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1 Cite Share Law enforcement worker suicide: an updated national assessment. Violanti JM, Steege A. Violanti JM, et al. Policing. 2021;44(1):18-31. doi: 10.1108/PIJPSM-09-2019-0157. Epub 2020 Oct 21. Policing. 2021. PMID: 33883970 Free PMC article. Cite Share Item in Clipboard

2 Cite Share Gastrointestinal lymphomas: French Intergroup clinical practice recommendations for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up (SNFGE, FFCD, GERCOR, UNICANCER, SFCD, SFED, SFRO, SFH). Matysiak-Budnik T, Fabiani B, Hennequin C, Thieblemont C, Malamut G, Cadiot G, Bouché O, Ruskoné-Fourmestraux A. Matysiak-Budnik T, et al. Dig Liver Dis. 2018 Feb;50(2):124-131. doi: 10.1016/j.dld.2017.12.006. Epub 2017 Dec 18. Dig Liver Dis. 2018. PMID: 29301732 Review. Cite Share Item in Clipboard

3 Cite Share Audio long read: A new kind of solar cell is coming - is it the future of green energy? Peplow M, Thompson B. Peplow M, et al. Nature. 2023 Dec 29. doi: 10.1038/d41586-023-03882-x. Online ahead of print. Nature. 2023. PMID: 38158413 No abstract available. Cite Share Item in Clipboard

4 Cite Share Cancer-associated Fibroblast Induces Acinar-to-ductal Cell Transdifferentiation and Pancreatic Cancer Initiation via LAMA5/ITGA4 axis. Parte S, Kaur AB, Nimmakayala RK, Ogunleye AO, Chirravuri R, Vengoji R, Leon F, Nallasamy P, Rauth S, Alsafwani ZW, Lele S, Cox JL, Bhat I, Singh S, Batra SK, Ponnusamy MP. Parte S, et al. Gastroenterology. 2023 Dec 26:S0016-5085(23)05683-4. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2023.12.018. Online ahead of print. Gastroenterology. 2023. PMID: 38154529 Cite Share Item in Clipboard

5 Cite Share Gastric marginal zone lymphoma of MALT type: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Zucca E, Copie-Bergman C, Ricardi U, Thieblemont C, Raderer M, Ladetto M; ESMO Guidelines Working Group. Zucca E, et al. Ann Oncol. 2013 Oct;24 Suppl 6:vi144-8. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdt343. Ann Oncol. 2013. PMID: 24078657 Free article. No abstract available. Cite Share Item in Clipboard

6 Cite Share Disparities in Kidney Transplant Waitlisting Among Young Patients Without Medical Comorbidities. Drewry KM, Buford J, Patzer RE. Drewry KM, et al. Am J Kidney Dis. 2023 Dec 26:S0272-6386(23)00998-8. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2023.12.009. Online ahead of print. Am J Kidney Dis. 2023. PMID: 38154783 No abstract available. Cite Share Item in Clipboard

7 Cite Share Apolipoprotein(a) and cardiovascular disease in type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetic patients with and without diabetic nephropathy. Nielsen FS, Voldsgaard AI, Gall MA, Rossing P, Hommel E, Andersen P, Dyerberg J, Parving HH. Nielsen FS, et al. Diabetologia. 1993 May;36(5):438-44. doi: 10.1007/BF00402281. Diabetologia. 1993. PMID: 8314449 Cite Share Item in Clipboard

8 Cite Share Mitofusin-2 Regulates Platelet Mitochondria and Function. Jacob S, Kosaka Y, Bhatlekar S, Denorme F, Benzon H, Moody A, Moody V, Tugolukova E, Hull G, Kishimoto N, Manne BK, Guo L, Souvenir R, Seliger BJ, Eustes AS, Hoerger K, Tolley ND, Fatahian AN, Boudina S, Christiani DC, Wei Y, Ju C, Campbell RA, Rondina MT, Dale Abel E, Bray PF, Weyrich AS, Rowley JW. Jacob S, et al. Circ Res. 2023 Dec 29. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.123.322914. Online ahead of print. Circ Res. 2023. PMID: 38156445 Cite Share Item in Clipboard

9 Cite Share Retracted: A Machine-Learning-Based System for Prediction of Cardiovascular and Chronic Respiratory Diseases. Healthcare Engineering JO. Healthcare Engineering JO. J Healthc Eng. 2023 Sep 20;2023:9805013. doi: 10.1155/2023/9805013. eCollection 2023. J Healthc Eng. 2023. PMID: 37771996 Free PMC article. Cite Share Item in Clipboard

10 Cite Share A Review: Design from Beta Titanium Alloys to Medium-Entropy Alloys for Biomedical Applications. Wong KK, Hsu HC, Wu SC, Ho WF. Wong KK, et al. Materials (Basel). 2023 Nov 5;16(21):7046. doi: 10.3390/ma16217046. Materials (Basel). 2023. PMID: 37959643 Free PMC article. Review. Cite Share Item in Clipboard

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Why big numbers break our brains

Human brains aren't built to comprehend large numbers, like the national debt or how much to save for retirement. But with a few tools — analogies, metaphors and visualizations — we can get better at it. erhui1979/Getty Images hide caption

Why big numbers break our brains

January 3, 2024 • In celebration of our 1000th episode, we're wrapping our heads around big numbers. Educational neuroscientist Elizabeth Toomarian talks about why humans' evolutionarily-old brains are so bad at comprehending large quantities–like the national debt and the size of the universe–and how to better equip ourselves to understand important issues like our finances and the impacts of climate change.

Drinking turns some red with Asian Glow—and may fight diseases like tuberculosis

Drinking turns some red with Asian Glow—and may fight diseases like tuberculosis

January 1, 2024 • Ever gotten a scarlet, hot face after drinking? Or know someone who has? Many people felt it as they ring in the New Year with champagne toasts. That's because this condition, commonly called "Asian flush" or "Asian glow," affects an estimated half a BILLION people, who can't break down aldehyde toxins that build up in their bodies. But what if there's a benefit to having Asian glow?

Just how big can a snowflake get? It depends on what you mean by 'snowflake'

This 35.33 mm (1.39 inches) snowflake photographed in Stonybrook, NY in 2015 was the largest captured over multiple winters by researchers using a special camera designed to image falling snowflakes. Sandra Yuter hide caption

Just how big can a snowflake get? It depends on what you mean by 'snowflake'

December 25, 2023 • The Guinness World Record folks would have us believe in a 19th century snowflake more than a foot wide, but some scientists are skeptical.

This holiday, dig into some of the hilarious science of Christmas BMJs past

A screenshot taken by journalist Jordan Oloman during his playthrough as a doctor in the social simulation video game The Sims 4. Jordan Oloman/The Sims 4 hide caption

This holiday, dig into some of the hilarious science of Christmas BMJs past

December 25, 2023 • Would you survive as a doctor in The Sims 4 ? What's an appropriate amount of free food to take from a public sample station before it's greedy? And how much do clock towers affect sleep? These are the types of questions answered in the Christmas issue of The BMJ — one of the journal's most highly anticipated issues each year. And we find out the answers in this very episode. So, sit back, relax and prepare to be amused by this ghost of Christmas Past (encore).

It's not just you: Christmas lights look different now, and can give you headaches

Buses pass under the 2007 'Enchanted' Oxford Street LED Light Display in London, England. Chris Jackson/Getty Images hide caption

It's not just you: Christmas lights look different now, and can give you headaches

December 22, 2023 • LED light bulbs are the future. They're better for the environment and the pocket book. But for some people, certain LEDs lights — particularly holiday lights—are also a problem. They flicker in a way that causes headaches, nausea and other discomfort. Today, we visit the "Flicker Queen" to learn why LEDs flicker — and what you can do about it.

Science says declining social invites is OK. Here are 3 tips for doing it

Can you relate? Planet Flem/Getty hide caption

Science says declining social invites is OK. Here are 3 tips for doing it

December 21, 2023 • A new study has examined the potential ramifications of declining an invitation for a social outing, and found that people tend to overestimate just how much it matters.

Once a satirical conspiracy theory, bird drones could soon be a reality

A taxidermied bird is equipped with a drone to simulate actual bird flight. Mostafa Hassanalian hide caption

Once a satirical conspiracy theory, bird drones could soon be a reality

December 21, 2023 • Millions of people in the U.S. are bird watchers. But a couple of years ago a satirical conspiracy theory gained popularity because of an absurd claim: That those birds were also watching people.

Cats play fetch, too — as long as they're in control, a study finds

Birman kitten playing with mouse Nico De Pasquale Photography/Getty Images hide caption

Cats play fetch, too — as long as they're in control, a study finds

December 15, 2023 • A new study showed that cats fetched objects instinctively, in the absence of overt training. Fetching is defined as when the animal retrieves an object that's thrown.

Artificial intelligence is not a silver bullet

Artificial intelligence is not a silver bullet

December 14, 2023 • Artificial intelligence is increasingly being used throughout the world to predict the future. Banks use it to predict whether customers will pay back a loan, hospitals use it to predict which patients are at greatest risk of disease and auto insurance companies use it determine rates by predicting how likely a customer is to get in an accident. But issues like data leakage and sampling bias can cause AI to give faulty predictions, to sometimes disastrous effects. That's what we get into today: the hazards of AI.

Infertile people, gay and trans couples yearn for progress on lab-made eggs and sperm

Diana and Paul Zucknick have tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully to have children. The Austin, Texas, couple are intrigued by scientific research that may someday make it possible to create eggs and sperm from their skin cells. Montinique Monroe for NPR hide caption

Shots - Health News

Infertile people, gay and trans couples yearn for progress on lab-made eggs and sperm.

December 13, 2023 • An experimental technology that might someday allow infertile couples, as well as gay and trans couples, to have genetically related children stirs hope. So far, the technique has worked in mice.

These songbirds sing for hours a day to keep their vocal muscles in shape

New research suggests that zebra finches must sing a lot to maintain top-tier singing performances. Mustafa Ciftci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images hide caption

These songbirds sing for hours a day to keep their vocal muscles in shape

December 13, 2023 • Zebra finches who did not sing every day quickly lose their vocal prowess, a new study finds. The results could potentially shed light on vocal rehabilitation for humans, too.

The murderous creature you live with is a murderous creature, a study confirms

Good to see you too. Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

Main Character of the Day

The murderous creature you live with is a murderous creature, a study confirms.

December 12, 2023 • More scientific evidence has surfaced to show that while Mittens may be your sweet angel, letting her roam outside is also a big threat to biodiversity.

