Frontiers

Frontiers - Nature

  • May 2011

    The Learning Puzzle

    Angela Lee Duckworth explores motivation and self-control's impact on education.

    Gone are the days of using careful pen strokes to change “Ds” to “Bs” on report cards. Students now have access to far more advanced technology—Photoshop for instance, can work wonders. But what if all the effort that went into dodging academic accountability could instead be channeled into a hunger for learning?

  • April 2011

    Life in Motion

    Larry Rome and John MacDermott introduce students to cutting-edge motion analysis technology. Three biomechanics students share their eye-opening videos below.

    When the Matrix was first released, the slow motion shots of Neo, the hero, leaping mid-air through fields of bullets, quickly became iconic. Imagine having access to a camera, in class nonetheless, that could slow time to a fraction of those shots.

  • April 2011

    Hunting Games

    James Petersson uses customized amino acids to track the movements of proteins.

    Ever wondered what exactly is going on inside a cooking egg to change it from its clear goopy consistency to an edible white? Like the majority of cellular activity, a protein is front and center. In this case, however, the protein is actually behaving erroneously, misfolding, in order to go through its metamorphosis.

  • April 2011

    Divide and Conquer

    Robert Kurzban, Associate Professor of Psychology, explains the mind's customized adaptations.

    No one likes a hypocrite, or so the saying goes. But in a world driven more and more by technology like social networking, hypocrisy has never been so glaring.

  • March 2011

    Threading the Needle

    Physicist Marija Drndic and her team use advanced nanotechnology towards achieving improved DNA sequencing.

    The Human Genome Project was a scientific breakthrough that harnessed an international consortium of experts and required 13 years to complete. It was a rewarding process, but also a grueling one that didn't initially lend itself to efficiency. But with new technology, researchers are attempting to cut sequencing time exponentially—not to years, but to minutes.

  • December 2010

    Forecasting the Future

    Biologists Peter Petraitis and Brenda Casper travel to northern Mongolia to chart climate change and its effect on local ecology.

    A boggy dirt path is the only road to the nearest town. To accommodate rapidly shifting temperatures that might see a warm day in June turn into a couple of days of heavy snowfall, large circular tents, or gers, are draped with layers of felt. Yaks, sheep and cashmere goats graze amongst a diversity of plants that includes fresh thyme. This is northern Mongolia.

  • December 2010

    Reactionary Movement

    Penn Chemistry adopts innovative technology designed to supercharge testing processes.

    The Gutenberg Press revolutionized efficiency; the once tedious transcription process was rendered obsolete, replaced by technology that facilitated a more open exchange of information. In an unassuming laboratory nestled in the basement of the Penn Chemistry building, a smaller—molecular—revolution is taking place.

  • December 2010

    Testing Gravity With Light

    Grad student Amitai Bin-Nun explores light bending around black holes.

    Mathematically, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way is deceptively simple. With four million solar masses of matter condensed into an infinitely small volume, this object is essentially a point with massive gravitational attraction.

  • October 2010

    The Science of Decisions

    Psychologist Joe Kable explores the neurological and psychological workings of choice.

    You may not realize it, but you just made a decision: namely, to read (or at least start to read) this article. Why? What process just occurred in your brain to cause you to be reading this sentence right now? How and why did you make that decision at that moment?

  • October 2010

    Before Baby Talk

    Senior Rachel Romeo uses eye movements to study the impact of hearing impairments on infant language learning.

    In taking American Sign Language to fulfill her foreign language requirement, Rachel Romeo, C'11, often interacted with the Philadelphia Deaf community. She came across several people who said they'd suffered ear infections or diseases like meningitis in early childhood, and as a result, had developed hearing impairments that had gone undetected.