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2011 News (in reverse chronological order)

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Penn State Awarded $3.3 Million to Build Instrument for Finding Planets in Habitable Zones Around Nearby Stars
Penn State Awarded $3.3 Million to Build Instrument for Finding Planets in Habitable Zones Around Nearby Stars 29 September 2011A new state-of-the-art instrument -- a precision spectrograph for finding planets in habitable zones around cool, nearby stars -- is being developed at Penn State with support from a new $3.3-million grant from the National Science Foundation. "This new Habitable Zone Planet Finder instrument will allow us to detect the existence of planets that are similar in mass to Earth and also are in orbits that allow liquid water to exist on their surfaces," said Suvrath Mahadevan, assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State and a co-principal investigator of the project.
Penn State Honors Five with Outstanding Science Alumni Award
Penn State Honors Five with Outstanding Science Alumni Award 28 September 2011Five alumni of the Penn State University Eberly College of Science will be honored with the Outstanding Science Alumni Award for the year 2011. Receiving this award are David Dunson, Susan Gardlik, Albert "Fred" Hartman, Allan Silberman, and Bruce Wellman. The Board of Directors of the Eberly College of Science Alumni Society established this award in 1997 to recognize alumni who have a record of significant professional achievements in their field and who are outstanding role models for the current students in the college.
Lasse Jensen Named a Presidential Early Career Award Winner
Lasse Jensen Named a Presidential Early Career Award Winner 26 September 2011Lasse Jensen, an assistant professor of chemistry at Penn State University, has been selected by President Obama and the National Science Foundation to receive a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) "for addressing fundamental questions relevant to optical spectroscopy of bio- and nano-systems and for exemplary teaching efforts and the dissemination of computational tools to the chemistry community." The PECASE Award, which is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists in the early stages of their careers, is "intended to recognize some of the finest scientists and engineers who show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge during the twenty-first century." Jensen will receive the award during a ceremony at the White House.
Raymond Schaak Receives National Fresenius Award
Raymond Schaak Receives National Fresenius Award 19 September 2011Raymond Schaak, a professor of chemistry at Penn State, has been selected by the American Chemical Society to receive the National Fresenius Award, named in recognition of the eminent chemist Carl Remigius Fresenius and sponsored by Phi Lambda Upsilon, the National Chemistry Honor Society. The award, which was established in 1965, is presented annually to an outstanding young scientist who has attained national recognition in the areas of research, teaching, and/or administration.
Record-breaking Solar Cell Announced by Multinational Research Team
Record-breaking Solar Cell Announced by Multinational Research Team 19 September 2011The most efficient colloidal-quantum-dot solar cell ever created will be described in a scientific paper to be published in a print edition of the journal Nature Materials by a team of scientists that includes John Asbury, assistant professor of chemistry at Penn State University. Other members of the research team are at the University of Toronto (U of T) in Canada and the King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. The journal also will publish the team's achievement on its Advance Online Publication website at 1:00 p.m., U.S. Eastern Time, on Sunday, 18 September 2011.
Winograd Receives an American Chemical Society Award in Analytical Chemistry
Winograd Receives an American Chemical Society Award in Analytical Chemistry 16 September 2011Nicholas Winograd, an Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry at Penn State University, has been honored with an American Chemical Society Award in Analytical Chemistry sponsored by the Batelle Memorial Institute. The award recognizes Winograd for his four decades of creative research in surface analysis and mass spectrometry, for his mentoring of nearly 80 Ph.D. students and 35 postdoctoral associates, and for his extensive service to the chemistry community.
"Forensic Science in the Courtroom" is a Free Public Lecture on 19 September 2011 (111 Wartik Laboratory, from 19 September 2011 12:20 PM to 19 September 2011 01:10 PM)
15 September 2011A free public lecture, "Forensic Science in the Courtroom," will be given on 19 September 2011 by Dawn McQuiston, an associate professor of psychology at Arizona State University. This event is the second of a series of four presentations on forensic science and its use as a law-enforcement tool in Penn State's 2011 Forensic Science Lecture Series. All lectures are free and will be held on Mondays from 12:20 p.m. to 1:10 p.m. in 111 Wartik Laboratory on the Penn State University Park campus.
Rosenberger Receives Distinguished Service Award from the National Institute of Statistical Sciences
Rosenberger Receives Distinguished Service Award from the National Institute of Statistical Sciences 08 September 2011James Rosenberger, a professor of statistics at Penn State University, has been honored with a Distinguished Service Award from the National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS). The award was presented in August at a reception in Miami, Florida. The NISS Distinguished Service Awards were established by in 2005 to recognize individuals who have given extraordinary service that significantly advances NISS and its mission.
Endangered Horse Has Ancient Origins and High Genetic Diversity, New Study Finds
Endangered Horse Has Ancient Origins and High Genetic Diversity, New Study Finds 07 September 2011An endangered species of horse -- known as Przewalski's horse -- is much more distantly related to the domestic horse than researchers had previously hypothesized, reports a team of investigators led by Kateryna Makova, a Penn State University associate professor of biology. The scientists tested the portion of the genome passed exclusively from mother to offspring -- the mitochondrial DNA -- of four Przewalski's horse lineages and compared the data to DNA from the domestic horse (Equus caballus).
