Finding an Alien Biosphere with Quantum Chemistry

November 27, 2018
3:30pm – 4:30pm
Cabot Library Discovery Bar

Please join us for the November installment of the 2018 Digital Futures Discovery Series, a year-long program led by Harvard’s Digital Futures Consortium that explores the ongoing transformation of scholarship through innovative technology.

Clara Sousa-Silva, a molecular astrophysicist, uses quantum physics and computer simulations to figure out what molecules look like when they interact with light. She then uses these molecular fingerprints to deduce what the composition of any atmosphere is, be it on Earth or elsewhere in the galaxy. In her words, “Light from an atmosphere can tell us so much – whether we are seeing pollution, oceans or even life. But without knowing what each meaningful molecule looks like, that light is indecipherable. That’s why my work is crucial if we want to understand alien worlds, and eventually detect a new Earth.”

Dr. Sousa-Silva will be discussing her current research projects, which involve assessing alien biosignatures with organic and quantum chemistry.

Clara Sousa-Silva joined MIT in September 2016 as a post-doc in the EAPS department working with Sara Seager. Before Clara came to MIT she was the Educational Co-ordinator for the Twinkle Space Mission where she founded EduTwinkle, the mission’s educational program. As part of EduTwinkle, Clara started the ORBYTS program (Original Research By Young Twinkle Students), where high school students work along scientists to produce original research associated with space exploration. The first three associated articles have now been published (see below) with nine of the kids as co-authors.


Early Design Decisions in Digital Projects

September 25, 2018
3:30pm – 4:30pm
Cabot Library Discovery Bar

Please join us for the first event of this year’s Digital Futures Discovery Series, a year-long program led by Harvard’s Digital Futures Consortium that explores the ongoing transformation of scholarship through innovative technology.

Excavating in Italy, Spain, and Israel showed Henry Gruber how archaeological evidence could enhance our understanding of the world elucidated by our written sources. His current research focuses on the social and economic history of the later Roman Empire, bringing together texts and material culture to determine what we really mean when we talk about “the fall of Rome.”

Henry, a graduate student in the Department of History at Harvard University, will be talking about his current research, which involves dating the abandonment of Roman villas in the south of Spain around the fall of the Roman Empire. The relational database he’s developed to keep track of Roman sites, dateable materials, and functions of the villas that he’s studying will be the basis of his talk, engaging the audience with questions of data organization in order to illustrate how decisions made early in a project inform what can be studied later.

SPECIAL INTRODUCTION

A Brief Overview of the Digital (or will it be Quantum?) Futures Consortium

Marty Schreiner, Harvard Library and Co-Chair of the Digital Futures Consortium

Following the presentation, please join us in sharing your ideas and questions. We look forward to meeting you.

Henry Gruber was born and raised in sunny Santa Monica, CA, and his love of Mediterranean climates led him to the study of the ancient Mediterranean world. Summers excavating in Italy, Spain, and Israel showed him how archaeological evidence could enhance our understanding of the world elucidated by our written sources. His current research focuses on the social and economic history of the later Roman Empire and brings together texts with material culture to determine what we really mean when we talk about “the fall of Rome.”


3D Scanning Deep History

Courtesy of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, Item # 40-77-40/10137

April 2, 2018
12pm – 1pm
Cabot Library Discovery Bar

“Deep History”, a course jointly offered by the History and Anthropology departments this semester, combines the perspectives of archaeology and history together in a single historical framework. To help anchor the course in the timeline of past and present, students engage with the world-class collection of artifacts at Harvard’s Peabody Museum, giving them a unique opportunity to approach human history through material remains.

As part of this engagement with the Peabody collection, the History Department has been working with the museum to create 3D models of museum objects for use in the class. In section, students visit the Peabody Museum to engage with the physical object, enhancing and complementing their digital engagement with the object.

In this Digital Futures Discovery Series presentation, Professors Daniel Lord Smail (History) and Matthew Liebmann (Anthropology) will discuss the rationale for grounding the course in material culture, and the impact that the 3D models have on the course, and Jeremy Guillette, the History Department Digital Scholarship Facilitator, will discuss the scanning process, including a live demonstration of the scanning equipment.

After the talks, we invite your questions and ideas. We will also have Google Cardboard headsets available for viewing the scanned objects in virtual reality.


ArtTechPsyche IV

March 30, 2018
9:00am – 5:00pm
Arts @ 29 Garden St

Returning for a fourth year, ArtTechPsyche celebrates human expression at the intersection of technology and the arts. This annual symposium run by Harvard’s Digital Futures Consortium is a unique collaboration between Harvard Arts and Humanities Research Computing (DARTH), the Harvard Library, and Arts @ 29 Garden, with additional sponsorship from Academic Technology for Faculty of Arts and Sciences. We invite you to join us on Friday, March 30, 2018 at Arts @ 29 Garden.

