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Beth Shapiro Awarded Packard Fellowship
15 October 2010Beth Shapiro, the Shaffer Career Development Assistant Professor of Biology at Penn State University, has won a David and Lucile Packard Foundation fellowship to explore the origins and evolution of viruses.
Jacob Howell, Astronomy Major, Explores Mysterious Exploding Stars
13 October 2010Tonight, somewhere nearby in the universe, a star will explode. Sometimes that explosion is catastrophic, as when a massive star explodes in a supernova. Other times the explosion is just a minor detonation -- called a nova -- on a star's surface. And every now and then, the nature of the explosion is mysterious. In April 2010, undergraduate researcher Jacob Howell and his advisor Professor Derek Fox from Penn State's Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics were on the team that caught one such mysterious explosion in the act.
Gordon Garmire, Evan Pugh Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Retires
08 October 2010Gordon P. Garmire, Evan Pugh Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and Astrophysics, has retired after 30 years of service to Penn State. He is the co-discoverer of high-energy gamma rays and is responsible for developing many of the data-analysis algorithms used today in high-energy astrophysics. He also is credited with the discovery of the first nonpulsating neutron star in a supernova remnant and the construction of the first X-ray telescope to use diamond-turned mirrors — high-quality, nested X-ray mirrors with precise shapes.
Matasic Named 2010 Co-op Student of the Year
06 October 2010The Science Career and International Education office in the Eberly College of Science is proud to announce that Daniel Matasic of West Chester, Pennsylvania, has been selected as the recipient of the 2010 Co-op Student of the Year Award. The award recognizes students’ academic achievements and contributions to their employers, the University, the community, and the field of cooperative education.
One-on-one with a World Traveler
29 September 2010Studying abroad, conducting research in other parts of the world, and working to complete two majors are just a few opportunities that fifth-year senior, Brandon Kilduff, took advantage of during his time at Penn State. The Chemistry and French major took time to apply what he’s learned in the classroom in other parts of the world. Here’s a glimpse into the international experiences that helped shape his future.
Penn State Astronomy Places High in National Rankings
28 September 2010Penn State Astronomy and Astrophysics is one of the most productive astronomy departments in the United States, according to a multi-year study released today by the National Research Council.
Penn State Biology Places High in National Rankings
28 September 2010The Penn State Department of Biology is among the most productive biological science departments in the United States, according to a multi-year study released today by the National Research Council.
Schaak Receives Inaugural Scialog Award
27 September 2010Raymond Schaak, an associate professor of chemistry at Penn State, has received one of the eleven inaugural Scialog Awards sponsored by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. The multi-year program is designed to accelerate the work of 21st-century science by funding scientists to pursue transformative research early during their careers, in dialog with their fellow grantees, and on crucial issues of scientific inquiry. Schaak's project, "New Chemical Routes for Discovering and Improving Visible-Light Photocatalysts," is part of Scialog's initiative that encourages research on solar energy. This initiative is driven by the economic and national-security implications associated with a reliable, domestic, and renewable energy supply.
Probing Question - What is a Near Earth?
22 September 2010In the 1997 movie Contact (based on the novel by Carl Sagan) actress Jodie Foster plays an astrophysicist devoted to SETI—the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. Despite doubting colleagues, she vigilantly monitors signals from radio telescopes aimed at thousands of nearby sun-like stars, hoping to receive a message from alien life forms. While the large dish telescope in the movie is real (the movie was filmed on location at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico), the contact isn’t. So far, the skies remain silent. Are we alone in the universe? The more basic question may be whether a planet like ours exists, says Jason Wright, assistant professor of astronomy at Penn State.
First Responder: The Swift Satellite
21 September 2010After five remarkable years of discovery, the Swift satellite has rewritten the book on the tremendous deep-space explosions known as gamma-ray bursts.
Barbara Garrison Selected as a 2010 American Chemical Society Fellow
21 September 2010Barbara Garrison, the Shapiro Professor of Chemistry and the head of the Department of Chemistry at Penn State, has been selected as a 2010 American Chemical Society (ACS) Fellow. ACS Fellows are distinguished scientists who have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in chemistry and have made important contributions to the ACS. Earlier this year, the ACS honored Garrison by dedicating the April 2010 edition of the Journal of Physical Chemistry C to the celebration of her scientific career. The 2010 ACS Fellows were recognized on 23 August 2010 during the Society's national meeting in Boston.
