Symbolic of the gender inequality in STEM, 1927's Solvay Conference on Physics featured only one woman, Marie Curie (bottom row; third from left)

New Study Offers Insight Into Gender Imbalance in Higher Education

Gender inequality in science, technology, engineering and math has been a long documented issue, but a new study coming out of the Cornell Center for the Study of Inequality offers encouraging evidence of avenues to bridge this divide. Dafna Gelbgiser, grad, and Kyle Albert, grad, found that green fields in higher education tend to bridge the gender divide in both STEM and non-STEM fields. Gelbgiser defined green fields as those that contribute to green jobs, which provide goods or have production processes that benefit the environment. Examples of such fields include environmental science and sustainability studies. Gelbgiser explained that both she and Albert were interested in studying green fields since they could track “what happens when a new field of study emerges in terms of gender inequality in those fields.”

According to Gelbgiser, green fields are unique because they do not have clear roots in other disciplines.

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Cautious: Cornell Professors Comment on Trump’s Climate Change Policies

While Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter on Feb. 2, the nation had been experiencing one of the warmest months in decades. The United States Geological Survey has attributed the early advent of spring to the result of climate change. The Trump Administration, however, has no plans of taking this threat seriously. President Trump has famously tweeted that climate change is a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese and the recent reports of increasing federal budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency have been met with concerns.

Photo Courtesy Diane Sempler

Cornell Offers Online Course on Genetically Modified Organisms

Genetically Modified Organisms have been a topic of much controversy, even though they have been transforming the way we produce and consume food. Cornell is now offering a Massive Online Open Course on EdX, called ‘The Science and Politics of GMO’, to help students understand why “the GMO is politically contentious.”

Starting September 13, 2016 this five week interdisciplinary course will provide an introduction to genetic engineering and biotechnology in the context of GMOs and help study the politics of GMO at both an individual and a societal level, according to the course website. The course is taught by professors across disciplines,and that is what makes it unique. Prof. Sarah Evanega, plant breeding and genetics, Prof. Ronald Herring, government, Prof. David Just, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Jaron Porciello, Associate Director, Research Data Engagement and Training in International Programs and Rebecca Harrison, grad come together to comment on and explain this issue in a multifaceted manner. Just rightly describes the course as a “marriage of science and social science.”

“The GMO issue consists of a new technology with great promise, and the social movements and consumer reactions to that new technology,“ he said.

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Cornell Researchers Use CO2 to Make Electricity

Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have been long characterized as one of the leading causes of global warming. And with the seemingly limitless sources of emission — from general breathing of countless living species to vehicular and industrial emissions — the amount of carbon dioxide seems to be ever increasing. It is then, a huge waste of a resource when you consider how comparatively limited the human use of this abundant gas is. The paper “The O2-assisted Al/CO2 electrochemical cell: A system for CO2 capture/conversion and electric power generation”, published in Science Advances, aims to change that. Prof. Lynden Archer, chemical and biomolecular engineering, the James A. Friend Family Distinguished Professor of Engineering, and Wajdi Al Sadat, grad — who are the authors of this paper — have created a cell which can use carbon dioxide to produce electricity via electrochemical reactions.

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Cornell, University of Queensland Offer Free Online Shark Course

Already excited for shark week? Can’t get enough of the sharp toothed fish? Well, you’re in luck. Cornell University, in collaboration with The University of Queensland, has created a Massive Open Online Course on sharks titled ‘Sharks! Global Biodiversity, Biology and Conservation.’

The course is free and focuses on the total diversity of living cartilaginous fishes — the larger group of about 1,200 living species that includes the sharks, rays, and ratfishes, according to Prof.William Bemis, ecology and evolutionary biology, an instructor for the course.

Students surveying land for Bridge Construction

Student Team Supports Sustainable, Collaborative Development

While many of us often dream of  making the world a better place, a small group of students at Cornell are working hard to turn that dream into reality. Members from Cornell’ s chapter of Engineers Without Borders will be spending the summer in Calcha, Bolivia, building a bridge that would help the local community become more sustainable. Started during the 2011- 2012 academic year, this is EWB Cornell’s first project. Yezy Lim’ 17, executive board member, explained that one of the biggest problems that the rural community of Calcha faces is that of a lack of water and an access to farmland. “…[it’s not] because they don’t make food, they just can’t collect the food during harvest time,” Lim said.