Frontiers

Frontiers - Nature

  • May 2012

    How Birds Sing

    Graduating senior Arielle Spellun sheds light on some of nature’s most accomplished artists.

    Humans do it, whales do it, but it’s the beautiful creatures we call songbirds who are perhaps the true masters of the art of singing. The complex neurological functions that allow birds to create their lovely songs gave Arielle Spellun, freshly minted graduate of Penn’s Biological Basis of Behavior program, her senior honors thesis.

  • April 2012

    Frozen in Time

    Jane Willenbring measures the rapid rate at which ice sheets are receding.

    Frigid temperatures, constant daylight and complete isolation from civilization—it doesn’t sound like a model camping trip.

  • April 2012

    Recycling Water - And Attitudes

    Paul Rozin identifies a major roadblock to exploring new methods of attaining drinkable water.

    As Earth’s population continues to grow and its climate steadily changes, making sure that people have fresh, drinkable water is becoming a major concern. Many parts of the world already face life-threatening water shortages, which threaten to spread to even the most developed nations as the 21st century progresses.

  • March 2012

    Bed Bugs

    Samy Belfer uses worms to help understand gender-specific sleep tendencies.

    If androids dream of electronic sheep, then what do microscopic worms dream of? This question might never be answered, but Samy Belfer, a senior in the Biological Basis of Behavior major, says they are capable of explaining more than we might think about sleep.

  • February 2012

    Bonding Time

    Sarah Trice and Gary Molander alter the landscape of pharmaceutical synthesis.

    In the grand scheme of things, a tiny molecule can mean a lot—especially in Penn Chemistry’s High Throughput Experimentation Laboratory. The state-of-the-art laboratory is capable of testing hundreds of reactions a day, as opposed to only a handful previously.

  • January 2012

    The Buzz on Plant-Pollinator Networks

    Daniel Song investigates pollination patterns in Mongolia.

    Daniel Song, a third-year doctoral student in biology who studies plant-pollinator networks, is quick to note he’s not the first person to examine correlations between plants and the insects who fertilize them. “For as long as people have been collecting honey, they’ve been understanding pollinators,” he says.

  • January 2012

    Zeroing in on the Higgs

    Brig Williams and team close in on the mysterious “God particle.”

    One day this past December, physicist Brig Williams was waiting to hear whether he and his colleagues had helped make history.

  • November 2011

    Under Pressure

    Arjun Yodh and Andrea Liu tame the disordered solid.

    The lazy melody of a wind chime; the roar of a gong; the chirp of a bell—what do these sounds all have in common? Each is produced by the organized vibrations of atoms in an ordered solid, also known as a crystal. While all solids contain flaws, defects in crystals manifest in easily recognizable patterns.

  • October 2011

    Wear and Tear

    Senior Shirley Leung documents the consequences of soil erosion.

    We often attribute water pollution to trash or gasoline, waste that is irresponsibly discarded into natural habitats. Indeed this is a serious issue, but ironically enough, some of the decline in water quality can be pinned on nature itself—but that doesn’t mean humans get a pass.

  • September 2011

    Mutual Attraction

    Ivan Dmochowski and David Jacobson peer into radon’s binding preferences.

    It often hides in your basement and is most likely to strike while you’re asleep. This isn’t your ordinary assailant lurking in the dark, however—this is radon: a deadly, odorless, tasteless, colorless gas bred from the decay of radioactive materials. How then do you go about conducting research on such a deadly element?