FDA approves first gene-editing treatment for human illness

"I'm ecstatic. It's a blessing that they approved this therapy," said Victoria Gray, the first person in the U.S. to undergo CRISPR gene-editing for sickle cell, of the Food and Drug Administration's decision. Orlando Gili hide caption

FDA approves first gene-editing treatment for human illness

December 8, 2023 • The Food and Drug Administration approved two genetic treatments for sickle cell disease, including one that uses gene-editing. The approvals offer hope for patients and signal a new medical era.

Looking for honey? This African bird will heed your call and take you there

A male Greater Honeyguide in Mozambique's Niassa Special Reserve. Claire Spottiswoode hide caption

Goats and Soda

Looking for honey this african bird will heed your call and take you there.

December 7, 2023 • The wild honeyguide responds to distinct calls from local honey foragers. Says one researcher: The bird basically seems to be saying, "Hey, I'm here and I know where there's some honey, so follow me."

A fibrous path 'twixt heart and brain may make you swoon

Stage actress Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) reclines in a scene from an unnamed theater production. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

A fibrous path 'twixt heart and brain may make you swoon

December 7, 2023 • A newly discovered pathway between the heart and brain can cause fainting, at least in mice.

A little electric stimulation in just the right spot may bolster a damaged brain

An artistic rendering of deep brain stimulation. Scientists are studying this approach to see if it can treat cognitive impairment that can arise after a traumatic brain injury and other conditions. Andrew Janson / Butson Lab, University of Utah/NIH Image Gallery hide caption

A little electric stimulation in just the right spot may bolster a damaged brain

December 6, 2023 • A small study found that electrically stimulating an area deep in the brain allowed people with severe traumatic brain injuries to complete a cognitive test more quickly.

Big city mosquitoes are a big problem — and now a big target

Manmade pits at construction sites are providing nurseries for malaria-carrying mosquitoes, new research finds. Gonzalo Vazquez-Prokopec hide caption

Big city mosquitoes are a big problem — and now a big target

December 4, 2023 • Africa's cities have become home to an invasive, malaria-carrying mosquito. New research suggests vulnerabilities that could be exploited to take on the disease-bearing insects.

These penguins take 10,000 little naps a day — seconds at a time

Chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis Antarctica) are pictured in Orne Harbour in the western Antarctic peninsula. Waddling over the rocks, legions of penguins hurl themselves into the icy waters of Antarctica, foraging to feed their young. Eitan Abramovich/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

These penguins take 10,000 little naps a day — seconds at a time

December 1, 2023 • Sleep. It's an essential biological function that has long intrigued scientists. Researchers have studied everything from mice to fruit flies in the lab to get a better understanding of what happens when animals sleep — and why so many do it. This week, scientists finally added one piece to the elusive sleep puzzle: How wild chinstrap penguins sleep amid their noisy colony. Turns out, they do it over 10,000 times in seconds-long bursts throughout the day — totaling 11 hours when all is said and done.

A look at the international race to create human eggs and sperm in the lab

One of the scientists shows the petri dishes in which they grow cells at the department of Genome Biology, Graduate School of Medicine. Osaka University, Osaka, Japan, August 7th, 2003. Kosuke Okahara for NPR hide caption

A look at the international race to create human eggs and sperm in the lab

November 29, 2023 • In which we meet the pioneers of one of the most exciting — and controversial — fields of biomedical research: in vitro gametogenesis, or IVG . The goal of IVG is to make unlimited supplies of what Hayashi calls "artificial" eggs and sperm from any cell in the human body. That could let anyone — older, infertile, single, gay, trans — have their own genetically related babies. As such, the field opens up a slew of ethical concerns.

What fossilized poop can teach us about dinosaurs

Karen Chin in the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, where she is the curator of paleontology. She is also a professor of geological sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder and a leading expert on fossilized dinosaur feces. Casey A. Cass/University of Colo hide caption

What fossilized poop can teach us about dinosaurs

November 24, 2023 • Walking into Karen Chin's office at the University of Colorado, Boulder, one of the first things you might notice is that petrified poops are everywhere. They're in shallow boxes covering every surface and filling up shelves, cabinets and drawers. She's a leading expert in the fossils, known as coprolites. They delight her because of what they reveal about the ancient eating habits and food webs of dinosaurs — rare insights for the paleontology world. This episode, she talks with Short Wave co-host Aaron Scott about the lessons scientists can learn from ancient poopetrators .

Salty much? These brain cells decide when tasty becomes blech

Two brain circuits help determine whether there's too little salt, or too much. Aleksandr Zubkov/Getty Images hide caption

Salty much? These brain cells decide when tasty becomes blech

November 23, 2023 • Scientists say two separate brain circuits control how much salt we consume.

What can trigger an itch? Scientists have found a new culprit

New research finds that a common microbe may be directly causing itchiness on the skin it colonizes. Kinga Krzeminska/Getty Images hide caption

What can trigger an itch? Scientists have found a new culprit

November 22, 2023 • This itchy microbe really touches a nerve. A common skin bacterium can directly interact with a nerve cell to trigger an itch, new study shows, suggesting possible new therapies for itchy conditions.

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Negative mixing enthalpy solid solutions deliver high strength and ductility

A HfNbTiVAl 10 alloy shows tensile ductility and ultrahigh yield strength from the addition of aluminium to a HfNbTiV alloy, resulting in a negative mixing enthalpy solid solution, which promotes strength and favours formation of hierarchical chemical fluctuations.

  • Xiaodong Han

research papers latest

Disordered enthalpy–entropy descriptor for high-entropy ceramics discovery

DEED captures the balance between entropy gains and costs, allowing the correct classification of functional synthesizability of multicomponent ceramics, regardless of chemistry and structure, and provides an array of potential new candidates, ripe for experimental discoveries.

  • Simon Divilov
  • Hagen Eckert
  • Stefano Curtarolo

research papers latest

Na v 1.7 as a chondrocyte regulator and therapeutic target for osteoarthritis

The voltage-gated sodium channel Na v 1.7 has a dual role in osteoarthritis—in chondrocytes, it promotes joint damage, and in dorsal root ganglia neurons, it increases pain transmission.

  • Dmytro Vasylyev
  • Chuan-ju Liu

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Host genetic regulation of human gut microbial structural variation

A meta-analysis of associations between human genetic variation and gut microbial structural variations shows that ABO genotype differentially affects the presence of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii strains containing GalNAc utilization pathway in the gut.

  • Daria V. Zhernakova
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A new antibiotic traps lipopolysaccharide in its intermembrane transporter

A mechanism of lipid transport inhibition has been identified for a class of peptide antibiotics effective against resistant Acinetobacter strains, which may have applications in the inhibition of other Gram-negative pathogens.

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Heat conductance of the quantum Hall bulk

We measure efficient heat conductance through the electrically insulating quantum Hall bulk and propose a theoretical model based on the role played by the localized states.

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Issue Cover

Article Contents

Climate-related all-time records, recent trends in planetary vital signs, scientists’ warning recommendations, conclusions, acknowledgments, references cited.

  • < Previous

The 2023 state of the climate report: Entering uncharted territory

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Co-lead authors William J. Ripple and Christopher Wolf contributed equally to the work.

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William J Ripple, Christopher Wolf, Jillian W Gregg, Johan Rockström, Thomas M Newsome, Beverly E Law, Luiz Marques, Timothy M Lenton, Chi Xu, Saleemul Huq, Leon Simons, Sir David Anthony King, The 2023 state of the climate report: Entering uncharted territory, BioScience , Volume 73, Issue 12, December 2023, Pages 841–850, https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biad080

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Life on planet Earth is under siege. We are now in an uncharted territory. For several decades, scientists have consistently warned of a future marked by extreme climatic conditions because of escalating global temperatures caused by ongoing human activities that release harmful greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, time is up. We are seeing the manifestation of those predictions as an alarming and unprecedented succession of climate records are broken, causing profoundly distressing scenes of suffering to unfold. We are entering an unfamiliar domain regarding our climate crisis, a situation no one has ever witnessed firsthand in the history of humanity.

In the present report, we display a diverse set of vital signs of the planet and the potential drivers of climate change and climate-related responses first presented by Ripple and Wolf and colleagues ( 2020 ), who declared a climate emergency, now with more than 15,000 scientist signatories. The trends reveal new all-time climate-related records and deeply concerning patterns of climate-related disasters. At the same time, we report minimal progress by humanity in combating climate change. Given these distressing developments, our goal is to communicate climate facts and policy recommendations to scientists, policymakers, and the public. It is the moral duty of us scientists and our institutions to clearly alert humanity of any potential existential threat and to show leadership in taking action. This report is part of our series of concise and easily accessible yearly updates on the state of the climate crisis.

In 2023, we witnessed an extraordinary series of climate-related records being broken around the world. The rapid pace of change has surprised scientists and caused concern about the dangers of extreme weather, risky climate feedback loops, and the approach of damaging tipping points sooner than expected (Armstrong McKay et al. 2022 , Ripple et al. 2023 ). This year, exceptional heat waves have swept across the world, leading to record high temperatures. The oceans have been historically warm, with global and North Atlantic sea surface temperatures both breaking records and unprecedented low levels of sea ice surrounding Antarctica (figure  1a – 1d ). In addition, June through August of this year was the warmest period ever recorded, and in early July, we witnessed Earth's highest global daily average surface temperature ever measured, possibly the warmest temperature on Earth over the past 100,000 years (figure  1e ). It is a sign that we are pushing our planetary systems into dangerous instability.

Unusual climate anomalies in 2023 (the red line, which appears bold in print). Sea ice extent (a, b), temperatures (c–e), and area burned in Canada (f) are presently far outside their historical ranges. These anomalies may be due to both climate change and other factors. Sources and additional details about each variable are provided in supplemental file S1. Each line corresponds to a different year, with darker gray representing later years.

Unusual climate anomalies in 2023 (the red line, which appears bold in print). Sea ice extent (a, b), temperatures (c–e), and area burned in Canada (f) are presently far outside their historical ranges. These anomalies may be due to both climate change and other factors. Sources and additional details about each variable are provided in supplemental file S1 . Each line corresponds to a different year, with darker gray representing later years.

We are venturing into uncharted climate territory. Global daily mean temperatures never exceeded 1.5-degree Celsius (°C) above preindustrial levels prior to 2000 and have only occasionally exceeded that number since then. However, 2023 has already seen 38 days with global average temperatures above 1.5°C by 12 September—more than any other year—and the total may continue to rise. Even more striking are the enormous margins by which 2023 conditions are exceeding past extremes (figure  1 ). Similarly, on 7 July 2023, Antarctic sea ice reached its lowest daily relative extent since the advent of satellite data, at 2.67 million square kilometers below the 1991–2023 average (figure  1a ). Other variables far outside their historical ranges include the area burned by wildfires in Canada (figure  1f ), which may indicate a tipping point into a new fire regime.

