Two men vape in a store in Philadelphia. Research is inconclusive on the health effects of e-cigarettes.­

E-Cigarettes: A Shiny Alternative To Smoking?

Smoking is cool again. Who would have thought? Just when many thought smoking was on the decline, with stomach-churning advertisements of charred lungs on public television and the preeminence of smoke-free environments, an alternative form of nicotine delivery is gaining popularity: high-tech e-cigarettes. One of the most popular of these is the JUUL, which accounts for 32 percent of the U.S. e-cigarette market share. The JUUL is about one-fifth the size of an iPhone and uses patented nicotine juice cartridges, called JUULpods.

Newborn clones Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua are named after the Chinese adjective “Zhōnghuá”, meaning “Chinese nation”.

Monkey Cloning Sparks Ethical Concerns, Profs say

Meet Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, two cloned macaque monkeys. Chinese scientists first unveiled these monkeys several weeks ago, marking the first time primates have been successfully cloned with the same method that created Dolly the sheep in 1996. Just as it did then, the science research community instantly raised ethical questions and concerns about human cloning. Theoretically, human cloning could be achieved in two ways. Reproductive human cloning would entail creating a living human, identical to another person previously or currently alive.

Petri dishes containing oil producing algae strains that could soon be experimented with using Prof. David Stern's bioreactor chip.

Algal Biofuel Reactors on a Chip to Revolutionize Renewable Energy Research

Most of the world’s oil reserves are buried kilometers under the Earth’s surface. With nations worldwide slowly waking up to its ecological impacts, our newest sources of oil may lie far below Cayuga’s waters, stored in a group of green, slimy organisms: algae. Algae are valuable because the natural oils they produce are remarkably similar to diesel. Using a simple conversion process, these oils can be used in vehicles that currently operate on fossil fuels. The issue, however, is efficiency.

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.

A view of the fading Kilonova, as captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Cornell Physicists Contribute to Discovery of Colliding Neutron Stars

On Oct. 16, astronomers announced that they had viewed a cosmic event, the collision of two neutron stars, through both light and gravitational waves. Over a thousand scientists working with LIGO, the U.S.-based Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory, and Virgo, an Italy based observatory, contributed to the ground-breaking discovery. Three of these researchers were Prof. Saul Teukolsky, physics and astrophysics, research associate Prayush Kumar and senior research associate Larry Kidder. Gravitational waves were first detected in late 2015.


Perils in the Pursuit for Scientific Novelty

Scientific research isn’t perfect, far from it. In fact, according to Richard Harris, correspondent at National Public Radio, the scientific process is in need of repair. Among the many issues, the limited ability to examine existing, mundane findings seems to be a consistent obstacle. At a lecture at Cornell on Oct. 16, Harris discussed his criticisms of the manner in which science research is published and presented.

A colorized image of the structure of the Zika Virus when examined using Cryo-EM.

Nobel Prize Winning Technology Demonstrates Merits of Interdisciplinary Collaboration, says Cornell Prof

Why are the most fundamental structural parts of the human body referred to as cells? Robert Hooke, the man who coined the term, thought they looked like cells in a monastery. But without a picture, this analogy would never have been possible. Microscopes, the fundamental instruments that make these pictures possible have gone a long way from 1665, when Hooke made his discoveries. Hooke looked at dead cells while today, we freeze biochemicals to view metabolic processes as they happen.