Frontiers - Nature

  • 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.

  • September 2010

    Conversations on Neuroscience and Society

    SAS faculty share their insights on the human brain.

    Everything from education to warfare comes down to the workings of the human mind, and now the mind itself is being understood in terms of the brain. Across numerous disciplines, Penn Arts and Sciences faculty are studying this amazing three-pound organ and the insights it is offering on diverse human problems.

  • August 2010

    Piece of the Puzzle

    Grad student identifies a new species of dinosaur.

    "According to my parents, I've been interested in dinosaurs since I was a very young child," notes graduate student Andrew McDonald, "farther back than I can remember." By high school, he had decided to make a career out of studying them.

  • August 2010

    Math Mystery

    Mathematicians Phillip Gressman and Robert Strain solve a 140-year old equation describing the motion of gas molecules.

    During the late 1860s and 1870s, when steam-powered technology was at its height, scientists were eager to understand the mechanisms underlying their empirical observations of how the temperature, volume and pressure of gaseous material interacted. In 1872, physicists Ludwig Boltzmann and James Clerk Maxwell developed a foundational equation predicting the motion of gas molecules.