As governments around the world debate steps to slow emissions of greenhouse gases that cause climate change, scientists like Susan Solomon are peering into the future and reaching an uncomfortable conclusion: Even if emissions are stopped in a few decades, the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere will continue to affect the planet for 1,000 years.Solomon, a senior scientist in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Chemical Sciences Division, said that long-range computer models show that if greenhouse gas emissions peak in 2100 and fall after that, the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will decline only slowly. Global temperatures, she said, will remain elevated for a millennium, and sea levels will still rise because of thermal expansion, flooding lowland areas around the globe.If carbon dioxide levels reach 750 parts per million by 2100, and then emissions are stopped entirely, after 1,000 years they will have fallen only to 450 parts per million, Solomon said, still higher than today’s 390 parts per million and much higher than the 270 parts per million from preindustrial days.“The temperature we wind up with will be around for 1,000 years, and sea levels will continue to rise,” Solomon said.Solomon was among several speakers at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study on Friday (April 15) for the institute’s ninth annual science symposium. Astronomy Professor Dimitar Sasselov, senior adviser to the institute’s science program, introduced the symposium, saying that the event, “Something in the Air: Climate Change, Science and Policy,” was a chance to take an interdisciplinary look at climate change.Harvard Astronomy Professor Dimitar Sasselov, senior adviser to the Radcliffe Institute’s science program, introduced the symposium, saying that the event, “Something in the Air: Climate Change, Science and Policy,” was a chance to take an interdisciplinary look at climate change. The event featured a range of speakers largely from outside Harvard, Sasselov said, to bring other perspectives to campus. Speakers from Princeton University, the Washington University in St. Louis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Calgary, and other institutions discussed topics as diverse as the effect of climate change on oceans and human health, politics and clean-energy innovation, geo-engineering, water vapor and climate change, and past human adaptability to the change.Jennifer Smith, associate professor of earth and planetary sciences at Washington University, said that if humanity is to rely on tried-and-true coping mechanisms that helped it to survive past episodes of climate change, it may be in trouble.In search of lessons that may be applicable today, Smith examined past societies that are thought to have been affected by changing climates, albeit on regional rather than planetary scales. She looked at the Khmer Empire at Angkor, in what is today Cambodia. By the 12th century, Smith said, an agricultural civilization based on the monsoon rains had arisen and lasted until the 15th century. Looking at archaeological remains shows that the Angkor area had elaborate canals and other waterworks designed to harness the seasonal monsoons for agriculture. A combination of severe droughts interspersed with heavy, destructive monsoons appears to have wrecked the infrastructure and contributed to the civilization’s downfall.Smith said the multiple hits at Angkor illustrate the importance of resiliency if a civilization is to survive serial calamities, both natural and manmade, that can intensify the impact of any one disaster.One observation that emerges from the archaeological evidence, Smith said, is the importance of migration as a human coping mechanism for catastrophic change. The archaeological record of North Africa shows that migration has been an important way for humans to deal with periods of drought in the region that today is dominated by the Sahara desert. It may have been a migratory response to drying climate in East Africa’s Rift Valley region, coupled with a wetter period in North Africa, in fact, that fueled one of two major migrations from the area early in human history, Smith said.Migration may have been an important survival tool for early humans, but with humanity spread around the globe and with climate change affecting the whole planet, that may not be a tool that can be used effectively today, Smith said.“What comes out is just how important migration has always been as an adaptive response,” Smith said. “I see it as a warning that we can’t deal with it as we did.”
They are an eclectic group of Harvard students, staff, faculty, and community members. They range in age from their late teens to 50-something. They can be freshmen or CEOs, but they move fast, and under their own power. They ride by bike.
