Science & Technology

Before geoengineering, some fundamental chemistry

Research led by Joseph S. Francisco of the School of Arts & Sciences examines the chemistry of a proposal to curb climate change’s effects—creating a sunshade in the upper atmosphere made of sulfuric acid—and finds that there’s more work to do to successfully pull off such a feat.

Katherine Unger Baillie



In the News


Wired

Can a digital reality be jacked directly into your brain?

Researchers led by Daniel Yoshor of the Perelman School of Medicine are developing better electrode arrays, which are used to induce neural activity. Current arrays approved for human use are bulky and contain around 1,000 electrodes, whereas the arrays Yoshor and colleagues are working on would have 64,000 electrodes, and eventually 1,000,000 electrodes.

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Times Higher Education U.K.

Progress on gender equality ‘set back by lost generation’

Scott Kim, a Ph.D. student at the Wharton School, worked with NYU’s Petra Moser on a study that found the post-WWII baby boom created a dearth of women scientists. “By eliminating a generation of female role models, this loss affects science to this day,” they wrote.

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The Washington Post

Fighting food waste, one apple at a time

Strella Biotechnology, a company housed in Pennovation and co-founded by then junior Katherine Sizov, a winner of the 2019 President’s Innovation Prize, is working to reduce food waste using biosensors to monitor ethylene, a natural gas that ripens fruits and vegetables. “If we don’t solve this food waste problem now, it will become a lot more expensive later,” Sizov said. “As our climate becomes more volatile, this is going to crop up more and more.”

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ABC News

Philadelphia doctor develops rapid COVID test with results on smartphone

A team of researchers led by Ping Wang of the Perelman School of Medicine is developing a more accurate rapid test for COVID-19 that uses smart phone cameras. “The PCR is great. It's sensitive, but at the same time it's only residing in the core laboratories,” she said. “So, you can't really do PCR at home for most settings.”

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The Washington Post

Facebook is like chairs. No, telephones. No, cars. No …

Zachary Loeb, a doctoral candidate in the School of Arts & Sciences, spoke about Facebook’s attempts to compare the platform to simpler, less threatening technologies. “There used to be this utopian aura where they had been trying to act as though they were the latest in the stream of these transformative [communication] technologies,” he said.

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The Scientist

Signaling dynamics fine-tune gene expressiong

Lukasz Bugaj of the School of Engineering & Applied Science comments on a systematic and quantitative look at how gene information is transmitted and what can influence the amount of expression.

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Wired

Now that machines can learn, can they unlearn?

Aaron Roth of the School of Engineering and Applied Science spoke about his research on machine unlearning, which seeks to answer the question, “Can we remove all influence of someone’s data when they ask to delete it but avoid the full cost of retraining from scratch?”

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Philadelphia Business Journal

Penn spinout Cogwear gets funding to develop ‘anxiety thermometer’ headband

Cogwear, a startup based at the Penn Center for Innovation and founded by PIK Professor Michael Platt and former postdoc Arjun Ramakrishnan, is developing a wearable device that monitors mental health.

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Philadelphia Inquirer

Prizewinning photo by Penn biologist called metaphor for ‘spiraling crisis’ in the ocean

Kristen Brown, a postdoc in the lab of Katie Barott at the School of Arts & Sciences, won a contest with a photo she took while researching coral reefs.

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Forbes

COVID’s forgotten hero: The untold story of the scientist whose breakthrough made the vaccines possible

Vaccine technology developed by Drew Weissman and Katalin Karikó of the Perelman School of Medicine relies on a lipid delivery system created by Ian MacLachlan, a Canadian scientist.

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