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A multi-page list of all research press releases since 1997

Solved: Mysteries of a Nearby Planetary System's Dynamics
Solved: Mysteries of a Nearby Planetary System's Dynamics 22 April 2014Mysteries of one of the most fascinating nearby planetary systems now have been solved, report authors of a scientific paper to be published by the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society in its early online edition on 22 April 2014. The study, which presents the first viable model for the planetary system orbiting one the first stars discovered to have planets - the star named 55 Cancri - was led by Penn State University graduate student Benjamin Nelson in collaboration with faculty at the Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds at Penn State and five astronomers at other institutions in the United States and Germany.
First Earth-Size Planet Is Discovered in Another Star's "Habitable Zone"
First Earth-Size Planet Is Discovered in Another Star's "Habitable Zone" 17 April 2014A team of astronomers that includes Penn State scientists has discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the "habitable zone" -- the distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. The discovery was made with NASA's Kepler Space Telescope. The discovery of this Earth-size planet, now named Kepler-186f, confirms -- for the first time -- that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our Sun.
The Most Precise Measurement Yet of the Expanding Universe Is Achieved by Astronomers of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey
The Most Precise Measurement Yet of the Expanding Universe Is Achieved by Astronomers of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey 07 April 2014Astronomers at Penn State University and other institutions participating in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey have used 140,000 distant quasars to measure the expansion rate of the universe when it was only one-quarter of its present age. This measurement is the best yet of the expansion rate at any epoch in the last 13 billion years during the history of the universe. Measuring the expansion rate of the universe over its entire history is key to determining the nature of the dark energy that is responsible for causing this expansion rate to increase during the most recent six billion years.
WISE Satellite Finds No Evidence for Planet X in Survey of the Sky
WISE Satellite Finds No Evidence for Planet X in Survey of the Sky 07 March 2014After searching hundreds of millions of objects across the sky, NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has turned up no evidence of the hypothesized celestial body in our solar system commonly called "Planet X," according to published scientific papers including a new study in The Astrophysical Journal authored by Kevin Luhman of the Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds at Penn State University.
Water is Detected in a Planet Outside Our Solar System
Water is Detected in a Planet Outside Our Solar System 24 February 2014Water has been detected in the atmosphere of a planet outside our solar system with a new technique that could help researchers to learn how many planets with water, like Earth, exist throughout the universe. The team of scientists that made the discovery includes astronomers at Penn State University and other institutions. The astronomers detected the water in the atmosphere of a planet as massive as Jupiter that is orbiting the nearby star Tau Boötis. The discovery is described in a scientific paper published in the 24 February 2014 online version of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
A Key Regulatory Protein Is Discovered To Be Essential for Malaria Parasite Transmission to Mosquitos
A Key Regulatory Protein Is Discovered To Be Essential for Malaria Parasite Transmission to Mosquitos 23 February 2014Two teams have independently discovered that a single regulatory protein acts as the master genetic switch that triggers the development of male and female sexual forms (termed gametocytes) of the malaria parasite, solving a long-standing mystery in parasite biology with important implications for human health. The protein, AP2-G, is necessary for activating a set of genes that initiate the development of gametocytes -- the only forms that are infectious to mosquitos. The research also gives important clues for identifying the underlying mechanisms that control this developmental fate, determining whether or not a malaria parasite will be able to transmit the disease.
Asteroid Named for Two Penn State Students
Asteroid Named for Two Penn State Students 14 February 2014An asteroid that orbits the Sun every 4.83 years has been named for two students at Penn State's University Park Campus. The asteroid, first detected on 5 October 2002 in an observation by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, has been designated TimRaySchneider. To receive an official name, an asteroid must be observed for a number of orbits so its future positions can be predicted accurately.
Nanomotors Are Controlled, for the First Time, Inside Living Cells
Nanomotors Are Controlled, for the First Time, Inside Living Cells 10 February 2014For the first time, a team of chemists and engineers at Penn State University have placed tiny synthetic motors inside live human cells, propelled them with ultrasonic waves and steered them magnetically. It's not exactly "Fantastic Voyage," but it's close. The nanomotors, which are rocket-shaped metal particles, move around inside the cells, spinning and battering against the cell membrane.
Critical Protein Discovered for Healthy Cell Growth in Mammals
Critical Protein Discovered for Healthy Cell Growth in Mammals 27 January 2014A team of researchers from Penn State University and the University of California has discovered a protein that is required for the growth of tiny, but critical, hair-like structures called cilia on cell surfaces. The discovery has important implications for human health because lack of cilia can lead to serious diseases such as polycystic kidney disease, blindness and neurological disorders.
A New, "Exceptionally Close" Exploding Star
A New, "Exceptionally Close" Exploding Star 24 January 2014An exceptionally close exploding star, discovered on 21 January is the focus of observatories on Earth and in orbit, including the Swift satellite and several other NASA spacecraft. The science and flight operations of the Swift observatory are controlled by Penn State from the Mission Operations Center on the University Park campus. The Swift observatory was the first to take a look at this supernova.