Emmy Award-winning screenwriter and producer Agnes Nixon will visit Harvard on Dec. 6 as the Harvard Foundation’s artist in residence. The artist in residence program is sponsored by the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations and is supported by the Office for the Arts Learning From Performers program.Creator of the beloved soap operas “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” Nixon was revolutionary in founding a whole new genre of television and was the first to integrate soap operas with persons of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The highlight of her Harvard visit will be an open-to-the-public session in which students, in an “Actor’s Studio”-style format, will interview the television pioneer before a live audience on Dec. 6 at 4 p.m. in the Farkas Hall theater. The Harvard community and friends are invited to attend.“The students and faculty of the Harvard Foundation are honored to have Ms. Nixon come to Harvard University where her work is greatly admired and respected,” said S. Allen Counter, director of the Harvard Foundation and professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School. “As a revolutionary force in television, Ms. Nixon not only defined a genre, but also helped to enact important social change in the entertainment industry by introducing social issues and characters of all cultural and ethnic backgrounds into her shows. We look forward to having Ms. Nixon share her artistic experiences and outstanding accomplishments with the Harvard community.”
America’s insatiable desire for goods such as electronics and inexpensive clothing fuels much of its trade with China. But more than 150 years ago, when industrious U.S. merchants began to develop their own trading firms in the Far East, goods such as tea and porcelain predominated.A research collection at Harvard Business School’s Baker Library offers visitors an in-depth look at the earliest days of the China trade, thanks in large part to a New England pioneer in the field and his company’s meticulous record keeping.“It’s staggering. The company saved everything,” said Melissa Banta, the curator who helped to comb through the Baker Library’s Historical Collections archive on Augustine Heard & Co., one of the most respected and powerful U.S. trading houses in China in the mid-19th century. That research developed the exhibition and accompanying website titled “A Chronicle of the China Trade: The Records of Augustine Heard & Co., 1840-1877.”The show is only open until next week, but its online counterpart will live on at the library’s historical collections website.“It’s staggering. The company saved everything,” said Melissa Banta, the curator who helped to comb through the Baker Library’s Historical Collections archive on Augustine Heard & Co. Photo by Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff PhotographerTo create the show and the interactive online research guide, Banta drew from 800 volumes, 272 boxes, and 103 other containers in the Heard collection. Thanks to the family’s remarkable attention to detail, both professional and personal, the show and guide capture the day-to-day workings of the lively, lucrative, and ever-evolving merchant exchange. They also paint a rich picture of the key events and technological developments of the day, and evoke the emotional toll of living and working far from home.Though he never married, the company founder Augustine Heard had four industrious nephews who joined the successful business. Their correspondence to family in America and their detailed memoirs offer an intimate look at their lives abroad. A page from the diary of Heard’s nephew Albert, who moved to China to join the firm just after graduation from Yale University in 1855, describes his rapid transformation.“Then a boy with anxious and aspiring hopes now as it were a man,” he wrote, “doing a man’s part and a serious and sober part, responsible too, then looking forward to unknown duties & strange scenes, now those duties are familiar. … Then not even a clerk now a merchant & a head man of a firm. Truly I am changed.”In something of a strangely fortuitous twist, Augustine Heard created his company during the First Opium War, the three-year conflict between China and the United Kingdom fought in large part over the British desire to import opium from India. China lost the war, and its ability to regulate the influx of opium, and Augustine Heard & Co. quickly capitalized on the open market. Material in the collection carefully documents the company’s involvement in the legal drug trade.Included in the exhibit and website is information on the evolution of transportation. Clipper ships, sleeker sailing vessels with narrow hulls and larger sails, became the preferred means of moving merchandise across the seas, and Heard & Co. was quick to transform its fleet. Bills of sale and invoices that detail Heard’s investments in the newer, faster ships are part of the collection.Heard & Co. eventually became one of the first companies to use steamships in the China trade. “It was an incredible revolution at the time. Not only were they opening up the ports, they were also trading in the interior,” said Banta, citing carefully drawn plans for a steamship included in a Heard logbook.To create the show and the interactive online research guide, curator Melissa Banta (pictured) drew from 800 volumes, 272 boxes, and 103 other containers in the Heard collection. Photo by Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff PhotographerBut while those advances proved profitable for the company, another new technology was its undoing. Enter the telegraph.“You could do trading so much faster. You could get a better handle on fluctuation in prices. You could secure credit faster,” said Banta. “But things like this signaled the beginning of the end for Heard & Co. because it meant that smaller Chinese traders could now compete in the trade.”In addition to telegrams generated by the company, items in the show and website track the firm’s decline, including its official bankruptcy papers from 1876. But thanks to the Baker Library, the story lives on in vivid detail.“Certainly one of the legacies Augustine Heard & Co. left behind was this vast, impeccable record itself, which provides a professional as well as highly personal perspective into the China trade,” Banta said. “It was a pivotal moment when Westerners and Chinese were beginning to form diplomatic relationships, and China was entering into the mainstream of world trade.”A collecting strength for Baker Library is the extensive records of American firms involved with 19th century China. The collections offer rich perspectives into early Sino-American relations, as well as insights into the complexities of the business lives of American traders in the treaty ports.Viewers can access a comprehensive guide to the Heard family records or contact Baker Library Historical Collections at [email protected] for further information.Tea Production in China, 1790-1800. M25794. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts.Les quatres fils. 1950.001.0468. Courtesy of the Ipswich Museum.Heard Company Flag. 2003.000.0310. Courtesy of the Ipswich Museum.Augustine Heard. Portrait Photo Collection. Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School.Heard Family Business Records. Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School.
