Prof Karl Niklas talks about the Titan Arum

A ‘Stinky’ Wonder: Cornell’s Titan Arum ‘Wee Stinky’ to Blossom Tonight

Although the scent of damp, dense, greenery is overwhelming, it is the rotten fish smell that overpowers your nostrils. As you step closer, the monstrous spadix and purple flower come into view matching the pungent aroma that has overtaken the forest. What living species could possibly have such dramatic characteristics? Native to the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia, Amorphophallus titanum, commonly called the titan arum, has the largest unbranched flowering structure of any plant. From a seedling, it takes about eight to 10 years for the plant to reach the size at which it blooms. This plant is known for its theatrical and malodorous blooming.


Cornell Energy Connection Explains Changes in The Energy Industry, Promotes Collaboration

The Cornell Energy Club recently hosted its sixth annual Cornell Energy Connection event. Cornell Energy Connection was attended by approximately 60 members of the Cornell community ranging from both undergraduate and graduate students interested in the energy industry to alums currently working in the field. The theme of this year’s event, “Transformation and Turbulence in The Energy Industry,” was tackled in speeches given by energy industry leaders and by interactive networking activities. The discussion included development of new energy sources, the expansion of renewable energy and the impact of new energy sources on traditional energy. Keynote speeches included remarks by energy policy expert Katherine Hamilton ’83, the principal at and founder of 38 North Solutions, and Jigar Shah, co-founder of Generate Capital and founder of SunEdison.

Thermal vacuum chamber where the CubeSat was tested.

Research Team Prototypes Spacecraft Propelled by Water

What would you explore if you owned your own spacecraft? The rings of Saturn? The surface of Mars? Research conducted by Cornell University’s Cislunar Explorers could soon make these dreams a reality. By trying to create a spacecraft capable of using water as rocket fuel, Prof. Mason Peck, mechanical and aerospace engineering, and his team of engineers, hopes to revolutionize space exploration.

Doug Antczak: the man behind the discovery

Researchers Uncover Genetic Variations Responsible for Tumor Virus in Horses

At Cornell University’s Baker Institute for Animal Health, groundbreaking horse health research is not surprising but standard. Such is the tone with which Prof. Doug Antczak ’69, animal science, refers to various scientific feats that have emerged from the 66-year-old facility, although the professor mentions the endeavors of his predecessors before his own work. Regardless, Antczak, in collaboration with colleagues from Cornell University, the University of Glasgow, Iowa State University and the University of Florida, recently published findings from a research project of their own. The team proposed that genetic differences in horse species could allow for papillomavirus-induced sarcoid (skin) tumors to grow in some horses and not others. This papillomavirus is similar to one found in humans, known as Human Papillomavirus (HPV), and the group’s findings could shed light on whether certain people are more susceptible to the virus and subsequently the cervical cancer it causes.

The 2016 canoe, Thrakos makes it's debut at the competition.

Team Spotlight | Project Team Constructs ‘Concrete Canoe’

We’ve all seen wood float and rocks sink in water. This is why boats are usually made of wood and other light materials. But could a boat made out of concrete float? A group of Cornell undergraduates attempt to accomplish that feat every year. Cornell’s concrete canoe — an engineering project team associated with Cornell’s civil and environmental engineering school — strives to create a canoe from concrete for the American Society for Civil Engineers’ annual Upstate New York regional competition.

Columns in optical slices from a living zebrafish at different locations. The slice on the left is in the spinal cord; images to the right are in the brain.

Left or Right? Researchers Study How Zebrafish Make Decisions

Imagine you are a larval zebrafish. You hear something: the sound of a predator racing towards you. You turn hard to your left. How did you decide to turn left instead of right? Prof. Joseph R. Fetcho, neurobiology and behavior, and colleagues followed how this decision is made by mapping the circuit of neurons from the sensory input of the sound of a potential predator to the behavioral output of the actual muscle movement in their study: ‘A circuit motif in the zebrafish hindbrain for a two alternative behavioral choice to turn left or right.’

Zebrafish turn rapidly to the left or right as an escape behavior when they perceive signs of predators.

Victoria Lily blooms in Cornell's Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium

Vibrant Victoria Lily Blooms on Campus

With packed schedules consisting of back to back lectures, studying for prelims, clubs, sports and part-time jobs, Cornell students are always on the move. Among this hustle and bustle of campus life, a moment of serenity is immensely valuable. Sometimes considered a zoo of plants, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium is a special oasis to escape the busy life on campus and appreciate the biodiversity of the world. Maintained by the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, the hortorium consists of several conservatory houses in the Plant Biology Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science. This past summer, a plant in the Nymphaeaceae family, commonly known as the Victoria lily, was moved the Palm House and is now a waterfall feature.

Sarah Hind stands with her team members.

Cornell Researchers Determine Receptor Responsible For Immunity in Tomatoes

For a fruit, tomatoes are strangely ubiquitous, appearing in everything from ketchup to BLT sandwiches. In fact, the average American eats about 23 pounds of tomatoes each year, with half of the weight located in tomato sauce. When Sarah Refi Hind, a research associate at Boyce Thompson Institute, began work as an undergraduate, she became intrigued by the fruit and began research involving tomato defense against insects. Why did Hind choose to study the tomato? Part of the intrigue of tomatoes is that, unlike most plants used in research, they are not weeds.

A yellow-rumped warbler sits in hybridization region in western Canada

Genomic Testing Suggests ‘Butterbutt’ Warbler is Three Distinct Species

Warblers are small, perching, singing birds that may seem similar to one another to the untrained eye and ear. But for David Toews, a postdoctoral researcher at the Fuller Evolutionary Biology Program of Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology, these colorful woodland birds are anything but similar. In particular, one specific species of warbler can actually be differentiated into three separate species — a breakthrough that spells out a slew of new knowledge and questions in our understanding of genomics and conservation. In a study entitled “Genomic variation across the Yellow-rumped Warbler species complex” published in The Auk: Ornithological Advances, the Yellow-rumped warbler, affectionately called the “butterbutt” warbler, has been subject to new genomic analysis methods that have confirmed the species to be three closely related species. These grey, yellow streaked warblers are migratory, insect-eating birds that spend their summers in the boreal forests of North America and winters in the southern U.S. and Central America.