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A historic year for Harvard admissions

first_imgFor the first time in Harvard’s history, more than 30,000 students applied to the College, leading to an admission rate of 6.9 percent for the Class of 2014. Letters of admission (and e-mail notifications) were sent on April 1 to 2,110 of the 30,489 applicants. More than 60 percent of the admitted students will receive need-based scholarships averaging $40,000, benefiting from a record $158 million in financial aid. Families with students on scholarship are expected to contribute an average of $11,500 annually toward the cost of a Harvard education.A number of factors contributed to such unprecedented results. “In these uncertain economic times, prospective students and their families have been particularly drawn to the excellence of Harvard’s faculty and students, and its remarkable academic programs,” said William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid. “Harvard’s new School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has underscored Harvard’s commitment to expanding opportunities in engineering and all the sciences. The University is also highly focused on fostering closer relationships between the College and Harvard’s rich array of graduate and professional Schools, as well as its numerous research and regional centers. These University resources, many of which focus on national and international public policy issues, greatly expand and enrich the experience for Harvard College students,” he said.Applications to Harvard have doubled since 1994, and about half the increase has come since the University implemented a series of financial aid initiatives over the past five years to ensure that a Harvard education remains accessible and affordable for the best students from all economic backgrounds. “Financial aid has never been more important to students aspiring to higher education,” said Fitzsimmons. “The unwavering commitment of President Drew Faust, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael Smith, and Dean of the College Evelynn Hammonds to keeping Harvard’s doors open to all talented students sends a powerful message that reaches far beyond our campus,” he said. Seventy percent of undergraduates receive some form of financial aid.In 2004, Harvard introduced the first in a series of financial aid initiatives that have greatly expanded its appeal to students from a wide range of backgrounds. For the first time, more than 25 percent of admitted students are eligible for this program that asks for no parental contribution from those with annual incomes under $60,000, and reduces contributions from families with incomes of $60,000 to $80,000. “The search for talented students from modest economic backgrounds is more intense than ever before — a public policy result that is of significant benefit to our nation,” said  Fitzsimmons. “We hope the current economic environment, which is particularly challenging for families of modest means and for the school districts in which many of them live, will not discourage students from reaching their full potential and slow the progress evidenced in the past few years.”Many additional students are eligible for the expanded aid, announced in December 2007, for middle- and upper-middle income families. Families with incomes up to $180,000 a year and typical assets are now asked to contribute from zero to 10 percent of their income; home equity is removed from financial aid calculations; and loans have been eliminated for all students.By standard measures of academic talent, including test scores and academic performance, this year’s applicant pool reflects an unprecedented level of excellence. For example, more than 3,000 applicants scored a perfect 800 on the SAT Critical Reading Test; 4,100 scored 800 on the SAT Math Test; and nearly 3,600 were ranked first in their high school classes.More than half of the applicant pool and more than half (52.4 percent) of those admitted are men. Last year, both the pool and the admitted group were also comprised of more males, but the matriculating class had slightly more women, because a higher percentage of them accepted their offer of admission.Minority representation remained strong in this year’s admitted group, and similar to last year’s numbers, although it is difficult to make precise comparisons to previous years because of changes in federal requirements concerning the collection and reporting of race and ethnicity information. A total of 18.2 percent of the admitted students indicated they were Asian-American (17.5 percent last year), 11.3 percent African-American (10.4 percent last year), 10.3 percent Latino (10.6 percent last year), 2.7 percent Native American (1.1 percent last year) and 0.4 percent Native Hawaiian (0.2 percent last year).Geographic representation remained similar to last year’s figures. Nearly 24 percent of the admitted students are from the mid-Atlantic states, 21 percent from the Western and Mountain states, 18 percent from the South, 16 percent from New England, 11 percent from the Midwest, and 10 percent from the U.S. territories and abroad.Foreign citizens make up 9 percent of the admitted students. In addition, a significant number of other entering students will bring an international perspective, including 135 U.S. dual citizens, 92 U.S. permanent residents, and many Americans who have lived abroad. Together, foreign citizens, U.S. duals, and U.S. permanent residents constitute nearly 20 percent of the class. There are 79 countries represented in the Class of 2014. “Students with international living experiences add immensely to the education of their college classmates,” said Robin M. Worth, director of international admissions.