Science & Cooking public lecture series

Harvard’s popular Science & Cooking lecture series will return on September 8, bringing world-class chefs and eminent food experts to campus for weekly talks and demonstrations that are open to the public.

Most of the guests and topics this year will be entirely new, as the series welcomes for the first time the internationally renowned chefs Dominique Crenn and Daniel Humm, among many others.

Hosted by the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), the public lecture series runs through the end of the fall semester. A full schedule, including the lecture topics, is available online: Science & Cooking lecture series returns to Harvard on September 8

Just as trillions of individual cells can assemble into an intelligent organism, or a thousand starlings can form a great flowing murmuration across the sky, these Kilobots demonstrate how complexity can arise from very simple behaviors performed en masse (see video). To computer scientists, they also represent a significant milestone in the development of collective artificial intelligence. Read about the first self-organizing thousand-robot swarm.

Just as trillions of individual cells can assemble into an intelligent organism, or a thousand starlings can form a great flowing murmuration across the sky, these Kilobots demonstrate how complexity can arise from very simple behaviors performed en masse (see video). To computer scientists, they also represent a significant milestone in the development of collective artificial intelligence. Read about the first self-organizing thousand-robot swarm.

The beauty of biological systems is that they are elegantly simple—and yet, in large numbers, accomplish the seemingly impossible.
Radhika Nagpal, the Fred Kavli Professor of Computer Science at Harvard SEAS. Her research group just unveiled the first self-organizing thousand-robot swarm.

The first thousand-robot flash mob has assembled at Harvard University.

We call them the Kilobots.

“Our research provides the first real physical understanding of the cytoplasm in mammalian cells,” says Ming Guo, Ph.D. ’14.

Read "Inside the cell, an ocean of buffeting waves.”

Math is really useful in cooking. It was neat to see how fractions worked, like how you can change how many portions you want to make, or how some ingredients changes things. It’s so cool.
Zoe Padilla, age 12. She participated in our free Science & Cooking for Kids program this summer.

This robot, developed in Prof. Rob Wood’s lab, folds itself up and walks away.

TBT: Founding of the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard, 1847
"If his generosity fail not of its object, i.e. if the persons selected to carry out his views for the scientific education of the rising generation are qualified for their trust, his magnificent foundation will be of the greatest service to the interests of the Republic, Science and Humanity. For himself he has erected a monument more durable than brass or marble."
(Harvard University Archives)

TBT: Founding of the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard, 1847

"If his generosity fail not of its object, i.e. if the persons selected to carry out his views for the scientific education of the rising generation are qualified for their trust, his magnificent foundation will be of the greatest service to the interests of the Republic, Science and Humanity. For himself he has erected a monument more durable than brass or marble."

(Harvard University Archives)

Prof. Jim Rice, an expert on earthquakes, glaciers, landslides, and other aspects of geophysics, will be honored for his “fundamental contributions to mechanics and its engineering applications.” He has been selected to receive the Theodore von Karman Medal of the American Society of Civil Engineers.


A team of engineers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), Schlumberger-Doll Research Center in Cambridge, Mass., and the University of Texas, Austin, have created a truly portable device for nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.
NMR spectroscopy is a technique that perturbs protons within a molecule to glean important clues about its structure. It can identify unknown substances, detect very slight variations in chemical composition, and measure how molecules interact, making it an essential tool in organic chemistry, structural biology, and drug discovery, as well as for quality control in many industries.
Led by Donhee Ham, Gordon McKay Professor of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics at Harvard SEAS, and his student Dongwan Ha, Ph.D. ’14, the team has dramatically shrunk the electronic spectrometer components, fitting them on a silicon chip smaller than a sesame seed. Combined with a compact permanent magnet, this minuscule spectrometer represents the smallest device that can presently perform multidimensional NMR spectroscopy—a process Ham calls “one of the most powerful analytical tools to determine molecular structures at atomic resolution.”
Significantly reducing both the size and cost of the device—while also preserving the broad functionality of much larger spectroscopy setups—now enables the development of portable NMR spectrometers that could travel to remote sites for online, on-demand applications or simply to laboratories where massive, state-of-the-art systems would be prohibitively expensive. The chips can also operate accurately over a wide temperature range.

Those tiny black specks at the bottom of the photo are the chips.

A team of engineers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), Schlumberger-Doll Research Center in Cambridge, Mass., and the University of Texas, Austin, have created a truly portable device for nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.

NMR spectroscopy is a technique that perturbs protons within a molecule to glean important clues about its structure. It can identify unknown substances, detect very slight variations in chemical composition, and measure how molecules interact, making it an essential tool in organic chemistry, structural biology, and drug discovery, as well as for quality control in many industries.

Led by Donhee Ham, Gordon McKay Professor of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics at Harvard SEAS, and his student Dongwan Ha, Ph.D. ’14, the team has dramatically shrunk the electronic spectrometer components, fitting them on a silicon chip smaller than a sesame seed. Combined with a compact permanent magnet, this minuscule spectrometer represents the smallest device that can presently perform multidimensional NMR spectroscopy—a process Ham calls “one of the most powerful analytical tools to determine molecular structures at atomic resolution.”

Significantly reducing both the size and cost of the device—while also preserving the broad functionality of much larger spectroscopy setups—now enables the development of portable NMR spectrometers that could travel to remote sites for online, on-demand applications or simply to laboratories where massive, state-of-the-art systems would be prohibitively expensive. The chips can also operate accurately over a wide temperature range.

Those tiny black specks at the bottom of the photo are the chips.