News briefs

National Medal of Science

President George W. Bush has named Professor of Physics Raymond Davis Jr. one of 15 recipients of the 2001 National Medal of Science, marking the second year in a row Penn scientists have received the award. Davis was the first scientist to detect neutrinos, ghostlike particles produced in solar nuclear reactions that, until recently, have been thought to have zero mass. His work, which found only one-third the number of predicted neutrinos, galvanized astrophysicists into a mad search for the missing particles. Later experiments, which involved Penn collaboration, solved the neutrino mystery (Current, March 28). The National Medal of Science is the nation’s highest award for lifetime achievement in scientific research.

City Year here

Want to know more about the hordes of clean-cut kids in matching khakis and t-shirts standing in circles around campus? They were some of City Year’s 17-to-24-year-old corps members who descended upon Penn the first week of June to celebrate a year of national service. The AmeriCorps program, which includes nearly 1,000 full-time volunteers, ended its annual convention with a day of service. Members built playgrounds, planted trees and spruced up schools in West Philadelphia.

ID savers

With identity theft on the rise, Penn has set up measures to help the community safeguard their personal information. A hotline has been established at 888-BEN-TIPS to answer questions regarding privacy. Also, those who believe they have been victimized should contact Detective Jane Curry of the Division of Public Safety at 215-898-4485 and file a police report, Chief Privacy Officer Lauren Steinfeld advised in an e-mail to the University community. More information at


Future computer software may help put American troops one step ahead of their enemies. Barry G. Silverman, a professor of systems engineering and computer and information science, is working on a training tool that could pit troops against virtual mobs and terrorists. Unlike existing military games that focus on eye-catching graphics, Silverman’s work aims at more realistic simulations. He uses computer-generated figures who react as would real humans to fatigue, stress, personal values and cultural influences. Silverman also plans to include a diverse set of provocateurs, from mobs of rock-throwing women and children to armies of angry teens.

Outstanding cops

Hats off to Penn’s guardians of safety, who were recognized by the Division of Public Safety at a May 2 commendations ceremony. Merit awards for service above and beyond the call of duty were given to Police Officers Darryl Blair, Gary Cooper, Denis Daly, Robert DeLaurentiis, Christopher Denshuick, Casandra DeVaughn Park, Domenic DiLorenzo, Hector Huddleston, Philip Lydon Jr., Andrew Malloy, William McCullough, Tony Ramos, Michael Sylvester, Henry Vega and Gary Williams, Sgt. Joseph Risoli, and Tactical Supervisor Joseph Hasara.

Kid citizens

Today’s youth are making their voices heard thanks to a $100,000 grant to Penn. The award is part of a $3.4 million Pew Charitable Trusts grant. Harris Sokoloff, director of Penn’s Center for School Study Councils, said the project will help students identify the concerns they have about their communities, whether it be proper building maintenance, drug use or racism. The center and three other Penn organizations—the Pennsylvania Service Learning Alliance, the Greater Philadelphia High School Partnership and the Center for Community Partnerships—will provide training and orientation to teachers and students.

Originally published on June 20, 2002