Home > News and Events > Research News > Research press releases by year > 2015 Research Press Releases

2015 Research Press Releases

Main Content

Mysterious radio signals from space test Einstein's General Relativity theory
Mysterious radio signals from space test Einstein's General Relativity theory 23 December 2015A new way to test one of the basic principles underlying Einstein's theory of General Relativity using brief blasts of rare radio signals from space called Fast Radio Bursts is 10 times to 100 times better than previous testing methods that used gamma-ray bursts, according to a paper just published in the journal Physical Review Letters. The paper received additional highlighting as an "Editor's Suggestion" due to "its particular importance, innovation, and broad appeal," according to the journal's editors.
Simple mechanism for assembly and disassembly of structures in cells identified
Simple mechanism for assembly and disassembly of structures in cells identified 21 December 2015For the first time, scientists have demonstrated a simple charge-based mechanism for regulating the formation and dissolution of liquid-like structures inside cells. The research provides a first step in deciphering how these poorly-understood structures, which lack outer membranes, function in the cell -- and how they may have evolved. A paper describing the research by Penn State University scientists will appear on December 21, 2015, as an advance online publication of the journal, Nature Chemistry.
New $4.4 million research project targets obesity in Pennsylvania
07 December 2015A deeper understanding of the causes of obesity, and improved treatments for obesity and many of its related health problems, are among the goals of a new $4.4 million, 4-year research grant awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health to a team of scientists from Geisinger Health System, Penn State University, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Smartphones enlisted in the battle versus crop disease
Smartphones enlisted in the battle versus crop disease 24 November 2015Crop diseases, a major cause of famine, have always been diagnosed by visual inspection, though scientists today also use microscopes and DNA sequencing. But the first line of defense is still the keen eyes of farmers around the world, many of whom do not have access to advanced diagnostics and treatment advice.
Loss of mastodons aided domestication of pumpkins, squash
Loss of mastodons aided domestication of pumpkins, squash 23 November 2015If Pleistocene megafauna -- mastodons, mammoths, giant sloths and others -- had not become extinct, humans might not be eating pumpkin pie and squash for the holidays, according to an international team of anthropologists.
Space observatory controlled by Penn State captures its 1,000th gamma-ray burst
Space observatory controlled by Penn State captures its 1,000th gamma-ray burst 11 November 2015One thousand of the most powerful explosions in the universe -- gamma-ray bursts -- now have been detected by NASA's Swift Gamma-ray-Burst Explorer satellite, report scientists at Penn State's Mission Operations Center, which controls the science and flight operations for the satellite.
Ultrasensitive Sensors Made from Boron-Doped Graphene
Ultrasensitive Sensors Made from Boron-Doped Graphene 11 November 2015An international team of researchers, led by Penn State, has developed ultrasensitive gas sensors based on the infusion of boron atoms into the tightly bound matrix of carbon atoms known as graphene. The group is composed of researchers from six countries and includes the 2010 Noble laureate and graphene pioneer Konstantin Novoselov, and Morinobu Endo, the discoverer of carbon nanotubes.
World's 3rd largest optical telescope gets $25 million upgrade
World's 3rd largest optical telescope gets $25 million upgrade 05 November 2015The Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET), which Penn State and four other universities built and are operating, has opened a larger and sharper-imaging giant eye on the universe after getting a multi-year, $25 million upgrade. Able to use more of its primary mirror than was possible before, the telescope now ranks as the world’s third-largest optical telescope -- tied for the honor with the South African Large Telescope, which was patterned after the HET's design.
Response to environmental change depends on individual variation in partnership between corals and algae
Response to environmental change depends on individual variation in partnership between corals and algae 26 October 2015New research reveals that some corals are more protective than others of their partner algae in harsh environmental conditions. This individual variation among corals could reflect a greater capacity than currently recognized to adapt to changing ocean conditions brought about by climate change. The study, led by marine biologists at Penn State University, will be published online October 26, 2015 in the open access journal Scientific Reports.
Black hole caught in the act of ripping apart a star
Black hole caught in the act of ripping apart a star 22 October 2015New details about what happens when a black hole tears apart a star have been gathered by a multi-national astronomy team using a trio of orbiting of orbiting observatories that includes NASA’s Swift Gamma-ray-Burst Explorer. Science and flight operations for Swift are controlled by Penn State from the Mission Operations Center at the University Park campus. The astronomers tracked material being blown away from a black hole after it tore a star apart in the center of a galaxy that is about 290 million light years away from Earth. The new observations give scientists an extraordinary opportunity to understand the extreme environment and events around a black hole.
