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New Hypothesis for Human Evolution and Human Nature
20 July 2010It's no secret to any dog-lover or cat-lover that humans have a special connection with animals. But in a new journal article and forthcoming book, paleoanthropologist Pat Shipman of Penn State University argues that this human-animal connection goes well beyond simple affection. Shipman proposes that the interdependency of ancestral humans with other animal species — "the animal connection" — played a crucial and beneficial role in human evolution over the last 2.6 million years.
Record-Breaking X-ray Blast Briefly Blinds Space Observatory
14 July 2010A blast of the brightest X-rays ever detected from beyond our Milky Way galaxy's neighborhood temporarily blinded the X-ray eye on NASA's Swift space observatory earlier this summer, astronomers now report. The X-rays traveled through space for 5-billion years before slamming into and overwhelming Swift's X-ray Telescope on 21 June.
Einstein Fellow Houtz Joins Summit to Improve Education
13 July 2010Barbara Houtz, Director of Outreach at Penn State's Eberly College of Science and an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow recently joined more than 80 current and former Fellows for a 20th Anniversary Summit, sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Houtz is one of only two Einstein Fellows from Pennsylvania.
Newborn Stars Discovered in Dark Cosmic Cloud
07 July 2010A wave of massive star formation appears poised to begin within a mysterious, dark cloud in the Milky Way. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed a secluded birthplace for stars within a wispy, dark cloud named named M17 SWex. The dark cloud is part of the larger, parent nebula known as M17, a vast region of our galaxy with a bright, central star cluster. "We believe we've managed to observe this dark cloud in a very early phase of star formation before its most massive stars have ignited," said Penn State astronomer Matthew Povich, a postdoctoral fellow and the lead author of a study published recently in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. The new research could shed light on the question of how and when massive stars form.
Depressed Mice Could Aid Research on Drug-Resistant Depression in Humans
29 June 201029 June 2010 -- New research shows that a unique strain of laboratory mice characterized at Penn State University has behavioral, hormonal, and neurochemical characteristics that are similar to those of human patients with drug-resistant forms of depression. The mice -- which have a defect in a gene -- are expected to be useful as a new model organism in the effort to develop more effective medications for specific forms of depression. The research, led by Bernhard Luscher, a professor of biology at Penn State, will be published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.
Discovery of How Coral Reefs Adapt to Global Warming Could Aid Reef Restoration
23 June 2010Discoveries about tropical coral reefs are expected to be invaluable in efforts to restore the corals, which are succumbing to bleaching and other diseases at an unprecedented rate as ocean temperatures rise worldwide. The research gives new insights into how the scientists can help to preserve or restore the coral reefs that protect coastlines, foster tourism, and nurture many species of fish. The research, which will be published in the journal PLoS One, was accomplished by an international team whose leaders include Iliana Baums, an assistant professor of biology at Penn State University.
Peter Mészáros Elected a Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
21 June 2010Peter Mészáros, Holder of the Eberly Family Chair in Astronomy and Astrophysics and professor of physics at Penn State, has been elected a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Video: Researcher Studies Warming Oceans' Effects on Coral Reef Life
15 June 2010Iliana Baums, an assistant professor of biology at Penn State, dons scuba gear for work. She studies coral reef ecosystems, the "forests of the oceans," diverse habitats that are vital to many species of ocean life. Warming ocean temperatures disrupt that ecosystem and cause episodes of coral bleaching, which, over time, can kill coral and the life supported by it. Watch the video as Baums explains her research conducted under the sea.
Xu Appointed as Francis R. and Helen M. Pentz Professor of Science
10 June 2010Jinchao Xu, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at Penn State, has been honored by the University's Eberly College of Science by being appointed the Francis R. and Helen M. Pentz Professor of Science. The Pentz professorship was established in 1989 to provide outstanding faculty members with the resources necessary to further their teaching, research, and public service.
Peter Mészáros Elected as a 2010 American Academy Fellow
07 June 2010Peter Meszaros, Holder of the Eberly Family Chair of Astronomy and Astrophysics and professor of physics, is among those elected as Fellows of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences for 2010. He is one of the 229 new Fellows and 19 Foreign Honorary Members in the sciences, the humanities and the arts, business, public affairs, and the nonprofit sector to be honored.
Survey Reveals Many Thousands of Supermassive Black Holes
07 June 2010An international team of scientists, led by Penn State Distinguished Professor Donald Schneider, has announced its completion of a massive census in which they identified the quasars in one quarter of the sky. The team's work is part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), a nearly decade-long discovery-and-research effort using a 2.5-meter telescope located at Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico. The completed catalog of quasars, which will be published in the June 2010 issue of the Astronomical Journal, includes 105,783 quasars, over 96 percent of which were discovered by the SDSS.
