A Banner Weekend for Penn State Research

18 Feb

At the AAAS annual meeting last weekend I learned a lot, such as:

  • How our preconceptions of viruses as nasty things may have thwarted our knowledge of the long list of positive interactions humans have with these microbes.
  • How evolution changed us from furry creatures into lean, mean, skin-covered, sweating machines.
  • And how we can now take pictures and make movies of atoms. Actual atoms.

Dr. Jablonski addresses media questions at AAAS news briefing.

One thing I did not learn is that I am not a great photographer. I have known that for a long time. In fact, if you couple my lack of photographic skills with my out-of-focus iPhone camera, the pictures of the atom have finer resolutions and were much clearer.

But I tried.

Here’s another thing I learned: Penn State should be proud of the work its research is doing because the rest of the academic world sure is. There were six Penn State researchers who presented 8 sessions at this year’s AAAS meeting in Boston. Here’s the list and the title of their presentations:

Marilyn Roossinck
Viruses as Mutualists
A Plant, A Virus, A Fungus: What It Takes to Take the Heat

Murali Haran
Using Models and Data to Learn about the Future of Climate

Richard Alley
Ice Sheets, Sea Level and Other Surprises: Benefits of Understanding Some Beautiful Places

Henry Lin
World Water Security Begins with an Adequate Blue Water Supply

Nina Jablonski
The Evolution and Meanings of Human Skin Color
Beyond Fur:  Sweating and Barrier Features of Human Skin

Steven Schiff
Towards Model-Based Networks and Control of Brain Networks

Also, Alley received an award for his outreach and education efforts from AAAS.

I don’t mean to be territorial about this because the conference featured so much research from dozens of great schools; but, with more than $12 million on the THON reveal board and a long list of the University’s researchers represented at one of the most prestigious academic conferences this weekend, it’s pretty hard to be modest about Penn State achievements.

You can read about some of the presentations here:

Microbes team up to boost plants’ stress tolerance

Wild plants are infected with many viruses and still thrive

Key to cleaner environment may be right beneath our feet

Evolution helped turn hairless skin into a canvas for self-expression

Modern life may cause sun exposure, skin pigmentation mismatch

Flow of research on ice sheets helps answer climate questions

Statistics help clear fog for better climate change picture

Engineering control theory helps create dynamic brain models


2 Responses to “A Banner Weekend for Penn State Research”

  1. josh February 20, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    Regarding your comment about “seeing atoms”…are you aware of this: http://www.mri.psu.edu/facilities/mcl/titan/…being installed as I type.

    • Matt Swayne February 20, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

      Wow. No, I was not aware of that. Thanks for the info.

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