[chart data=”24.9,12.2,21.3,24.3,8.3,6.8,2,0.2″ labels=”Humanities|Engineering|Social Sciences|Biological Sciences|Physical Sciences|Mathematics|Computer Sciences|Undecided” size=”500×200″ colors=”a6cee3,1f78b4,b2df8a,33a02c,fb9a99,e31a1c,fdbf6f,ff7f00″ title =”2010 Concentrations” type=”pie”] Students’ academic interests shifted somewhat this year. Nearly one-quarter (24.9 percent) of the admitted students intend to concentrate in the humanities, compared with  22.7 percent last year. Engineering attracted 12.2 percent, (10.2 percent last year), while students expressing an interest in the social sciences constituted 21.3 percent, (24.6 percent last year). Other choices remained similar to those made last year, with 24.3 percent planning a biological sciences concentration, 8.3 percent physical sciences, 6.8 percent mathematics, 2 percent computer science, and 0.2 percent undecided.The Class of 2014 will bring extraordinary extracurricular talents to Harvard across a wide range of endeavors. Major activities cited by students as extracurricular interests are music and other expressive and performing arts (46 percent), debate and political activities, including student government (34 percent), writing and journalism (21 percent), and social service (21 percent). In addition, 58 percent of the class expects to participate in recreational, intramural, or intercollegiate athletics.“The help of alumni/ae interviewers is more important than ever as the Admissions Committee chooses a small number of students from an ever-increasing applicant pool,” said Marlyn E. McGrath, director of admissions. “Personal qualities and character remain central to each and every admissions decision. Our 10,000 alumni/ae volunteers around the world make a huge difference to us in many other ways as well — attending college nights, visiting schools, and calling newly admitted students and hosting gatherings for them in April. We can never thank them enough for their loyalty and devotion to Harvard,” she said. Added James Wigdahl, liaison to the Alumni/ae Schools and Scholarship Committees, “We are particularly grateful to our alumni/ae volunteers for their patience and hard work in making our new electronic system function so well, a change that enabled interviews to be submitted in a much more timely and effective manner, even as the number of applications has risen.”Recruitment is the foundation of Harvard’s strength. Nearly 70 percent of all admitted students and 90 percent of minority students appeared on the original College Board Search List that helped launch Harvard’s outreach program for the Class of 2014. Staff will visit 60 cities this spring, targeting the high school juniors who may eventually join the Class of 2015. Joint travel trips will be conducted with Duke, Georgetown, Penn, and Stanford universities. “Joint travel is the fundamental element of our recruitment. Last spring and fall, Harvard admissions officers visited all 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, where we saw 40,000 high school students and parents. We also met with more than 3,000 high school guidance counselors,” said Angela Flygh, director of the Joint Travel Program. In addition, Harvard students visited some of these areas and others to speak at high schools.Eliminating Early Action two years ago allowed more time in the fall for staff to communicate with students who might not have otherwise thought about applying to Harvard. Joint outreach events with Princeton University and the University of Virginia (both of which also eliminated early admission) met with an overwhelming reception in November, previously a time when all three institutions were off the road conducting early-admission selection meetings. Harvard once again will visit nearly 20 cities with this group.“Undergraduate recruitment has a long and distinguished history at Harvard,” said Roger Banks, director of undergraduate recruitment. “Members of the Undergraduate Minority Recruitment Program [UMRP] and the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative [HFAI] played a crucial role in attracting this year’s record pool of admitted students.” Members of both organizations telephoned and sent e-mail messages and letters to prospective applicants. They also conducted recruitment trips to various parts of the country and met with middle school and high school student groups who visited campus.