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Penn State Forensic Scientists to Study Reliability of Fingerprint Identification Techniques
01 November 2010While most of America’s knowledge of forensic science doesn’t extend much further than the CSI coming from their TV screens, those involved in science know there’s much more to it than that. Forensic science is a major “to die for,” and it is really an area of science in which constant research is being conducted and new discoveries are being made. CSI is actually right on point in their attempt to test fingerprints, but there is never mention of questioning of the tests. Since fingerprint comparison is one of the cornerstones of forensic crime investigation, and is recognized as an efficient means of personal identification, it is critical that the forensic examination of fingerprint retains public confidence.
Flowering Plants Have Evolved Multiple Genes to Prevent Inbreeding
28 October 2010A research team led by Teh-hui Kao, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State University, in collaboration with a team led by Professor Seiji Takayama at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology in Japan, has discovered a large suite of genes in the petunia plant that acts to prevent it from breeding with itself or with its close relatives, and to promote breeding with unrelated individuals.
The Perks of Being Well-­Rounded: Alumna has one up on grad school
28 October 2010There’s always a question lingering in the back of every college student’s mind. While we would like to enjoy the four years we have to spend here, there’s always the burning question: “What am I going to do after graduation?” The hard part is, for most, there is no concrete answer. But the good news is there are plenty of options at Penn State that will help you to decide. Being proactive both now and when she was an Eberly College of Science student has always been the driving force of Emily Kuiper’s success. Kuiper is a 2010 graduate who has since moved to graduate school at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
Penn State to Lead $7.3-Million Project to Reveal Genes of the Most Ancient Living Lineage of Flowering Plants
28 October 2010Unlocking the genetic secrets of Earth's most ancient living lineage of flowering plants -- the original source of genes for all economically important flowering crops -- is the goal of a new $7.3-million research project led by Claude W. dePamphilis, professor of biology at Penn State University. The 4-year Amborella Genome Project, funded by the National Science Foundation, involves scientists at five universities who will share the complex task of discovering the genetic structure of a rare plant species named Amborella, which has been found only on the island of New Caledonia in the southwest Pacific Ocean.
Japanese and U.S. Space Telescopes Reveal Previously Unknown Brilliant X-Ray Explosion in Our Milky Way Galaxy
22 October 2010Astronomers in Japan, using an X-ray detector on the International Space Station, and at Penn State University, using NASA's Swift space observatory, are announcing the discovery of an object newly emitting X-rays, which previously had been hidden inside our Milky Way galaxy in the constellation Centaurus.
$8-Million National Science Foundation Grant for International Dark-Energy Project Includes Penn State Scientists
20 October 2010An international program to unveil the nature of Dark Energy, the mysterious force that is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate, has been awarded a grant of $8 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The survey, the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Project (HETDEX), is led by the University of Texas at Austin and includes Penn State University, Texas A&M University, and three institutions in Germany.
Stephen Benkovic to Receive National Medal of Science
15 October 2010Stephen J. Benkovic, an Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry and Holder of the Eberly Family Chair in Chemistry at Penn State, is one of ten eminent researchers named today by President Obama to receive the 2009 National Medal of Science, the nation's highest award for lifetime achievement in scientific research. The honorees will receive medals at a White House ceremony later this year.
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.

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