Science & Technology

Kathie Jin races towards the future with Penn Electric Racing

As the mechanical co-lead and operations lead for Penn Electric Racing (PER), a Formula SAE Electric Racing team, Engineering junior Kathie Jin leads a group of eighty students to design, build and race electric cars.

Penn Today Staff

Coral reef resilience

With coral reefs under threat from climate change, marine biologist Katie Barott studies how some corals may prove resilient to warming temperatures and acidifying oceans.

Katherine Unger Baillie

Evan and the chocolate factory

Engineering student Evan Weinstein fixated on the idea of liberating bespoke chocolates from the confines of both the bar and the mold. Rather than cast a chocolate shape, why not build it? Cocoa Press is his solution. 

Tina Rodia

A close look at thin ice

A pairing of theory and experiment led to discovering atomic-scale details of the growth of ice on surfaces, which can inform the design of materials that make ice removal simple and cheaper.

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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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

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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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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