A New Pathway for Neuron Repair is Discovered
A New Pathway for Neuron Repair is Discovered 09 January 2014Penn State University molecular biologists have discovered a brand-new pathway for repairing nerve cells that could have implications for faster and improved healing. The researchers describe their findings in a paper titled "Dendrite injury triggers DLK-independent regeneration," which will be published in the 30 January 2014 issue of the journal Cell Reports. These findings demonstrate that dendrites, the component of nerve cells that receive information from the brain, have the capacity to regrow after an injury.
Size of the Universe Now Measured to Within One Percent
Size of the Universe Now Measured to Within One Percent 08 January 2014The distance to a set of 1.2 million galaxies that are more than six billion light years away from Earth has been measured to an accuracy of one percent, scientists will announce during a press conference on Wednesday, 8 January 2014. The measurements place new constraints on the properties of the "dark energy" that is thought to permeate empty space and to cause the universe's expansion to accelerate over time, report the research team from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), which includes astronomers at Penn State University.
X-Ray Factory Revealed in the Center of Our Galaxy
X-Ray Factory Revealed in the Center of Our Galaxy 08 January 2014A seven-year campaign to monitor the center of our galaxy with NASA's Swift spacecraft has more than doubled the number of bright X-ray flares observed from our galaxy's central black hole and has led to the discovery of a rare type of neutron star called a "magnetar." Jamie Kennea, a Penn State astronomer, will present the findings during a press conference on 8 January 2014 at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society. The science and flight operations of the Swift observatory are controlled by Penn State from the Mission Operations Center on the University Park campus.
The Origin of Flowers: DNA Study Provides Insight into the Evolution of Food Crops and Other Flowering Plants
The Origin of Flowers: DNA Study Provides Insight into the Evolution of Food Crops and Other Flowering Plants 19 December 2013New light has been shed on a major event in the history of life on Earth -- the origin of all major food crops and all other flowering plants -- by the publication of the newly sequenced genome of the Amborella plant. The research addresses the question of why flowers suddenly proliferated on Earth millions of years ago. A paper by the Amborella Genome Sequencing Project, which includes Penn State scientists and Penn State students, will be published by the journal Science in the 20 December 2013 issue.
Brain Repair after Injury and Alzheimer's Disease: In vivo reprogramming of reactive glial cells into functional neurons
Brain Repair after Injury and Alzheimer's Disease: In vivo reprogramming of reactive glial cells into functional neurons 19 December 2013Researchers at Penn State University have developed an innovative technology to regenerate functional neurons after brain injury, and also in model systems used for research on Alzheimer's disease. The scientists have used supporting cells of the central nervous system, glial cells, to regenerate healthy, functional neurons, which are critical for transmitting signals in the brain.
DNA of Storied Plant Provides Insight into the Evolution of Flowering Plants, Study Finds
DNA of Storied Plant Provides Insight into the Evolution of Flowering Plants, Study Finds 19 December 2013The newly sequenced genome of the Amborella plant addresses Darwin's "abominable mystery" -- the question of why flowers suddenly proliferated on Earth millions of years ago. The genome sequence sheds new light on a major event in the history of life on Earth: the origin of flowering plants, including all major food crop species.
Marine Biologists Unmask Species Diversity in Coral Reefs
Marine Biologists Unmask Species Diversity in Coral Reefs 12 December 2013Rising water temperatures due to climate change are putting coral reefs in jeopardy, but a surprising discovery by a team of marine biologists suggests that very similar looking coral species differ in how they survive in harsh environments. "We've found that previously unrecognized species diversity was hiding some corals' ability to respond to climate change," says Iliana Baums, associate professor of biology at Penn State University.
A Blast from Its Past Dates the Youngest Neutron-Star Binary
A Blast from Its Past Dates the Youngest Neutron-Star Binary 04 December 2013X-rays streaming toward Earth from the region near a neutron star that is cannibalizing its companion star have revealed the pair to be the youngest "X-ray binary" yet known.
Ultra-Bright Gamma-Ray Burst Shakes Up Theories of Light Production in the Most Powerful Explosions
Ultra-Bright Gamma-Ray Burst Shakes Up Theories of Light Production  in the Most Powerful Explosions 25 November 2013One of the brightest gamma-ray explosions ever seen is the focus of five papers being published this week in the journals Science Express and Astrophysical Journal Letters by research teams that include Penn State Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics David Burrows. Discovered on 27 April 2013, this gamma-ray burst, named GRB 130427A, has been the subject of intense study with advanced space observatories including NASA's Swift X-ray Telescope, for which science and flight operations are controlled by Penn State from the Mission Operations Center at the University Park campus.
New Tool Developed for Profiling Critical Regulatory Structures of RNA Molecules
New Tool Developed for Profiling Critical Regulatory Structures of  RNA Molecules 24 November 2013A molecular technique that will help the scientific community to analyze -- on a scale previously impossible -- molecules that play a critical role in regulating gene expression has been developed by a research team led by a chemist and a plant biologist at Penn State University. The scientists developed a method that enables more-accurate prediction of how ribonucleic acid molecules (RNAs) fold within living cells, thus shedding new light on how plants -- as well as other living organisms -- respond to environmental conditions.

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