Frontiers - Nature

  • November 2014

    An Astronomer’s Quest: Searching for the Known Unknown

    Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy Cullen Blake searches for earth-like planets.

    Cullen Blake was smitten by the sky when his third-grade class studied stars and planets. “It piqued my curiosity,” he recalls, adding that his intellectual trajectory was influenced by the 1995 discovery of an exoplanet, the first planet known to orbit a star outside our solar system.

  • November 2014

    See Psittacosaurus Run

    Graduate student Brandon Hedrick is using statistics to show how dinosaurs looked, moved, and evolved.

    Brandon Hedrick always wanted to be a paleontologist. “That’s kind of the norm in my field—you figure out when you’re three or four that you’re interested in dinosaurs,” says the doctoral candidate in Earth and Environmental Sciences. At Penn, he’s been able to link that first love with his interests in math and biology to give a better picture of how dinosaurs looked and walked.

  • October 2014

    Seeing the World

    Undergraduate Leah Davidson uses the visual arts to energize environmentalism.

    Leah Davidson is no stranger to charting new territory. In her senior year of high school she embarked on a journey to Antarctica with Students on Ice, an organization which seeks to provide students, educators, and scientists from around the world with inspiring educational opportunities in a natural setting.

  • September 2014

    Keeping Science Fun

    Doctoral students Kelsey VanGelder and Lyndsay Wood found science learning program for local students.

    Creating chemistry between kids and lab science is the passion of graduate students Kelsey VanGelder and Lyndsay Wood. Together, they founded the Activities for Community Education in Science (ACES) program to introduce local students to the sciences with a hands-on approach. Both Ph.D.

  • August 2014

    Protein Pathways

    Associate Professor of Biology Kimberly Gallagher examines plant growth mechanisms.

    We pass them every day on the sidewalk. Chances are they have taken up residence in your home or office. But we don't often pause to reflect on the maturation of plants. Kimberly Gallagher does. The associate professor of biology and her lab explore the mechanisms of intercellular protein movement in plants, and how this form of communication impacts plant growth.

  • July 2014

    Finding the First Galaxies

    Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy James Aguirre looks deep into the history of the night sky.

    Imagine the universe billions of years ago as a lump of Swiss cheese. About 400,000 years after the Big Bang, it had cooled enough to produce hydrogen atoms—the “cheese.” As stars began to form, they emitted radiation that ionized these hydrogen atoms, a process which caused the holes to appear.

  • May 2014

    Mercury Rising: A Q&A on Climate Change with Alain Plante (VIDEO)

    The soil expert uses biogeochemistry to better understand the delicate balance of the carbon cycle.

    To Alain Plante, Associate Professor of Earth and Environmental Science, soil isn’t just the ground under our feet. For starters, it’s a repository containing three times more carbon than the atmosphere and five times more than all the earth’s plant matter.

  • April 2014

    U.N. Panel Confronts Climate Change

    Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Science Irina Marinov provides insight on 2014's U.N. panel on climate change.

    Last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—a United Nations group that has been examining the state of the climate and climate science since 1988—released its fifth assessment, which included the report, “Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change.” The report, which stresses the need for immediate action, offers disturbing predictions that come as no great surprise

  • 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.