Science & Technology

The future of technology

As new technologies emerge, they bring with them new ethical challenges. The topic of the future of technology was front and center on day three of the Penn Teach-in.

Ali Sundermier

Remembering Hawking: Q&A with Vijay Balasubramanian

Stephen Hawking, one of history’s most influential physicists, spent his life grappling with mysteries of the universe. Vijay Balasubramanian of the School of Arts and Sciences shared some of his memories of Hawking and discussed the impact the Briton had on scientists and nonscientists alike.

Ali Sundermier

Creating atomic water filters

A vast majority of the earth’s water is salty, making it unfit for people to drink. Researchers are working on a technology that could potentially offer a new method of desalinating water that would be both fast and scalable.

Ali Sundermier

In the News


Microsoft’s Purchase of GitHub Leaves Some Scientists Uneasy

Post-doc Daniel Himmelstein of the Perelman School of Medicine discussed problematic elements of GitHub’s model. “Regardless of the Microsoft acquisition, GitHub, as a centralized and closed company, possesses a dangerous level of control over the open-source ecosystem,” said Himmelstein.


The Washington Post

The Cybersecurity 202: We Surveyed 100 Experts. A Majority Rejected the FBI's Push for Encryption Back Doors

Matt Blaze of the School of Engineering and Applied Science spoke out against the FBI’s call to weaken encryption. “Strong encryption is absolutely critical for keeping our data safe from criminals. This is especially important for mobile devices such as cellphones, which are easily lost or stolen,” said Blaze.


The Guardian

Tesla Fatal Crash: 'Autopilot' Mode Sped Up Car Before Driver Killed, Report Finds

The School of Design’s Erick Guerra said a Tesla crash was “clearly a technology failure.” Commenting on Tesla’s autopilot feature, Guerra said that “the technology is just not up to doing as much as people hope it can do.”



RPT-INSIGHT-Software and Stealth: How Carmakers Hike Spare Parts Prices

Aaron Roth of the School of Engineering and Applied Science discussed the continued use of software to establish the highest prices consumers are willing to pay, a common practice in retail and manufacturing.


The Bees of Bandelier, Snail Memories, and the State of Science

Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the Annenberg Public Policy Center was interviewed for a podcast about media coverage of the “so-called crisis in science.” (Audio)


The New York Times

G.D.P.R., a New Privacy Law, Makes Europe World’s Leading Tech Watchdog

Michael Kearns of the School of Engineering and Applied Science weighed in on the E.U.’s advancements in cybersecurity and consumer privacy.


Foreign Affairs

Keep CRISPR Safe

President Amy Gutmann and PIK Professor Jonathan Moreno of the Perelman School of Medicine and the School of Arts and Sciences co-authored an article emphasizing the importance of letting “global scientific and biological ethics communities” lead the charge in facilitating the implementation of gene-editing technology.


Philadelphia Inquirer

Penn's Electric Race Car Team Seeks Fourth Title in Four Years

Eighty undergrads from a variety of departments, including Connor Sendel of the Wharton School and the School of Engineering and Applied Science, are building an electric car with four-wheel drive with hopes of winning two competitions this June.



Astronaut Scott Kelly's DNA Did Not 'Change in Space' the Way You Think

The Perelman School of Medicine’s Mathias Basner joined the chorus of sleep experts dismissing initial reports that 7 percent of astronaut and identical twin Scott Kelly’s DNA “changed” while in space.


The Verge Is Not for Sale

After purchasing the domain name in 1993, Matt Blaze of the School of Engineering and Applied Science has had to repeatedly fend off attempts by cryptocurrency enthusiasts to purchase the website for upwards of seven figures. Blaze has refused to sell, warning against the use of cryptocurrency as “investment vehicles.”