When the future doctors picked up their instruments Thursday evening, they were the musical kind.The Joseph B. Martin Lounge in Vanderbilt Hall on the campus of Harvard Medical School (HMS) had been transformed into an arts space and performance venue. Though all the performers were HMS students, there was not a white coat among them. The evening was dedicated to their art.“This night is to experience what we all do [outside of class], together,” said Christopher Lim ’10, an organizer of the event, an accomplished pianist and composer, and a first-year HMS student.The event was part of the 21st annual Arts First festival, a four-day celebration of the visual, literary, and performing arts at Harvard that concluded Sunday night.Until now, all of the Arts First events have occurred on the Cambridge campus. This year HMS, which had embraced the arts in the past, decided to bring the festival across the Charles River to showcase the talents of its accomplished artists, who also are in training.Lisa Wong, assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at the Medical School, set the ball in motion. Thinking that HMS should have a role in the festival, she approached Lim and Madelyn Ho ’08, also a first-year medical student with an arts pedigree, and asked, “What do you think?”“They picked up the ball and ran with it,” said Wong, who in addition to being a pediatrician and professor is a violinist and pianist. For the past 20 years, she has been the president of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra, whose members are predominantly medical professionals.Lim and Ho find that arts and medicine are complementary pursuits.“In practicing music, you spend hours alone listening to yourself, and paying attention to the most subtle, ineffable aspects of the sound you produce. It’s an extreme form of concentration and takes incredible patience. That kind of focus translates into the medical setting,” said Lim, who completed a master’s degree in performance before pursuing his M.D.Ho, who performed professionally for three years with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, said that in both medicine and dance there is a “fluidity” when moving from the subjective to the objective. “In dance,” Ho said, “as I am visualizing a dance or movement, I am able to move fluidly and constantly between ‘seeing’ myself as if from the outside like an audience member and feeling what the movement is like within myself.”Ho said there is a parallel in medicine, where she needs to be able to observe the symptoms of a patient, but also put “myself in their position to understand their experience … on a very personal level.”The idea that art can enhance medicine isn’t entirely new to Harvard, said David S. Jones, the A. Bernard Ackerman Professor of the Culture of Medicine, a joint position between the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Faculty of Medicine. “But it’s never been organized.“There are people in Cambridge who are offering courses in the literature of medicine, while at the same time there are clinicians at the Longwood campus also teaching the literature of medicine,” Jones said.That’s why Jones, Wong, and other members of an ad hoc committee meet every other month to bring attention to the value art can add to HMS.Cultivating an atmosphere steeped in art is a “valuable and interesting” thing to be doing, Jones said. “Not only is it valuable in its own right as a form of artistic expression, but it can enhance the community, and could possibly contribute to patient care as well.”Wong hopes to create a resource for medical students to reassure them that they don’t have to give up their art when they become doctors. “In fact, we believe that being an artist enhances your ability to be a good doctor,” she said. She also wants to “promote the exciting research going on, like the neuroscience of music, arts and autism.”For several years, HMS has offered an elective, “Training the Eye,” that is meant to improve the future doctors’ observational skills by seeing and talking about art during trips to the Museum of Fine Arts.Physicians also come to the class to discuss the connection between art and their clinical practice. “For example,” said Ho, who is taking the class this semester, “we had a radiologist discuss how contours are important for looking at chest radiographs, and a neurologist discuss how noticing asymmetries in the face are important manifestations of different types of medical issues.”At Vanderbilt Hall Thursday, the performances ranged from the sublime and masterful to the satiric and simply cool. A Chopin piece performed by Lim and a Puccini aria sung by Jacqueline Boehme HMS ’15 coexisted with a parody rap video and avant-garde poetry.“It seems that every year there are more talented, accomplished, and innovative students coming into the medical school,” said Wong. “Which makes me feel even more inspired to get this work off the ground and help them in any way we can to continue their art form as they become the next generation’s clinicians.”Arts First at HMS is sponsored by Arts&[email protected] and by the Ackerman Program on Medicine & Culture.HMS will be represented at the Arts First Performance Fair Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at John Knowles Paine Concert Hall, Harvard Department of Music. In addition to Ho and Lim, the HMS performances will feature students Nick Bodnar, Dan Brein, Jean Junior, and Anjali Thakkar.