Anthropogenic global heating is a key driver of many of these recent extremes. However, the specific driving processes involved can be quite complex. For example, rising Atlantic ocean temperatures may be connected to Sahel rainfall and African dust (Wang et al. 2012 ). Another potential contributor is water vapor (a greenhouse gas) injected into the stratosphere by an underwater volcano eruption (Jenkins et al. 2023 ). The recent rise may also be linked to a regulatory change mandating the use of low-sulfur fuels in ocean shipping, because atmospheric sulfate aerosols directly scatter sunlight and cause reflective clouds to form (see supplemental file S1 for an extended discussion). The sudden rise in temperatures is also likely contributed to by the onset of an El Niño event—a naturally occurring part of the climate system, which could, itself, be affected by climate change (Cai et al. 2021 ). In any case, as Earth's climate system transitions away from conditions associated with human thriving, such anomalies may become more frequent and could have increasingly catastrophic impacts (Xu et al. 2020 , Lenton et al. 2023 ).

On the basis of time series data, 20 of the 35 vital signs are now showing record extremes (figures  2 and  3 , supplemental table S1 ). As we describe below, these data show how the continued pursuit of business as usual has, ironically, led to unprecedented pressure on the Earth system, resulting in many climate-related variables entering uncharted territory (figures  1 and  3 ).

Time series of climate-related human activities. Data obtained since the publication of Ripple and colleagues (2021) are shown in red (dark gray in print). In panel (f), tree cover loss does not account for forest gain and includes a loss due to any cause. For panel (h), hydroelectricity and nuclear energy are shown in figure S1. Sources and additional details about each variable are provided in supplemental file S1.

Time series of climate-related human activities. Data obtained since the publication of Ripple and colleagues ( 2021 ) are shown in red (dark gray in print). In panel (f), tree cover loss does not account for forest gain and includes a loss due to any cause. For panel (h), hydroelectricity and nuclear energy are shown in figure S1 . Sources and additional details about each variable are provided in supplemental file S1 .

Time series of climate-related responses. Data obtained before and after the publication of Ripple and colleagues (2021) are shown in gray and red (dark gray in print) respectively. For area burned (m) and billion-dollar flood frequency (o) in the United States, the black horizontal lines show changepoint model estimates, which allow for abrupt shifts (see the supplement). For other variables with relatively high variability, local regression trendlines are shown in black. The variables were measured at various frequencies (e.g., annual, monthly, weekly). The labels on the x-axis correspond to the midpoints of years. Billion-dollar flood frequency (o) is likely influenced by exposure and vulnerability in addition to climate change. Sources and additional details about each variable are provided in supplemental file S1.

Time series of climate-related responses. Data obtained before and after the publication of Ripple and colleagues ( 2021 ) are shown in gray and red (dark gray in print) respectively. For area burned (m) and billion-dollar flood frequency (o) in the United States, the black horizontal lines show changepoint model estimates, which allow for abrupt shifts (see the supplement). For other variables with relatively high variability, local regression trendlines are shown in black. The variables were measured at various frequencies (e.g., annual, monthly, weekly). The labels on the x -axis correspond to the midpoints of years. Billion-dollar flood frequency (o) is likely influenced by exposure and vulnerability in addition to climate change. Sources and additional details about each variable are provided in supplemental file S1 .

It appears the green recovery following COVID-19 that many had hoped for has largely failed to materialize (Zhang et al. 2023 ). Instead, carbon emissions have continued soaring, and fossil fuels remain dominant, with annual coal consumption reaching a near all-time high of 161.5 exajoules in 2022 (figure  2h ). Although the consumption of renewable energy (solar and wind) grew a robust 17% between 2021 and 2022, it remains roughly 15 times lower than fossil fuel energy consumption (figure  2h ). A major driver of economic and energy trends is Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which has accelerated the transition to renewables in Europe but which may also cause some countries to switch from Russian-supplied gas to coal (Tollefson 2022 ). Already, this conflict has contributed to a massive 107% increase in fossil fuel subsidies from US |${\$}$| 531 billion in 2021 to US |${\$}$| 1097 billion in 2022 because of rising energy prices (figure  2o ). Although these subsidies may partially protect consumers from price increases, they are often not well targeted and help to promote fossil fuel related energy use and profits over low-carbon alternatives (Muta and Erdogan 2023 ).

Between 2021 and 2022, the global tree cover loss rate declined 9.7% to 22.8 million hectares (ha) per year (figure  2f ). Similarly, the Brazilian Amazon forest loss rate decreased by 11.3% to 1.16 million ha per year (figure  2g ), and further reductions are likely to occur as a result of the election of a new president of Brazil and several recent legal decrees (Vilani et al. 2023 ). However, humanity is not on track to end and reverse deforestation by 2030, despite pledges by more than 100 world leaders in 2021 at COP26 (UNEP 2022a ). Moreover, forests are increasingly threatened by powerful climate feedback loops involving processes such as insect damage, dieback, and wildfire (Flores and Staal 2022 , Ripple et al. 2023 ). For example, the historical record-setting wildfires in Canada, which burned 16.6 million hectares this year as of 13 September (figure  1f ), were partly related to climate change. This resulted in emissions of more than a gigaton of carbon dioxide (Copernicus 2023 ), which is substantial, given that Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions in 2021 were roughly 0.67 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent (Environment and Climate Change Canada 2023 ). How quickly such emissions can be reabsorbed by postfire recovery is uncertain, and there is a real risk that increasing fire severity will cause unrecoverable carbon loss in a warming future (Bowman et al. 2021 ).

Global mean greenhouse gases and temperature

On the basis of year-to-date statistics for 2023, three important greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide—are all at record levels (figure  3a – 3c ). The global average carbon dioxide concentration is now approximately 420 parts per million, which is far above the proposed planetary boundary of 350 parts per million (Rockström et al. 2009 ). In addition, 2023 is on track to be one of the hottest years on record (figures  1e and 3d ). Although fossil fuel-related greenhouse gas emissions are the main driver of rising temperatures, a global decline in sulfur dioxide emissions is likely a contributing factor ( supplemental figure S2 ). Sulfur dioxide forms sulfates in the atmosphere, which are the strongest anthropogenic cooling agent, hiding part of the greenhouse gas warming (see supplemental file S1 for extended discussion).

Oceans and ice

Ocean acidity, glacier thickness, and Greenland ice mass all fell to record lows (figure  3g , 3j , and 3l ), whereas sea level rise and ocean heat content rose to record highs (figure  3f , 3h ). The increase in heat content and the rapid rise in sea surface temperatures (figure  1c , 1d ) are especially troubling, because they could have many serious impacts, including the loss of sea life, coral reefs dying because of bleaching, and a rise in the intensity of large tropical storms (Reid et al. 2009 ). There are also growing concerns that the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation could pass a tipping point and start to collapse this century, possibly between 2025 and 2095 (Ditlevsen and Ditlevsen 2023 ), which would significantly alter global precipitation and temperature patterns with potentially major harmful consequences for ecosystems and society, including reduced natural carbon sinks (Armstrong McKay et al. 2022 ).

Climate impacts and extreme weather

Climate change is contributing significantly to human suffering (figure  4 ). Climate-related impacts in 2022 included another billion-dollar flood in the United States, which occurred in Kentucky and Missouri between 26 and 28 July, and the third highest frequency of extremely hot days (figure  3o , 3p ). Between 2021 and 2022, the area burned by wildfires globally decreased 28% (from 9.34 million ha to 6.72 million ha), but wildfire activity in the United State rose by 6.3% (from 2.88 million ha to 3.07 million ha) over the same period (figure  3m , 3n ). Many climate impacts are expected to further intensify in the coming years, and we may have already experienced abrupt increases in certain types of extreme weather, possibly surpassing the rate of temperature rise (figures  3m , 3o , S3, S4 ; Calvin 2020 ).

Photograph series depicting the impacts of climate-related disasters. First row (left to right): Homeowners sort through debris after wildfires destroyed their home in the state of California (United States, 2008; FEMA/Michael Mancino), “[National] guardsman carrying a woman in waist deep floodwaters” (United States, 2017; Zachary West/National Guard; CC BY 2.0). Second row: “young girls are caught by a sandstorm on their way to school” (Afghanistan, 2019, Solmaz Daryani/Climate Visuals Countdown; Creative Commons), “mature woman seated in her home, submerged in deep water, smoking a cigarette” (Brazil, 2015; Fabrice Fabola, CC BY-SA 2.0). Third row: aftermath of Cyclone Idai (Mozambique, 2019; Denis Onyodi: IFRC/DRK/Climate Centre, CC BY-NC 2.0), “residents walk on a road littered with debris after Super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city” (The Philippines, 2013; Erik de Castro/Reuters; CC BY 2.0). All quotes are from the Climate Visuals project (https://climatevisuals.org). See supplemental file S1 for details and more pictures.

Photograph series depicting the impacts of climate-related disasters. First row (left to right): Homeowners sort through debris after wildfires destroyed their home in the state of California (United States, 2008; FEMA/Michael Mancino), “[National] guardsman carrying a woman in waist deep floodwaters” (United States, 2017; Zachary West/National Guard; CC BY 2.0). Second row: “young girls are caught by a sandstorm on their way to school” (Afghanistan, 2019, Solmaz Daryani/Climate Visuals Countdown; Creative Commons), “mature woman seated in her home, submerged in deep water, smoking a cigarette” (Brazil, 2015; Fabrice Fabola, CC BY-SA 2.0). Third row: aftermath of Cyclone Idai (Mozambique, 2019; Denis Onyodi: IFRC/DRK/Climate Centre, CC BY-NC 2.0), “residents walk on a road littered with debris after Super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city” (The Philippines, 2013; Erik de Castro/Reuters; CC BY 2.0). All quotes are from the Climate Visuals project ( https://climatevisuals.org ). See supplemental file S1 for details and more pictures.

In 2023, climate change likely contributed to a number of major extreme weather events and disasters. Several of these events demonstrate how climate extremes are threatening wider areas that have not typically been prone to such extremes; for example, severe flooding in northern China, around Beijing, killed at least 33 people. Other recent disasters include deadly flash floods and landslides in northern India, record-breaking heat waves in the United States, and an exceptionally intense Mediterranean storm that killed thousands of people, primarily in Libya (see table  1 for details and attribution). As these impacts continue to accelerate, more funding to compensate for climate-related loss and damage in developing countries is urgently needed. The United Nations’ new loss and damage global fund established at COP27 is a promising development, but its success will require robust support by wealthy countries.