“HFAI is one of Harvard’s highest priorities, and once again we were able to attract outstanding students from families with annual incomes under $60,000 and $80,000,” said Patrick Griffin, director of HFAI. Precious Eboigbe, HFAI assistant director, noted, “Undergraduates worked closely with staff and alumni/ae, forming a partnership that enabled us to reach out to talented students from modest economic backgrounds.” Monica Del Toro-Brown, the other assistant director, added, “HFAI opens up new worlds that many students never dreamed were possible.”Fitzsimmons and McGrath again praised the efforts of the Undergraduate Admissions Council (UAC) and the undergraduate tour guides and greeters who work throughout the year with visitors to Cambridge — leading tours, hosting prospective applicants overnight, and visiting high schools. David L. Evans, director of the UAC, noted that “prospective students are extremely interested in meeting current undergraduates to learn firsthand about the Harvard experience.” Added Elise Eggart, UAC associate director, “UAC members extend a warm welcome to students interested in Harvard. Their hospitality and thoughtfulness are greatly appreciated, both by prospective students and their families.”Elizabeth Pabst, director of the Undergraduate Tour Program, said, “Our tour guides and greeters welcome students to campus throughout the year. They love to share personal anecdotes about life at Harvard, both inside and outside the classroom. They often are the first Harvard students a prospective applicant meets, and they introduce college life with grace, humor, and enthusiasm.” Added Devery Doran, assistant director of the program, “Rain or shine, in small groups or large, you’ll find them walking backward through Harvard Yard, leading groups of prospective students and their families from around the world.”McGrath emphasized the important role of the teaching faculty in the admissions process. Faculty members speak with many prospective students in person or on the phone and answer their letters and e-mail inquiries. “Faculty accessibility is a clear demonstration of Harvard’s commitment to undergraduate education. In addition, faculty members read hundreds of applications, evaluate academic research of all kinds, and assess portfolios across a range of academic disciplines,” she said.Members of the teaching faculty serving on the Admissions Committee are: Peter J. Burgard, John E. Dowling, Edward L. Glaeser, Benedict H. Gross, Guido Guidotti, Evelynn M. Hammonds, Joseph D. Harris, J. Woodland Hastings, Eric N. Jacobsen, Thomas Jehn, Harry R. Lewis, Richard M. Losick, David R. McCann, Michael D. Mitzenmacher, Cherry Murray, Richard J. O’Connell, Orlando Patterson, Frans Spaepen, Christopher Stubbs, Steven C. Wofsy, Robert M. Woollacott, and Amir Yacoby.Personal contact with admitted students will be important over the next few weeks. Members of the Undergraduate Admissions Council, the Undergraduate Minority Recruitment Program, the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative, the admissions and financial aid staff, and the teaching faculty will telephone and meet with admitted students.For the seventh year, the Admissions Office hosted message boards for students throughout the year. In addition, chat sessions in April will provide an opportunity for admitted students to speak with Harvard undergraduates and one another. Danielle Early, director of Internet communications, said, “The chat sessions and message boards extend our outreach and recruitment to students across the world.” Prospective Harvard students can post questions to Harvard undergraduates and admissions representatives on the message board. “The boards provide yet another way for students to meet and make connections with future classmates,” said Early.To give admitted students the opportunity to experience Harvard life and meet their future professors and classmates, a Visiting Program for admitted students is scheduled for April 24-26. In addition to visiting classes, students will attend faculty panel discussions, concerts, receptions, department open houses, symposia, and dozens of events organized by extracurricular organizations. More than 1,300 admitted students will visit during April, and 1,100 will be here during the Visiting Program. “We know that contact with current undergraduates and faculty is critically important to students as they evaluate their college options. Students often cite the Visiting Program as pivotal in their decision to choose Harvard,” said Visiting Program Director Valerie Beilenson.Sarah C. Donahue, director of financial aid, and her colleagues will be available to talk with admitted students and their families on weekdays during April from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EDT. “Especially in these challenging economic times, we look forward to talking with students and parents who have concerns or questions about how to finance a Harvard education, including families who may not have applied for financial aid but who are interested in the wide range of available payment options. Our program offers assistance to all students and families, ranging from full financial aid to a number of financing alternatives: a monthly payment plan, the opportunity to prepay tuition at current rates, and a variety of parent loan programs that extend payments up to 15 years,” she said.“Students and their families should know that there are other forms of financial assistance, such as the Faculty Aide Program, the Harvard College Research Program, and the Dean’s Summer Research Program, which enable students to create paid partnerships with faculty members on academic projects of mutual interest,” said Meg Brooks Swift, director of student employment and the Harvard College Research Program.Admitted students have until May 1 to accept their offers of admission.last_img read more

