Frontiers - Nature

  • 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.

  • 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.