New mathematical method reveals structure in neural activity in the brain
New mathematical method reveals structure in neural activity in the brain 19 October 2015A newly-developed mathematical method can detect geometric structure in neural activity in the brain. "Previously, in order to understand this structure, scientists needed to relate neural activity to some specific external stimulus," said Vladimir Itskov, associate professor of mathematics at Penn State University. "Our method is the first to be able to reveal this structure without our knowing an external stimulus ahead of time. We've now shown that our new method will allow us to explore the organizational structure of neurons without knowing their function in advance."
New approach discovered for brain repair: Chemical transformation of human glial cells into neurons
New approach discovered for brain repair: Chemical transformation of human glial cells into neurons 15 October 2015For the first time, researchers have used a cocktail of small molecules to transform human brain cells, called astroglial cells, into functioning neurons for brain repair. Their results provide proof-of-principle that chemical reprogramming may one day lead to the development of drugs that could regenerate neurons and restore brain functions to patients affected by traumatic injuries, stroke, or diseases such as Alzheimer's. Previous research, such as conventional stem cell therapy, requires brain surgery and therefore is much more invasive and prone to immune-system rejection and other problems. The research, led by Gong Chen, Professor of Biology and the Verne M. Willaman Chair in Life Sciences at Penn State University, will be published online in the journal Cell Stem Cell on Oct. 15th, 2015.
Chance effect of lab's fluorescent lights leads to discovery
Chance effect of lab's fluorescent lights leads to discovery 09 October 2015An accidental discovery of a "quantum Etch-a-Sketch" that may lead to the next generation of advanced computers and quantum microchips has been made by team of scientists from Penn State University and the University of Chicago. The team accidentally has discovered a new way of using beams of light to draw and erase quantum-mechanical circuits on topological insulators, a unique class of materials with intriguing electronic properties.
Ecology on the wing: Aerial photography enhances conservation research
Ecology on the wing: Aerial photography enhances conservation research 18 September 2015Drones have been flying over the Ugalla Forest in Western Tanzania. Far from being part of a military operation, these drones are being used to map chimpanzee habitat as part of an international research collaboration.
Graduate students develop sustainability solutions to change the world
Graduate students develop sustainability solutions to change the world 31 August 2015Five interdisciplinary teams, made up of Penn State graduate students, presented their sustainability-related solutions to world challenges at the Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Awards (SISCA). These students highlighted the connection to their homes and their research, showing why their work matters not just to them, but to those around the world.
Software can automatically critique composition of digital photographs
Software can automatically critique composition of digital photographs 13 August 2015Software provides digital photographers with constructive feedback
Quantum computing advance locates neutral atoms
Quantum computing advance locates neutral atoms 12 August 2015For any computer, being able to manipulate information is essential, but for quantum computing, singling out one data location without influencing any of the surrounding locations is difficult. Now, a team of Penn State physicists has a method for addressing individual neutral atoms without changing surrounding atoms.
New Milky Way Map Reveals Stars in Our Galaxy Move Far from Home
New Milky Way Map Reveals Stars in Our Galaxy Move Far from Home 30 July 2015Scientists with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III (SDSS) have created a new map of the Milky Way, which provides the first clear evidence that migration of stars occurs throughout our Galaxy. The study, which determined that 30 percent of stars have moved far across the Galaxy, is bringing a new understanding of how stars are formed and travel throughout the Milky Way.
Clump of a star's gas, catapulting into space at 40 million miles per hour, appears to be picking up speed
Clump of a star's gas, catapulting into space at 40 million miles per hour, appears to be picking up speed 28 July 2015A fast-moving pulsar appears to have punched a hole in a disk of gas around its companion star and to have launched a fragment of the disk outward at a speed of about 40 million miles per hour. NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is tracking this cosmic clump, which appears to be picking up speed as it moves out. The catapulted material weighs about as much as all the water in the Earth's oceans.
From twitching lizards to noisy frogs, adaptation is often survival of the weird
From twitching lizards to noisy frogs, adaptation is often survival of the weird 28 July 2015Forces like climate change and globalization are making the world smaller, hotter, noisier and weirder than ever and this is putting even more pressure on species to quickly adapt, according to Tracy Langkilde, associate professor of biology.

Document Actions

Share this page: |