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How massive is supermassive? Astronomers measure more black holes, farther away
10 January 2018A team of astronomers from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), including several Penn State scientists, announced new measurements of the masses of a large sample of supermassive black holes far beyond the local universe.
Flies' disease-carrying potential may be greater than thought, researchers say
28 November 2017A new study adds further proof to the suspicion that houseflies and blowflies carry and spread a variety of species of bacteria that are harmful to humans.
Speeding Star Gives New Clues to Breakup of Multi-Star System
29 March 2017A remarkable new discovery using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveals three stars that now hold the record as the youngest-known examples of a super-fast-flying breed. The new discovery is published in this month's Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Viruses up their game in arms race with immune system
14 August 2017In a classic example of the evolutionary arms race between a host and a pathogen, the myxoma virus -- introduced to control the rabbit population in Australia in 1950 -- has developed a novel and deadly ability to suppress the immune response of its host rabbits.
New gravitational wave hits Earth -- For the first time, 3 detectors zoom in on its location
27 September 2017For the first time, three detectors have tracked the gravitational waves emitted by a merger of two black holes -- a critical new capability that allows scientists to more closely locate a gravitational wave's birthplace in space.
Penn State DNA ladders: inexpensive molecular rulers for DNA research
26 May 2017New, license-free DNA ladders will allow researchers to estimate the size of fragments of DNA for a fraction of the cost of currently available methods.
Measuring entropy: A scanning-tunneling microscope provides a glimpse of the mysterious property
13 February 2017New research shows that a scanning-tunneling microscope (STM), used to study changes in the shape of a single molecule at the atomic scale, impacts the ability of that molecule to make these changes. The study, appearing this week in the journal Nature Communications, demonstrates that the position of the tip of the STM relative to the molecule changes the energy requirements of the molecule to make changes in shape, and in turn, changes the entropy of the system.
Turning pathogens against each other to prevent drug resistance
11 December 2017Limiting a much-needed resource could pit pathogens against one another and prevent the emergence of drug resistance.
New way to weigh a white dwarf: Use Hubble Space Telescope
09 June 2017Astronomers have used, for the first time, a novel method to determine the mass of a nearby dead star. The new method is based on the bending of a beam of light near a massive object. Now, astronomers have achieved a solid estimate of the mass of a white dwarf by measuring the deflection of light rays as they pass near the star.
Newly Described Algae Species Toughens Up Corals to Endure Warming Oceans
14 July 2017Using innovative methods, researchers at Penn State University have identified a new species of stress-tolerant algae that associate with corals in a partnership that promotes the health and growth of coral reef ecosystems.
Antibodies may reveal timing of previous influenza infection
31 July 2017The amount of influenza-specific antibodies present in an individual’s blood can indicate not only if they experienced the flu, but potentially when -- a finding that could improve disease monitoring in the tropics, where flu season is unending.
Low cost, scalable water-splitting fuels the future hydrogen economy
01 June 2017The "clean-energy economy" always seems a few steps away but never quite here. Fossil fuels still power transportation, heating and cooling, and manufacturing, but a team of scientists from Penn State and Florida State University have come one step closer to inexpensive, clean hydrogen fuel with a lower cost and industrially scalable catalyst that produces pure hydrogen through a low-energy water-splitting process.
New gravity waves hit Earth after record-breaking trip through space
01 June 2017Gravitational waves produced by the birth of a massive black hole, a record-breaking billions of light-years from Earth, have been detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO). The waves were generated when two smaller black holes collided and then merged to form a larger black hole with a mass about fifty times larger than our sun's.
Catalytic Conveyer Belt: A new method for controlled delivery of particles via fluid flow
20 February 2017Researchers have developed a new method of transporting particles that utilizes chemical reactions to drive fluid flow within microfluidic devices. The research, which capitalizes on previous studies in self-powered chemo-mechanical movement, is a collaboration between scientists at Penn State’s Department of Chemistry and the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering.
You can see that from here: New telescope attachment allows ground-based observations of new worlds to rival those from space
05 October 2017A new, low-cost attachment to telescopes allows previously unachievable precision in ground-based observations of exoplanets -- planets beyond our solar system. With the new attachment, ground-based telescopes can produce measurements of light intensity that rival the highest quality photometric observations from space.
Grant to help pave a big data highway to explore genome, enhance health
15 February 2017A $6.1 million, five-year grant from the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health may help researchers leverage massive amounts of genomic data to develop medical treatments and pharmaceuticals, according to an international team of researchers.
Exploring how herpes simplex virus changes when passed between family members
20 October 2017A new study explores how herpes simplex virus might change when passed from one individual to another, information that may prove useful in future development of therapeutics and vaccines.
Malaria parasites sense and adapt to their host’s nutritional status
05 July 2017A new study shows that the infectious agent responsible for malaria, the Plasmodium parasite, is able to sense its host’s nutritional status and actively adapt through changes in gene expression to reduce the number of offspring it produces.
Discovery rewriting the evolutionary history of the nervous system
08 March 2017Penn State researchers at the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences uncover a long-standing, fundamental error in the story of the nervous system’s evolution.
Mysterious cosmic explosion surprises astronomers studying the distant x-ray universe
30 March 2017A mysterious flash of X-rays has been discovered by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory in the deepest X-ray image ever obtained. This source likely comes from some sort of destructive event, but it may be of a variety that scientists have never seen before.

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