Science & Technology

Deepfake detector wins PennApps XX

An app designed to detect deepfakes took home the grand prize at PennApps XX, beating nearly 250 tech projects developed over the course of a weekend. 

Penn Today Staff

Making waves with metamaterials

Penn engineers are using a custom mechanical metamaterial, an artificial structure with properties that are defined by its geometry instead of its composition, to study how non-linear waves move in a soft, 2D system to better understand how mechanical metamaterials could be used in the future.

Penn Today Staff

Inferno in the rainforest

Satellite images have detected more than 100,000 points of fire in the Amazon this year. Scientists Reto Gieré and Alain Plante illuminate some less obvious impacts of the fires, including health threats and climate impacts.

Katherine Unger Baillie

A molecular ‘atlas’ of animal development

Scientists have studied the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans for decades, making essential contributions to basic science. In the latest milestone, a team uses cutting-edge technology to individually profile the genes expressed in more than 80,000 cells in a developing C. elegans embryo.

Katherine Unger Baillie

Crowdsourcing 10,000 years of land use

More than 250 archaeologists from around the world contributed their knowledge to ArchaeoGLOBE, an effort to better understand the prevalence of agriculture, pastoralism, and hunting and gathering at different points in human history.

Michele W. Berger

No evidence that testosterone reduces cognitive empathy

In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that testosterone administration did not affect cognitive empathy, a measure of the ability to recognize another’s feelings and motivations. The finding calls into question the theory that the symptoms of autism are caused by a hyper-masculinized brain.

Katherine Unger Baillie



In the News


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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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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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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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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Penn Live

Wildlife diseases in Pennsylvania targeted by $10 million Game Commission-Penn partnership

Julie Ellis and Lisa Murphy of the School of Veterinary Medicine commented on a new collaboration between Penn Vet and the Pennsylvania Game Commission: the Pennsylvania Wildlife Futures Program, based at New Bolton Center.

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Axios

Looking to AI to understand how we learn

PIK Professor Konrad Kording said, “There is a big undercurrent in neuroscience [saying] we should go back to neural networks,” which rely on technology that allows machines to learn from their mistakes.

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Philadelphia Inquirer

‘Why not fly over it?’ Uber picks New Jersey firms in ambitious bid to beat traffic congestion

Rahul Mangharam of the School of Engineering and Applied Science commented on Uber’s new air taxi venture. “It’s going to be a very congested sky,” he said. “You want to make sure that each flight plan is safe by design, and that even if they do mess up for some reason, they have a fallback option.”

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