Spring 2010 Graduation Photo Slideshow
26 May 2010Spring 2010 graduation marked the 364th commencement exercise in Penn State’s history. University-wide, 12,413 students graduated – 582 with associate degrees; 10,106 with baccalaureate degrees; 1,167 with graduate degrees; 148 with medical degrees; and 195 with law degrees. Since its founding, Penn State has awarded more than 666,000 degrees. 519 Penn State Science students received their degrees, with Daniel Kluskiewicz, of Kintnersville, Pennsylvania, leading the way as the Eberly College of Science student marshal. Congratulations graduates! Click on the photo to the right to view the commencement photo slideshow.
Stellar Shrapnel Seen in Aftermath of Explosion: Chandra image released by team including Penn State astronomer
26 May 2010This beautiful composite image shows N49, the aftermath of a supernova explosion in the Large Magellanic Cloud. A new long observation from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, shown in blue, reveals evidence for a bullet-shaped object being blown out of a debris field left over from an exploded star. In order to detect this bullet, a team of researchers led by Sangwook Park of Penn State University used Chandra to observe N49 for over 30 hours. This bullet can be seen in the bottom right hand corner of the image (roll your mouse over the image above) and is rich in silicon, sulphur and neon. The detection of this bullet shows that the explosion that destroyed the star was highly asymmetric.
Penn State Awarded $1-million Science Education Grant by Howard Hughes Medical Institute
20 May 2010The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) today announced that Penn State University is among 50 research-focused universities selected to receive new grants totaling $79 million intended to help strengthen undergraduate and precollege science education nationwide. The resources will let faculty at research universities pursue some of their most creative ideas by developing new ways to teach and inspire students about science and research. Penn State has received a $1-million grant, which we will use to develop a new program called "Go Teach: Penn State," in which students can earn a dual Bachelor of Science degree in biology, a Masters of Education degree in curriculum and instruction, and credentials to teach science at the high-school level in Pennsylvania after completing an intensive 5-year curriculum," said Richard Cyr, professor of biology and the assistant head for undergraduate affairs in the Department of Biology.
Study Abroad Opportunity in South Africa a Life-Changing Experience
19 May 2010A senior biology major’s interest in non-profit work led her to a unique and uncommon study abroad destination: South Africa. Jennifer Spann, a May 2010 biology graduate from Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, said she wanted to study in a place that was new and completely different, which is part of what led her to choose the University of Cape Town in South Africa for her study abroad experience. She didn’t know anyone who had ever traveled to South Africa, but for her “It was a way of saying, this is my thing. It’s new and different.’”
National Geographic Selects Penn State's Beth Shapiro as a 2010 Emerging Explorer
18 May 2010Molecular biologist Beth Shapiro, the Shaffer Career Development Assistant Professor of Biology at Penn State, has been selected as an Emerging Explorer by the National Geographic Society. She is among fourteen visionary, young trailblazers from around the world named to the 2010 class of National Geographic Emerging Explorers. The new Emerging Explorers will be featured in the June 2010 issue of National Geographic magazine. A Web feature at <http://www.nationalgeographic.com/emerging> includes comprehensive profiles of the explorers.
Kluskiewicz to Represent Penn State's Eberly College of Science as Student Marshal at Spring Commencement 2010
14 May 2010Daniel Kluskiewicz, of Kintnersville, Pennsylvania, will be honored as the Eberly College of Science student marshal during Penn State's spring commencement ceremonies on May 15, 2010, at the University Park campus. Kluskiewicz has selected Andrew Nyblade, a Penn State professor of geosciences, to be his faculty escort for the commencement exercises.
Externships Beneficial for Both Students and Alums
06 May 2010As incoming freshman leaves home for the first time, they arrive at Penn State faced with decisions. For science students, their easiest decision of all may be finding a career path because of a helpful externship! The Eberly College of Science offers dozens of externships to choose from that last about one-to-four days in May when students return home. Externships are for students to job shadow science professionals in their workplace. Almost all externship hosts are Penn State science alumni, giving a common background for the extern and host. For one science alumni host, being able to share his career with younger students is extremely fulfilling. Matthew Goss is a 2004 graduate with a physics degree and mathematics minor. He is now a radiation oncology physicist at RadAmerica in Baltimore. His field of medical physics is fairly new and uncommon, so he enjoys sharing it with science students. “I want to make sure they get a lot of out if,” Matt said. “I like to show them how physics relates to medicine.”
New Research About Human Development and Human Genetic Diseases
28 April 2010Jumping elements, some of which cause genetic diseases, become incorporated in the genome at different stages of human development.
Study Abroad Student Aims to Excel as Physics Teacher
27 April 2010He may have had the time of his life while studying abroad, but this student never lost sight of his lifelong dream of teaching high school physics. Andrew Palmer, a senior from West Chester, Pennsylvania, is currently pursuing his degree in physics with a teaching option and a minor in mathematics. Aside from fulfilling his goal of becoming a teacher, Andy came to Penn State determined to study abroad and was accepted to the National University of Ireland in Galway for the 2009 spring semester.

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