PASEF's Essays and Stories

To read stories, click on the title.

Alan Myers - "The Moon Tilt Illusion"

Professor Myers' research is focused on "adsorption thermodynamics" and if you are curious what that is, google it.

Since arriving at Penn from U.C. Berkeley in 1963, Myers published 150 papers and 3 books, one of which (with co-author Seider) was "Introduction to Chemical Engineering and Computer Calculations", Prentice-Hall (1976). His career included sabbatical leaves at the University of Graz, the Institute of Physical Chemistry in Moscow, and the University of Tokyo. Myers received the S. Reid Warren teaching award in 1983 and had the unusual experience of having his daughters (Andrea and Sonia) as chemical engineering students at Penn.

Dr. Myers received a Founder's Award from the International Adsorption Society in 2010 in Osaka, Japan. His hobbies include long-distance running but recently the ravages of aging have transformed running into walking.

Louis Girifalco - "A Flawed Idol"

Louis A. Girifalco is Professor Emeritus of Material Sciences and Engineering for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Along with his thoughtful submission to the PASEF Essay and Story catalog, Dr. Girifalco includes this brief biosketch:

I never decided to be a scientist; it just happened. It started with a chemistry set at the age of twelve which evolved into a basement laboratory where I played at electrolysis and synthesized organic compounds. By a series of improbable lucky events, I wound up at Penn in the Materials Science Department. My career focused on solid state theory, although it was sometimes slowed down by various administrative responsibilities.

In addition to about 100 papers, I have written eight books, four of which are in materials science. A fifth is a mathematical study of technological change and a sixth is a presentation of gravitation for the proverbial "intelligent layman."

My two latest efforts two self-published Kindle ebooks. One is an analysis of casino craps entitled Sixes Are Good at this Table which can be found at Amazon under the pen name of Cardano. How could I not use that pen name for a book on gambling? Just look at his life!

The other Kindle ebook is a collection of essays called Deep and Shallow, which consists of some thoughts I had over the years. The essay, A Flawed Idol is taken from that book. My grandson set up a blog for anyone who wants to see more examples. The blog is at the website If you think the essay here is interesting, take a look at some of the others.

We hope you enjoy Dr. Girifalco's essay and feel welcome to submit your own to

Adrian Morrison - Rocky

Adrian R. Morrison, Jr. is Professor Emeritus of Behavioral Neuroscience in the School of Veterinary Medicine's Department of Animal Biology.

During nearly four decades of research in Penn's Laboratory for the Study of the Brain in Sleep, Dr. Morrison has explored the nature of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep in cats. Dr. Morrison has authored or co-authored more than 150 journal articles and seven books, including 2009's analysis of the animal rights controversy, An Odyssey with Animals.

For addition to the PASEF featured essay & stories, Dr. Morrison submits Rocky. It is part of a book he hopes to write for his grandchildren about life on a small farm just after World War II called, "Love, Grandad."

Daniel Perlmutter - What's in a Name?

Daniel D. Perlmutter is Professor Emeritus of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. He has served as Chair of the Chemical Engineering Department and as University Ombudsman at Penn. His contributions were recognized by a Lindbach Award for excellence in teaching, a Guggenheim Foundation Award for research, two Fulbright Fellowships, and the Lectureship Award of the American Association for Engineering Education. His research focused on the dynamics and control of chemical reaction systems. Perlmutter has published over 100 papers and three books of which the most recent (with Robert Rothstein) is The Challenge of Climate Change: Which Way Now, Wiley, 2011.

Jerry Porter - Papua New Guinea

Jerry Porter is Professor of Mathematics Emeritus. He has been at Penn since 1965 and is a former President of PASEF. His research initially was in homotopy theory, a branch of Algebraic Topology. He has been interested in the use of computers to enhance undergraduate mathematics education and served as Associate Dean for Computing in SAS from 1981 to 1991. He has chaired several major University Committees as well as being chair of the Faculty Senate. Professor Porter is a active member of the Mathematics Association of America and at their Annual Meeting in New Orleans in January of 2011 received a Meritorius Service Award.

In 2008, Jerry and his wife, Judith, traveled to Papua New Guinea. Their travelogue includes photos, videos and her trip diary.

Roger Allen - Al Jazeera

Roger M.A. Allen is Professor Emeritus of Arabic. He was Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations and is PASEF President for 2011-2012.

His book "An Introduction to Arabic Literature," Cambridge University Press, 2000, now in its 4th printing, is the standard reference for the Arabic literary tradition. During his four decades at Penn, Allen has studied modern Arabic fiction and worked to improve Arabic language education in American colleges and universities. He also traveled frequently to Cairo and has been involved in research at the University of Tunis and at universities in Morocco.

Professor Allen explains how the internet and Al Jazeera helped to reveal the repressive actions of some Arab regimes.

Jane Vanderkooi - Life in West Philadelphia

Jane Vanderkooi is Professor Emerita of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the Perelman School of Medicine. She is a renowned expert on protein dynamics and the influence of water on protein stability, with 234 publications and book chapters on this subject. Vanderkooi holds with D.F. Wilson a US Patent on an apparatus for imaging an internal body portion of a host animal.

Vanderkooi reflects upon her life in Philadelphia as she prepares to move to Colorado.

James Saunders - Harry's Journey

Dr. James C. Saunders is Emeritus Professor of Otorhinolaryngology in the Perelman School of Medicine. He is an expert on the connection between hearing loss and aging. Saunders uses laser interferometry to examine the development of the middle-ear system, which is related to the overall process of hearing maturation and aging.

A past-president of ASEF, Saunders is now leading a university-wide Committee for the establishment of a Penn Retirement Center.

In his spare time, Saunders is writing a historical-fiction novel entitled "Harry's Journey", which is based upon 170 letters written from the western front in France during WWI and preserved by family relatives. This prologue describes an incident in which Harry is wounded and survives exposure to chlorine gas.

Rob Roy MacGregor - Our Experience with Downsizing

Dr. Rob Roy MacGregor is an Emeritus Professor in Infectious Diseases at the Perelman School of Medicine. He was section chief and was co-investigator in Penn's AIDS Clinical Trials Unit. His interests include HIV clinical research in opportunistic infections such as TB and various aspects of HIV-related epidemilogy. He was clinical director for the initial trial of gene therapy to modify patients' CD4 cells to resist HIV infection at Penn, now in an expanded phase. MacGregor has had several extended visits to Botswana in recent years, where he has mentored and conducted a study of tuberculosis/HIV interaction.

MacGregor has been active in PASEF's Executive Committee since 2004 and helped to establish PASEF's sister organization ASEF in the School of Medicine in 2003, including serving as ASEF's president.

Dr. MacGregor's poignant essay about downsizing is a experience shared by most emeritus faculty.

If you have an essay or story you would like to share with the PASEF community, please send it to: