What Has Harvard Ever Done For Us?

Social media in India seems to be full of people who feel that Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. is full of empty suits and emptier heads who have never contributed anything but fancy words to the welfare of humankind. Since much of this ire is probably directed at Harvard Business School, it would be important to point out that Harvard is not just a trade school, but they also teach and carry on research in the pure sciences and in applied sciences and engineering. It also has a fairly well known Medical School.

Here is a very partial list of discoveries and inventions in the field of biological and biomedical sciences, that have come out of Harvard University in the past 70 years. We hope that people who do not think much of Harvard will work hard to avoid using them.

  1. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, now used extensively for MRI
  2. The role of Vitamin A in vision
  3. The heart pacemaker
  4. The first human kidney transplant
  5. The relationship between DNA, genes, and proteins that lies at the heart of much of modern biotechnology
  6. The defibrillator and cardioverter, used to control cardiac arrhythmia
  7. Decoding the structure of genes, used for medical diagnosis

A total of 31 long-time Harvard faculty have won Nobel Prizes in the Sciences, 60 if you include temporary faculty. The list is here. This is the largest tally of any University in the world. Perhaps Harvard professors are not entirely useless and brain-dead, after all.

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