Science & Technology

Where math meets biology

Through his research, Yoichiro Mori, the Calabi-Simons Visiting Professor of Mathematics and Biology, demonstrates how mathematical theories can provide insights into complex, living systems.

Erica K. Brockmeier

Three Penn faculty named 2019 AAAS Fellows

Three from Penn have been named to the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s newest class of Fellows: Carolyn Gibson of the School of Dental Medicine, Sampath Kannan of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and Ellen Puré of the School of Veterinary Medicine.

Katherine Unger Baillie

A missing link in haze formation

Hazy days don’t just block the view; they mean the air contains particulate matter that can compromise human health. Chemists have discovered a way that alcohols can balance out the formation of new particles, a finding that could improve the accuracy of air-quality forecasts.

Katherine Unger Baillie

Immersive stories to spur action on climate

Organized by the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities (PPEH), a two-day festival, “Environmental Storytelling and Virtual Reality” begins Friday, and will explore how virtual reality and other immersive storytelling might inspire action on climate change.

Katherine Unger Baillie

Inspiring young women in STEM

Over two days, nearly two dozen female STEM role models at Penn welcomed more than 100 high school students and teachers to campus as part of the Girls Advancing in STEM (GAINS) Initiative Conference on campus.

Erica K. Brockmeier



In the News


The New York Times

How Narwhal the ‘unicorn’ puppy may have grown a tail on his head

Margret Casal of the School of Veterinary Medicine explained that the puppy with a tail on its face that went viral is likely the result of another embryo that didn’t fully separate in utero.

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Forbes

The real story about organoids: What you should know about ‘brains in a dish’

Hongjun Song of the Perelman School of Medicine explained how brain organoids were developed. “In the last five years scientists figured out how to turn stem cells into 3D cell structures, and eventually [developed] so-called brain organoids, which look like not only cell types in the brain but also cell architectures,” he said.

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The New York Times

You got a brain scan at the hospital. Someday a computer may use it to identify you

Aaron Roth of the School of Engineering and Applied Science commented on research that paired MRI scans with facial recognition software. “It is clear that eventually this will be a worrying attack” on stored medical data, he said.

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Inside Higher Ed

Twitter’s gender imbalance

Rachel Werner of the Perelman School of Medicine authored a study that found that while men and women use Twitter at equal rates, the site has not reduced gender disparities in academia overall.

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PBS

Study finds kittens bond with their human caregivers like babies do

Carlo Siracusa of the School of Veterinary Medicine advised readers to keep in mind that while babies and kittens are similar, they’re not analogous; scientific findings about one may not hold true for the other. “We should be open-minded about the idea that there are other variables [at play],” he said.

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Smithsonian Magazine

Women scientists were written out of history. It’s Margaret Rossiter’s lifelong mission to fix that

M. Susan Lindee of the School of Arts and Sciences praised academic Margaret Rossiter’s research on women’s contributions to science. “We have to look at her past work carefully,” said Lindee, “and re-examine all those brilliant strategies that women used to contest institutional power, which was oriented around preventing them from succeeding.”

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The Hill

R&D, not Greenland, can solve our rare earth problem

Research into rare earth metals by Eric Schelter, Patrick Carroll, Ph.D. student Justin Bogart, and alumnus Connor Lippincott of the School of Arts and Sciences was cited.

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Earth Magazine

Researchers find no link between testosterone and a lack of cognitive empathy

New research by Gideon Nave of the Wharton School found that, contrary to past research, increased testosterone levels do not impair men’s ability to empathize. “We found that there is no evidence to support this effect of testosterone, but that doesn’t rule out any possible effects,” said Nave. “From what we know, though, it seems that if testosterone does have an influence, the effect is complex, not linear.”

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Philadelphia Inquirer

Breeding has shaped dogs’ brains, MRI scans reveal

Wilfried Mai of the School of Veterinary Medicine weighed in on a study that analyzed cognitive differences between dog breeds. “The paper demonstrates very nicely differences in brain morphology with either reduction or hypertrophy [larger size] of certain brain areas that are known to be associated with specific behaviors,” he said.

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WESA Radio (Pittsburgh)

Wheels, drones and Rescue Randy: DARPA robotics competition puts mine rescue to the test

A four-legged robot from the School of Engineering and Applied Science was among robots performing underwater search and rescue in a competition. “They're doing everything completely autonomously, so every step they take is kind of a minor victory for us,” said C. J. Taylor. “We always feel that we could do better. We learn so much from each of these events and that gives us new ideas about things that we want to try.”

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