Explore the creative process and its impact on emerging technologies. Discover the ways in which technology shapes us, and conversely, how the artist continually challenges and informs technological development. Interact with cutting edge art installations and software demos to experience the world in new ways. Meet like-minded faculty, staff, students, researchers, and colleagues of any skill level while exploring new projects and collaborations on and around campus.

Website: https://arttechpsyche.com/

Registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/arttechpsyche-iv-tickets-41397875159


Measuring the Unseen

March 7, 2018
11:45am – 12:45pm
Discovery Bar @ Cabot Science Library, Harvard Science Center

The Digital Futures Consortium at Harvard invites you to its next event in the Digital Futures Discovery Series, exploring the blend between analyzing quantitative data and designing an experience to “hear” the heart of a city.

PULSUS gathers real-time data on city activity, such as traffic patterns and what residents are doing and feeling, from various sources and translates the information into soundscapes. The goal is to generate an experience that resonates on an emotion ground level. The process has been very much a blend between analyzing quantitative data and designing an experience. And at the end, the resulting piece acts essentially as a conch shell for urban activity, or as a stethoscope: a new way to listen in to the city’s activity, and a concrete interface with a feedback system that is almost like a musical instrument.

Following the presentation, please join us in sharing your ideas and questions. We look forward to meeting you.

Allen Sayegh is an architect, designer, an educator, and the principal of INVIVIA – an award-winning global design firm. He is an Associate Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Design and the director of REAL, the Responsive Environment and Artifacts Lab at Harvard.


MorgantinaVR: Visualizing Material Culture in Virtual and Augmented Reality

February 7, 2018
11:45am – 12:45pm
Discovery Bar @ Cabot Science Library, Harvard Science Center

Please join us for the first event of 2018 in the Digital Futures Discovery Series, a year-long program led by Harvard’s Digital Futures Consortium that explores the ongoing transformation of scholarship through innovative technology. Alex Walthall and Luke Hollis will present MorgantinaVR, a product of the American Excavations at Morgantina: Contrada Agnese Project.

The American Excavations at Morgantina: Contrada Agnese Project at Morgantina (Sicily) is pioneering new methods of visualizing data from its multi-year excavation project, utilizing both virtual and augmented reality to interact with data in new ways.  

The project visualizes historically-accurate architectural reconstructions and datasets alongside georeferenced aerial photogrammetry to connect users to ancient culture. Using mobile devices, users can explore the monuments despite only the foundations remaining.

Users who are not onsite at Morgantina can use the HTC Vive, GearVR, and Google Cardboard to explore the ancient buildings that have been lost for over two millennia in virtual reality.

Researchers are also using VR to browse a day-by-day recreation of trench models and 3D rendering of museum and geospatial datasets. This is used to understand the site’s architecture over time.  In the classroom, students are able to explore phasing similarly to gain insight into the different periods of occupation of the Contrada Agnese region at Morgantina.

You can download the MorgantinaVR Beta app for your smartphone here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=digital.archimedes.morgantinavr

The American Excavations at Morgantina: Contrada Agnese Project (CAP), is an ongoing, multiyear research and excavation project launched in 2013 to investigate developments taking place in the urban center of Morgantina between the third and first centuries BCE. Learn more at their website here: http://themagazzino.org

MorgantinaVR was developed in partnership with AEM: CAP by Archimedes Digital. Learn more at their website and read more about the project here: https://archimedes.digital/projects/morgantinavr

Following the presentation, please join us in sharing your ideas and questions. We look forward to meeting you.

Alex Walthall is an archaeologist who specializes in the material culture of the ancient Mediterranean region, particularly the archaeology of ancient Sicily. He currently serves as Director of the Contrada Agnese Project (CAP) at Morgantina. For the latest news on the CAP excavations, visit www.themagazzino.org. When not in the field, Alex teaches at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is an Assistant Professor of Greek and Roman Archaeology in the Department of Classics. He is a 2017–18 fellow with Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies, and is teaching a seminar on the history and archaeology of Sicily this Spring in Harvard’s Department of Classics.

Luke Hollis is the founder of Archimedes Digital, a Cambridge-based startup dedicated to software and mixed reality development for the humanities. Rather than creating software that further distracts and isolates users, the artists, developers, and archivists at Archimedes build applications that connect us to our shared traditions and cultures. Archimedes Digital partners with libraries, museums, and archives as well as sponsors internationally to develop applications for education and cultural heritage across platforms.


Visual Eloquence: A Hands-On Workshop for Creating Effective Data Visualizations

January 9 or 10, 2018
10:00am – 12:30am
Lamont Library B-30 Collaborative Learning Space

Join the Digital Futures Consortium for a participatory workshop on visualizing data and understanding the powerful role it plays in analysis and presentation for digital scholarship. The workshop will feature brief presentations, a hands-on exercise working with a dataset and visualization tools to create a visual presentation, and a discussion followed by pizza. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own data projects or challenges for an open lab session afterward. No programming or data expertise is necessary.

The workshop is free, but registration is requested as seats are limited: http://bit.ly/2Bx2w9c.