Ponder a fossil fuel-free world, then think art

June 20, 2017

A scene from “Lake House Stories” in the Imagining Energy Futures chapbook.

Disappearing ozone, rising seas and a world of environmental strife have forced all of the globe’s citizens to great underground cities – powered by renewable energy. It’s quite the fictional vision.

For Cornell’s 2017 Imagining Energy Futures: Undergraduate Science, Art and Design competition, the fictional short story “Underground: Project Gaia” by Reade Otto-Moudry ’17, Kayla Aulenbach ‘19 and Ashley Herzig ’18 won the $500 top prize.

“With the exception of the solar, wind and hydroelectric plants necessary to power the underground communities and the agricultural space needed to feed them, the land would be left untouched, giving nature time to heal without human interference,” wrote the students in their first-place story, available in a digital chapbook.

All of the competing students – from a variety of academic disciplines –contemplated a world free of fossil fuels, with their inventive work taking the forms of painting, audio, performance, video, photography and writing.

Other submissions making it into the chapbook include: “Black Hole Power Plant” by Scott Bollt ’19 and Dalton Price ‘20; “Lake House Stories” by Charisse Foo ‘18; “le carim” by Madeline Ugarte ‘19 and Sarah Dickerman ‘19; “The Nuclear Millenium: Collection of Journal Entries about the Nuclear World” by Laura Cvetkovski ‘20, Akira Shindo ’20 and Jia Yi Wang ‘20; “Exploding Horizons” by Gregory Kaiser ’20 and Tianmu Yu ‘20; and “When Skies are Gray” by Victoria Louison ‘17.

The contest was organized by Anindita Banerjee, associate professor of comparative literature; Debra Castillo, the Emerson Hinchliff Professor of Hispanic Studies; and Albert George, the John F. Carr Professor of Mechanical Engineering Emeritus. It was supported by the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies.

Keep those artistic and creative ideas flowing, as the next contest deadline looms Nov. 27, 2017.

-Blaine Friedlander

New student-run Vet College blog lasers in on science

June 6, 2017


"A science blog straight from the students and trainees of Cornell Vet" has published its first post, "Science, not Silence," about the experiences of College of Veterinary Medicine students, staff and faculty members at the April 22 March for Science in Washington, D.C.

“It is important to connect scientists with the community and humanize scientists in a way that shows, ‘hey we are working for you!’” says Dr. Tisha Bohr, a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Molecular Medicine.

Said Sabrina Solouki, a second-year graduate student in Immunology and Infectious Disease, “The scientific enterprise forms the fulcrum of our economy, our health system and our society. We as scientists need to reinforce the message that federal investment in research does not just benefit the scientific community alone, but also benefits every resident of this country.”

Read the post, by doctoral student Divya Shiroor, here.

The blog's board of editors plans to write about research, clinical cases, scientists and clinicians at the college, and applications of the college’s work to improve the health and well-being of animals and people. "These behind-the-scenes stories offer a peek inside our College for aspiring Cornell veterinary and graduate students, animal lovers, and anyone who is curious about science," they wrote. 

Cornell ranks No. 12 in most patents granted worldwide

June 6, 2017


The National Academy of Inventors and Intellectual Property Owners Association reported today that Cornell University ranks 12th in the Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Utility Patents.

Cornell was granted 105 utility patents during the 2016 calendar year.

The report uses data acquired from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to highlight the important role patents play in university research and innovation.

President signs on to make climate change progress

June 5, 2017

Jason Koski/University Photography
On April 18 students place price tags on trees in the Arts Quad that highlight the dollar value of the ecosystem services the trees provide, including energy savings, intercepting storm water runoff, air quality improvements and greenhouse gas reductions. Students were taking part in the course Creating the Urban Eden in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Cornell President Martha E. Pollack and the presidents of 11 other major U.S. research universities known as the “Ivy-Plus” group signed the following statement that was released today:

Affirmation of leading research universities’ commitment to progress on climate change
June 5, 2017

“In 2015, we were proud to be among 318 institutions of higher education in signing the American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge, affirming our commitment to accelerate the global transition to low-carbon energy while enhancing sustainable and resilient practices on our campuses.

“Today, we reaffirm that commitment, which is consistent with the Paris Agreement and recognizes the concerted action that is needed at every level to slow, and ultimately prevent, the rise in the global average temperature and to facilitate the transition to a clean energy economy. Universities have a critical role to play in reducing our own greenhouse gas emissions, continuing to advance evidence-based understanding of the causes and effects of climate change on the environment, the economy and public health, and developing solutions.

“The scientific consensus is clear that the climate is changing largely due to human activity, that the consequences of climate change are accelerating, and that the imperative of a low carbon future is increasingly urgent. As institutions of higher education, we remain committed to a broad-based global agreement on climate change and will do our part to ensure the United States can meet its contribution."


Christina Paxson, president, Brown University
Lee C. Bollinger, president, Columbia University
Martha E. Pollack, president, Cornell University
Philip J. Hanlon, president, Dartmouth College
Richard H. Brodhead, president, Duke University
John J. DeGioia, president, Georgetown University
Drew Gilpin Faust, president, Harvard University
Ronald J. Daniels, president, Johns Hopkins University
L. Rafael Reif, president, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Marc Tessier-Lavigne, president, Stanford University
Amy Gutmann, president, University of Pennsylvania
Peter Salovey, president, Yale University

The American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge of 2015 reads:

As institutions of higher education, we applaud the progress already made to promote clean energy and climate action as we seek a comprehensive, ambitious agreement at the upcoming United Nations Climate Negotiations in Paris. We recognize the urgent need to act now to avoid irreversible costs to our global community’s economic prosperity and public health and are optimistic that world leaders will reach an agreement to secure a transition to a low carbon future. Today our school pledges to accelerate the transition to low-carbon energy while enhancing sustainable and resilient practices across our campus.

