Penn Current | Top Stories en-us Penn Current: News, Ideas, and Conversations from the University of Pennsylvania 140 46 Penn Museum exhibit features rare treasures from time of King Midas King Midas, with his magic hands of gold, was a popular figure in Greek mythology, but stories about his real life show his influence as the ruler of the Phrygian kingdom more than 3,000 years ago in the area now known as Turkey. The Penn Museum exhibition “The Golden Age of King Midas,” traces a civilization in the ancient Near East over a nearly 500-year period and also showcases Penn’s contributions to the reconstruction of that history. Jeanne Leong 2016-02-11T00:00:00 Animal Planet to go behind the scenes at Penn Vet This past Sunday, Animal Planet lured television viewers away from the Denver Broncos victory in Super Bowl 50 to watch puppies tussle over squeaky toys in Puppy Bowl XII. Later this year, however, the same network will showcase a different kind of challenge: the rigors of attaining a degree from the School of Veterinary Medicine. Katherine Unger Baillie 2016-02-11T00:00:00 Penn alumna and employee fights valiantly against rare form of disease Emily Kramer-Golinkoff is a warrior. She manages her own nonprofit, frequently travels across the country—and sometimes world—for speaking engagements, and works with Penn Medicine’s Social Media and Health Innovation Lab. That’s on top of at least three hours of medical treatment every day. Lauren Hertzler 2016-02-04T00:00:00 Penn Engineering students contribute design to futuristic Hyperloop transport A team of students traveled from the School of Engineering and Applied Science to Texas A&M University to pitch their designs for the Hyperloop, a science-fiction inflected transportation concept that is the brainchild of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, a Penn alumnus. Evan Lerner 2016-02-04T00:00:00 Penn revises short-term disability policy, making it even more ‘family friendly’ When a Penn employee needs back surgery, a knee replacement, cancer treatment, or goes on maternity leave, he or she will likely make use of the University’s short-term disability policy. It allows full-time weekly or monthly paid Penn staff members to manage their health and still receive pay—plus benefits—even if they can’t work and are out of the office for more than 10 days. Lauren Hertzler 2016-01-28T00:00:00 Student Spotlight with Alexa Hoover ACCIDENTAL BEGINNINGS: Sophomore Alexa Hoover started playing field hockey by accident. When she was 4 years old, her mom tried to sign her up for soccer at the local YMCA, but registration was full. Heather A. Davis 2016-01-21T00:00:00 Staff Q&A with Ancil George Ancil George, the inaugural community outreach librarian at Penn Libraries, has worked at Penn for almost 50 years, and he can still remember the exact date of his first day on the job. On Jan. Greg Johnson 2016-01-21T00:00:00 U.S.-Cuba relations expand, broadening work and experiences of Penn community This week, Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, an associate professor in the Department of the History of Art, will lead a group of Penn alumni to Cuba to experience its rich culture—specifically its arts community. Lauren Hertzler 2016-01-21T00:00:00 1970-71 men’s basketball team to enter Big 5 Hall of Fame To commemorate its 60th anniversary, the Philadelphia Big 5—a college basketball collective comprised of Penn, La Salle, Saint Joseph’s, Villanova, and Temple—is for the first time inducting noteworthy teams into the Big 5 Hall of Fame, one from each member school. Steve Bilsky, executive director of the Big 5 and former athletic director (AD) at Penn, says the ADs at the Big 5 schools and himself decided to do something unique to mark 60 years of the city series. Greg Johnson 2016-01-21T00:00:00 Q&A with Scott Barry Kaufman Scott Barry Kaufman is a researcher, author, and teacher. He’s a co-founder and a scientific director, as well as a public speaker. He’s an opera singer, a cello player, and a hip-hop dancer. He’s funny, thoughtful, and unpredictable. Lauren Hertzler 2016-01-21T00:00:00 Penn researchers repurpose Alzheimer’s drug to help tobacco smokers quit In adjacent rooms at Penn’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction (CIRNA) in the Perelman School of Medicine, a man flips through a magazine, and a woman fiddles with her phone. Both have easy access to cigarettes should they want one, and both have researchers watching whether they decide to smoke. Michele Berger 2016-02-11T00:00:00 Penn community asked to save energy for Power Down Challenge In a calendar year, the average member of the Penn community consumes 15,724 kilowatt-hours of energy. That’s enough power to fully charge an iPhone 6 for 4,138 years, or watch TV for 18 consecutive years. Lauren Hertzler 2016-02-11T00:00:00 Engineering more power-efficient phase change memory devices Researchers are constantly looking for new and better ways of storing the 0’s and 1’s of computer memory. One idea has been to represent bits as different atomic structures in a material. Evan Lerner 2016-02-11T00:00:00 SP2 project tackles Top 10 social justice issues for presidential election The 2016 U.S. presidential race has spurred spirited debate among candidates and the public over hot button election issues. To help enrich the dialogue, Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) is launching a multimedia initiative in which faculty members and collaborating researchers address 10 of the most pressing social justice and policy issues facing