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All-Science Alumni Tailgate 03 October 2015 from 09:00 AM to 11:30 AM Picnic Pavilion inside Medlar Field, University Park, PA,
Date: 03 October 2015
All science alumni are invited to attend this tailgate, complete with food, beverages, give-aways and more
Increasing prevalence of autism is due, in part, to changing diagnoses
22 July 2015The greater than three-fold increase in autism diagnoses among students in special education programs in the United States between 2000 and 2010 may be due in large part to the reclassification of individuals who previously would have been diagnosed with other intellectual disability disorders, according to new research. In a paper to be published online in the American Journal of Medical Genetics on July 22, 2015, scientists at Penn State University report their analysis of 11 years of special-education enrollment data on an average of 6.2 million children per year. The researchers found no overall increase in the number of students enrolled in special education. They also found that the increase in students diagnosed with autism was offset by a nearly equal decrease in students diagnosed with other intellectual disabilities that often co-occur with autism. The researchers conclude that the large increase in the prevalence of autism is likely the result of shifting patterns of diagnosis that are complicated by the variability of autism and its overlap with other related disorders.
How the Mammoth Got its Wool: Genetic changes are identified that helped the woolly mammoth survive in the Arctic
02 July 2015Evolutionary change in a gene resurrected in the lab from the extinct woolly mammoth altered the gene's temperature sensitivity and likely was part of a suite of adaptations that allowed the mammoth to survive in harsh arctic environments, according to new research. In a study published in Cell Reports on July 2, 2015, researchers determined the whole-genome sequence of two woolly mammoths and three modern Asian elephants, predicted the function of genetic changes found only in the mammoths, and then experimentally validated the function of a woolly mammoth gene reconstructed in the lab. The research team includes scientists from Penn State University, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and the University of Chicago.
Black hole, quiet since 1989, now caught burping a rare X-ray flare
30 June 2015A NASA satellite controlled by Penn State University has detected a brief, super-bright, high-energy flare -- an X-ray nova -- erupting from a star system 8,000 light-years away from Earth named V404 Cygni. This system is in the constellation Cygnus and includes a black hole and a star just slightly smaller than the Sun. This black hole has been known to burp up an X-ray nova occasionally, but it had been slumbering since 1989 until the detection by NASA's Swift Gamma-ray Burst Explorer on June 15, just before 2:32 p.m. EDT. About 10 minutes after the detection by Swift, the Japanese " MAXI" experiment (Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image) on the International Space Station also picked up the flare.
Lord of the Rings: Astronomers Pinpoint the Location of a Mysterious Neutron Star with Superlative Rings of X-ray Light
23 June 2015The largest and brightest set of cosmic rings resulting from echoes of X-ray light has been discovered by a science team that includes a Penn State astronomer. The team used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to discover the beautiful and extraordinary rings, which were produced by an intense burst of energy from a neutron star. Rings of this type give astronomers a rare chance to determine the distance from Earth to an object in our Milky Way Galaxy.
Cavener named new dean of the Eberly College of Science
19 June 2015Penn State announced today (June 19) that Douglas R. Cavener will become the new dean of the Eberly College of Science, pending approval by the University Board of Trustees at its July 17 meeting.
A First: Exoplanet smaller than Earth gets its size and mass measured
16 June 2015A team of astronomers has measured the mass and size of a Mars-sized planet orbiting a red dwarf star about 200 light years from our solar system. The planet, named Kepler-138b, is the first exoplanet smaller than the Earth to have both its mass and its size measured. A paper by the team, which includes astronomers at Penn State University, NASA Ames Research Center, the SETI Institute, and the University of Chicago, will be published in the journal Nature on 18 June 2015.
Disabling infection-fighting immune response speeds up wound healing in diabetes
15 June 2015One of the body's tools for fighting off infection in a wound may actually slow down the healing process, according to new research by a team of Harvard University, Boston Children's Hospital, and Penn State University scientists. In a study published online in Nature Medicine on June 15, 2015, the researchers show that they can speed up wound healing in diabetic mice by preventing immune cells called neutrophils from producing structures called NETs (neutrophil extracellular traps) that trap and kill bacteria.
Unlocking the biofuel energy stored in plant cell walls: Plants may no longer be an untapped energy source
09 June 2015By virtue of their chloroplasts, plants are superb harvesters of solar energy. They use it to build leaves, flowers, fruits, stems, and roots. We harvest a small percentage of that energy in the form of food and a smaller amount in the form of wood for heating.
