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Frontiers - Nature
Graduating senior Arielle Spellun sheds light on some of nature’s most accomplished artists.Mark Wolverton
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.
Jane Willenbring measures the rapid rate at which ice sheets are receding.Blake Cole
Frigid temperatures, constant daylight and complete isolation from civilization—it doesn’t sound like a model camping trip.
Paul Rozin identifies a major roadblock to exploring new methods of attaining drinkable water.Mark Wolverton
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.
Samy Belfer uses worms to help understand gender-specific sleep tendencies.Blake Cole
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.
Sarah Trice and Gary Molander alter the landscape of pharmaceutical synthesis.Blake Cole
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.
Daniel Song investigates pollination patterns in Mongolia.Tracey Quinlan Dougherty
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.
Brig Williams and team close in on the mysterious “God particle.”Mark Wolverton
One day this past December, physicist Brig Williams was waiting to hear whether he and his colleagues had helped make history.
Arjun Yodh and Andrea Liu tame the disordered solid.Blake Cole
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.
Senior Shirley Leung documents the consequences of soil erosion.Blake Cole
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.
Ivan Dmochowski and David Jacobson peer into radon’s binding preferences.Blake Cole
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?
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