Penn Current | Top Stories en-us Penn Current: News, Ideas, and Conversations from the University of Pennsylvania 140 46 120th running of Penn Relays open April 24 Each year, high school, college, and professional athletes from around the country and across the globe flock to Franklin Field to take part in the Penn Relay Carnival, the longest continuously held collegiate track meet in the United States. Maria Zankey 2014-04-17T00:00:00 Growing plants to save lives Tucked behind old factory buildings on Penn’s South Bank campus stands a gleaming greenhouse. The $2 million structure, completed late last year, is state-of-the-art. Drip irrigation ensures each pot receives just the right amount of water. Humidity and temperature are precisely monitored and can be accessed and modified remotely. Katherine Unger Baillie 2014-04-10T00:00:00 Bringing Louis Kahn’s houses to light at the Kroiz Gallery The exhibit currently on view at Penn’s Kroiz Gallery of the Architectural Archives, “Brought to Light: The Houses of Louis Kahn,” is the first to showcase the houses designed by the world-renowned architect. Christina Cook 2014-04-10T00:00:00 Staff Q&A with Katie Huber Once upon a time, Katie Huber was skeptical of group exercise classes. Before signing up for a BODYPUMP class in her early 20s, she says she wasn’t quite convinced that the classes would give her the strenuous, endorphin-filled workout she favored. Greg Johnson 2014-04-10T00:00:00 Student Spotlight with Amy Wu MATH + SCIENCE = ART: Amy Wu, a senior dual-degree student in Wharton and the School of Engineering & Applied Science, knows that her course of study might make her sound like the polar opposite of someone who is passionate about art. Heather A. Davis 2014-04-10T00:00:00 Penn Libraries looking for volunteer librarians at Lea School One of the many casualties of the ongoing financial crisis facing the School District of Philadelphia has been the layoff of librarians and the closure of libraries in many schools. Central and Masterman high schools—two of the best in the city and state—had to close their libraries because they lacked funding for a librarian before an anonymous person gave a donation to reopen them. Other district schools have not been so lucky. Jeanne Leong 2014-03-27T00:00:00 Owl monkey fathers are faithful and doting dads Eduardo Fernandez-Duque, an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology in Penn Arts & Sciences, has been studying owl monkeys in Argentina for nearly 20 years. From observing their interactions day in and day out, he knew that males and females formed strong bonds. Katherine Unger Baillie 2014-03-20T00:00:00 Inside the Morris Arboretum’s ‘jewel’ In 1899, amateur botanist John Morris and his sister Lydia built a “jewel” on the property of their summer estate, Compton. This fernery, a glassed home for ferns, rimmed by a foundation of stone, perfectly tapped into the Victorian era fascination with the plants. Fascination, however, may be an understatement. Some say the Victorians were downright obsessed. The term pteridomania describes this fixation on ferns: Forms of the plant appeared on textiles, pottery, furniture, and even gravestones. Heather A. Davis 2014-03-13T00:00:00 GSE microgiving grant aids community involvement among South Philly youth A group of students in South Philadelphia are learning to read critically and analyze issues important to them—one book at a time. Maria Zankey 2014-03-06T00:00:00 People of Penn People make Penn go ’round. Toddlers, teenagers, and young adults. Twenty-somethings, 30-somethings, and 40- and 50-plus. Sexagenarians, septuagenarians, octogenarians, and maybe even more. The “Greatest” Generation, the Silent Generation, and those that came before. Baby Boomers, Generation X-ers, and Millennials. 2014-02-13T00:00:00 Penn Libraries celebrates Shakespeare’s 450th birthday Penn Libraries is commemorating William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday with a party and exhibit opening in the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center (where we lay our scene). Jeanne Leong 2014-04-17T00:00:00 Penn biologist finds silver lining in Lyme disease A bite from a tick carrying Lyme disease often leaves a telltale bull’s-eye rash. But according to new research from Dustin Brisson, an assistant professor in the Department of Biology in Penn Arts & Sciences, an infectious bite can also lead to immunity that lasts for several years—with one important catch. Katherine Unger Baillie 2014-04-17T00:00:00 Cinema Studies presents conference on film diplomacy Penn Cinema Studies will present a one-day conference on Friday, April 18, exploring the role of film, video, and digital media as tools of social change and control in global politics. Jacquie Posey 2014-04-17T00:00:00 Fourth annual Philly Science Festival returns April 25 The fourth annual Philadelphia Science Festival runs from Friday, April 25, to Saturday, May 3, at various sites across the city. Organized by The Franklin Institute, the nine-day festival of discovery and innovation is a collaboration between the city’s leading universities, museums, research centers, and high-tech companies. Evan Lerner 2014-04-10T00:00:00 HR's Open Enrollment period begins April 14 When it comes to managing health care benefits, the Division of Human Resources (HR) recommends using the Open Enrollment period as a time for faculty and staff to reflect on their personal health needs. The 