the country. Jacquie Posey 2016-02-04T00:00:00 Partnership gives Penn students insider’s view of Opera Philadelphia A partnership between the Department of Music in the School of Arts & Sciences and Opera Philadelphia gives Penn students a chance to get an insider’s view and explore the work of a professional performance company. Jeanne Leong 2016-02-05T00:00:00 Penn Vet monitoring program reduces illnesses on Pa. pig farms Infectious disease can take a major toll on swine farms. Two diseases in particular have hit Pennsylvania hard over the last decade: porcine respiratory and reproductive syndrome (PRRS) and porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PED). But thanks to a monitoring effort headquartered at Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine, the impact of these illnesses has been significantly reduced. Katherine Unger Baillie 2016-01-28T00:00:00 Y-Prize winners want to speed up beer brewing Drinks are on them: Alexander David, Shashwata Narain, and Siddharth Shah, students in the Wharton School and the School of Engineering and Applied Science, have won the 2016 Y-Prize Competition with a plan to speed up the fermentation stage of beer brewing by up to nine times. Evan Lerner 2016-01-28T00:00:00 Penn professor explores what it means to be positive The world has room for two kinds of superheroes, says James O. Pawelski, director of education and a senior scholar at the Penn Positive Psychology Center: those who combat negatives like poverty or inequality and those who seek out positives like harmony and justice, what Pawelski calls the red cape and the green cape, respectively. Michele Berger 2016-01-28T00:00:00 Project by Penn linguists documents Philadelphia accent in ASL Like English or any other language, American Sign Language (ASL) has distinct variants that differ from region to region. Philadelphia is famous for its preferred pronunciations of certain words, like “wooder” for water; its local lexicon, such as “hoagie” instead of sub or grinder; and its regional slang, like the all-encompassing “jawn.” Similar lexical variants exist in Philadelphia ASL, which has a reputation for being more atypical than ASL used in the deaf community at large. Greg Johnson 2016-01-21T00:00:00 Eggs for breakfast keep children fuller longer, says Penn study What’s a good breakfast for growing children? Ask Penn Nursing professor Tanja Kral and she’ll likely answer, “One that incorporates protein-rich foods like eggs.” Michele Berger 2016-01-21T00:00:00 Staff Q&A with Angela Goldston The PennCard is the official identification card for students, faculty, and staff at the University, and other members of the Penn community. Greg Johnson 2015-12-17T00:00:00 Student Spotlight with Emily Hund DOUBLE MAJOR: Emily Hund, a third-year Ph.D. student in the Annenberg School for Communication, always had an interest in journalism, but during her freshman year at Penn State she discovered a passion for sociology, too. Lauren Hertzler 2015-12-17T00:00:00 Q&A with Zvi Gellis Currently in the United States, there are approximately 45 million people who are 65 years of age and older. By 2030, that number is expected to jump to nearly 75 million people. Heather A. Davis 2015-12-17T00:00:00 Changing people's minds requires evidence—not just guesswork Despite multimillion dollar advertising campaigns and debates in which political candidates express their views for free, just a small number of people—5 to 7 percent—ever end up changing their minds about those running for office. Heather A. Davis 2016-01-21T00:00:00 Penn students, faculty lead local/national efforts to combat homelessness Several Penn faculty members are leading teams of researchers and students in local and national efforts to combat homelessness among youth, families, and veterans. Jacquie Posey 2015-12-03T00:00:00 Improving HIV patients’ lives while they are on ART HIV and AIDS drug regimens have vastly improved since the disease was first identified in the early 1980s. They have saved millions of lives, but they still have drawbacks. Up to half of all people living with HIV who are on antiretroviral therapies, or ART, have some sort of cognitive impairment, such as memory loss or reduced executive function. Katherine Unger Baillie 2015-12-03T00:00:00 Preserving and revamping a landmark building Much of modern architecture in the 1950s consisted of glass and steel buildings that appeared lighter than air, prismatic structures ready to serve any function—as an apartment building, a school, or hospital —nearly any place on Earth. Heather A. Davis 2015-11-19T00:00:00 Simulator exposes teens to high-risk driving conditions Teenagers are notoriously reckless. They engage in risky sexual behaviors, binge drink alcohol, and abuse tobacco and other drugs. Greg Johnson 2015-11-19T00:00:00 Q&A with Americus Reed Wharton professor Americus Reed is a man of many identities. He is a father, academic, and musician. A consultant, entrepreneur, and researcher. A free spirit, anti-authority, and a fitness enthusiast. A Panther, a Gator, and a Quaker. Called Americus II after his father, who was named after the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci, for whom the Americas are named, Reed was born in Hollis, Queens, N.Y., but raised down South in Atlanta. Greg Johnson 2015-11-19T00:00:00 Staff Q&A with Wilson Chang Wilson Chang came to Penn in 1996 as an undergraduate mechanical engineering major. After about two years, he switched into psychology. Then he dropped out of school. Lauren Hertzler 2015-11-19T00:00:00