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Cornell’s Seismic Design Team Judged Best in Worldwide Competition

Cornell University outperformed Stanford University and California State Polytechnic University while unseating three-time winner Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania during the 2017 EERI Seismic Design Competition in Portland, Oregon this Friday. The annual Seismic Design Competition is a week-long event organized by the Student Leadership Council, which is a part of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. The aim of the competition is to provide undergraduate students with “practical experience in the earthquake engineering field,” according to the website. During the competition, each team had to ensure its building survived three-different categories of ground motions, which the team’s captain Scott Kaufman ’18 called “a nervous yet exciting time.” The teams whose buildings did not survive the shake test were automatically knocked down to a lower category. This is what happened to the Cornellians who came in 21st in 2015, and Kaufman and his team members were not ready to relive that experience.

Recap | Quantum Puzzles, Quantum Randomness and Quantum Teleportation

Quantum teleportation may sound like a futuristic means of travel, but it occurs at the particle level. It can enable encryption that is essentially unbreakable. As part of the physics department’s Fall 2016 Bethe Lecture, Prof. Anton Zeilinger, physics, University of Vienna, discussed concepts in quantum theory that could revolutionize information technology. The Bethe Lectures is a lectureship endowed by Cornell University to honor Hans Albrecht Bethe, who led the physics department and was awarded the 1967 Nobel Prize in physics for his contributions to the theory of nuclear reactions. Quantum physics describes the nature of matter on the atomic and subatomic scale.

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Three Takes on Arrival

“What happens now?”

“They arrive.”

by Elyes Benatar

Arrival. The title itself echoes as a strike against convention. This is not a film about aliens invading. It’s a film about aliens arriving. It’s a film that presents a realistic narrative about humanity’s attempts at contact and interaction with extraterrestrial beings.

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DEEP DIVES | Autopsy: An Underused Resource

The room in which I learned the most this past summer might surprise you. It was not a room in a library, an office, or a classroom filled with books and papers. Rather, it was in a room in a hospital basement connecting to a morgue with human bodies and organ specimens. In this room, I saw two autopsies. An autopsy is a postmortem examination to discover the cause of death or the extent of disease in the deceased individual.

LEUNG | The Mergence

When I first caught sight of the Biosphère in Montreal, Quebec, I remember telling my parents that I had to see it up close. I was struck by the design of the exterior of the sphere, a fantastic webbing of steel and acrylic cells. It was a structure that I could see looming over Parc Jean-Drapeau from my spot in downtown Montreal, a lace orb that stood out among the dense trees of the island and contrasted with the uniformity of the city’s buildings. Upon arriving on the island, I realized that the Biosphère holds an interactive environment museum that showcases exhibitions on major environmental issues as well as activities that allow the public to learn about water, climate change, air and sustainable development. I paid a fee I thought to be too expensive for the “knowledge” I would gain from the museum.

DAVIES | Illusory Intelligence

The technical possibilities of tomorrow are just as incredible as those of the 1950s because they are real. Simultaneously everything is within reach and nothing. We use new technologies but few people understand their function. Machines, programs and devices on the horizon, rushing towards us, will be far less widely understood than would those of the 20th century, had they come to pass. It is conceivable that most people, with a modicum of study, could understand the functioning of a color TV or a flying car depicted in a pulp science fiction book.

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Cornell Alums Create App to Help Dementia Patients Remember

Dementia can be truly debilitating. Categorized by the World Health Organization as a syndrome “in which there is deterioration in cognitive function,” it is a major cause of dependency in the elderly. However, a team of Cornell alumni hopes to ease this process and help dementia patients have meaningful interactions with their loved ones. Over 47.5 million people suffer from dementia, with numbers expected to grow to 135.5 million by 2030. However, the true economic and social cost to individuals and their families is incalculable.