South Asia Initiative offers grants for summer

first_imgSince its inception in 2003, the South Asia Initiative (SAI) has raised the profile of South Asian studies at Harvard and internationally; generated interdisciplinary research; sent faculty and students to South Asia for study, research and service learning; and conducted high-profile seminars and conferences. The SAI has forged links and synergies across Harvard’s Schools and has enriched intellectual life on campus by organizing academic seminars and conferences that cut across various disciplines.he South Asia Initiative offers grants each year to students pursuing interests in South Asia. This year, 10 graduate students were selected to participate in the SAI Graduate Associate Program for 2010-11. This summer, the SAI will support 49 undergraduate and graduate students traveling to South Asia to conduct research, perform fieldwork, participate in internships, and pursue South Asian language study.For a complete list of grant recipients, visit the South Asia Initiative Web site.last_img read more

Hyperfast star was booted from Milky Way

first_imgA hundred million years ago, a triple-star system was traveling through the bustling center of our Milky Way galaxy when it made a life-changing misstep.  The trio wandered too close to the galaxy’s giant black hole, which captured one of the stars and hurled the other two out of the Milky Way.  Adding to the stellar game of musical chairs, the two outbound stars merged to form a super-hot blue star.This story may seem like science fiction, but Harvard astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope say it is the most likely scenario for a so-called hypervelocity star, known as HE 0437-5439, one of the fastest ever detected.  It’s blazing across space at a speed of 1.6 million miles (2.5 million kilometers) an hour, three times faster than our Sun’s orbital velocity in the Milky Way.Hubble observations now confirm that the stellar speedster hails from the Milky Way’s core, settling some confusion over where it originally called home.  The findings have been published online in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.Most of the roughly 16 known hypervelocity stars, all discovered since 2005, are thought to be exiles from the heart of our galaxy.  But this Hubble result is the first direct observation linking a high-flying star to a galactic center origin.“Using Hubble, we can for the first time trace back to where the star comes from by measuring the star’s direction of motion on the sky.  Its motion points directly from the Milky Way center,” says astronomer Warren Brown of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., a member of the Hubble team that observed the star and the paper’s lead author.  “These exiled stars are rare in the Milky Way’s population of 100 billion stars.  For every 100 million stars in the galaxy lurks one hypervelocity star.”The movements of these unbound stars could reveal the shape of the dark matter distribution surrounding our galaxy.   “Studying these stars could provide more clues about the nature of some of the universe’s unseen mass, and it could help astronomers better understand how galaxies form,” says team leader Oleg Gnedin of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “Dark matter’s gravitational pull is measured by the shape of the hyperfast stars’ trajectories out of the Milky Way.”The stellar outcast is already cruising in the Milky Way’s distant outskirts, high above the galaxy’s disk, about 200,000 light-years from the center.  By comparison, the diameter of the Milky Way’s disk is approximately 100,000 light-years.  