Pennsylvania State University

Penn State is a multi-campus public research university that educates students from Pennsylvania, the nation and the world. It improves the well-being and health of individuals and communities through integrated programs of teaching, research, and service.

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A solar eclipse observed over Grand Canyon National Park in May 2012. Grand Canyon National Park

How eclipses were regarded as omens in the ancient world

More than 2,000 years ago, the Babylonians understood the cycle of eclipses. They also regarded them as signs that could foretell the death of a king.
Six million people in Pennsylvania and neighboring states get their drinking water from the Susquehanna River. Major pollution sources include agriculture, urban development and industry. Nicholas A. Tonelli

Is your drinking water safe? Here’s how you can find out

America's drinking water infrastructure is aging and needs billions of dollars in upgrades. Two extension educators urge consumers to monitor their water and have it tested if they suspect problems.
Consumers often distrust mission-driven groups that earn profits. Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock.com

A big hurdle do-good companies face

People may initially assume the worst when they encounter for-profit companies with social missions. What can these social ventures with good intentions do to gain people’s support?
Oak Grove Acapella Singers, a Gospel group of Chester County, Tennessee, being recorded while singing in the office of the preacher at the Oak Grove Church of Christ. Tennessee State Library and Archives

When gospel sermons came on the phonograph

As the African-American Music Appreciation Month comes to a close, a scholar discusses the role of early preachers in shaping gospel music.
St. Louis Rams draft pick Michael Sam speaks during a news conference at the team’s practice facility in May 2014. Jeff Roberson/AP

What happened to the openly gay athlete?

Since Michael Sam came out in 2014, no one in the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL has done the same. Are the barriers to coming out still holding firm? Or are there signs that the tide could soon turn?
A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is removed on Friday, May 19, 2017, from Lee Circle in New Orleans. AP Photo/Scott Threlkeld

Why taking down Confederate memorials is only a first step

Monuments to the Confederacy in New Orleans and many other cities are problematic. But a mere erasure will not address the issues around racism and racial inequality.
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington in 2011. AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File

Mueller’s threats to resign reveal his character

How will Mueller perform as special counsel? A historian compares his actions with another former FBI director to find out.
Tornado seven miles south of Anadarko, Oklahoma, May 3, 1999. OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory/Flickr

Understanding tornadoes: 5 questions answered

More tornadoes occur in the United States than in any other country, mainly in the Great Plains, the Midwest and southern states. Two meteorology professors explain what causes these dangerous storms.
Daniel Day-Lewis won the 2012 Academy Award for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln. Is Spielberg’s historical drama a good way to learn about the 16th U.S. president? Touchstone Pictures

Are movies a good way to learn history?

History movies may have Oscar potential, but their educational potential is more complicated. Should teachers use Hollywood to teach?

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