Christopher Alabi’s Polymers and the Keys to Academic Success

With the help of Prof. Christopher Alabi, chemical and biomolecular engineering, our cracked cell phone screens may one day heal themselves. Alabi’s research focuses on polymers, molecules formed from smaller subunits that can be found in many aspects of our daily lives — ranging from almost any kind of plastic to the proteins in our bodies.

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Cornell Engineers Turn to Nature for Solving Machinery’s Age Old Dilemma

While machines seem to have boundless capabilities, there has been one factor limiting machines since their inception: heat. Cornell engineers, Prof. Rob Shepherd, mechanical and aerospace engineering, and Prof. Emmanuel Giannelis, material science and engineering, sought to battle heat through sweating — the same method employed by students walking up the slope on a hot summer day. Shepherd and Gianelis employed 3D-printing techniques to stimulate sweating in robots, which they are currently testing on a robotic hand. High powered robots currently require maintenance after extended use because of the heat they build up during use. One of the collaborators from Shepherd’s Organic Robotics Lab, Anand Mishra, told The Sun the initial research project was “bio-inspired” — the basic functions of living things influenced the researchers, prompting them to design this multifunctional robotic hand.

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BETTEZ | Why it’s Good Fewer White Men are Admitted into the College of Engineering

At the beginning of the fall semester, I wrote an article about the gender ratio in the engineering school, and the ways that Cornell’s College of Engineering could better create a more inclusive environment towards women. I received a lot of supportive feedback on the article, but I was particularly struck by the backlash. The comment section of the Facebook post  was filled with people who claimed that women, and as they inferred, people of color, were stealing valuable spots from white men who were more “deserving”; namely, they had better grades and more previous experience in engineering. They just couldn’t seem to comprehend why it’s genuinely necessary to have diversity in a field that literally shapes the world a vast majority of the population lives in. Even aside from the obvious ethical and moral necessity of student body diversity at a world-class university like Cornell, diversity is crucial for the future and success of the school.

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BETTEZ | Let’s Reconsider Our ENGRIs

If you spend enough time on the engineering quad, you’ll eventually hear some variation of this: “I was going to do [insert some engineering major], but then I took the ENGRI for it and it was awful.” The Introduction to Engineering classes, or ENGRIs (pronounced by sounding out each letter), that all engineering freshmen are required to take to explore a major are good for one thing: elimination. They come from a well-meaning place from the engineering administrators, who are aware that the rigid scheduling locks us securely into our majors before we can get a good sense of what they’ll be like. They attempt to let us explore majors we’re considering more before we fully commit to the years-long process of knocking out our flowcharts of requirements one by one. But the fact that we’re only supposed to take one of these classes can lead to some unfortunate consequences. It means that those fairly certain about their major, and those who like or feel neutral enough about their ENGRI, often end up choosing it because they’ve never known anything about the other majors.

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Undergraduate Research Shines at CURB Fall Forum

CURB aims to promote undergraduate research on campus, and the fall forum is one platform that allows students to do so. The event was organized by the symposium committee and encourages research from a diverse array of disciplines including biological sciences, engineering and applied science and social sciences.