Using Hubble to measure the runaway star’s direction of motion and determine the Milky Way’s core as its starting point, Brown and Gnedin’s team calculated how fast the star had to have been ejected to reach its current location.“The star is traveling at an absurd velocity, twice as much as the star needs to escape the galaxy’s gravitational field,” explains Brown, a hypervelocity star hunter who found the first unbound star in 2005.  “There is no star that travels that quickly under normal circumstances – something exotic has to happen.”There’s another twist to this story.  Based on the speed and position of HE 0437-5439, the star would have to be 100 million years old to have journeyed from the Milky Way’s core. Yet its mass – nine times that of our Sun – and blue color mean that it should have burned out after only 20 million years – far shorter than the transit time it took to get to its current location.  The most likely explanation for the star’s blue color and extreme speed is that it was part of a triple-star system that was involved in a gravitational billiard-ball game with the galaxy’s monster black hole.  This concept for imparting an escape velocity on stars was first proposed in 1988.  The theory predicted that the Milky Way’s black hole should eject a star about once every 100,000 years.Brown suggests that the triple-star system contained a pair of closely orbiting stars and a third outer member also gravitationally tied to the group.  The black hole pulled the outer star away from the tight binary system.  The doomed star’s momentum was transferred to the stellar twosome, boosting the duo to escape velocity from the galaxy.  As the pair rocketed away, they went on with normal stellar evolution.  The more massive companion evolved more quickly, puffing up to become a red giant.  It enveloped its partner, and the two stars spiraled together, merging into one superstar – a blue straggler.“While the blue straggler story may seem odd, you do see them in the Milky Way, and most stars are in multiple systems,” Brown says.This vagabond star has puzzled astronomers since its discovery in 2005 by the Hamburg/European Southern Observatory sky survey.  Astronomers had proposed two possibilities to solve the age problem. The star either dipped into the Fountain of Youth by becoming a blue straggler, or it was flung out of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a neighboring galaxy.In 2008 a team of astronomers thought they had solved the mystery.  They found a match between the exiled star’s chemical makeup and the characteristics of stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud.  The rogue star’s position also is close to the neighboring galaxy, only 65,000 light-years away.The new Hubble result settles the debate over the star’s birthplace.  Astronomers used the sharp vision of Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys to make two separate observations of the wayward star 3 1/2 years apart.  Team member Jay Anderson of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md., developed a technique to measure the star’s position relative to each of 11 distant background galaxies, which form a reference frame.The team is trying to determine the homes of four other unbound stars, all located on the fringes of the Milky Way.“We are targeting massive ‘B’ stars, like HE 0437-5439,” says Brown, who has discovered 14 of the 16 known hypervelocity stars.  “These stars shouldn’t live long enough to reach the distant outskirts of the Milky Way, so we shouldn’t expect to find them there.  The density of stars in the outer region is much less than in the core, so we have a better chance to find these unusual objects.”– Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics –last_img read more