The Harvard Map Collection is one of the oldest and largest in the world, with more than 500,000 cartographic items. Every year, students in Professor Stephen Prina’s “Lay of the Land” Visual and Environmental Studies (VES) course take full advantage of its scope, devising a treasure hunt for Joseph Garver, the librarian for research services and collection development, and then traveling to the map collection in Pusey Library to see what he produces.“This is one of my favorite days of the year,” said Prina, who has been taking classes to the collection since he arrived at Harvard in 2004.“Ask for a map of anything and we’ll see what comes up,” said Deborah Montes ’16, describing her professor’s assignment. “It was interesting to see what was asked for and what came up.”Students routinely ask for one-of-a-kind maps — the smallest or the most expensive, for example. This year, the list Garver received included a trail map, a map of poverty, a cartogram, a pop-up map, and a coded map. The students even asked to see a map that was completely wrong.“The only question I’ve seen before is something like the longest map,” Garver said, pointing to a Chinese scroll from 1865 that unrolled to more than 10 feet in length.To fulfill requests, Garver displayed maps, atlases, and globes dating to the 15th century. Students oohed when Garver unfolded a pocket-sized guide to the Oakley Hunt, which directed foxhunters through roads, woods, and — in case of distraction — local pubs. They laughed when he showed a “very unofficial” map of the United States as viewed by perpetually sunny Californians.Garver also presented a highly valuable map of Greece that was created in 1797 to trace the history of Greek independence. He explained that the Ottoman Empire destroyed many of its copies, so only a few exist. Greece has one; Harvard’s is probably the sole version in the United States.“I like listening to Joseph,” said Gabriel Jandali-Appel ’16, who requested the Grecian map. “He’s always remarkably intelligent.” Though many members of the class were making their first trip to the collection, Jandali-Appel has spent time working in it. Still, he had not seen many of the maps Garver presented. “I didn’t know what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised,” he added.Michael Wang ’14 was impressed by the detail and craft in the work. “There’s a lot more artistry involved in maps than I’d previously imagined,” he said.He was not alone. “Lay of the Land” focuses on pursuing and responding to the horizontal in art, so students were prepared to note the collection’s aesthetic qualities.“I asked for the map of the ocean floor,” said Montes. “I really liked that one. It was hand-painted with such incredible detail. It was such a beautiful map.”Monica Palos ’15 reflected on the skill, time, and patience required of mapmakers, saying, “Looking at different types of maps is always very interesting to me. The artistry that goes behind it — hand-painting, hand-drawing, going into digital — that’s something that impresses me.”“Map collections do tend to get people interested in art,” Garver said, though the range of patrons doesn’t stop there. He has hosted genealogists, epidemiologists, scientists, doctors, and historians.Similarly, many in Prina’s class are artists, but their concentrations vary from VES to government to human evolutionary biology.“It’s always a vastly diverse group of people that come together when we discuss these works, whether it be film, an essay, or a map,” said Jandali-Appel. “I just like the variety of opinions and ideas and it’s always really inspiring. It was cool, right? Aren’t those maps neat?” Different directions Ernest Dudley Chase’s satirical “The United States as viewed by California (Very Unofficial)” puts Harvard on the map. Photos by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer A postcard map gives a movable view of Hungary after the Treaty of Versailles. Howard Horowitz’s 1997 Manhattan wordmap takes a personal look at how he remembers the city. A detail of painted birds appears on a facsimile of a 1502 map showing Portugal’s recent discoveries in Brazil, Africa, and the Indies. The encasing for one of the longest scroll maps in the collection is pictured up close. Research librarian Joseph Garver (center) provides historical context during a presentation to Gabriel Jandali-Appel ’16 (from left), Stephen Prina, Monica Palos ’15, Jesse Aron Green, Deborah Montes ’16, Michael Wang ’14, Leonie Marinovich, and Greg Marinovich.