Recent climate-related disasters since November 2022.

Note: We list numerous recent disasters that may be at least partly related to climate change. This list is not intended to be exhaustive. Because of the recent nature of these events, our sources often include news media articles. For each event, we generally provide references indicating that the likelihood or strength of such an event may have increased because of anthropogenic climate change. References to scientific articles are given directly in the table, and links to news articles are provided in supplemental file S1 . Some of these disasters may be at least partly because of climate-related changes in jet streams (Stendel et al. 2021 , Rousi et al. 2022 ).

Motivated by recent events and trends, we continue to issue specific warnings and recommendations involving topics ranging from food security to climate justice. Coordinated efforts in each of these areas could help to support a broader agenda focused on holistic and equitable climate policy.

Economic growth, as it is conventionally pursued, is unlikely to allow us to achieve our social, climate, and biodiversity goals. The fundamental challenge lies in the difficulty of decoupling economic growth from harmful environmental impacts (figure  5a ). Although technological advancements and efficiency improvements can contribute to some degree of decoupling, they often fall short in mitigating the overall ecological footprint of economic activities (Hickel et al. 2021 ). The impacts vary greatly by wealth; in 2019, the top 10% of emitters were responsible for 48% of global emissions, whereas the bottom 50% were responsible for just 12% (Chancel 2022 ). We therefore need to change our economy to a system that supports meeting basic needs for all people instead of excessive consumption by the wealthy (O'Neill et al. 2018 ).

Climate action special topics. Many models assume that GDP growth can be mostly decoupled from emissions and other consumption-related environmental impacts (a) and that carbon capture methods can be quickly scaled up (b). If these assumptions are not realistic and the use of coal and other fossil fuels is not immediately curtailed (c), then Earth system feedback loops (d) could lead to rapidly accelerating climate impacts, including undernourishment (e) and climate disasters, which will be especially severe in less wealthy countries that have had little historical emissions (f). See supplemental file S1 for data sources and details. Photograph: Boris Radosavljevic (CC BY 2.0).

Climate action special topics. Many models assume that GDP growth can be mostly decoupled from emissions and other consumption-related environmental impacts (a) and that carbon capture methods can be quickly scaled up (b). If these assumptions are not realistic and the use of coal and other fossil fuels is not immediately curtailed (c), then Earth system feedback loops (d) could lead to rapidly accelerating climate impacts, including undernourishment (e) and climate disasters, which will be especially severe in less wealthy countries that have had little historical emissions (f). See supplemental file S1 for data sources and details. Photograph: Boris Radosavljevic (CC BY 2.0).

Stopping warming

The elevated rates of climate disasters and other impacts that we are presently seeing are largely a consequence of historical and ongoing greenhouse gas emissions. To mitigate these past emissions and stop global warming, efforts must be directed toward eliminating emissions from fossil fuels and land-use change and increasing carbon sequestration with nature-based climate solutions. However, it is crucial to explore other possible strategies to efficiently remove additional carbon dioxide, which can contribute to long-term planetary cooling. Negative emissions technologies are in an early stage of development, posing uncertainties regarding their effectiveness, scalability, and environmental and societal impacts (figure 5b ; Anderson and Peters 2016 ). As such, we should not rely on unproven carbon removal techniques. Although research efforts should be accelerated, depending heavily on future large-scale carbon removal strategies at this juncture may create a deceptive perception of security and postpone the imperative mitigation actions that are essential to tackle climate change now.

Stopping coal consumption

In addition to its destructive effects on ecosystems and global health, coal accounts for more than 80% of carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere since 1870 and roughly 40% of current carbon dioxide emissions (Burke and Fishel 2020 ). As of 2022, global coal consumption is near record levels (figure  2h ). In 2021, coal-related carbon dioxide emissions were greatest in China (53.1%), followed by India (12.0%), and the United States (6.7%; figure  5c ). Coal usage in China has accelerated rapidly in the past decades, and the country now still produces nearly a third of all fossil fuel carbon dioxide and methane emissions ( supplemental table S2 ; Normile 2020 ). In response to this situation, we support the Powering Past Coal Alliance and recommend the adoption of the international Coal Elimination Treaty to phase out coal and, more broadly, the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty (van Asselt and Newell 2022 ). These treaties could provide support for less wealthy countries in transitioning away from coal and other fossil fuels, including funding to build out renewable energy capacity and retrain and transition workers from the fossil fuel industry.

Feedback loops

Climate feedback loops directly affect the relationship between emissions and warming. For example, warming causes permafrost soils to thaw, emitting methane and carbon dioxide that result in further warming (figure  5d ). As such, reinforcing feedback loops amplify the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, leading to additional warming. Therefore, understanding feedback loops and their interactions can inform climate mitigation and adaptation strategies. Despite their importance, the combination of multiple amplifying feedback loops are not well understood, and the potential strengths of some dangerous feedback loops are still highly uncertain (Ripple et al. 2023 ). Because of this uncertainty, we call for an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report that focuses on the perilous climate feedback loops, tipping points, and—just as a precaution—the possible but less likely scenario of runaway or apocalyptic climate change.

Food security and undernourishment

After declining for many years, the prevalence of undernourishment is now on the rise (figure  5e ). In 2022, an estimated 735 million people faced chronic hunger—an increase of roughly 122 million since 2019 (FAO et al. 2023 ). This rise, which has pushed humanity far off track from achieving zero hunger by 2030, is due to multiple factors, including climate extremes, economic downturns, and armed conflict (FAO et al. 2023 ). Climate change has reduced the extent of global agricultural productivity growth (Ortiz-Bobea et al. 2021 ), so there is danger that hunger will escalate in the absence of immediate climate action. In particular, there may be serious and underestimated future risks of synchronized harvest failures caused by increased waviness of the jet stream (Kornhuber et al. 2023 ). Because of the growing risks of concurrent major crop losses in multiple regions of the world, adaptation-focused efforts are needed to improve crop resilience and resistance to heat, drought, and other climate stressors (Raza et al. 2019 ). A shift toward plant-based diets, particularly in wealthy countries, could improve global food security and help mitigate climate change (Figure  2d ; Cassidy et al. 2013 ).

The impacts of climate change are already catastrophic for many. However, these impacts are not unfolding uniformly across the entire globe. Instead, they disproportionately affect the world's most impoverished individuals, who, ironically, have had the least role in causing this issue (figure  5f ; Harlan et al. 2015 ). To achieve socioeconomic justice and universal human well-being, it is crucial to strive for a convergence in per capita resource and energy consumption worldwide. This entails working toward balanced and equitable levels of energy and resource consumption for both the global north and south (Hickel et al. 2021 ).

The effects of global warming are progressively more severe, and possibilities such as a worldwide societal breakdown are feasible and dangerously underexplored (Kemp et al. 2022 ). By the end of this century, an estimated 3 to 6 billion individuals—approximately one-third to one-half of the global population—might find themselves confined beyond the livable region, encountering severe heat, limited food availability, and elevated mortality rates because of the effects of climate change (Lenton et al. 2023 ). Big problems need big solutions. Therefore, we must shift our perspective on the climate emergency from being just an isolated environmental issue to a systemic, existential threat. Although global heating is devastating, it represents only one aspect of the escalating and interconnected environmental crisis that we are facing (e.g., biodiversity loss, fresh water scarcity, pandemics). We need policies that target the underlying issues of ecological overshoot where the human demand on Earth's resources results in overexploitation of our planet and biodiversity decline (figures  5a , S5; McBain et al. 2017 ). As long as humanity continues to exert extreme pressure on the Earth, any attempted climate-only solutions will only redistribute this pressure.

To address the overexploitation of our planet, we challenge the prevailing notion of endless growth and overconsumption by rich countries and individuals as unsustainable and unjust (Rockström et al. 2023 ). Instead, we advocate for reducing resource overconsumption; reducing, reusing, and recycling waste in a more circular economy; and prioritizing human flourishing and sustainability. We emphasize climate justice and fair distribution of the costs and benefits of climate action, particularly for vulnerable communities (Gupta et al. 2023 ). We call for a transformation of the global economy to prioritize human well-being and to provide for a more equitable distribution of resources (Hickel et al. 2021 ). We also call to stabilize and gradually decrease the human population with gender justice through voluntary family planning and by supporting women's and girls’ education and rights, which reduces fertility rates and raises the standard of living (Bongaarts and O'Neill 2018 ). These environmentally conscious and socially equitable strategies necessitate far-reaching and holistic transformations in the long run that could be achieved through gradual but significant steps in the short term (i.e., radical incrementalism; Halpern and Mason 2015 ).

As scientists, we are increasingly being asked to tell the public the truth about the crises we face in simple and direct terms. The truth is that we are shocked by the ferocity of the extreme weather events in 2023. We are afraid of the uncharted territory that we have now entered. Conditions are going to get very distressing and potentially unmanageable for large regions of the world, with the 2.6°C warming expected over the course of the century, even if the self-proposed national emissions reduction commitments of the Paris Agreement are met (UNEP 2022b ). We warn of potential collapse of natural and socioeconomic systems in such a world where we will face unbearable heat, frequent extreme weather events, food and fresh water shortages, rising seas, more emerging diseases, and increased social unrest and geopolitical conflict. Massive suffering due to climate change is already here, and we have now exceeded many safe and just Earth system boundaries, imperiling stability and life-support systems (Rockström et al. 2023 ). As we will soon bear witness to failing to meet the Paris agreement's aspirational 1.5°C goal, the significance of immediately curbing fossil fuel use and preventing every further 0.1°C increase in future global heating cannot be overstated. Rather than focusing only on carbon reduction and climate change, addressing the underlying issue of ecological overshoot will give us our best shot at surviving these challenges in the long run. This is our moment to make a profound difference for all life on Earth, and we must embrace it with unwavering courage and determination to create a legacy of change that will stand the test of time.

We thank William H. Calvin, Katherine Graubard, Karen Wolfgang, and Holly Jean Buck for providing helpful suggestions. We thank Susan Christie for assistance with this project. Partial funding was received from the CO2 Foundation and Roger Worthington.

