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Galactic neighbors? Derrick Pitts on the significance of a theory predicting billions of super-Earths
Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer for the Franklin Institute, elaborates on a prediction from a team of international astronomers who claim there could be billions of potentially habitable "super Earths" circling stars within our galaxy. Pitts tells former New York governor Eliot Spitzer that determining whether water might exist on these planets is the key to further discoveries: "It could be possible that there are other forms of life based on other elements, if you will. But, for our studies, we have to start someplace where we really know what things are — and that's life like what we find here on this planet, and that's all based in water."

Dr. Renee Moore
Dr. Renee Moore, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Construction with Quadrotor Teams
Teams of quadrotors autonomously build tower-like cubic structures from modular parts. Work done by Quentin Lindsey, Daniel Mellinger, and Vijay Kumar at the GRASP Lab, University of Pennsylvania.

Vijay Kumar: Robots that fly ... and cooperate
In his lab at Penn, Vijay Kumar and his team build flying quadrotors, small, agile robots that swarm, sense each other, and form ad hoc teams -- for construction, surveying disasters and far more.

Touch Photography: Capturing The Feel Of Surfaces
If you can see something on your computer, why shouldn't you be able to feel it? Touch is an important part of the sensory experience of being a human," says Katherine J. Kuchenbecker, an assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics at the Univ. of Pennsylvania.

Cynthia Reinhart-King | Cornell's Next-Gen Leaders in the Life Sciences
Over the past decade, Cornell has recruited a new generation of life scientists who are using recently discovered technologies to answer fundamental questions about organisms and their responses to environmental challenges. Three of Cornell's "Next-Gen" junior faculty discuss their research that is emblematic of our efforts to address a wide spectrum of rapidly changing challenges to global health. The panel was moderated by Assoc. VP for Research, Andrew Bass and featured Asst. Prof Ruth Ley from Microbiology, Assoc Prof Alex Travis from Biomedical Sciences and the Baker Institute, and Asst. Prof. Cynthia Reinhart-King from Biomedical Engineering.

The Holy Grail to X-ray crystal structure of human protein phosphatase
FoSheng Hsu, a graduate student in the field of biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, won for best dance in the chemistry category in Science's fourth annual "Dance Your Ph.D." contest, a competition that recognizes the best dance interpretations of scientific doctoral work. 4. X-ray diffraction; and 5. Building a 3-dimensional protein structure.

Universal robotic gripper
The human hand is an amazing machine that can pick up, move and place objects easily, but for a robot, this "gripping" mechanism is a vexing challenge. Researchers from Cornell, the University of Chicago and iRobot Corp. have created a versatile gripper using everyday ground coffee and a latex party balloon, bypassing traditional designs based on the human hand and fingers. Cornell graduate student John Amend and mechanical engineering professor Hod Lipson demonstrate the technology and describe potential applications of the concept. The research is a collaboration between the groups of Lipson, Heinrich Jaeger at the University of Chicago, and Chris Jones at iRobot. It was published online Oct. 25, 2010 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Nature by Design - Innovation at Harvard
What can termites teach us about building complex computer systems? Radhika Nagpal, Thomas D. Cabot Associate Professor of Computer Science, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, explores the power of robust collective systems in nature—used by bees, fish, and even termites—and applies these principles to the design of robots and computer networks.

Fly Paper: Mapping the Protein Interactions of Our Distant Relative
Professor of Cell Biology Spyros Artavanis-Tsakonas and colleagues built a map that shows how thousands of proteins in a fruit fly cell communicate with each other. This is the largest and most detailed protein interaction map of a multicellular organism, demonstrating how approximately one third of the proteins cooperate to keep life going. Understanding how proteins communicate and interact with each other is key to understanding disease.