There's an App for That Too: New App for Genes on Earth is Tool for Scientists and Entertaining for All
20 September 2010The scientists who put an innovative tree of life online last year now have made that same resource available -- free -- for smartphones. The new "TimeTree" application lets anyone with an Apple iPhone harness a vast Internet storehouse of data about the diversity of life, from bacteria to humans. The intuitive interface is designed to answer a simple question, quickly and authoritatively: how long ago did species A and species B share a common ancestor?
Analysis of the Chocolate Genome Could Lead to Improved Crops and Products
17 September 2010The sequencing and analysis of the genome for the Criollo variety of the cacao tree, generally considered to produce the world's finest chocolate, was completed by an international team led by Claire Lanaud of CIRAD in France, with Mark Guiltinan of Penn State University, along with scientists from 18 other institutions. "The large amount of information generated by this project dramatically changes the status of this tropical plant and its potential interest for the scientific community," said Guiltinan, professor of plant molecular biology.
Alumni Spotlight - Angelo Fields
15 September 2010College students are notorious for being unsure with decision making, with boyfriends and girlfriends, and with majors. Taking a general route to explore options isn’t such a bad idea, especially when it means stepping outside comfort zones to study abroad or participate in a co-op. Proud alum Angelo Fields still bleeds blue and white, and he has one of the coolest job ever. Fields graduated in December 2004 as a general Science major. While he was a Penn State student, he participated in a Johnson & Johnson co-op that taught him exactly what he wanted- or rather didn’t want to do- for the rest of his life.
Penn State Partners with Peking University
08 September 2010Want to study abroad and see another culture? Math and biology students can do that in the summer through a partnership with Peking University (PKU), one of China’s top-ranked universities. Penn State students work in small groups with PKU students either at University Park or in Beijing. For the past two years, math students have visited PKU. This year, twelve PKU students studied at University Park. “I applied because I was interested in learning about differential equations and the numeric method,” said Yuqiang Wang, a PKU student at Penn State this summer. I thought, ‘If I participate, then maybe I can understand it better.’ The experience was wonderful.”
Peter Hudson Elected a Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
08 September 2010Peter J. Hudson has been elected a Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland's national academy of science and letters. Hudson is the Willaman Chair in Biology, the founding director of the Penn State Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, an affiliate of the Penn State Institutes of the Environment, and the Director of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences at Penn State. In 2008, he was elected a Fellow of the The Royal Society, the United Kingdom's National Academy of Science.
Winners of Plant-Biology Video Contest Announced by ChloroFilms Project at Penn State University
07 September 2010Winners of an international competition organized at Penn State University for new plant-biology videos on YouTube are being announced today. The winners, whose awards include a share of over $5,000 in cash prizes, are the second group of awardees in a series of competitions organized by the nonprofit collaborative project ChloroFilms, which was started by Daniel Cosgrove, the Eberly Chair of Biology at Penn State. ChloroFilms has awarded $13,600 in prizes since the competitions began in 2009. "ChloroFilms promotes the creation of fresh, attention-getting, and informative videos about plant life," Cosgrove said. The winning videos, as well as all the contest entries, are on the ChloroFilms web site at http://www.chlorofilms.org/
Ayusman Sen Awarded the Medal of the Chemical Research Society of India
03 September 2010Ayusman Sen, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Penn State University, has been honored with the Chemical Research Society of India (CRSI) Medal. Sen is only the second recipient of the medal, which is awarded exclusively to outstanding chemists of Indian origin who work outside of India.
Elizabeth Essinger-Hileman selected by Dept. of Energy as Science Graduate Fellows
31 August 2010University Park, Pa. – The United States Department of Energy's Office of Science Graduate Fellowship Program has selected 150 students throughout the U.S. to receive graduate fellowship awards in an effort to strengthen the nation’s scientific work force. Deemed part of the nation’s “next generation of scientific and technical leaders” by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, two of these fellows are Elizabeth Essinger-Hileman of Masontown, Pa., and Kara Sulia of Cookstown, N.J. Both are currently graduate students conducting research at Penn State.
Evolution of a Scientist: An interview with Beth Shapiro
31 August 2010If there is a sweet spot at the intersection of talent, hard work, drive and luck, Beth Shapiro has found it. At thirty-four years old, Shapiro—an evolutionary molecular biologist who came to Penn State in 2007 as the Shaffer Career Development assistant professor in biology—has already received more awards and honors than many scientists do in a lifetime.

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