Science & Technology

Penn’s pioneering mathematicians

Two of the first African Americans to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics, Dudley Weldon Woodard and William Waldron Schieffelin Claytor worked on fundamental problems in the field of topology and supported graduate-level math education for minority students.

Erica K. Brockmeier

Scrap metal-powered lights win Y-Prize 2020

The winning team of this year’s Y-Prize, an invention competition in which entrants are challenged to pitch an innovative business plan for a technology developed at Penn Engineering, Metal Light, proposes technology to provide illumination for houses not connected to electrical grids.

Penn Today Staff



In the News


The New York Times

Who’s a bot? Who’s not?

Sarah Jackson of the Annenberg School for Communication said it’s important to focus on where bots exist within social networks as well as with whom they actually interact. “Even if there are a lot of bots in a network, it is misleading to suggest they are leading the conversation or influencing real people who are tweeting in those same networks,” she said.

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The Wall Street Journal

Why people are more honest when writing on their smartphones

Shiri Melumad of the Wharton School was interviewed about her research into how people communicate with smartphones, as opposed to personal computers. “Consumers tend to convey feelings or thoughts that are more private or intimate on their smartphones, which is captured by the use of ‘I’ or ‘we’ and mentioning family and friends,” she said.

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USA Today

Canceled plans and staying home: How can students make the most of a coronavirus summer?

Vanessa Z. Chan of the School of Engineering and Applied Science wrote an op-ed about how students can still have a productive summer by taking online classes, picking up new hobbies, and creatively solving social problems.

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NPR

Are there zombie viruses—like the 1918 flu—thawing in the permafrost?

Michael Zimmerman of the School of Arts & Sciences said the possibility of reviving long frozen pathogens is “extremely unlikely.”

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The Washington Post

Dogs are being trained to sniff out coronavirus cases

Cynthia Otto of the School of Veterinary Medicine is quoted on training dogs to detect disease.

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The Hill

Researchers investigating whether dogs can detect coronavirus

Cynthia Otto of the School of Veterinary Medicine was interviewed about Penn’s Working Dog Center, which is exploring the possibility of using dogs to sniff out odors associated with COVID-19.

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National Geographic

Horses and dogs share a surprisingly common language of play

Sue McDonnell of the School of Veterinary Medicine commented on new research that finds shared play language between dogs and horses. “It’s a wonderful study, and takes the questions surrounding play behavior to a new level,” she said.

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KYW Newsradio (Philadelphia)

The Origami Mask Project's engineers are designing DIY face masks for COVID-19

Shu Yang of the School of Engineering and Applied Science spoke about the The Origami Mask Project, which is developing simple, easy DIY face masks.

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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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