Science & Technology

Designs for what the future can be

The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s “Designs for Different Futures” exhibition includes contributions and installations from several Penn faculty and alumni who seek to answer questions about what the not-so-distant future may look like.

Treatment in a FLASH

A clinical trial in dogs with cancer, co-led by the Perelman School of Medicine and the School of Veterinary Medicine, is testing the feasibility, safety, and effectiveness of delivering a full dose of radiation therapy in a split second.

Katherine Unger Baillie

The many lives of charcoal

Catherine Nabukalu, an alumna of the Master in Environmental Studies program, worked with School of Arts and Sciences Professor Reto Gieré to track the charcoal supply chain through research in Nabukalu’s native Uganda.

Katherine Unger Baillie



In the News


Vox.com

This AI breakthrough in antibiotics might one day save your life

César de la Fuente of the School of Engineering and Applied Science commented on new MIT research that might speed up antibiotic discovery. “I think it’s a breakthrough in a field of much unmet need,” he said. “After all, no new classes of antibiotics have been discovered for decades. This one is definitely structurally different from conventional antibiotics.”

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“All Things Considered,” National Public Radio

At 25 years, understanding the longevity of Craigslist

Jessa Lingel of the Annenberg School for Communication spoke about the founders of Craigslist. “They’re both just old-school engineer type guys who just really believe in keeping the design as simple and functional as possible,” she said. “[I]t’s never had a competitor that was really able to swallow up its user base. It’s had loyal customers all along, loyal users all along, so it’s just never been forced to adapt.”

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WHYY (Philadelphia)

Can algorithms help judges make fair decisions?

Michael Kearns of the School of Engineering and Applied Science said algorithms force us to be more detailed in our decision-making. “You should never expect machine learning to do something for free that you didn’t explicitly ask it to do for you, and you should never expect it to avoid behavior that you want it to avoid that you didn’t tell it explicitly to avoid,” he said.

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The New York Times

Westminster and work: Some show dogs serve, search or soothe

Cynthia Otto of the School of Veterinary Medicine said that a working dog’s appearance is not nearly as important as its drive to seek scents. “They’re not what most would want as your average house pet,” she said.

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Mashable.com

Experts warn smartphone voting is ‘extremely risky,’ yet here it comes

Matt Blaze of the School of Engineering and Applied Science weighed in on a Washington state district’s plans to implement smartphone voting. “This extremely risky decision runs counter to the findings of the authoritative National Academies ‘Securing the Vote’ study, which represents the consensus of experts,” he said.

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The Hill

Critics fear Facebook fact-checkers losing misinformation fight

Eugene Kiely of the Annenberg Public Policy Center spoke about Factcheck.org and how the site manages Facebook content for review.

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The New York Times

Shuttered Philadelphia refinery may get new life after fire

Mark Alan Hughes of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy spoke about the possibility of converting the old Philadelphia refinery into a hybrid plant that also produces renewable fuels. “They’re predicting a steadily declining place for things like the refinery that was,” he said. “The kind of mix that tries to lower the profile of fossil fuel activity is, I think, the most likely outcome.”

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Scientific American

Artificial intelligence is rushing into patient care—and could raise risks

PIK Professor Ezekiel Emanuel and Saurabh Jha of the Perelman School of Medicine spoke about the potential hazards of using artificial intelligence in medicine.

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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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