Author Biography

William J. Ripple ( [email protected] ) is affiliated with the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University (OSU), in Corvallis, Oregon, in the United States and the Conservation Biology Institute (CBI), in Corvallis, Oregon, in the United States. Christopher Wolf ( [email protected] ) and Jillian W. Gregg are affiliated with Terrestrial Ecosystems Research Associates, in Corvallis, Oregon, in the United States. Johan Rockström is affiliated with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in Potsdam, Germany. Thomas M. Newsome is affiliated with the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at The University of Sydney, in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Beverly E. Law is affiliated with the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at OSU and the CBI. Luiz Marques is affiliated with the State University of Campinas—Unicamp and with the Center for Research in Energy and Materials, in Campinas, in the state of São Paolo, in Brazil. Timothy M. Lenton is affiliated with the Global Systems Institute at the University of Exeter, in Exeter, England, in the United Kingdom. Chi Xu is affiliated with the School of Life Sciences at Nanjing University, in Nanjing, China. Saleemul Huq is affiliated with the International Centre for Climate Change and Development at the Independent University Bangladesh, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Leon Simons is affiliated with the Club of Rome Netherlands, in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, in The Netherlands. Sir David Anthony King is affiliated with the Department of Chemistry at Downing College, at the University of Cambridge, in Cambridge, England, in the United Kingdom.

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Author notes

Supplementary data.

The methods and details of planetary vital sign variables used in this report, along with other discussion appear in supplemental file S1. A list of the scientist signatories for Ripple and colleagues ( 2020 ) as of 29 March 2023 appears in supplemental file S2. These signatures are not for the current report.

The article “World scientists’ warning of a climate emergency” (Ripple et al. 2020 ) now has more than 15,000 signatories from 163 countries, and we continue to collect signatures from scientists. To sign or learn more, visit the Alliance of World Scientists website at https://scientistswarning.forestry.oregonstate.edu . To read about science-based advocacy and view A Scientist's Warning , a new documentary film on scientists speaking out, visit www.scientistswarningfilm.org .

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Jennifer Schuessler ,  Anemona Hartocollis ,  Michael Levenson and Alan Blinder

Here’s what to know about Claudine Gay’s resignation.

Harvard’s president, Claudine Gay, announced her resignation on Tuesday, after her presidency had become engulfed in crisis over accusations of plagiarism and what some called her insufficient response to antisemitism on campus after the Hamas-led attacks on Israel on Oct. 7.

In announcing she would step down immediately, Dr. Gay, Harvard’s first Black president and the second woman to lead the university, ended a turbulent tenure that began last July. She will have the shortest stint in office of any Harvard president since its founding in 1636.

Alan M. Garber, an economist and physician who is Harvard’s provost and chief academic officer, will serve as interim president. Dr. Gay will remain a tenured professor of government and African and African American studies.

Dr. Gay became the second university president to resign in recent weeks, after she and the presidents of the University of Pennsylvania and M.I.T. appeared in a Dec. 5 congressional hearing in which they appeared to evade the question of whether students who called for the genocide of Jews should be punished.

Penn’s president, M. Elizabeth Magill, resigned four days after that hearing. Sally Kornbluth, M.I.T.’s president, has also faced calls for her resignation.

In a letter announcing her decision, Dr. Gay said that after consulting with members of the university’s governing body, the Harvard Corporation, “it has become clear that it is in the best interests of Harvard for me to resign so that our community can navigate this moment of extraordinary challenge with a focus on the institution rather than any individual.”

At the same time, Dr. Gay, 53, defended her academic record and suggested that she was the target of highly personal and racist attacks.

“Amidst all of this, it has been distressing to have doubt cast on my commitments to confronting hate and to upholding scholarly rigor — two bedrock values that are fundamental to who I am — and frightening to be subjected to personal attacks and threats fueled by racial animus,” she wrote.

Last year, the news of Dr. Gay’s appointment was widely seen as a breakthrough moment for the university. The daughter of Haitian immigrants and an expert on minority representation and political participation in government, she took office just as the Supreme Court rejected the use of race-conscious admissions at Harvard and other universities.

She also became a major target of some powerful graduates like the billionaire investor William A. Ackman , who was concerned about antisemitism and suggested on social media last month that Harvard had only considered candidates for the presidency who met “the D.E.I. office’s criteria,” referring to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Dr. Gay’s resignation came after the latest plagiarism accusations against her were circulated in an unsigned complaint published on Monday in The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative online journal that has led a campaign against Dr. Gay over the past few weeks.

The complaint added to about 40 other plagiarism accusations that had already been circulated in the journal. The accusations raised questions about whether Harvard was holding its president to the same academic standards as its students.

Lawrence H. Summers, the former U.S. treasury secretary who resigned as Harvard president under pressure in 2006, suggested that Dr. Gay had made the right decision. “I admire Claudine Gay for putting Harvard’s interests first at what I know must be an agonizingly difficult moment,” he said in an email.

Representative Virginia Foxx, a North Carolina Republican who leads the House committee that is investigating Harvard and other universities, said the inquiry would continue despite Dr. Gay’s resignation.

“There has been a hostile takeover of postsecondary education by political activists, woke faculty and partisan administrators,” Ms. Foxx said in a statement, adding, “The problems at Harvard are much larger than one leader.”

On Harvard’s campus, some expressed deep dismay with what they described as a politically motivated campaign against Dr. Gay and higher education more broadly. Hundreds of faculty members had signed public letters asking Harvard’s governing board to resist pressure to remove Dr. Gay.

“This is a terrible moment,” said Khalil Gibran Muhammad, a professor of history, race and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. “Republican congressional leaders have declared war on the independence of colleges and universities, just as Governor DeSantis has done in Florida. They will only be emboldened by Gay’s resignation.”

Some faculty members criticized how the secretive Harvard Corporation had handled the political onslaught and plagiarism allegations.

Alison Frank Johnson, a history professor, said she “couldn’t be more dismayed.”

“Instead of making a decision based on established scholarly principles, we had here a public hounding,” she said. “Instead of listening to voices of scholars in her field who could speak to the importance and originality of her research, we heard voices of derision and spite on social media. Instead of following established university procedure, we had a corporation granting access to self-appointed advisers and carrying out reviews using mysterious and undisclosed methods.”

Rumors about problems in Dr. Gay’s work had circulated for months on anonymous message boards. But the first widely publicized report came on Dec. 10, before Harvard’s board met to discuss Dr. Gay’s future, after her disastrous testimony in the congressional hearing.

That evening, the conservative activist Christopher Rufo published an essay in his Substack newsletter highlighting what he described as “problematic patterns of usage and citation” in Dr. Gay’s 1997 doctoral dissertation.

The Washington Free Beacon followed with several articles detailing allegations regarding her published scholarly articles, and reported two formal complaints submitted to the Research Integrity Office of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

In a statement on Dec. 12 saying that Dr. Gay would stay on, the board acknowledged the accusations and said it had been made aware of them in late October. The board said it had conducted an investigation and found “a few instances of inadequate citation” in two articles, which it said would be corrected. But the infractions, the board said, did not rise to the level of “research misconduct.”

Dr. Gay was already under pressure for what some had said was the university’s inadequate response to the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel.

After initially remaining silent after student groups wrote an open letter saying that Israel was “entirely responsible” for the violence, Dr. Gay and other officials released a letter to the university community acknowledging “feelings of fear, sadness, anger and more.” After an outcry over what some considered the tepid language, Dr. Gay issued a more forceful statement condemning Hamas for “terrorist atrocities,” while urging people to use words that “illuminate and not inflame.”

At the congressional hearing, Representative Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, pelted Dr. Gay and the other university presidents with hypothetical questions.

“At Harvard,” Ms. Stefanik asked Dr. Gay, “does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard’s rules of bullying and harassment? Yes or no?”

“It can be, depending on the context,” Dr. Gay replied.

That exchange, and a similar back and forth between Ms. Stefanik and Ms. Magill, rocketed across social media and infuriated many people with close ties to the universities.

Dr. Gay moved to contain the fallout with an apology in an interview that was published in The Harvard Crimson, the campus newspaper. “When words amplify distress and pain, I don’t know how you could feel anything but regret,” she said.

One week after her testimony, the Harvard Corporation issued a unanimous statement of support — after meeting late into the night — saying that it stood firmly behind her.

But there were signs that controversy might have harmed Harvard’s reputation. The number of students who applied this fall under the university’s early action program — giving them the possibility of an admissions decision in December instead of March — fell about 17 percent, the university said last month.

Reporting was contributed by Dana Goldstein , Rob Copeland , Annie Karni and Vimal Patel . Kirsten Noyes contributed research.

Dana Goldstein

Dana Goldstein

Serena Jampel, a 22-year old junior, had said in December that as a Jewish student, she did not consider critiques of Zionism on campus to be antisemitic. On Tuesday, she said she was “deeply saddened” by Claudine Gay’s resignation. “I believe that she was always trying to balance free speech and student safety, and never intended to cause harm.”

Maya Shwayder

Harvard’s campus, currently between semesters, was quiet on Tuesday, despite the intense spotlight focused on the university. Several students and professors said they did not want to talk about Claudine Gay’s resignation. One faculty member chuckled and said he couldn’t comment because he doesn’t have tenure.

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Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi, the president of Harvard Chabad, has criticized a culture of antisemitism on campus, which he said predates Claudine Gay’s tenure. “The fact that it got more and more brazen with each passing day was the result of the lack of leadership addressing it,” he said, adding that he hopes the pressure that helped lead to Gay’s resignation will prompt other campus leaders to take action.

Anemona Hartocollis

Anemona Hartocollis

The resignation was welcomed by the Harvard Jewish Alumni Alliance, which said it represents several thousand Jewish alumni. “Claudine Gay tacitly encouraged those who sought to spread hate at Harvard, where many Jews no longer feel safe to study, identify and fully participate in the Harvard community," the group said in a statement.

Harvard faced donor pressure and a drop in early admission applications.

College presidents are not only administrators and intellectual leaders; they are the chief fund-raisers for their institutions. And Claudine Gay’s loss of support among some Harvard donors may have played a key role in her resignation on Tuesday.

Harvard’s $50.7 billion endowment is immense by any measure — the largest academic nest egg in the country. Yet it has been underperforming financially in recent years, relative to some peers. Stanford’s endowment produced returns of 4.4 percent last year, for example, compared to returns of 2.9 percent for Harvard.

The endowment is run as a nonprofit with its own board of directors, but its members are appointed by the Harvard Corporation, the same body that selected Dr. Gay as the university’s president.

Given the concerns, the ability of Harvard’s president to raise money became even more crucial. Yet Dr. Gay’s credibility eroded this fall among some powerful donors , who criticized what they saw as a sluggish response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

“There is a large number of alumni who are very upset about how the administration handled this fall, and really worry the university is not set up to take outside feedback,” said Sam Lessin, a Harvard graduate and tech investor.

Some alumni donors were also dismayed to learn in recent days that early action applications to Harvard, with a Nov. 1 deadline, had dropped by 17 percent this year to a four-year low.

On Tuesday, Mr. Lessin published a statement on social media reacting to Dr. Gay’s resignation. “I am happy to see Gay out,” he wrote.