The first draft of history

first_imgAs a doctoral student, there are few things more invigorating than being able to escape your pile of books, shake off the abstract theorizing, and venture into the real world. Which is why, when I found out I had secured a research internship in Kenya last summer, I was ecstatic. Having survived my first year of coursework, I was eager to dive into something different — something that would allow me to engage the world I had been reading about in a tangible way.Thanks to a grant from the Harvard Committee on African Studies, this is exactly the experience I had.My principle role in Kenya over the summer was to help create a public history exhibit, centered around the themes of resistance and nationalism during the colonial era. The exhibit is set to open next summer at the National Museum in Nairobi, then travel to museums throughout the country, and finally return to Nairobi to be installed as part of the museum’s permanent history wing.For the two months I lived in Nairobi, there was a seemingly bottomless to-do list, in large part because the project was just getting off the ground. In collaboration with my Kenyan colleagues, it was our first responsibility to develop a research framework for collecting materials (photographs, documents, objects) and construct an organizational system for storing them. Given the multimedia aspirations for the exhibit, we also needed to conduct video interviews, both with high-level political figures from the pre-independence period, and with ordinary Kenyans who had witnessed and participated in historical events during British colonial rule.We had our work cut out for us — and still do. But we managed to make considerable strides in a short period. Sifting through materials at places like the Kenya National Archives, the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, and the Catholic Consolata, and working closely with our counterparts at the National Museum, we identified almost 3,000 photographs that might be of use for the exhibit. We also organized a major workshop with Kenyan academics as part of our continued efforts to crystallize the exhibit’s intellectual content.As a result of my internship, I had the opportunity to travel across the country, to collaborate with wonderful people, and to grow immensely as a scholar. One of the most rewarding aspects, however, was knowing how much potential this project has to reach and impact a wide audience. Thanks to the encouragement of my adviser, Caroline Elkins, I feel more strongly than ever that bringing history to life and making it matter to the people whose experiences it portrays is one of the most important and worthwhile goals to have as an academic.Working in Kenya, I was continually amazed by the civic culture on display around me. Kenyan people seem to care so deeply about history, and its influence on the country’s future. Because of the divisiveness of the present political climate, however, it feels good to know that one of our exhibit’s primary objectives is to create a unifying narrative that all Kenyans — regardless of ethnicity, race, class, gender — can identify with and claim as their own.With general exams looming, I know that I will have a lot on my plate this year, but I am already making plans to go back to Kenya in January and, depending on the needs of the project, next summer, too. Meanwhile, I am fortunate to have had the experience that I did in Nairobi, which is sustaining me as I switch gears and return to that ever-expanding pile of books.If you’re an undergraduate or graduate student and have an essay to share about life at Harvard, please e-mail your ideas to Jim Concannon, the Gazette’s news editor, at Jim_Concannon@harvard.edu.last_img read more

Studying the roots of life

first_imgWith a space telescope churning out discoveries of new planets, robots exploring Mars and other places, and researchers gaining understanding of extreme environments, the search for the roots of life on Earth and other planets is in a golden age, an authority in the field said Wednesday (March 23).“If there ever was a moment to think about the origins of life, it surely is now,” said Ralph Pudritz, director of the Origins Institute at Canada’s McMaster University.Pudritz spoke at one of the regular forums sponsored by Harvard’s Origins of Life Initiative, an interdisciplinary, cross-school center aimed at unraveling one of the central mysteries facing humankind: how life arose in the universe. Origins Director Dimitar Sasselov, professor of astronomy, introduced Pudritz as the founding director of a sister organization of Harvard’s initiative: McMaster University’s Origins Institute, which was begun in 2004.Pudritz’s talk, “Equipping Planets for Life,” reviewed recent advances in understanding planetary formation and what it takes to create the conditions and elements of life.Pudritz acknowledged that our imaginations fail when thinking about exotic forms of potential life, but added that our current understanding of the process has a handful of requirements. Life is thought to exist only on rocky planets in the presence of water and an energy source with a supply of the biomolecules that make up living things.Planets form by the accretion of material in a dusty disk around young stars. That material, Pudritz said, commonly includes ample water. Water is so common, in fact, that Pudritz said one study found that typical planets contain more water than Earth does.Water alone doesn’t guarantee life. A rocky, watery planet must orbit in a star’s habitable zone, that narrow band whose extremes are defined in our solar system by Venus and Mars. Too close to the sun and water evaporates. Too far and it freezes.The Kepler space telescope has given an enormous boost to this research, Pudritz said, by discovering more than 1,000 planets, some of which are thought to lie within this habitable zone.“It looks like we’ve hit pay dirt,” Pudritz said.Scientists believe that life arose on Earth around 3.5 billion years ago. Before that, the planet existed, lifeless, for a billion years. The conditions for life were developed in what Pudritz referred to as a “prebiotic soup” that contained, among other things, the necessary molecules.Science has begun to answer the question of where those molecules originated, Pudritz said. Analysis of meteorites that have fallen to Earth have shown that some of them are rich in amino acids, the molecules that make up the proteins so important to life. His own research, published in 2009, illustrated that the 10 simplest amino acids used in living things are the easiest to create naturally and were likely available in the environment before life arose. More complex amino acids utilized in living things were probably added to the genetic code as life evolved.“It appears that the makeup of the soup is determined by a simple law of physics,” Pudritz said.last_img read more

