World’s Strangest

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Cosmic Headlights and the Origin of Gamma Ray Bursts

Figure 1: The positions in galactic coordinates of the GRBs in the BATSE 4B catalog, showing the isotropy of the burst sky distribution (see C.A. Meegan, et al., Nature, vol. 355, 1993, p. 143. by Eric J. Heller Departments of Chemistry and Physics Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts Gamma-ray bursts pose one of the greatest mysteries of modern [...]

LIBRETTO: The Bacterial Opera

Words: Marc Abrahams Music: Jacques Offenbach, Giuseppe Verdi, and Arthur Sullivan (And thanks to Mary Ellen Davey, Harriet Provine, Dany Adams, and Carl Zimmer for bacteriological insights, and Robert Csillag, DDS, and his staff for inspiration on microbial matters.) The Bacterial Opera premiered as part of the 20th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, at Sanders Theater, Harvard [...]

Tastes Like Chicken?

by Joe Staton Museum of Comparative Zoology Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts Photos by A. Kaswell The field of culinary evolution faces one great dilemma: why do most cooked, exotic meats taste like cooked Gallus gallus, the domestic chicken? It is curious that so many animals have a similar taste. Did each species evolve this trait independently or did they all [...]