Where am I?

I’m in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as you know, and when here I inevitably gravitate to my Ph.D. alma mater, Harvard, which is especially beautiful at this time of year, and holds many great memories for me.

If you know Harvard, you better be able to recognize the place where I took the selfie just below. In fact, I’ll put up five photos from Harvard and two others; identifications are below the “read more” fold:

Check out the fancy brick sculpture. Cats, too!

1.) Jerry (right) and bronze rhino outside the Biological Laboratories (“Biolabs”). In this building a lot of famous work in molecular genetics was done, including some of the first sequencing of DNA, identifying the nature of  the lac repressor molecule, and so on.

2). The lovely brickwork above the Biolabs showing various animals.

3). The custom door to the Biolabs showing plants and animals. There are three of these, flanked by the two famous rhinos (below). The one shown is the “plant” door, though not everything on this door is a plant.

4). A new and fancy fountain, with water spritzing over rocks, in front of the Science Center, where I used to be a teaching assistant in. Ed Wilson’s Bio 1 class.

5). Harvard Yard in all its afternoon glory. In just two weeks or so it will be at its loveliest when the leaves turn. The Yard is ringed by freshman dorms, though not all first-years get to live there.

6). Reflections from a potted plant at the house where I’m staying.

7). A typical scene from the People’s Republic of Cambridge.



  1. Janet
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    The door is just stunning! And being reminded of art at Harvard, I would love to see the Ware Collection of glass models of plants by the father and son team Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka. Is it as awesome as photos make it appear?

    • Posted October 20, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      It is in fact far more impressive than the photos, which cannot convey how amazing those father-and-son glassworkers are. Seeing the “glass flowers” at the MCZ is a must-do activity if you visit Harvard. I’ve sent many people there, and none have been disappointed. GO!

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted October 20, 2017 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        The name “glass flowers”…

        The thing is when I heard about this, I figured it was some dopey artwork that happened to be in there just because they’re for an audience that wants to see flowers and stuff…. or it’s some term they used for flowers that appeared glass- like…I even went once and SKIPPED it because of those reasons … plus ran out of time …. until PCC(E) said I have to go back.

        Back to the flowers : none of the notions I had were true – the very interesting thing is that the objects on display are genuine scientific specimens of flowers that were not only crafted literally from glass, but even magnified, labeled, with glass insects, seeds, used to teach in an era before computers or … well, I want to say color photograph … it is truly incredible, and that they are from … a really long time ago…

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted October 21, 2017 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      The wife and I misunderstood a poster advertising a display of photos of these when in London a year or so ago. Even the photos are stunning.

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    “Where am I?” — that’s the question my college roommate asked me the first time he sampled hashish.

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 20, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      I was at Lake Tahoe with a bunch of friends including my older brother, who also asked “where am I?” This was after sampling mushrooms. His response was uproarious laughter.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 20, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        Never do ‘shrooms where Fredo is buried at the bottom of the lake, man. Never.

        • claudia baker
          Posted October 20, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

          The funniest question I have heard someone ask after toking up is: “Has it been a long time since I talked?”

        • Mark R.
          Posted October 20, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

          His own brother!!!??? Alas, I remember when MC was just a humble soldier in love…

  3. sabre422
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink


    Less than 3 hours ago I was walking through Harvard Yard heading to the Red Line station. Was that photo taken this AM?

    Too late for me to turn around, I just left North Station heading toward Gloucester.

  4. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Remember everyone- the museums – natural history and the archaeological one – are open to the public – make it a regular stop – Always something new, always something to make you say “huh, why didn’t I notice that before?”

    • Posted October 21, 2017 at 2:18 am | Permalink

      I’ll make sure to visit if I’m going there.

  5. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    As a movie buff (who can be very critical of the film industry), one of my chief associations with Harvard is it being the campus that was treated very badly by the film crew of “Love Story” which caused a modest but significant amount of property damage to the campus.

    This led the trustees of Harvard to disallow further films to be produced on their campus. Hence, “The Social Network” was filmed at Johns Hopkins although the story (about the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg) takes place at Harvard.
    Most of the campus scenes are filmed out night, mainly to conceal that the campus is not Harvard.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 20, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Love means never having to clean up your mess, I guess.

  6. Posted October 20, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Where am I?

    To the right of the rhino statue.

    This is rather easier than your usual stick insect pics.

  7. Mark R.
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    There’s a lovely book store that I found while traipsing around Harvard a few years back. I forget the name, but I bought a cool pen in the shape of an octopus tentacle. They had a good selection of science books iirc.

  8. Liz
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    For $50 to resole I wonder if they throw in a free bag of granola. I’ve never had those shoes. Beautiful pics.

  9. LaurieB
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    You are in front of the Harvard Biological Lab building. Those doors are gorgeous.


    The fourth picture is the new plaza that connects the science center building with the main campus. The Bon Me food truck is often parked on this plaza. Very convenient for a yummy sandwich.

    In Harvard Square, check out Felipe’s in the new location on Brattle St. It started out in the crummy basement level of The Garage but now has upgraded to a three level space. Six bucks for the best burrito ever! Check out the new rooftop terrace which includes a bar. Ignore the chaos at the burrito station. It’s part of their legacy.

  10. Posted October 20, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Wow, those are some gorgeous buildings! Thanks for sharing these!

  11. jimbo
    Posted October 21, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    If you were there a week or so later you might have seen the rhinos in costume (do they still do that? It was a tradition at least when I was there in the 90’s)

  12. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted October 21, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I couldn’t tell from the photo on Twitter yesterday, but when I saw it on the laptop I could recognise the bronze statue as being a rhino (I’d thought “dog?? dragon????”) in a suspiciously Dürer-esque pose. So I guessed outside Agassiz’s Museum of Comparative Zoology. Wrongly – I’m not even sure that it’s in Harvard/ Boston.

  13. boggy
    Posted October 24, 2017 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    Re: rhinoceros. When in Edinburgh I found the bronze rhinoceros head, marking the position of Jim Haynes’s bookshop which became famous in the 1960’s for a book burning incident of which you will find details on G**gle.

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