Harvard’s Mobile Yard Tour app

first_imgHarvard University is commemorating its 375th anniversary this year with a special gift — a mobile tour of Harvard Yard for visitors, neighbors, and members of the Harvard community.With any web-enabled smartphone, the Harvard Mobile Yard Tour app allows users to take a self-guided tour to learn more about the University’s rich history as they explore Harvard Yard. For example, users will learn which Harvard building housed George Washington and his troops during the Revolutionary War, view colonial artifacts dug from the Yard by archaeology students, and see how the University is using technology to make its collections accessible to anyone with a computer. Users will also hear from students on what it’s like to live in Massachusetts Hall, view President Drew Faust’s office, and learn the history of the wooden water pump in the Yard.A collaborative effort between Harvard Public Affairs and Communications and the Office of the University Marshal, the tour features writing and narration by Harvard College students. Each of the 16 stops offers explanatory text about the significance of that location, as well as audio, video, and images with information in four categories:Inside/Out: See what’s inside iconic Harvard Yard buildings not accessible to the general public.Fast facts: Learn interesting facts about locations and events in the Yard.Innovation: Understand Harvard’s commitment to innovation and discovery.History: Learn about 375 years of enduring academic excellence and access to students around the world.Though the walking tour is intended for users located in the Yard, the app can also be downloaded from any location for a remote tour experience.To get started, users need a web-enabled smartphone or an iPhone. The tour is accessible on your mobile device at yardtour.harvard.edu or can be downloaded from the iTunes App store. In addition, visitors can still learn about the Harvard campus by visiting the Information Center in Holyoke Center.last_img read more

Building community, one note at a time

first_imgThis is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard’s stellar graduates.Like many of his classmates, Gregg Moore came to Harvard to continue his studies after receiving his undergraduate degree, in his case at Humboldt State University in California. Unlike many of his classmates, however, Moore was in his late 50s when he arrived in Cambridge, with two children old enough to be his classmates.Now 59, Moore is set to receive a master’s degree in Arts in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). He plans to use the degree to foster community arts programs, with a particular emphasis on music education, as a way to bring disparate groups together. It’s an idea, he said, that was developed over 25 years of encouraging the community-building power of music in Europe.“When I came back to America, I thought maybe this is a place where we can use music to bring people together,” Moore said. “People, whether they’re Democrat or Republican, they tend to like music. And, in a lot of cases, they like the same kind of music. If there was a way to promote this idea of coming together — for instance, in a band — maybe people would get out of their individual silos, start talking to each other, and realize they have a lot of the same goals in common.”Over three decades in Europe, Moore worked as a professional musician, first in Amsterdam, where he became deeply enmeshed in the city’s alternative music and theater, and later in Portugal, where he learned the tradition of the village band.“In Portugal, I was impressed with the ability of the bands to bring together whole swaths of the society of the village. You would often see a schoolteacher sitting next to a lawyer sitting next to a field-worker,” he said. “I gradually came to understand that music was a community-building exercise, and that got me interested in thinking about the social and community uses of music, and the arts in general.”After returning to the United States a few years ago, Moore enrolled at Humboldt State University in California, where he studied everything from grant writing to business administration to organizational communications. It was while he was finishing his degree that the idea of attending Harvard first came up.A participant in HONK! Festival, an annual event organized by activist bands from across the country, Moore befriended former University of Massachusetts, Boston, professor Reebee Garofalo, who introduced him to Steven Seidel, the Patricia Bauman and John Landrum Bryant Lecturer on Arts in Education and director of the Arts in Education program at HGSE, who in turn convinced Moore to apply to Harvard.“It was only three weeks before I took the GRE that I realized there was something called the GRE that I would have to take,” Moore said with a laugh. “I don’t know how it happened, but I was accepted into the program, and I thought, this is something I can’t turn my nose up at. So I went ahead, and now I’m down to the last couple weeks of the program.”With the program wrapping up, Moore plans to return to California to work with a small nonprofit, the Ink People Center for the Arts, to organize community music and arts events. He also plans to take over operation of Humboldt Music Academy, the Humboldt State Music Department’s community outreach program, with an eye toward expanding it to include more adults and more types of music and programming.“It’s been a fascinating experience,” Moore said of his time at Harvard. “Many of my classmates are young enough to be my own kids, so there’s often a dynamic where I see them as young people. But I’ve learned to be ready when they open their mouths, because something profound is going to come out. In that way, it’s been very encouraging, because for some people in my generation, it can be discouraging sometimes to see how young people conduct themselves. But working with these people has been incredibly encouraging. It really gives you hope for the future.”last_img read more

