories, will be part of the U.S. National Quantum Initiative.The DOE awarded $625 million over five years to the Argonne, Brookhaven, Fermi, Oak Ridge, and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories to establish centers. Each facility will have an interdisciplinary research team and multiple partner institutions. Harvard researchers will play important roles in the centers at Brookhaven, Oak Ridge, and Lawrence Berkeley.“This very welcome federal investment in QIS Research Centers will catalyze advances in one of the most exciting areas of science today. Nobody who knows their work will be surprised to see the prominent roles that Harvard scientists and engineers, each one of them a leading innovator in quantum science, will play in the new centers,” said Provost Alan M. Garber. “I look forward to seeing the results of their research, which promises to help shape the future of computation and data science.”The Quantum Systems Accelerator (QSA) at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) in Alameda County, just north of the University of California, Berkeley, was awarded $115 million over five years to develop the solutions needed to build working quantum systems, which harness the power of quantum mechanics.Mikhail Lukin, a George Vasmer Leverett Professor of Physics and co-director of the Harvard Quantum Initiative, is project leader of one of the QSA’s major research thrusts: algorithms and applications. Lukin and his team will investigate how quantum computers can meaningfully speed up answers to real-world scientific problems and create new tools to quantify this advantage and performance.“Within this project, DOE labs partner with leading academic research groups from across the country to address some of the most important challenges in the field of quantum information science: building useful quantum systems, and working together toward the exciting goal of realizing new applications that are out of reach for the most powerful classical computers,” Lukin said.John Doyle, the Henry B. Silsbee Professor of Physics and co-director of the Harvard Quantum Initiative, is also a primary investigator (PI) at the center. His research will focus on creating programmable arrays of single molecules for use in quantum computing and simulations. The arrays can realize several different types of simulations and computations, with each molecule acting as a single qubit, the much more powerful quantum version of a classical computer bit. Relatedlast_img read more


Common pots prepared by neighbors feeding thousands in Peru

first_imgLIMA, Peru (AP) — A survival strategy that first appeared in Peru’s capital four decades ago during the country’s civil conflict has become vital since the coronavirus pandemic arrived in the South American nation. People across the country are cooking in neighborhood “common pots,” banding together to provide to feed children and adults alike. In Lima, Genoveva Satalaya and her neighbors walk through the food markets hoping to find a kind merchant who will donate food to help fill the common pot for their neighborhood. They can prepare lunch only Monday through Friday because there’s not enough food for other meals. Their pot feeds 120 people, including seniors, children and pregnant women.last_img read more


RecSports offers free, trial classes

first_imgRecSports had a problem. Four years ago, students were dropping out of fitness classes because the classes weren’t what they expected or wanted. That changed when the department began offering a week of free fitness classes at the start of every semester. Shellie Dodd-Bell, RecSports fitness and instruction program coordinator, said when she first arrived in 2007, RecSports was giving students a lot of refunds for fitness classes. “So we began offering sample classes, which gives students an opportunity to feel things out before they commit,” she said. The sample class program has been very successful, with some 1,200 students taking part in over 50 free fitness classes offered in one week, Dodd-Bell said. Students from freshmen to seniors make use of the free classes, and their fitness levels are as varied as their ages. Linda Hardy, an 11-year veteran of RecSports yoga instruction, taught a sample class  Wednesday to a mixture of student abilities. “One girl came up to me before class to ask about becoming a yoga instructor here at Notre Dame,” Hardy said. “A handful of students had never done yoga before.” The sample class did not get through every yoga pose she had planned, but Hardy is glad that she was able to offer her class for a trial run. “The free sample probably promotes the class more than paying for it right up front,” Hardy said. “It helps the students adjust to a schedule and lets them pick and choose the best class and instructor for them.” The students in Hardy’s class also enjoyed sampling how the class fits into their schedules and exercise plans. “I’m glad I get to figure out if I like the class before making a commitment,” Elizabeth Benson, an off-campus senior, said. “It also helps to try out different instructors.” Freshman Jessica Schaefer was glad she could add yoga class to her schedule during her first week of college. “It’s a good chance to relax in the crazy start to the school year,” Schaefer said. “Now that I’ve been to the class, I can see that it would be worth it to pay the fee, to actually sign up.” Hardy’s sample yoga class had 14 students during the busy noon hour, a number that impressed some of the students. “I’m really impressed by how many people are involved in the fitness classes and other physical fitness stuff on campus,” Schaefer said, Although RecSports advertises for its sample fitness classes, many of the attendees hear about the opportunity by word-of-mouth. “My sister had taken yoga before and I decided to take the class with her,” Benson said. Meanwhile, Dodd-Bell offered some advice to students interested in attending a sample RecSports class, especially the popular Step, Sculpt and Pilates classes which have limited equipment. “Come early,” Dodd-Bell said. “The classes are first come, first served.” Above all, Dodd-Bell said, students should use the sample class week to find a fitness class that is “just right for them.”last_img read more