Movie marathons are no longer the exclusive domain of Saturday matinees. In recent decades, scholars have recognized the value of films as texts across many disciplines. A recent gift to the Harvard Library from Academy Award-winning director/producer William Friedkin provides a new trove for researchers to explore religion, politics, morality, and culture in post-classical Hollywood.Friedkin played a pivotal role in the so-called New Hollywood, which reinvented the art and industry of Hollywood filmmaking in the 1970s. His gift includes 35mm exhibition prints of his canonical feature films, most notably “The Exorcist” and “The French Connection,” as well as working materials for his 2013 memoir, “The Friedkin Connection.”“Friedkin’s works were subversive and anti-establishment. He played a huge part in the reconfiguration of the rules of popular cinema,” said Haden Guest, director of the Harvard Film Archive, which received the film prints. “‘The Exorcist’ played for a year nonstop in theaters. More than a film, it was a cultural event of a kind we don’t really see too much today.”While the films joined a robust collection at the Film Archive, the memoir materials mark a new kind of collection for Harvard — cinema memoir.A gifted storyteller, Friedkin had no interest, at first, in sharing his own story. “I wouldn’t be interested in reading it,” he said. A friend and publisher urged him to reconsider, and the resulting memoir, “The Friedkin Connection,” demonstrates his professional acumen and shares highlights from his decades in Hollywood. “It’s about emotions, not facts,” Friedkin said.“There is a tradition of memoir here at Harvard,” said Sarah Thomas, vice president for the Harvard Library and Roy E. Larsen Librarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “It’s so important to our students and faculty to have that available. We’re very honored to have a piece of Mr. Friedkin here.”At an intimate gathering in Houghton Library, Friedkin gifted Harvard with the original documents for “The Friedkin Connection,” which utilized a unique creative process: Longhand writings were read aloud on tape, and then transcribed back to text. His use of multiple formats prompted extensive editing, and the written and taped manuscripts hold lots of unpublished material, now available for current and future researchers.“This book, which chronicles his storied and extraordinary career, is a really valuable resource for students and researchers of American cinema and American popular culture in general,” explained Guest. “They are a great first step for Harvard to begin acquiring papers related to the cinema.”
Read Full Story Switching from nonprofit to for-profit status appears to boost hospitals’ financial health but does not appear to lower the quality of care they provide or reduce the proportion of poor or minority patients receiving care, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.“Critics of for-profit hospitals have argued that they are worse at providing good care to patients and that therefore we should limit them,” said Ashish Jha, professor of health policy and management at HSPH and senior author of the study. “Over the past decade, hundreds of hospitals have switched from being nonprofit to for-profit. Our study finds that if the public health goal is to improve hospital care, then focusing on things like for-profit or nonprofit status is a distraction.”The study appears online October 21, 2014 in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association).Jha and his colleagues undertook the study to shed light on the growing and controversial trend of nonprofit hospitals switching to for-profit status; over the past decade, more than 200 hospitals in the U.S. have switched.Supporters of such moves have argued that becoming for-profit helps hospitals bring in needed resources and experienced management, thereby allowing them to improve the quality and efficiency of their care. Critics have argued that once hospitals become for-profit, the focus will be primarily on maximizing profits while shunning disadvantaged patients and paying less attention to providing high-quality care. But there had been little recent evidence to support either contention.
