Professor Marija Drndic Selected as a Penn Fellow!

Physics and Astronomy Professor Drndic has been chosen as a Penn Fellow for the next two years. The Penn Fellows program is designed to provide a select group of developing campus leaders with an opportunity to build University-wide networks, think strategically about higher education, and learn more about Penn and its programs by interacting informally with members of the University’s executive team.

Information about the current Fellows is listed at

Physics Majors' Xingting Gong and Stefan Torborg have been named 2015 SAS Dean's Scholars

Congratulations to you both on this accomplishment!

Professor Larry Gladney Elected Fellow of The American Physical Society


Citation: For his contributions to the study of B physics at the Tevatron and Babar, and for his outstanding efforts in science teaching and outreach programs for middle- and high school students and teachers. Nominated by: Division of Particles and Fields

Featuring Physics and Astronomy Professor Randall Kamien, Engineering with a Side of Origami

Origami is capable of turning a simple sheet of paper into a pretty paper crane, but the principles behind the paper-folding art can also be applied to making a microfluidic device for a blood test, or for storing a satellite’s solar panel in a rocket’s cargo bay.

Penn’s Jane Horwitz of Science Outreach Initiative searches for “Broader Impacts”

The National Science Foundation (NSF) receives around 50,000 grant applications each year, disbursing more than $7 billion in research funds. Only one in five projects receive awards, but the winners are not judged solely on the scientific merits of their proposed research…The Science Outreach Initiative, organized under the School of Arts & Sciences, helps even the most fundamental, early-stage research connect with the world at large, through education, engagement, and community service.

Congratulations to Professors Eugene Mele and Charlie Kane on 2015 Benjamin Franklin Medal Win

Professors Charles Kane and Eugene Mele along with Professor Shoucheng Zhang of Stanford University will be awarded the 2015 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics for their groundbreaking theoretical contributions leading to the discovery of a new class of materials called topological insulators, and for their prediction of specific compounds exhibiting the novel properties expected of these new materials. Both Professors are due to be honored with the medal April 23, 2015 at an award ceremony at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

Physics and Astronomy Professor Douglas Durian on Optimizing Crop Irrigation

Improving crop yields in marginal, sandy soils is critical to feeding the world’s growing population. But when water is added to dry soils—either from rainfall or irrigation sources—it tends to flow in channels, as opposed to spreading out evenly, an effect that prevents water from reaching all plant roots. Douglas Durian at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and his colleagues have now modeled sandy soils in the laboratory, identifying several strategies that can suppress the formation of water channels and ensure that water is more uniformly distributed to crops.

Congratulations to Professor Alison Sweeney for receiving the 2014 Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation announced Wednesday that Alison Sweeney, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania, will receive a 2014 Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering.

A Message from Penn President Amy Gutman on Packard Fellowship Win

Giant Clams Harness the Sun

Evolution in extreme environments has produced life forms with amazing abilities and traits. Beneath the waves, many creatures sport iridescent structures that rival what materials scientists can make in the laboratory.