Frontiers

Frontiers - Nature

  • March 2014

    Under Pressure

    Criminology graduate student Jill Portnoy measures biological responses to stress.

    Imagine you are waiting on the platform for a trolley. When it comes into view the driver is waving his arms in a panic as sparks fly from the rails. Glancing down the tracks, you see three rail workers whose demise is inevitable unless you halt the trolley … by pushing the person next to you onto the tracks.

  • March 2014

    The Physics of Patient Care

    Penn’s Medical Physics Graduate Program creates physicists who heal.

    In the last 25 years, new technology has exploded the possibilities in radiation oncology. The development of 3-D X-ray imaging (CT scan) gave doctors better images to choose the best treatment for their patients. Now they can also incorporate positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) into their decision process.

  • February 2014

    What the Bacteria Saw

    By using Lyme disease bacteria to research evolution, Assistant Professor of Biology Dustin Brisson is advancing both science and medicine.

    “We do things from the bacteria’s point of view,” says Assistant Professor of Biology Dustin Brisson. “They have their own ecology, evolution, and natural history, and you have to treat them as such, not just as an infectious agent.”

  • January 2014

    Stretching Boundaries

    Tom Lubensky and Charles Kane combine two distinct areas of physics in new research.

    Topological insulators and isostatic lattices make strange bedfellows—or at least they seemed to until Tom Lubensky, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Physics, started bugging his colleague Charles Kane about their similarities. Their eventual collaboration led to the recently published “Topological Boundary Modes in Isostatic Lattices” in Nature Physics.

  • January 2014

    Weighing the Odds

    Psychology researchers develop a tool that can weigh multiple variables in making treatment decisions.

    Robert DeRubeis had a problem. For years, as the Samuel H. Preston Term Professor in the Social Sciences and Chair of Psychology researched depression, he saw study after study that looked at just one variable of the treatment—for example, whether cognitive therapy or medication was better for patients who also had a personality disorder.
     

  • December 2013

    Picking the Perfect Present

    Baird Term Assistant Professor of Psychology Joseph Kable studies how we make decisions (or sometimes don’t).

    During this shopping season, have you found yourself standing frozen with a potential present in your hand, wondering if your mom would like it? It may feel like a tiny wrestling match, but what is actually going on in your brain?

  • November 2013

    From Greenhouse to Green

    Daniel Mindiola is finding new ways to harness greenhouse gases.

    What if greenhouse gasses are not the problem but the solution? Presidential Term Professor of Chemistry Daniel Mindiola sees a greener future, in which we use gases like methane and ethane to produce energy and other products.

  • October 2013

    Video: Next Gen Minds

    Young scholars research cutting-edge topics at the 2013 Undergraduate Research Fair.

    Undergraduates in the School of Arts and Sciences reinforce the idea that students at any level can tackle complex issues with a fresh perspective. Each year, young scholars are given the opportunity to participate in the annual Undergraduate Research Fair, where they spotlight the topics they are most passionate about.

  • October 2013

    Pain and the Body Without Organs

    Senior Anand Muthusamy studies pain at the intersection of philosophy, science, and anthropology.

    Bodily pain is a universal aspect of human life, one we daily go great lengths to avoid. But something equally quotidian—sports—made senior biophysics major Anand Muthusamy curious. The athlete’s “no pain, no gain” mantra—Curt Schilling’s pitching with a bloody ankle during the 2004 World Series, for example—complicates the universality of pain.

  • August 2013

    Forecasting Catastrophe

    Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor Adriana Petryna and Assistant Professor Etienne Benson discuss environmental disaster predictors.

    In a recent issue of Limn, an online magazine featuring scholarly commentary on contemporary problems, Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor Adriana Petryna of Anthropology and Assistant Professor of History and Sociology of Science Etienne Benson offer their takes on the issue’s theme of sentinel devices, indicators that can aid in “preparation for an uncertain but potentially catastrophic future.”