Prof. Johannes Lehmann, soil and crop sciences, discusses soil carbon at COP 23.

Cornell Students, Professors Participate in UN Climate Conference

Sixteen of the 17 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001. However, progress toward minimizing increases in global temperatures is slowly being made. In 2015, 198 countries signed the Paris Climate Agreement, the first major pledge by countries to limit global temperatures to 2 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels. Now leaders and academics from around the world will be returning to the conference at which the historic agreement was signed, the 23rd Conference of the Parties in Bonn, Germany from Nov. 6 to 13.


Pollack Addresses Increasing Enrollment in Computer Science Classes

President Martha Pollack answered questions from members of Cornell’s computer science community on her academic interests and vision for the computing and information sciences department on Monday. With the number of students enrolled in computer science classes increasing every year, members in the audience raised the issue of the lack of small CS classes that encourage greater interaction between professors and students. Assuaging some of these concerns, Pollack said the CIS department has been given the authority to hire more faculty. However, she also acknowledged that this problem is faced by most institutions across the country. “The problem is everyone wants to do that and I don’t have an easy solution,” Pollack said.

Images demonstrating the growth of cells in the 3-D printed device (L) compared to static conditions (R). Mucus growth (red) is more pronounced in the bioreactor, leading to healthier cells.

3D Printed Artificial Small Intestine to Advance Research on Gut Bacteria

What ingredients would you need to recreate the organ that enables you to digest your salad? According to Prof. John March, biological and environmental engineering, a 3-D printer would suffice. Together with researchers from his lab, March used 3-D printing technology to create a microscopic artificial small intestine. Unlike previous attempts, the Cornell device recreates the natural contraction and relaxation of muscles — peristalsis — in the small intestine. Without this fundamental feature, researchers have been unable to completely understand the biology that underlies the working of the organ.

The obelisk depicting the asteroid belt, with the world's only unguarded meteorite at its base.

Ithacans Celebrate Sagan’s Achievements at Planet Walk

For most, travelling to the outer reaches of the solar system is a distant dream. But through the Sagan Planet Walk, organized by the Cornell Society of Physics Students, a tour of all the planets is still possible. The event, attended by over a 100 Ithacans, took place on Saturday. The walk follows 11 monolithic pillars placed along a 0.73 mile path, beginning with one depicting the Sun in the center of the Ithaca Commons and ends with Pluto at Ithaca Sciencenter. Each obelisk contains a circular frame with a small hole, the size of which depicts the planet’s size relative to the Sun.

A user submitted image of an unafraid bear moving through private property.

Citizen Scientists Lead Wildlife Conservation Effort With New App

Touchdown, Cornell’s unofficial mascot, is the only red bear in New York. But the state is home to at least 6,000 to 8,000 black bears, spread across all forms of terrain. Tracking all of them proves to be a significant challenge for New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation, the agency tasked with the welfare of these animals. However, the development of a new mobile app at Cornell, named iSeeMammals, could soon revolutionize how data about bears and their presence is collected. “We have approximately 200 research sites every summer across the Southern Tier, but we still can’t get everywhere.

Higher calorie foods, like chocolate cake, could be among those used to obtain an optimal level of sweetness.

Cornell Study: Reduced Taste Causes Higher Calorie Intake

For those of us with a sweet tooth, an extra helping of dessert can seem irresistible. Nutritionists and doctors though, do not dismiss this as an arbitrary craving. In fact, many have hypothesized that a key cause behind these cravings is a diminished ability to taste sweet compounds. A new study by Prof. Robin Dando, food science, hopes to shed light on this mechanism and could have serious implications on how obesity is managed. “Several research projects in the past have found that taste is weakened in the obese.

Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Weill Researchers to Partake in Astrobiology Experiments During Eclipse

According to an ancient Korean myth, fire dogs sent by a power hungry king attempt to steal the fiery sun or ice cold moon. When they bite either orb, an eclipse results. But on August 21st, as parts of the United States are treated to a total solar eclipse, astronomers all over the country will not be searching for these creatures. Instead, they shall be taking part in experiments to try to understand the plasma around the Sun, the Earth’s atmosphere and the ability of life to survive beyond Earth. Researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine will be analyzing data gathered during one such experiment.

Fishermen inspect monofilament fishing lines on Lake Victoria’s shore.

Cornell Researcher Explains Effect of Human Illnesses on the Environment

Predictions of the likely effects of climate change are plentiful in scientific journals. Warnings of smog-engulfed cities, rising precipitation levels and the resultant changing landscape of diseases already seem to be realities in parts of the world. While the causes of such rapid change may be clear, one Cornell researcher believes that there is another avenue left to explore: the effect that human illnesses have on the environment. “A lot of the ways that we’ve thought about this in the past is by considering how the environment affects our health. In this study we examine the other side: how our health might affect the environment.

The AguaClara team at one of their drinking water treatment plants in Honduras.

Team Spotlight: AguaClara — Clean Water for All

Imagine waking up and opening the tap to muddy water. According to the World Health Organization, that is the predicament that 1.8 billion people worldwide find themselves in. Often water treatment plants are expensive and require too much energy to run. A team at Cornell hopes to change that. Pristine, crystal clear water is a luxury, AguaClara hopes to make it a right.