Randall Kennedy, a Harvard legal scholar and one of the university’s most prominent Black faculty members, has been a key supporter of Claudine Gay. On Tuesday, he said via text message, “I am saddened by the inability of a great university to defend itself against an alarmingly effective campaign of misinformation and intimidation.”

Jacey Fortin

Alan M. Garber, Harvard’s provost and chief academic officer, will now serve as its interim president.

Alan M. Garber, an economist and physician who is Harvard’s provost and chief academic officer, will now serve as its interim president.

The Harvard Corporation described Dr. Garber as “a distinguished and wide-ranging scholar” in a statement on Tuesday. “We are fortunate to have someone of Alan’s broad and deep experience, incisive judgment, collaborative style, and extraordinary institutional knowledge to carry forward key priorities and to guide the university through this interim period,” the Corporation said.

Dr. Garber , who was appointed provost in 2011, has a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard and an M.D. from Stanford. He is a member of the Association of American Physicians, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine.

Lawrence H. Summers, a former Harvard president and former Treasury secretary, said in an email that Dr. Garber, “who is universally liked, admired, and respected, is a superb choice as interim president.”

In an interview with The Harvard Crimson in November, Dr. Garber said that he regretted the university’s initial statement in response to the war in Israel and Gaza. The statement was denounced by politicians, academics and Jewish groups who said that it did not condemn Hamas strongly enough, and he spoke positively about a more forceful statement that followed from Dr. Gay, which condemned Hamas for “terrorist atrocities.”

Dr. Garber added that the crisis over the university’s response to the war has been the most serious that Harvard has faced during his tenure as provost.

“The community was immediately divided, and that is not true of every crisis that we face,” he told The Crimson. “It is a combustible situation, and one in which many people are grieving.”

Dr. Garber was reportedly considered a contender to become Harvard’s 29th president, but in 2018 the post went to Lawrence S. Bacow . In 2022, Dr. Garber told the Crimson that he was “very happy” serving as the provost, and last year Dr. Gay became the university’s 30th president .

According to the Harvard Corporation, Dr. Garber will serve as president “until a new leader for Harvard is identified and takes office.”

Anemona Hartocollis contributed reporting.

Anna Betts

Al Sharpton, the civil rights leader, expressed disappointment in Claudine Gay's resignation in a statement to CNN , blaming a relentless campaign against her led by the financier Bill Ackman. “This is an attack on every Black woman in this country who’s put a crack in the glass ceiling,” Sharpton said, adding that his organization, the National Action Network, would picket outside Ackman’s New York office on Thursday.

Vimal Patel

The Israel-Hamas war has inflamed free speech skirmishes on college campuses.

The recent ousters of two Ivy League university presidents — Elizabeth Magill, of the University of Pennsylvania, and, on Tuesday, Claudine Gay of Harvard — represented victories for those who believe that pro-Palestinian protesters have gone too far in their speech.

Some Jewish students say protest slogans like “intifada revolution” and “from the river to the sea” are antisemitic and threatening — and proof of a double standard. Universities, they say, have ignored their fears and pleas for security, while creating a battalion of administrators who are devoted to diversity and equity programs and are quick to protect their students.

If universities were engulfed before the Israel-Hamas war in debates over what kinds of speech were acceptable, now they are facing a crossroads, with many longtime observers of the campus speech skirmishes perceiving this moment as a dire one for freedom of expression.

The troubles of Ms. Magill and Dr. Gay, after all, did not start with the Dec. 5 congressional hearing, when they — as well as the president of M.I.T. — responded with what critics characterized as lawyerly answers when asked whether to punish students if they called for genocide.

For Ms. Magill, they began with a Palestinian writers’ conference that was held on campus in September. Donors to Penn asked her to cancel the event, which they said included antisemitic speakers, but she declined, citing the university’s commitment to free expression.

And Dr. Gay drew criticism barely two days after Hamas invaded Israel on Oct. 7, for not publicly condemning the attack or denouncing an open letter from student groups saying that they held “the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.”

Steven Pinker, a cognitive psychologist at Harvard who opposes cracking down on free expression, said that speech by itself, however ugly, should not be punished. But, he said, universities have not made the best case for themselves as champions of unfettered debate.

“The problem with the university presidents saying that calls for genocide are not punishable is that they have such a risible record of defending free speech in the past that they don’t have a leg to stand on,” Dr. Pinker said in an interview.

The question is what happens from here.

Annie Karni

Annie Karni

Stefanik, whose aggressive questioning of Gay went viral, claimed credit for her exit.

Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, whose questions during a congressional hearing last month put Dr. Claudine Gay and two other prominent university administrators on the spot about antisemitism on their campuses, took a victory lap Tuesday afternoon after Dr. Gay announced her resignation as president of Harvard University.

“TWO DOWN,” Ms. Stefanik crowed on social media, accented by three red siren emojis. Last month, the president of the University of Pennsylvania, M. Elizabeth Magill, resigned just four days after she testified before Congress and evaded Ms. Stefanik’s aggressive line of questioning about whether students who called for the genocide of Jews should be punished.

The contentious exchanges between Ms. Stefanik and all three university presidents came at the tail end of a five-hour congressional hearing called by House Republicans on the rise of antisemitism on college campuses. The moment went viral, forcing the trio of presidents, including Sally Kornbluth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to clarify their responses and leading to a period of intense scrutiny on all three.

In Ms. Gay’s case, that prompted an examination of her past work that fueled plagiarism charges, ultimately causing her to step down on Tuesday.

Ms. Stefanik, the No. 4 Republican in the House, has counted the resignations as a political win.

“I will always deliver results,” Ms. Stefanik, a Harvard alumna, said in a statement on Tuesday. “Claudine Gay’s morally bankrupt answers to my questions made history as the most viewed congressional testimony in the history of the U.S. Congress.” Ms. Stefanik added that “this is just the beginning of what will be the greatest scandal of any college or university in history.”

In an interview with Fox News Tuesday afternoon, Ms. Stefanik promised that an ongoing congressional investigation of the universities that she announced in the wake of the hearing would continue to uncover “institution rot.” And she again claimed credit for Dr. Gay’s resignation, arguing that “this accountability would not have happened were it not for the very clear moral questions at the hearing.”

Those questions almost did not happen. During the hearing, Ms. Stefanik had already tried four times to pin down the trio of administrators. She repeatedly tried and failed to get them to agree with her that calls for “intifada” and use of slogans such as “from the river to the sea” amounted to appeals for genocide against Jews that should not be tolerated on campuses.

They had parried her grilling with lawyerly answers that, on their own, might not have made international headlines. But then they fell into something of a prosecutorial trap laid by Ms. Stefanik, refusing to answer “yes” when she asked whether calling for the genocide of Jews violated their universities’ codes of conduct on bullying and harassment.

“I thought, ‘How can I drill down on this and ask this question in such a way that the answer is an easy ‘yes?’ ”Ms. Stefanik said in an interview last month . “And they blew it.”

Ms. Stefanik, who graduated from Harvard in 2006, has clashed with her alma mater in the past. After the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the Capitol, Harvard’s Institute of Politics removed Ms. Stefanik from its advisory board, citing her “public assertions about voter fraud in November’s presidential election that have no basis in evidence.”

Ms. Stefanik, a onetime moderate Republican who more than any other lawmaker in Congress represents to Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans the worst of what happened to the G.O.P. under the sway of Mr. Trump, at the time called her removal “a rite of passage and badge of honor.”

On Tuesday, one of Ms. Stefanik’s top advisers, Garrett Ventry, joked on social media that Ms. Stefanik was now the de facto president of Harvard University.

But she was hardly the only House Republican vying on Tuesday to claim credit for Ms. Gay’s resignation.

Representative John James, Republican of Michigan, shared on social media a clip of his own line of questioning during the hearing and wrote that Dr. Gay’s resignation came “after I questioned her just last month about what actions she’d taken to combat anti Semitism.”

Rep. Virginia Foxx, a North Carolina Republican who heads a House committee investigating Harvard, said the inquiry would continue despite Claudine Gay's resignation. “There has been a hostile takeover of postsecondary education by political activists, woke faculty and partisan administrators,” Foxx said in a statement, adding, “The problems at Harvard are much larger than one leader, and the committee’s oversight will continue.”

Many of the plagairism accusations against Claudine Gay were first published by The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news outlet. The site’s editor-in-chief, Eliana Johnson, said in an interview on Tuesday that Harvard officials had never responded to her reporters’ questions. “They are brittle and unused to scrutiny,” she said. “We have been able to have an impact despite their total lack of transparency.”

Some of Gay’s faculty supporters have argued that the allegations against her hold less weight because they originated from ideologically motivated critics and outlets, and have argued that the type of plagiarism she is accused of largely involved language on research methodologies and reviews — not her core, original findings. Johnson rejected those defenses. “Harvard is welcome to come out and say, ‘Our standards for plagiarism don’t apply to quantitative scholars — they’re allowed to copy words and phrases.’ But those are not the standards they’ve chosen to articulate for students or uphold for students.”

Larry Summers, the former U.S. treasury secretary who also resigned his Harvard presidency under pressure in 2006, suggested that Claudine Gay had done the right thing for the university. “I admire Claudine Gay for putting Harvard’s interests first at what I know must be an agonizingly difficult moment,” he said in an email.

Rob Copeland

Rob Copeland

Claudine Gay’s resignation puts new focus on Harvard’s secretive corporation, the governing board that appointed her. Led by Penny Pritzker, a billionaire and former Obama administration official, the corporation has been all but mum during the swirl of the past few months, and Pritzker did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. Gay said in her resignation letter that she made her decision to step down “in consultation with members of the corporation,” but the corporation’s own subsequent statement made no mention of its role.

At least one Harvard professor is already calling for a shakeup of the board. Frank Laukien, a visiting scholar of chemistry, said Pritzker should “share accountability and resign immediately.” He wrote in an email: “We need multiple new independent members on the Harvard Corporation that are not tainted by recent events and failures, and who are not part of the long-standing cronyism at the top of Harvard.”

Jennifer Schuessler

Jennifer Schuessler

A history of the plagiarism allegations against Claudine Gay.

Claudine Gay’s resignation from Harvard came three weeks after plagiarism accusations against her emerged, an unexpected development in a turbulent stretch of presidency that began with her response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel.

Rumors about problems in Dr. Gay’s work had circulated for months on anonymous message boards. But the first widely publicized report came on Dec. 10, the evening before Harvard’s board met to decide whether she would keep her job, following her disastrous appearance before a Congressional committee investigating the university’s response to antisemitism. That evening, the conservative education activist Christopher Rufo published an essay in his Substack newsletter highlighting what he described as “problematic patterns of usage and citation” in her 1997 doctoral dissertation.

