Science & Technology

Dissecting the Green New Deal

During what’s likely the largest climate event ever held at Penn, leaders in a range of fields discussed the practicalities and implications of the resolution introduced into Congress in February aimed at stemming climate change.

Michele W. Berger

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



In the News


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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The New York Times

You got a brain scan at the hospital. Someday a computer may use it to identify you

Aaron Roth of the School of Engineering and Applied Science commented on research that paired MRI scans with facial recognition software. “It is clear that eventually this will be a worrying attack” on stored medical data, he said.

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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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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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