New veterinarians 'can't stop the healing'

June 1, 2017

From Alaska to Argentina and many places in between, members of the College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2017 are now dispersed around the world sharing their knowledge and passion for advancing the health and well-being of animals and people. Enjoy this Justin Timberlake parody created by a group of talented students showing how prepared they are to take the next step in their careers.

Dairy execs meeting at Cornell don't skim over World Milk Day

June 1, 2017

Blaine Friedlander/Cornell Chronicle
Cornelia, the Stocking Hall lobby’s full-time model dairy cow, poses with the national dairy industry executives here at the university for business meetings.

What better whey to celebrate World Milk Day (June 1) and National Dairy Month but to drink milk, enjoy dairy products and figure how to make more. Executives from Dairy Management Inc., the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board and the United Dairy Industry Association held a board meeting for the first time on a college campus at Cornell.

After all, milk is the original nutrition and energy drink.

In addition to business discussions, the groups toured the Cornell Dairy Plant, heard Cornell faculty research presentations, held graduate student and industry roundtables – and washed it all down with smiles at a Cornell ice cream break.

The dairy executives maintain the national dairy checkoff program, to which most farmers contribute to boost demand. Remember the famous “Got Milk?” marketing campaign. That was a result of checkoff. The program contributes to Cornell dairy and food science research important to the state’s dairy industry.

World Milk Day – observed for 16 years – was established by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization as a way to note milk’s importance around the globe. In 2017, June’s Dairy Month celebrates its 80th year.

Blaine Friedlander

Cornell authors, Cornell books

June 1, 2017


A coach, a Deadhead and a biologist walk into a bookstore … and join several other Cornell authors for the 23rd annual Reunion Weekend Book Signing at The Cornell Store, Saturday, June 10, from noon to 2 p.m.

Among the authors with new books are Gino B. Bardi ’72, with his fictionalized undergraduate memoir, “The Cow in the Doorway: Love and Loss in the Time of Pot and Protest;” Peter Conners, with his Cornell University Press book “Cornell '77: The Music, the Myth, and the Magnificence of the Grateful Dead’s Concert at Barton Hall;” and Big Red Lacrosse Head Coach Emeritus Richie Moran and co-author Steve Lawrence with “It’s Great To Be Here!”

Other authors confirmed for the event include Anurag Agrawal, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, with “Monarchs and Milkweed: A Migrating Butterfly, a Poisonous Plant, and Their Remarkable Story of Coevolution;” Cheryl Strauss Einhorn ’91, with “Problem Solved: A Powerful System for Making Complex Decisions with Confidence and Conviction;” Anita Harris ’70, with “Ithaca Diaries: Coming of Age in the 1960s;” Robert Morgan, the Kappa Alpha Professor of English, with “Boone: A Biography” and "Gap Creek" and other novels; and Megan Shull ’91, M.S. ’94, Ph.D. ’98, with her young adult novels “The Swap” and “Bounce.”

Books available for purchase also include “Lift The Chorus, Speed it Onward: A Celebration of 100 Years of Cornell Track and Field and the TransAtlantic Series” by Artie Smith ’96, associate head coach of women’s track and field, who will be in Oregon with Cornell athletes competing in the NCAA Championships.

Daniel Aloi

Graduating computational biologists succeed in partnership

May 30, 2017

Neel Madhukar and Katie Gayvert are close friends driven by similar experiences of  family members developing tumors. Their award-winning, co-authored studies focus on applying machine learning techniques to predict drug efficacy to maximize benefits for patients.

Martial arts set medical student on career path

May 30, 2017

As a teenager, Jonathan Bar was required to learn first aid and CPR as a condition of earning his black belt in tae kwon do. That training set him on the path to his calling as an emergency medicine physician.

As weather warms, get outside - but stay safe in gorges

May 25, 2017

Two gorges run through the Cornell campus – Cascadilla and Fall Creek – representing more than 10,000 years of beauty and helping to make Cornell one of the world’s most iconic campuses. While the gorges are wonderful for recreation and hiking, they can be very dangerous.

Cornell encourages the community to visit the natural places that make Ithaca “gorges,” but asks that visitors practice respect and safety at all times when hiking or using the trails. Please follow all caution and regulation signs, which change throughout the year depending on weather and trail conditions. Swimming is strictly prohibited in Cornell’s gorges at all times.

The Nathaniel Rand ’12 Memorial Gorge Safety Education Program, Cornell’s gorge safety educational effort, is named in memory of a student who died in a gorge drowning accident in 2011. The program’s goal is to prevent future tragedies by informing visitors about safe and responsible use of the gorge trails.

The program includes educational initiatives such as gorge stewards, orientation hikes for new students and programming for orientation leaders and residence advisers. Watch the program's gorge safety video above, read its brochure and visit the Gorge Safety website.

To find 240 miles of safe hiking trails in the gorges and beyond, visit For a list and directions to safe swimming areas, visit