The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news outlet, followed with several articles detailing numerous allegations regarding her published scholarly articles, and reported two formal complaints submitted to the Research Integrity Office of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, of which Dr. Gay, a political scientist, is a member.

In its statement on Dec. 12 saying Dr. Gay would stay on, the board acknowledged the allegations, which it said it had been made aware of in late October via an inquiry from The New York Post. The board said it had then conducted an investigation and found “a few instances of inadequate citation” in two articles, which it said would be corrected. But the infractions, the board said, did not rise to the level of “research misconduct.”

The plagiarism allegations blindsided many faculty, including some of the more than 700 who had signed a letter urging the Harvard Corporation, the university’s governing board, to “resist political pressures that are at odds with Harvard’s commitment to academic freedom,” including calls from external actors seeking Dr. Gay’s removal.

Initially, faculty reaction was mixed, with some saying the charges were serious and others calling the examples minor. Professors from both camps questioned the seemingly ideological nature of the effort to publicize them.

But as more allegations surfaced, faculty support for Dr. Gay began to erode, particularly as questions arose about what procedures the corporation — which normally has no involvement in scholarly matters — had used to investigate.

In a letter on Tuesday announcing her resignation, Dr. Gay, who remains a member of the faculty, defended her academic integrity, and said the campaign against her had been driven by “racial animus.”

“It has been distressing to have doubt cast on my commitments to confronting hate and to upholding scholarly rigor — two bedrock values that are fundamental to who I am,” she wrote.

It is unclear if her resignation will end any potential investigation into the complaints filed with the university.

Some politically active students said they were concerned that Claudine Gay’s resignation had been manipulated by outside forces. “Her resignation is a symptom of Harvard being almost entirely beholden to external pressure,” said Sanaa Kahloon, a junior and pro-Palestinian activist who added, “These allegations of plagiarism have been weaponized by right-wing actors to suppress free speech in higher education, and to continue to suppress free speech with respect to Palestine.”

Sarah Mervosh

Sarah Mervosh

Who is Claudine Gay?

Claudine Gay, 53, who resigned as Harvard’s president on Tuesday, took office in July, becoming the first Black president and the second woman to lead Harvard.

The daughter of Haitian immigrants, she earned an undergraduate degree in economics from Stanford University — where she would later teach — and a Ph.D. in government from Harvard.

Her career has mostly been in elite academia. Since the mid 2000s she has been a professor of government and African and African-American studies at Harvard, where her research interests have included minority representation and political participation in government.

Though allegations of plagiarism, dating back to her dissertation in 1997, surfaced publicly as Dr. Gay was engulfed in a political firestorm last month, she had in recent years moved away from academic research and into administration.

Before becoming president, she served in the high-profile role as dean of Harvard’s powerful Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The department, which includes both the university’s undergraduate program and its Ph.D. programs, is the largest of Harvard’s various divisions, with more than 1,000 faculty members.

Some colleagues saw her as a leader for the cultural moment: She helped drive a cluster of hires in ethnic studies , and oversaw several investigations into sexual harassment and misconduct allegations against faculty. She also led the department through the Covid-19 pandemic and remote learning.

But she was also seen as taking a hard line on matters of discipline, sometimes controversially.

In 2019, she issued a two-year, unpaid suspension to Roland G. Fryer, a star Black economist and recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant, who was accused of unwelcome sexual conduct toward employees. His education research lab was also disbanded.

She also spoke out against Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., a high-profile criminal defense attorney and Black law professor whose decision to represent the disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein in 2019 stirred controversy on campus . Professor Sullivan, who said at the time that representing unpopular defendants was a key tenet of the legal profession and an opportunity for conversation with students, was later removed from the student residential house he oversaw after the university conducted a “climate review” of his leadership in the house.

Dr. Gay, a supporter of diversity in hiring and an expert on minority representation and political participation in government, took the reins just as the Supreme Court rejected the use of race-conscious admissions at Harvard and other universities around the nation.

She was selected from a pool of more than 600 nominations.

Penny Pritzker, the senior fellow of the Harvard Corporation who led the presidential search committee, praised Dr. Gay at the time for her “rare blend of incisiveness and inclusiveness,” bringing both a “bedrock commitment to free inquiry and expression, as well as a deep appreciation for the diverse voices and views that are the lifeblood of a university community.”

Some faculty members were disappointed by Gay’s resignation.

On Tuesday, some faculty members expressed deep dismay with what they described as a political campaign against Dr. Gay, Harvard and higher education more broadly. Hundreds of them had signed public letters asking Harvard’s governing board to resist pressure to remove Dr. Gay.

“This is a terrible moment,” said Khalil Gibran Muhammad, a professor of history, race and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. “Republican Congressional leaders have declared war on the independence of colleges and universities, just as Governor DeSantis has done in Florida. They will only be emboldened by Gay’s resignation.”

Some faculty members criticized how the secretive Harvard Corporation, the university’s governing body, had handled the political onslaught and plagiarism allegations.

“Instead of making a decision based on established scholarly principles, we had here a public hounding,” she said. “Instead of listening to voices of scholars in her field who could speak to the importance and originality of her research, we heard voices of derision and spite on social media. Instead of following established university procedure, we had a Corporation granting access to self-appointed advisers and carrying out reviews using mysterious and undisclosed methods.”

Melani Cammett, a professor of international relations, said she hoped “that Harvard can move forward in a way that limits politicized interference.”

“I also hope that we move towards a position of institutional neutrality that truly protects academic freedom and integrity,” she said.

House Republicans were stepping over each other to claim credit for Claudine Gay’s resignation. While it was Rep. Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, whose questions during a Dec. 7 hearing led to the answers that ultimately helped topple two Ivy League administrators, Representative John James of Michigan shared a clip of his own line of inquiry on social media and wrote that Gay’s departure came “after I questioned her just last month about what actions she’d taken to combat antisemitism.”

Christopher Rufo, a conservative education activist who was among the first to widely publicize the plagiarism accusations against Claudine Gay, took credit for her resignation in a post on social media: “My strategies, however unorthodox, have proven successful at exposing corruption, changing public opinion, and moving institutions."

Rep. Elise Stefanik, the New York Republican who led the most aggressive questioning of Claudine Gay during a Dec. 5 hearing on antisemitism, called the resignation “long overdue” in a social media post, adding that “our robust Congressional investigation will continue to move forward to expose the rot in our most 'prestigious' higher education institutions and deliver accountability to the American people.”

Sean Plambeck

Sean Plambeck

Alan M. Garber, a physician and economist who is the university’s provost, will serve as interim president. Harvard’s governing board said it would begin the search for a new president “in due course.”

The New York Times

A statement from Harvard’s governing board.

The following letter was signed by the Fellows of Harvard College, the university’s governing board.

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

With great sadness, we write in light of President Claudine Gay’s message announcing her intention to step down from the presidency and resume her faculty position at Harvard.

First and foremost, we thank President Gay for her deep and unwavering commitment to Harvard and to the pursuit of academic excellence. Throughout her long and distinguished leadership as Dean of Social Science then as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences — where she skillfully led the F.A.S. through the Covid-19 pandemic and pursued ambitious new academic initiatives in areas such as quantum science and inequality — she demonstrated the insight, decisiveness, and empathy that are her hallmark. She believes passionately in Harvard’s mission of education and research, and she cares profoundly about the people whose talents, ideas, and energy drive Harvard. She has devoted her career to an institution whose ideals and priorities she has worked tirelessly to advance, and we are grateful for the extraordinary contributions she has made — and will continue to make — as a leader, a teacher, a scholar, a mentor, and an inspiration to many.

We are also grateful to Alan M. Garber, Provost and Chief Academic Officer, who has served with distinction in that role for the past 12 years — and who has agreed to serve as Interim President until a new leader for Harvard is identified and takes office. An economist and a physician, he is a distinguished and wide-ranging scholar with appointments at Harvard Medical School, Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. We are fortunate to have someone of Alan’s broad and deep experience, incisive judgment, collaborative style, and extraordinary institutional knowledge to carry forward key priorities and to guide the university through this interim period.

These past several months have seen Harvard and higher education face a series of sustained and unprecedented challenges. In the face of escalating controversy and conflict, President Gay and the Fellows have sought to be guided by the best interests of the institution whose future progress and well-being we are together committed to uphold. Her own message conveying her intention to step down eloquently underscores what those who have worked with her have long known — her commitment to the institution and its mission is deep and selfless. It is with that overarching consideration in mind that we have accepted her resignation.

We do so with sorrow. While President Gay has acknowledged missteps and has taken responsibility for them, it is also true that she has shown remarkable resilience in the face of deeply personal and sustained attacks. While some of this has played out in the public domain, much of it has taken the form of repugnant and in some cases racist vitriol directed at her through disgraceful emails and phone calls. We condemn such attacks in the strongest possible terms.

The search for a new president of the university will begin in due course. We will be in further touch about the process, which will include broad engagement and consultation with the Harvard community in the time ahead.

For today, we close by reiterating our gratitude to President Gay for her devoted service to Harvard, as well as to Provost Garber for his willingness to lead the university through the interim period to come. We also extend our thanks to all of you for your continuing commitment to Harvard’s vital educational and research mission — and to core values of excellence, inclusiveness, and free inquiry and expression. At a time when strife and division are so prevalent in our nation and our world, embracing and advancing that mission — in a spirit of common purpose — has never been more important. We live in difficult and troubling times, and formidable challenges lie ahead. May our community, with its long history of rising through change and through storm, find new ways to meet those challenges together, and to affirm Harvard’s commitment to generating knowledge, pursuing truth, and contributing through scholarship and education to a better world.

The Israel-Hamas war led to rising polarization on Harvard’s campus. Many Jewish students believed that Claudine Gay was slow to denounce the Oct. 7 atrocities by Hamas and to quell disruptive demonstrations. They reported increasing antisemitic taunts and were dismayed when Gay told a congressional committee that whether Harvard students would be punished for urging genocide against Jews would depend on the context.

Josh Kaplan, a sophomore majoring in computer science, welcomed Gay’s resignation. “It is the beginning of the rehabilitation our university needs. I, along with many other Harvard students, look forward to the next president working to repair the university’s image and combat the hateful antisemitism and bigotry we have seen on our campus.”

The reaction on Harvard’s campus was muted, since students are on winter break. But some heralded her resignation. “I think it is, if anything, too late,” said Alex Bernat, a junior, adding, “I’m glad she finally came to terms with the need for Harvard to have new leadership.”

Read Claudine Gay’s resignation letter.