A new national poll of 18- to 29-year-olds by the Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard Kennedy School found that two-thirds of young Americans are more fearful than hopeful about the nation’s future.At this point, 11 months before the midterm congressional elections, likely young voters cited a preference for Democratic control of Congress, 65 to 33 percent.The fall poll, the IOP’s 34th major public opinion survey since 2000, also found a decline in President Trump’s approval ratings, heightened concern about the state of race relations in the country, and increased support for stricter gun control laws.“American political institutions are at a tipping point,” said John Della Volpe, polling director at the IOP. “Millennials are now the largest generation in the electorate. This poll and the Virginia election show that they are becoming more motivated — and I believe the fear that exists today about our future will soon be turned into the fuel that will reform our government. The only question is whether this comes from inside or outside the traditional party structure.”The poll of 2,037 young adults, which was organized with undergraduate students from the Harvard Public Opinion Project, was conducted between Oct. 31 and Nov. 10. The margin of error for is +/- 3.05 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.Key findings include:Only 14 percent of young Americans believe the nation is generally headed in the right direction. Fear outpaced hope for the future, 67 to 31 percent.President Trump’s job approval rating fell 7 points to 25 since spring, down 12 points among young Republicans and eight points among Independents.Seventy-nine percent of young Americans expressed concern about the state of race relations. The respondents said they preferred Democratic control of Congress, 2 to 1.Despite Democratic advantages, only 34 of respondents agreed that the party cares about people like them; 21 percent believe the same is true for Republican Party.
Read Full Story When Donna Shalala decided to tackle smoking during her tenure as Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton, she knew that it was going to take more than a new ad campaign to get rates down. So, with data showing that keeping kids away from tobacco is the key – 9 out of 10 smokers start before age 18 — Shalala and her colleagues crafted a strategy to hit the problem from multiple angles, including restricting kids’ access to cigarettes and launching targeted legal battles.Shalala shared lessons from this and other public health campaigns as part of a panel discussion at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health on Life Saving Leadership and the Art of Health Policymaking. The November 15 event was sponsored by the Takemi Program in International Health.Shalala was on campus as a Richard L. and Ronay A. Menschel Senior Leadership Fellow, and was joined at the event by Takemi Fellows Mahlet Habtemariam, former director general for the Ministry of Health in Ethiopia, and Sujata Saunik, principal secretary in the government of Maharashtra, India.Moderator Jesse Bump, executive director of the Takemi Program and lecturer on global health policy, said that while examples of bad leadership abound in the news, the behind-the-scenes work of health policymaking can provide examples of leadership that is truly lifesaving.Shalala’s tobacco-control efforts highlight the importance of effectively framing an issue, Bump said. People across the political spectrum value kids’ health, and support initiatives to prevent them from smoking.She advised others who are tackling big public health problems to go at them from every direction. “It’s the only way you can move public health issues,” she said. “I don’t know of any public health campaign that succeeded on public service ads alone.”During her eight-year tenure in Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health, Habtemariam led the development of the country’s first national strategic action plan for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and the first national cancer control plan. Her strategy for getting the NCD plan passed and implemented included working to find allies in government ministries and champions in parliament.For public health professionals in India — home to 1.2 billion people and 22 official languages — crafting policies that can balance the needs of people across cultures can be an immense challenge, Saunik said.Another challenge is knowing when to let go of a program that does not receive support, she said. Chief among her disappointments was an effort to ban public spitting, which can spread infectious disease. Although some improvement was achieved by installing spittoons near garbage cans, the ban was found to be too difficult to enforce. But Saunik has found success with other programs, including plans to mitigate the health effects of extreme heat and to improve newborn survival in intensive care units by promoting the use of clean sheets.—Amy Roeder