Professor McAllister

Cornell Professor Examines History of the Universe

“Where did we all come from?” is the question Professor Liam McAllister, physics, tries to answer every day. McAllister’s research focuses on string theory, a cutting-edge scientific inquiry that remodels matter as a series of strings. Part of string theory’s appeal to modern mathematicians and physicists is its ability to unite quantum mechanics and gravitational laws. Currently, physicists view the world as a composition of matter and energy and have been able to redefine the approach to understanding the molecular world. However, despite the important jumps quantum physics has allowed scientists to make, there are still questions about the magnitude or scale of quantum theory, especially in application to the early universe.

Demonstrators listen to a keynote speaker at Ithaca's March for Science.

Hundreds Participate in Ithaca’s March for Science

For some, science is more than a lifelong passion or a suitable career path: it’s the difference between life and death. Carrie Lazarre, a Tompkins County resident who has been suffering from stage IV colon cancer for the past decade, says that sustained colon cancer research has been crucial in keeping her alive all these years. Along with hundreds of others, Lazarre chose to participate in the March for Science at the Bernie Milton Pavilion on Ithaca Commons on April 22 to showcase the importance of science for everyday Americans. The march was part of a larger endeavor across the United States and the world to stand up for science research, funding and policy. The main event, which attracted approximately 40,000 people, took place in Washington D.C., with satellite marches in around 500 locations across the United States.

pg 3 news EERI

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.


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.


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.