It is with a heavy heart but a deep love for Harvard that I write to share that I will be stepping down as president. This is not a decision I came to easily. Indeed, it has been difficult beyond words because I have looked forward to working with so many of you to advance the commitment to academic excellence that has propelled this great university across centuries. But, after consultation with members of the Corporation, it has become clear that it is in the best interests of Harvard for me to resign so that our community can navigate this moment of extraordinary challenge with a focus on the institution rather than any individual.

It is a singular honor to be a member of this university, which has been my home and my inspiration for most of my professional career. My deep sense of connection to Harvard and its people has made it all the more painful to witness the tensions and divisions that have riven our community in recent months, weakening the bonds of trust and reciprocity that should be our sources of strength and support in times of crisis. Amidst all of this, it has been distressing to have doubt cast on my commitments to confronting hate and to upholding scholarly rigor — two bedrock values that are fundamental to who I am — and frightening to be subjected to personal attacks and threats fueled by racial animus.

I believe in the people of Harvard because I see in you the possibility and the promise of a better future. These last weeks have helped make clear the work we need to do to build that future — to combat bias and hate in all its forms, to create a learning environment in which we respect each other’s dignity and treat one another with compassion, and to affirm our enduring commitment to open inquiry and free expression in the pursuit of truth. I believe we have within us all that we need to heal from this period of tension and division and to emerge stronger. I had hoped with all my heart to lead us on that journey, in partnership with all of you. As I now return to the faculty, and to the scholarship and teaching that are the lifeblood of what we do, I pledge to continue working alongside you to build the community we all deserve.

When I became president, I considered myself particularly blessed by the opportunity to serve people from around the world who saw in my presidency a vision of Harvard that affirmed their sense of belonging — their sense that Harvard welcomes people of talent and promise, from every background imaginable, to learn from and grow with one another. To all of you, please know that those doors remain open, and Harvard will be stronger and better because they do.

As we welcome a new year and a new semester, I hope we can all look forward to brighter days. Sad as I am to be sending this message, my hopes for Harvard remain undimmed. When my brief presidency is remembered, I hope it will be seen as a moment of reawakening to the importance of striving to find our common humanity — and of not allowing rancor and vituperation to undermine the vital process of education. I trust we will all find ways, in this time of intense challenge and controversy, to recommit ourselves to the excellence, the openness, and the independence that are crucial to what our university stands for — and to our capacity to serve the world.

Sincerely, Claudine Gay

What to know about the latest plagiarism accusations against Claudine Gay.

New plagiarism allegations that surfaced on Monday against Claudine Gay threatened to mire Harvard deeper in debate over what constitutes plagiarism and whether the university would hold its president and its students to the same standard.

The accusations were circulated through an unsigned complaint published Monday in The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative online journal that has led a campaign against Dr. Gay over the past few weeks.

The new complaint added additional accusations of plagiarism to about 40 that had already been circulated in the same way, apparently by the same accuser.

Dr. Gay has strongly defended her work. “I stand by the integrity of my scholarship,” she said in a statement on Dec. 11, when the initial plagiarism charges were being circulated by conservative activists online and the Harvard Corporation was considering whether she should remain as president. “Throughout my career, I have worked to ensure my scholarship adheres to the highest academic standards,” Dr. Gay said.

The documents by the unnamed accuser that The Free Beacon links to on its website show 39 examples in the first complaint, rising to 47 in total in the second complaint. Separately, Harvard’s investigations have found instances of inadequate citation in her dissertation and at least two of her articles.

She has not been accused of stealing big ideas, but rather of copying language in the papers of other scholars, with small changes to substitute words or phrases or to arrange them differently. Often the language in question is technical boilerplate.

The new complaint against Dr. Gay is preceded by a five-page chronology, written in a tone ranging from somber to sarcastic — under the jaunty salutation, “Happy New Year!” The chronology notes that the unnamed accuser submitted the first batch of allegations to Harvard on Dec. 19.

In one paragraph, the accuser, who seems to be familiar with Harvard’s policies on plagiarism, explains why he or she was unwilling to be identified by name: “I feared that Gay and Harvard would violate their policies, behave more like a cartel with a hedge fund attached than a university, and try to seek ‘immense’ damages from me and who knows what else.”

The New York Post has reported that it approached Harvard with plagiarism accusations against Dr. Gay in October, and said that Harvard responded through a defamation lawyer.

The accuser goes on to wonder why Harvard was so intent on exposing him or her: “Did Gay wish to personally thank me for helping her to improve her work even if I drove her harder than she wanted to be driven?”

The sentence is an allusion to a phrase in the acknowledgments of Dr. Gay’s 1997 dissertation, where she says that her family “drove me harder than I sometimes wanted to be driven.”

It is one of the phrases she is accused of copying, from the acknowledgments of a 1996 book, “Facing Up to the American Dream: Race, Class, and the Soul of the Nation,” by the Harvard political scientist Jennifer L. Hochschild, who was thanking another academic.

A timeline of Claudine Gay’s tenure as president.

Claudine Gay had served as president of Harvard University only since July, but had faced criticism on two fronts: her response to rising tensions on campus over the Israel-Gaza war, and questions about possible plagiarism in her academic work.

On Tuesday, she resigned her position as president, writing in a letter to the university community that “it has become clear that it is in the best interests of Harvard for me to resign so that our community can navigate this moment of extraordinary challenge with a focus on the institution rather than any individual.”

Dec. 15, 2022

Harvard University announces that Dr. Gay, the school’s dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, will become president the following year. The daughter of Haitian immigrants, she will be the university’s first Black leader and the second woman to hold the position. Dr. Gay received an undergraduate degree in economics from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in government from Harvard.

July 1, 2023

Dr. Gay, 53, officially begins in the job. A supporter of diversity in hiring and an expert on minority representation and political participation in government, she takes the reins just as the Supreme Court rejected the use of race-conscious admissions at Harvard and other universities around the nation.

The day after the Hamas attack on Israel, a coalition of more than 30 student groups at Harvard publishes an open letter, saying it holds “the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.” The letter receives intense backlash .

Dr. Gay and Harvard’s leadership come under fire for not publicly condemning the Hamas attack or denouncing the letter from the student groups. Amid rising pressure from alumni and donors, university leaders including Dr. Gay issue a statement expressing heartbreak over the death and destruction from the war while calling for “an environment of dialogue and empathy.”

Dr. Gay releases another letter , this time more forcefully condemning the “terrorist atrocities perpetrated by Hamas," as well as denouncing the letter from the student groups. “While our students have the right to speak for themselves, no student group — not even 30 student groups — speaks for Harvard University or its leadership,” she says in the letter.

A campaign targets students affiliated with the groups that signed the open letter. A truck with a digital billboard — paid for by a conservative group — circles Harvard Square, flashing students’ photos and names under the headline “Harvard’s Leading Antisemites.” Dr. Gay releases another statement , this time in a video format, in which she states that Harvard rejects hate.

Harvard receives an inquiry from The New York Post about what it later describes as “anonymous allegations” of plagiarism in Dr. Gay’s work.

At a Sabbath dinner at Harvard Hillel, Dr. Gay announces the formation of an advisory group to help her “develop a robust strategy for confronting antisemitism on campus.” She also condemns the phrase “from the river to the sea,” a slogan that pro-Palestinian activists use as a call for liberation but that many Jews see as a call for violence against them.

According to the university, the Harvard Corporation appoints an independent panel of three experts on this day to conduct a review of Dr. Gay’s papers that were referenced in the anonymous allegations.

After coming under criticism for weeks over what detractors said were tepid responses to rising antisemitism on campus, Dr. Gay writes a letter to members of the larger Harvard community addressing the tensions. “Harvard rejects all forms of hate, and we are committed to addressing them,” she writes. “Let me reiterate what I and other Harvard leaders have said previously: Antisemitism has no place at Harvard.”

The Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Education Department announces an investigation into allegations of antisemitism at Harvard.

Dr. Gay, along with the presidents of M.I.T. and the University of Pennsylvania, testifies at a congressional hearing that House Republicans convened to address issues of bias against Jewish students. During the hearing, Representative Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, asks: “Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard’s rules of bullying and harassment? Yes or no?”

Dr. Gay replies, “It can be, depending on the context.” She adds: “Antisemitic rhetoric, when it crosses into conduct that amounts to bullying, harassment, intimidation, that is actionable conduct, and we do take action.”

Following heavy criticism of the presidents’ responses at the hearing, Dr. Gay apologizes in an interview with The Harvard Crimson , the campus newspaper. “What I should have had the presence of mind to do in that moment was return to my guiding truth, which is that calls for violence against our Jewish community — threats to our Jewish students — have no place at Harvard, and will never go unchallenged,” Dr. Gay says.

Allegations about plagiarism in Dr. Gay’s 1997 doctoral dissertation are publicly raised in a newsletter by the conservative activist Christopher Rufo.

A group of 14 faculty members begin circulating a petition opposing Dr. Gay’s removal . It quickly garners hundreds of signatures.

The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative media outlet, publishes its own investigation of Dr. Gay’s academic papers, identifying what it said were issues with four of them published between 1993 and 2017, including the doctoral dissertation.

Harvard’s governing board, the Harvard Corporation, acknowledges that Dr. Gay had made mistakes but decides that she would remain in her job . In its statement, the Corporation briefly addresses the allegations about her scholarship. It says an independent inquiry investigated her published work and found two papers needing additional citations, but no “research misconduct.”

Facing mounting questions over possible plagiarism in Dr. Gay’s scholarly work, Harvard says that it found two additional instances of insufficient citation in Dr. Gay’s 1997 doctoral dissertation — examples of “duplicative language without appropriate attribution.” The university says Dr. Gay will update her dissertation correcting those instances.

That same day, a congressional committee investigating Harvard sends a letter to the university demanding all of its documentation and communications related to the allegations.

Faced with a new round of accusations over plagiarism in her scholarly work, Ms. Gay announces her resignation , becoming the second Ivy League leader to lose her job in recent weeks amid a firestorm intensified by their widely derided congressional testimony regarding antisemitism on campus.

Anemona Hartocollis , Sarah Mervosh , Jennifer Schuessler , Vimal Patel , Dana Goldstein , Jeremy W. Peters , Rob Copeland , and Stephanie Saul contributed reporting.

Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article misstated the time when Harvard began an investigation about Dr. Gay’s work. It was Nov. 2, not in October.

An earlier version of this article contained a photo caption that misstated the organization that hosted the event at which Dr. Gay spoke. She spoke at a Sabbath dinner hosted by Harvard Chabad, not Harvard Hillel (though she also appeared at another event hosted by Harvard Hillel).

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