Dietrich School Mathematicians Explain How Some Fireflies Flash in Sync

Stake out in Pennsylvania’s Cook State Forest at the right time of year and you can see one of nature’s great light shows: swarms of fireflies that synchronize their flashes like strings of Christmas lights in the dark. A new study by Dietrich School mathematicians shows that math borrowed from neuroscience can describe how swarms of these unique insects coordinate their light show, capturing key details about how they behave in the wild.

Dietrich School physicists
Dietrich School Physicists Break Down How Cells Communicate

“Cells need to work together to perform complex tasks — that can include synchronizing together, performing a function all at once,” said Ryan Lefebre, co-lead author of the paper and a physics PhD student in the Dietrich School. “You would think that the better they can communicate with each other, the more they’d become more synchronized. But that’s not quite true.”

Courtney Colligan
Dietrich School, Humanities Engage Alumna Uses Performance and Writing to Help People in Prison Overcome Trauma

“The vision for the Unit Literacy Group is more than just continuing education,” said Courtney Colligan (A&S '22G). “The ULG grounds itself in recovery by rectifying literacy gaps, building self-esteem and self-worth and fighting against the carceral state — and, within that state, the disillusionment of the detained.”

Peter Wipf
Dietrich School Faculty Member Recognized for Creative Chemistry

Peter Wipf, a distinguished professor in the Dietrich School's Department of Chemistry, has received the 2023 Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from the American Chemical Society.

compass of excellence
Dietrich School Faculty Honored by American Physical Society

Chandralekha Singh and Vittorio Paolone, faculty members in the Dietrich School's Department of Physics and Astronomy, have received honors from the American Physical Society, their discipline’s leading organization.

Evan Schneider
Dietrich School Faculty Member Named Packard Fellow

Evan Schneider, whose research focuses on the digital modeling of galaxies, has become the third faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh to be named a Packard Fellow since the award’s inception in 1988. Schneider, an assistant professor in the Dietrich School's Department of Physics and Astronomy, is one of 20 early career professors nationwide to receive a Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering.

Jennifer Bertetto
Dietrich School Alumna Named Publisher of the Year

Dietrich School alumna Jennifer Bertetto (A&S '97), president and CEO of Trib Total Media, has been recognized as Publisher of the Year by Editor & Publisher, the leading trade publication for the newspaper industry. Editor & Publisher names its Publisher of the Year annually to honor a publisher “who has risen above the rest and accomplished what seems like the impossible, outmaneuvering the competition, outthinking the future and maintaining profitability.”

Heinz Chapel in the Fall
A Message Regarding Recent Campus Crime Alerts

In the past several weeks, the Pitt community has received crime alerts from Pitt Police about incidents both on and off campus. The Dietrich School is committed to the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff, and these incidents are deeply concerning. To learn more about the University's response and the resources that are available to support our community, please read the statements from Carla Panzella, Dean of Students, and Ted Fritz, Vice Chancellor for Public Safety and Emergency Management.

Pitt cornerstone
Pitt Alumni Association Honors Three Dietrich School Graduates

Deborah J. Gillotti (A&S ’77), Kevin J. Zedack (A&S ’17), and Christopher Luccy, DMD, (A&S ’70, DEN ’73), were recognized for their contributions and achievements during the University's Homecoming celebration. Read more about these remarkable Dietrich School graduates.

Cathedral of Learning in Fall
Dietrich School Students Recognized for "Spirit of Pitt"

The University of Pittsburgh’s homecoming is a time to celebrate reunions, make new connections and honor traditions new and old. In 2021, the Pitt Alumni Association (PAA) put a new spin on a cherished custom by rebranding the phrase “Homecoming court” to the “Spirit of Pitt.” The effort is a gender-neutral academic award for two students chosen from a group of juniors and seniors who meet specific criteria, including exhibiting academic excellence, engaging in community service and embodying the values of the PAA.

Dietrich School Distinguished Professor Elected President of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology

Edouard Machery, distinguished professor in the Dietrich School, has been elected president of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology for 2023-24. The society is a professional organization for “philosophically interested psychologists and psychologically interested philosophers” in North America.

Cathedral of Learning through the trees
Dietrich School Biologists Are Making Fieldwork More Equitable

Doing research outside of the lab is important to career advancement in scientific fields like ecology, geology and paleontology, but it comes with a host of unique challenges. That’s why a team from the Dietrich School’s Department of Biological Sciences developed a guide for making fieldwork safer and more equitable, especially for researchers from marginalized groups.

Lillian Chong
Dietrich School Chemist Featured in Pittwire

Lillian Chong, a professor in the Dietrich School's Department of Chemistry, creates simulations that mimic biological processes too small and too fast to be observed by even the most sophisticated microscope. The result is videos that show what’s happening with every atom of a protein cell, down to the quadrillionth — a million billionth — of a second. Using this technology, Chong helped crack the mystery of how the coronavirus’s spike protein opens in order to attach to human cells.

Panther statue
Dietrich School Undergraduates Among Inaugural Voyager Scholars

Four juniors from the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences are among the first recipients of the Voyager Scholarship. The initiative, created by the Obama Foundation and supported by Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky, gives students who want to pursue a career in public service up to $50,000 in financial aid as they finish college and a $10,000 stipend for a “summer voyage” to gain exposure to new communities and experience in their field. The University of Pittsburgh tied with Howard University for the fourth-highest number of Voyager Scholarship recipients of any institution of higher learning in the country, and the most of any school in Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh bridge across the water at night
New Study By Dietrich School Geologists Maps How Metal Pollutants Have Traveled Across the City

Pittsburgh’s steel industry may be largely in the past, but its legacy lives on in city soils. New research led by Dietrich School geologists shows how historical coking and smelting dropped toxic metals in Pittsburgh’s soil, particularly in the eastern half of the city.