Campus & Community

Harvard Gazette’s top stories of 2017

Freshman Leah Smart and her mother, Dee, carry box into Harvard dorm.

Leah Smart (right) gets a hand from her mother, Dee Smart, moving into Straus Hall. Rose Lincoln/Harvard file photo

5 min read

Milestones, innovation, analysis, and inspiration from the University and beyond

As 2017 comes to a close, we look back at some of the Gazette’s most-read stories of the year.

* * *

“Good genes are nice, but joy is better”

by Liz Mineo

Second in a series on how Harvard researchers are tackling the problematic issues of aging.

Robert Waldinger, pictured with wife Jennifer Stone, directed one of the world’s longest studies of adult life.

Rose Lincoln/Harvard file photo

Robert Waldinger, who directed one of the world’s longest studies of adult life, sits with his wife on a swing.

* * *

“Drew Faust to step down as Harvard president”

When Drew Faust announced plans to depart next June we looked back at 11 years of University growth, reinvention, and inclusion.

* * *

“Create a sense of purpose for all, Zuckerberg urges”

by Colleen Walsh

One of Harvard’s most famous dropouts returned to receive a degree and encourage the Class of 2017 to go out and make a difference in the world.

* * *

“A Cuba-Harvard connection, with a beat”

by Jill Radsken, video by Ned Brown

The Harvard Jazz Bands made and learned music, absorbed culture on its summer tour of Cuba.

* * *

“A letter leads to Harvard”

by Rachel Traughber

Michael Medaugh, who in seventh grade exchanged notes with Harvard President Drew Faust, worked hard and is now a College freshman.

Michael Medaugh shakes hands with Harvard President Drew Faust.

Michael Medaugh '21 meets Harvard President Drew Faust for the first time after exchanging letters six years ago.

Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard file photo

* * *

 “For family, doctors, life and death were inseparable”

by Alvin Powell

Surgeons at MGH faced a wrenching decision in a procedure to separate twins conjoined at the abdomen and pelvis: “We probably knew there was no hope and yet I just maintained hope the whole time.”

Allan Goldstein and Brian Cummings look at a model of the twins’ linked bone structure.

Allan Goldstein (left) and Brian Cummings.

Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard file photo

* * *

 “Feeling woozy? Time to check the tattoo”

by Alvin Powell

Harvard and MIT researchers have developed smart tattoo ink capable of monitoring health by changing color to tell an athlete if she is dehydrated or a diabetic if his blood sugar rises.

* * *

 “Where Washington actually works”

by Christina Pazzanese

On Capitol Hill, the everyday business of government rolls along, aided by many Harvard-trained officials.

U.S. Capitol.

Kris Snibbe/Harvard file photo

* * *

 “SEAL-tested, NASA-approved”

by Alvin Powell

Jonny Kim, a Harvard Medical School graduate and former Navy SEAL, was selected to join NASA’s next astronaut class.

* * *

 “Thoreau at Walden, and at Houghton”

by Colleen Walsh, video by Joe Sherman

Harvard Professor Emeritus Lawrence Buell reflected on the lasting importance of Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden” on the 200th anniversary of the author’s birth.

* * *

 “A supremely jolly affair”

by Liz Mineo

Six Supreme Court justices, five current and one retired, took part in an amiable public conversation at Sanders Theatre to mark the 200th anniversary of Harvard Law School.

On the steps of Langdell Library, Harvard Law School faculty surround six Supreme Court justices.

File photo by Martha Stewart

On the steps of Langdell Library, Harvard Law School faculty surround six Supreme Court justices.

* * *

 “In Europe, nationalism rising”

by Christina Pazzanese

After the twin triumphs of Donald Trump and Brexit, right-leaning European parties are seeing fresh paths to political power.

* * *

 “A master of explaining the universe”

by Colleen Walsh

Brian Greene has made it his mission to illuminate the wonders of the universe for non-scientists.

* * *

 “JFK speaks from his Harvard past”

by Colleen Walsh

An exhibit marking JFK’s centennial includes an audio file believed to be the earliest voice recording of the future president.

President Kennedy attends a Harvard football game in October 1963.

President Kennedy attends a Harvard football game in October 1963.

Courtesy of Harvard University Archives

 * * *

 “The NBA-HBS career connection”

by Christina Pazzanese

A Harvard Business School program pairs NBA players with M.B.A. student mentors to help young athletes up their business game.

* * *

 “Freshmen arrive, with boxes”

by Rachael Dane

Harvard’s Class of 2021 settled into its dorms with family and friends helping them make the transition on the official move-in day.

 * * *

 “Revelry amid the raindrops”

Snapshots of Harvard’s 366th Commencement, from dawn to dusk.

A Harvard graduate raises his phone to snap a picture above the umbrellas.

A graduate raises his phone to snap a picture above the umbrellas.

Rose Lincoln/Harvard file photo

* * *

 “Ask the undocumented”

by Liz Mineo

Amid President Trump’s shifting harsh immigration policies, the Gazette talked with four undocumented Harvard students, all protected from deportation under a federal program, about their hopes and concerns.

* * *

 “What Comey’s testimony means”

by Christina Pazzanese

Retired judge and Harvard lecturer Nancy Gertner weighed in on legal issues surrounding former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony about the president.

* * *

 “From drinking straws to robots”

by Peter Reuell

Harvard scientists used simple materials to create semi-soft machines that walk like insects.

* * *

 “On internet privacy, be very afraid”

by Liz Mineo

Cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier, a fellow with the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, discussed what consumers can do to protect themselves from government and corporate surveillance.

* * *

 “The incomparable da Vinci”

by Christina Pazzanese

Uneducated and his own creation, Leonardo da Vinci still rose to the top ranks in both science and art, author Walter Isaacson recounted.

* * *

 “‘You can’t let your emotions overtake you so much that you can’t do the work’”

by Colleen Walsh

Pulitzer Prize winner Annette Gordon-Reed reflected on her personal history.

Annette Gordon-Reed by Austin Hall at Harvard Law School.

Annette Gordon-Reed by Austin Hall at Harvard Law School.

Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard file photo

* * *

 “Moments of joy beyond cancer’s shadow”

by Jill Radsken, video by Joe Sherman and Kai-Jae Wang

Harvard’s first year as a chapter of Camp Kesem, a summer camp for children whose parents have battled cancer, unfolded in the green hills of Western Massachusetts.

* * *

 “Echoes of war, seeds of hope”

by Alvin Powell

Harvard President Drew Faust spoke about war and its painful aftermath during a visit to Ho Chi Minh City University for Social Sciences and Humanities.

Children in a Vietnamese classroom talk with Harvard President Drew.

Harvard President Drew Faust visits Ap Bac Secondary School, Tan An Hamlet in Cai Lay, Vietnam, during her trip to Southeast Asia in March.

Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard file photo