Earth and Environmental Science

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

Penn Vet dual degrees: The student experience

The expansion of the dual degree program is timely, given the recent perfect storm of a pandemic; growing awareness of social, racial and economic inequity; and increased impact of climate change .

From Penn Vet



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In the News


The New York Times

The hills are alive with the flows of physics

In the lab of Douglas Jerolmack, researchers led by doctoral candidate Nakul Deshpande of the School of Arts & Sciences explored how landscapes gradually move over time.

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Science

Why do rivers leap from their banks? Scientists strive to predict deadly flooding events

Douglas Jerolmack of the School of Arts & Sciences spoke about his research on avulsion, a phenomenon in which rivers seek new routes. His experiments confirmed that avulsions are both natural and predictable.

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The New York Times

Businesses aim to pull greenhouse gases from the air. It’s a gamble

Jennifer Wilcox of the School of Engineering and Applied Science spoke about companies pledging to eliminate their carbon emissions within decades. “Carbon removal shouldn’t be seen as a get-out-of-jail-free card,” she said. “It has a role to play, particularly for sectors that are very difficult to decarbonize, but it shouldn’t be an excuse for everyone to keep emitting greenhouse gases indefinitely.”

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The Hill

Wealthy households have 25 percent higher carbon impacts than lower-income homes

Vincent Reina of the Stuart Weitzman School of Design spoke about how class affects access to sustainable energy alternatives. “For higher income individuals, it's a function of choice," he said. "For lower income individuals, it's a function of constraints.”

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The New York Times

Southern Iraq’s toxic twilight

Marilyn Howarth of the Perelman School of Medicine says oil rain, a byproduct of oil production, can be carcinogenic. “The oil itself can contain traces of heavy metals, arsenic, and radioactivity, which could be a source of lung cancer,” she said.

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Science

No asteroids needed: ancient mass extinction tied to ozone loss, warming climate

Lauren Sallan of the School of Arts & Sciences spoke about the end of the Devonian period 359 million years ago, in which the ozone layer was damaged, resulting in a mass extinction. The discovery is significant to today’s climate change research.

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