Invasive microbe protects corals from global warming, but at a cost
02 June 2015An invasive species of symbiotic micro-alga has spread across the Caribbean Sea, according to an international team of researchers. These single-cell algae, which live within the cells of coral animals, are improving the resilience of coral communities to heat stress caused by global warming, but also are diminishing the abilities of corals to build reefs.
MINERVA Telescope Array Dedicated in Ceremony on Mount Hopkins
28 May 2015The MINERVA telescope array in Arizona was dedicated in an official ceremony at the facility on Mount Hopkins on May 18, 2015.
Booker named an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute
22 May 2015Squire J. Booker, professor of chemistry and of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State University, has been named an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), a science philanthropy whose mission is to advance biomedical research and science education for the benefit of humanity. As one of 26 new HHMI investigators chosen from 894 applicants, Booker joins a group of scientists, including 17 Nobel laureates, widely recognized for their creativity and research accomplishment. The HHMI chooses investigators based on a "people, not projects" philosophy allowing its investigators the freedom to explore creative approaches to difficult biomedical problems. Booker will receive flexible support designed to enable him to move his research forward in creative new directions.
Andrew Read elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society
21 May 2015Andrew F. Read, Evan Pugh Professor of Biology and Entomology and Eberly Professor in Biotechnology at Penn State, has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, the leading academy of sciences of the United Kingdom. The Royal Society is a self-governing fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists. The stated purpose of the society is to recognize, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity. Each year, the Fellows of the Royal Society elect up to 52 new fellows and up to ten new foreign members who have made substantial contributions to the improvement of knowledge in science, engineering, or medicine.
Rao Prize Conference on May 14, 2015 features statistics prize winners
12 May 2015The Penn State Department of Statistics will host the 2015 Rao Prize Conference on Thursday, May 14, 2015 on the Penn State University Park campus in 102 Thomas Building. This one-day conference, which is free and open to the public, begins with registration at 8:00 a.m. and continues until 5:20 p.m. The full schedule of events is online at http://stat.psu.edu/Events/2015-Rao-Prize .
Schreyer Scholar credited with co-discovery of new pulsar: Never-before-seen star found during NSF-funded educational outreach program
11 May 2015A team of highly determined high school students, which included current Penn State University sophomore and Schreyer Honors College Scholar Cecilia McGough, has discovered a never-before-seen pulsar by painstakingly analyzing data from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT). Further observations by astronomers using the GBT have revealed that this pulsar has the widest orbit of any around a neutron star and is part of only a handful of double neutron star systems.
Augustin Banyaga Named Distinguished Senior Scholar
11 May 2015Augustin Banyaga, professor of mathematics at Penn State University, has been named a Distinguished Senior Scholar. The title is given by Penn State's Eberly College of Science in recognition of a sustained record of extraordinary achievement in research and education. Holders of this position have had a profound effect on their fields through creative innovation and internationally acclaimed scientific leadership, as well as exceptional accomplishments in teaching and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students.
Charles Fisher Named Distinguished Senior Scholar
11 May 2015Charles Fisher, professor of biology and associate dean for graduate education in the Eberly College of Science at Penn State University, has been named a Distinguished Senior Scholar. The title is given by Penn State's Eberly College of Science in recognition of a sustained record of extraordinary achievement in research and education. Holders of this position have had a profound effect on their fields through creative innovation and internationally acclaimed scientific leadership, as well as exceptional accomplishments in teaching and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students.
Physics major Jacob Wisser awarded a Goldwater Scholarship
07 May 2015Penn State University science student Jacob Wisser is the recipient of a Goldwater Scholarship from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. The scholarship is the premier award of its type in the fields of mathematics, science, and engineering. Wisser is a physics major and mathematics minor in Penn State's Eberly College of Science Integrated Undergraduate Graduate Program, in which he will complete both B.S. and M.S. degrees in physics in four years. Wisser also is a scholar in Penn State's Schreyer Honors College.
Mallouk elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences
06 May 2015Thomas Mallouk, Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry, Physics, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State University, has been elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Election to membership in the academy is one of the highest honors accorded to U.S. scientists or engineers by their peers.
New technique shows shale-drilling additives in drinking-water taps near leak
05 May 2015Substances commonly used for drilling or extracting Marcellus shale gas foamed from the drinking water taps of three Pennsylvania homes near a reported well-pad leak, according to new analysis from a team of scientists.

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