Frontiers - Nature

  • October 2009

    Taking a Closer Look at Glass

    Graduate student Peter Yunker sheds light on the mystery of aging glass.

    Glasses have been used for thousands of years, but some of the fundamental properties of these common household and industrial materials still remain unexplained. One such puzzle is why glasses become more viscous and rigid over time without major changes to their structure—a phenomenon known as aging. A new study conducted by physics doctoral student Peter Yunker, James M.

  • September 2009

    Improving the System

    College student Sourav Bose works to improve emergency response care in Guatemala.

    Sourav Bose, C’11, W’11, has been working with emergency medical services since he was in high school. He volunteered with the local ambulance corps in his suburban New Jersey hometown, and at Penn he is a member of the Medical Emergency Response Team, a student-run service organization that provides emergency medical services to the University community.

  • August 2009

    That's What Friends are For?

    Psychologists Peter DeScioli and Robert Kurzban propose a new theory of human friendship.

    If you’ve ever designated your “top friends” on MySpace, Facebook or another social networking website, you may have done more than give a nod to your favorite people on that particular platform.

  • August 2009

    Re-examining a Snail's Pace

    Biologist Peter Petraitis and team discover rapid increases in shell size in the Atlantic dogwhelk.

    Nucella lapillus, the Atlantic dogwhelk, is one of the best known and most widely studied organisms in the North Atlantic Ocean. Yet until now, no one had noticed that over the past century shell lengths of these sea snails have increased in size by an average of 22.6 percent.

  • June 2009

    Jam Session

    Physicist Andrea Liu discusses research into how systems of particles transition to jammed states.

    In collaboration with her colleagues in the physics department and researchers at the University of Chicago, Andrea Liu is trying to understand how certain systems of particles come to behave like solids when they jam.

  • May 2009

    Mind's Eye View

    Penn psychologists identify neural correlates of visual and verbal cognitive styles.

    In the lab of Class of 1965 Endowed Term Professor of Psychology Sharon Thompson-Schill, the range of topics being studied is fairly broad, but one overarching theme, she explains, is an attempt to better understand differences between people.

  • May 2009

    Night Light

    Cosmologist Mark Devlin uses balloon-borne telescope to find the source of half the light in the universe.

    Just before Christmas in 2006, Mark Devlin, the Reese W. Flower Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, led a team of scientists to launch a telescope that would scrutinize the heavens in search of primeval galaxies at the far reaches of the universe.

  • May 2009

    The Evolution of Aging

    Graduate student Annalise Paaby studies how natural selection affects lifespan in fruit flies.

    Scientists have long known that genes play an important role in lifespan and longevity, and they have made significant progress in understanding the complex genetic mechanisms of aging. Evolutionary geneticists are now building on these discoveries to see if there is an adaptive component to life span.

  • April 2009

    DNA Collector

    Scientist Sarah Tishkoff pulls together a database of African populations—one DNA sample at a time.

    “Africa is one of the most genetically diverse regions of the world,” observes scientist Sarah Tishkoff. “It’s thought to be the site of origin of modern humans. So if we want to learn more about human evolution, we need to be looking amongst African populations.” 

  • April 2009

    Rats, REM and PTSD

    Undergraduate Benjamin Laitman looks at the microarchitecture of sleep with fear conditioning.

    While everyone may be personally familiar with the phenomenon of sleep, few of us understand what transpires in our own brains between lights out and the sound of the morning alarm. More than the absence of wakefulness or a period of rest, sleep is a complex brain state of great interest to scientists and medical practitioners working in a variety of fields.