Harvard University returns to normal operations Tuesday

first_imgHarvard University will resume normal operations on Tuesday morning. Classes will be held and all employees are expected to report for work.Staff who have been directly affected by the storm and may have trouble returning to work tomorrow should be in touch with their supervisors about whether it would be appropriate to take a personal day or a vacation day. Faculty, students, and staff who typically rely on public transportation but are unsure if their buses, trains, or ferries will be operating on time will be able to park for free tomorrow with a Harvard ID at one of three University parking lots: 10 Everett St. and 52 Oxford St. in Cambridge, and the Soldiers Field Parking Garage at One Western Ave. in Boston.The details associated with resuming normal operations may vary across the Schools and departments, so please watch for more specific information from your local leaders. Additional updates will be posted to www.harvard.edu and 617-496-NEWS as necessary.last_img read more

A move toward mercury-free microscopy at HMS

first_imgThe Nikon Imaging Center at Harvard Medical School is the largest light microscopy facility on the Longwood campus. The staff are busy transitioning the light source for 12 of their 13 microscopes to more efficient solid-state light engines, replacing older metal halide bulbs that contain mercury.For Jennifer Waters, the center’s director, the move was primarily motivated by a desire to improve the quality of research data rather than the energy or cost savings the lab would realize. The new light engines provide several positive benefits for Harvard-based researchers that result in higher quality images. Because the intensity of the light stream doesn’t degrade over time they provide a more stable light source for collecting data.The older metal halide bulbs were unstable, with a tendency to flicker over time impacting the intensity of light and therefore making it difficult for researchers’ to compare quality of light in images of samples collected over a period of time. The halide bulbs were much more energy intensive, requiring a power surge to turn on and cool-down phase in between uses.In transitioning to mercury-free microscopy, Waters is showing that her team can effectively reduce their department’s impact on the environment, while also saving money and improving the quality of data provided to researchers. “I hope we will inspire others using microscopy to consider this more efficient fluorescence illumination option not only for the positive sustainability benefit but also because it leads to better data,” said Waters. Read Full Storylast_img read more

CopyrightX returns for a second run in January

first_imgCopyrightX — AKA ‘The MOOC the New Yorker actually liked‘ — is tooling up for a second run, expanding on its unusual, hybrid format.The twelve-week networked course, offered each spring under the auspices of Harvard Law School, the HarvardX  initiative, and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, explores the current law of copyright and the ongoing debates concerning how that law should be reformed. Through a combination of pre-recorded lectures, weekly seminars, live webcasts, and online discussions, participants in the course examine and assess the ways in which law seeks to stimulate and regulate creative expression.This year, in addition to the real-world classes attended by 100 Harvard Law students and online sections for 500 students — taking the M out of MOOC — the course is adding more ‘satellites’ and integrating them more with the other two course communities.Admission to the online sector of CopyrightX is free and is open to anyone at least 13 years of age, but enrollment is limited. Applications for admission will be accepted starting December 13, 2013.  For details concerning the application and admission processes, see CopyrightX:Admission.The lectures, reading materials, maps, and recordings that have been developed for CopyrightX are also available for use by teachers and students in other settings. All of these materials are licensed under a Creative Commons License, the terms of which are available here. Read Full Storylast_img read more