"Investigating Clandestine Drug Laboratories" is a Free Public Lecture on 12 September 2011 (111 Wartik Laboratory, from 12 September 2011 12:20 PM to 12 September 2011 01:10 PM)
06 September 2011The public is invited to a free lecture, "Investigating Clandestine Drug Laboratories," on 12 September 2011, by James DeFrancesco, a senior forensic chemist with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. This event is the first of a series of four presentations on forensic science and its use as a law-enforcement tool in Penn State's 2011 Forensic Science Lecture Series. All lectures are free and will be held on Mondays from 12:20 p.m. to 1:10 p.m. in 111 Wartik Laboratory on the Penn State University Park campus.
Innovative Nanoparticle Purification System Uses Magnetic Fields
Innovative Nanoparticle Purification System Uses Magnetic Fields 06 September 2011A team of Penn State University scientists, led by Mary Beth Williams, an associate professor of chemistry, and Raymond Schaak, a professor of chemistry, has invented a new system that uses magnetism to purify hybrid nanoparticles -- structures that are composed of two or more kinds of materials in an extremely small particle that is visible only with an electron microscope.
Penn State's 2011 Forensic Science Lecture Series (111 Wartik Laboratory, from 12 September 2011 12:20 PM to 24 October 2011 01:10 PM)
06 September 2011A series of presentations on forensic evidence in the courtroom, drug-lab raids, cutting-edge criminal-investigation techniques, and the changing field of forensic science is part of Penn State's 2011 Forensic Science Lecture Series. All lectures are free and will be held on Mondays from 12:20 p.m. to 1:10 p.m. in 111 Wartik Laboratory on the Penn State University Park campus.
Nobel Laureate to Give Marker Lectures in Evolutionary Biology on 26 and 27 September 2011 (Berg Auditorium, 100 Life Sciences Building, from 26 September 2011 04:00 PM to 26 September 2011 05:00 PM)
31 August 2011Jack Szostak, an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a professor of genetics at the Harvard University Medical School, the Alex Rich Distinguished Investigator in the Department of Molecular Biology and the Center for Computational and Integrative Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine will present the Russell Marker Lectures in Evolutionary Biology on 26 and 27 September 2011 at the Penn State University Park campus.
Atomic Clock with the World's Best Long-term Accuracy Is Revealed by Research
Atomic Clock with the World's Best Long-term Accuracy Is Revealed by Research 26 August 2011A caesium fountain clock that keeps the United Kingdom's atomic time is now the most accurate long-term timekeeper in the world, according to a new evaluation of the clock that will be published in the October 2011 issue of the international scientific journal Metrologia by a team of physicists at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in the United Kingdom and Penn State University in the United States.
Samarth Appointed Head of the Department of Physics
Samarth Appointed Head of the Department of Physics 25 August 2011Nitin Samarth, a professor of physics at Penn State University, has been appointed as the George A. and Margaret M. Downsbrough Head of the Department of Physics. He had served as associate head of the department since 2007. He succeeds Jayanth Banavar, who served as head of the department since 1998.
Distant Black Hole Discovered Devouring a Sun-like Star
Distant Black Hole Discovered Devouring a Sun-like Star 24 August 2011Two studies in the 25 August 2011 issue of the journal Nature provide new insights into a cosmic accident that has been streaming X-rays toward Earth since late March. "Incredibly, this source is still producing X-rays and may remain bright enough for the Swift satellite to observe into next year. It behaves unlike anything we've seen before," said David Burrows, professor of astronomy at Penn State University and the lead scientist for the Swift observatory's X-Ray Telescope instrument.
C.R. Rao Receives 34th Honorary Doctoral Degree from the University of Colombo
C.R. Rao Receives 34th Honorary Doctoral Degree from the University of Colombo 15 August 2011Penn State's C.R. Rao, Emeritus Holder of the Eberly Family Chair in Statistics and long recognized as one of the world's top statisticians, has been honored with the honorary Doctor of Science degree by the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka. Rao was presented with the degree on 28 July, 2011, in a special convocation ceremony. This is the 34th of the honorary degrees he has received from universities in 19 countries spanning 6 continents.
Physicist Erwin Mueller was First to "See" the Elemental Particle of Matter
Physicist Erwin Mueller was First to "See" the Elemental Particle of Matter 10 August 2011Tuesday, October 11, 1955. Penn State’s students that day received a stern warning from the athletic department against scalping their tickets to Saturday’s football game with Navy. Phi Sigma Upsilon made formal application to become the University’s 54th fraternity. The romance languages department and the Spanish Club made final preparations for the Columbus Day program they were co-sponsoring. In Osmond Lab, Professor of Physics Erwin Mueller and his graduate students were making history.
Marker Lectures in the Mathematical Sciences Scheduled for 29 August to 1 September 2011 (100 Thomas Building, from 29 August 2011 08:00 PM to 29 August 2011 09:30 PM)
04 August 2011Manjul Bhargava, a professor of mathematics at Princeton University, will present the Russell Marker Lectures in the Mathematical Sciences from 29 August to 1 September, 2011, on the Penn State University Park campus. The lecture series includes a presentation intended for a general audience, "Sums of Squares and the 290-Theorem," which will be held at 8:00 p.m. on Monday, 29 August.
Donald Schneider Appointed as Head of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
Donald Schneider Appointed as Head of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics 01 August 2011Donald P. Schneider, Distinguished Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, has been appointed as head of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics in Penn State's Eberly College of Science. Schneider succeeds Lawrence W. Ramsey, who has served as head of the department since 2003.

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