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New NASA coalition to lead search for life on distant worlds includes two leaders at Penn State
New NASA coalition to lead search for life on distant worlds includes two leaders at Penn State 21 April 2015 A new NASA initiative is embracing a team approach to the quest for life on planets around other stars. The new Nexus for Exoplanet System Science initiative (NExSS) is a virtual institute that will benefit from the expertise of several dozen team leaders across the NASA science community in an effort to find clues to life on faraway worlds. Two Penn State University astronomers are among the first sixteen leaders on the NExSS team.

Jinchao Xu Named Verne M. Willaman Professor of Mathematics
Jinchao Xu Named Verne M. Willaman Professor of Mathematics 20 April 2015 Jinchao Xu, the Francis R. and Helen M. Pentz Professor of Science and the director of the Center for Computational Mathematics and Applications at Penn State University, has been selected as the Verne M. Willaman Professor of Mathematics. The appointment, effective on January 1, 2015, is awarded by the Office of the President of the University, based on the recommendation of the dean of the Eberly College of Science, in recognition of Xu's national and international reputation for excellence in research and teaching.

Search for Advanced Civilizations Beyond Earth Finds Nothing Obvious in 100,000 Galaxies
Search for Advanced Civilizations Beyond Earth  Finds Nothing Obvious in 100,000 Galaxies 15 April 2015 After searching 100,000 galaxies for signs of highly advanced extraterrestrial life, a team of scientists using observations from NASA's WISE orbiting observatory has found no evidence of advanced civilizations in them. "The idea behind our research is that, if an entire galaxy had been colonized by an advanced spacefaring civilization, the energy produced by that civilization's technologies would be detectable in mid-infrared wavelengths -- exactly the radiation that the WISE satellite was designed to detect for other astronomical purposes," said Jason T. Wright, an assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds at Penn State University, who conceived of and initiated the research.

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