School of Arts & Sciences

The world at our feet: Reflections on Earth and its prospects

It’s our tiny oasis in a vast universe, and it’s feeling fragile. Five faculty from Penn Arts & Sciences who study the Earth’s geological past, its surface activity, and its soils and life forms discuss how Earth and its inhabitants can get along better.

Susan Ahlborn

On the hunt for new exoplanets

A state-of-the-art instrument called NEID, from the Tohono O’odham word meaning “to see,” has officially started its scientific mission: discovering new planets outside of the solar system.

Erica K. Brockmeier



In the News


USA Today

System failure: How federal laws shield sexual predators like Dr. Larry Nassar

Marci Hamilton of the School of Arts & Sciences wrote an opinion piece calling for President Biden to establish a national commission on child sex abuse in order to address the problem’s systemic factors.

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NBC News

COVID plus overdose deaths drove down life expectancy in 2020

Irma Elo of the School of Arts & Sciences said the decline in life expectancy among Black and Latinx Americans reflects unequal access to health care and class privilege. "The people who have disproportionately suffered from this pandemic were the same people who were put in positions where they were more likely to be exposed because of their employment," she said.

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Philadelphia Inquirer

Not everyone who is eligible for the child tax credit is receiving it

Pilar Gonalons-Pons of the School of Arts & Sciences spoke about the challenges low-income people face in accessing the new child tax credit payments. “This has become a very big problem,” she said. “There’s controversy because the website is not phone-friendly. There’s been a deficiency in outreach, and it’s been left up to advocacy organizations to reach those who need the money.”

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Philadelphia Inquirer

Life expectancy fell by 1.5 years in 2020, mostly due to COVID-19. Here’s what that really means

Samuel H. Preston of the School of Arts & Sciences responded to the pandemic’s negative impact on the U.S. life expectancy, saying it will “bounce back” in the near future.

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San Francisco Chronicle

Why this transit guru who's tried 50 systems think BART is the best for commuters

Miles Taylor, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, spoke about his passion for public transportation. "Anytime I go anywhere I have to ride transit," he said. "I consider it a failed trip if I haven't ridden any transit in the place I've gone."

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