2014 Open Enrollment window—the only time of year when Penn employees can make changes to their health care options, barring a qualifying life event change—runs from Monday, April 14, through Friday, April 25. Maria Zankey 2014-04-10T00:00:00 Penn Law prof investigates whether U.S. companies are American-owned America touts its business bona fides by trumpeting companies like Apple, Microsoft, GE, IBM, and Google, which are among the most admired, successful, and innovative corporations in the world. Although they have grown into large, multinational conglomerates, each was born right here in the United States. Greg Johnson 2014-04-10T00:00:00 Penn-designed gel soothes hearts after attack Surviving a heart attack means coping with the damage it leaves behind. Even if blood flow to muscle tissue in the heart is promptly restored, the injury causes an inflammation response, and the accompanying enzymes can wreak havoc that can persist for months and even years. This lasting damage can be as serious as the immediate threat posed by a heart attack, often leading to congestive heart failure as the muscle tissue is weakened and less able to pump blood. Evan Lerner 2014-04-03T00:00:00 Penn symposium brainstorms best practices to serve people with disabilities The annual Disabilities Symposium, hosted by Penn’s Weingarten Learning Resources Center, attracts a mix of new and veteran attendees who are excited to use their collective brainpower to best serve individuals with disabilities, says Susan Maria Zankey 2014-04-03T00:00:00 Penn-developed device personalizes care after stroke When stroke patients are brought to a hospital, one of the critical aspects of their care is to make sure there is adequate blood flow to their brains. A standard of that care has to been to keep patients resting totally flat for at least 24 hours, rather than with their heads elevated.  Evan Lerner 2014-04-03T00:00:00 Penn Dental study explains toddler tooth woes As soon as an infant cuts that first tooth, proper dental hygiene is a must. Babies who are put to bed with their bottles and toddlers who tote around sippy cups full of sugary juice all day are at risk of developing a condition called early childhood caries. This bacterial infection, often passed to young children from a caregiver with untreated dental disease, causes aggressive and painful tooth decay. Treatment can require surgery. Katherine Unger Baillie 2014-03-27T00:00:00 Q&A with Mark Devlin The night sky is beset with innumerable stars, equally dazzling and dim, intermittent asteroids, comets, and meteors, planets gaseous and telluric, and our inconstant moon that changes monthly in her circled orb. An array of these distant objects can be viewed with the naked eye, their supernatural beauty often evoking sublimed awe. Greg Johnson 2014-03-13T00:00:00 Restoration breathes new life into ARCH building The nearly two-year restoration of the Arts, Research, and Culture House (ARCH) has concluded, breathing new life into the historic, late-Gothic Revival structure in the heart of Penn’s campus at 36th Street and Locust Walk. Greg Johnson 2014-02-13T00:00:00 Staff Q&A with Gina Renzi As the snow begins to melt and the days get a little bit longer, the changing of the season means more to The Rotunda Director Gina Renzi than the promise of sandals and shedding winter coats. Maria Zankey 2014-03-13T00:00:00 Student Spotlight with Katharine Cristaudo “KAT” FOR SHORT: Katharine Cristaudo, a second-year MSW student in the School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) is the president of Social Work Advocates for Immigrant Rights (SWAIR), a student-run organization at SP2 that off Greg Johnson 2014-03-13T00:00:00 Africana Studies course explores history of black men and women at Penn Fourteen years after the United States outlawed slavery, the first African-American students enrolled at Penn. Greg Johnson 2014-02-13T00:00:00 40 years ‘expanding the narrative’ Until the early 1970s, women were seldom represented in academic departments, fields, or research, says Demie Kurz, co-director of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies (GSWS) Program and co-director of the program’s sister center, the Maria Zankey 2014-02-13T00:00:00 Staff Q&A with Daniel Drake As Daniel Drake makes his way through the halls of the Living Independently For Elders (LIFE) program headquarters, almost every person he passes shakes his hand, nods “hello,” greets him by name. And despite having a jam-packed itinerary as the CEO of the all-inclusive elder care center, Drake knows their names as well. Maria Zankey 2014-02-13T00:00:00 Q&A with Robert Aronowitz Robert Aronowitz, chair of the Department of History and Sociology of Science, entered the University of Michigan as an undergrad thinking he would be a physics major. But the Sixties intervened. Greg Johnson 2014-02-13T00:00:00 ARG exhibit features works by William H. Johnson Some rare paintings by modern American artist William H. Johnson will be on display at the Arthur Ross Gallery’s (ARG) first exhibition of 2014, “William H. Johnson: An American Modern.” Jeanne Leong 2014-01-09T00:00:00 'Native American Voices' opens this weekend at Penn Museum After more than five years of collaboration with Native American artists, leaders, and scholars, the Penn Museum will unveil its newest exhibition, “Native American Voices: The People—Here and Now,” on Saturday, March 1. Maria Zankey 2014-02-27T00:00:00