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The College of Arts and Sciences' communications office works closely with Cornell's Media Relations Office. As the College's representatives to media, we connect faculty experts and thought leaders to local, regional, national and international media organizations. 

Contacts:

Linda Glaser, Publicist

o: 607-255-8942    c: 973-650-8172    lbg37@cornell.edu

Tricia Barry, Communications Director

o: 607-255-7165    c: 607-377-6596    triciabarry@cornell.edu

 

Current press statements from Arts & Sciences faculty:

Gravitational Waves

Gravitational waves announcement ushers in new era of multi-messenger astronomy - October 16, 2017

For the first time, scientists have directly detected gravitational waves in addition to light, from the spectacular collision of two neutron stars. This marks the first time that a cosmic event has been viewed in both gravitational waves and light. Cornell University physicists, who played a vital role in validating the detection of gravitational waves, are available to offer an independent analysis on the cosmic event.

Cornell University physics and astronomy professor Saul Teukolsky has been using supercomputers to solve Einstein’s equations for black hole mergers for much of his career. Teukolsky and the Cornell-founded Simulation of eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) collaboration group have been calculating and completing a full catalog of theoretical solutions since 2000, when supercomputers first became capable of the task. He says:

“We've been very lucky. The first discovery of gravitational waves from colliding neutron stars was also detected as a gamma-ray burst and by a host of other telescopes across the electromagnetic spectrum.

“This is something we only expected to be able to do several years from now. A whole new subfield of astronomy has been opened up.”

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Prayush Kumar is a research associate in Cornell University’s Department of Astronomy and the Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science. He says:

“This discovery is both exciting and revealing! Binary systems of neutron stars have long been thought to emit both gravitational waves and gamma rays as they merge to form a black hole. The gravitational signal GW170817 is a coincident detection of both forms of energy from such a binary, by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and a host of telescopes around the world. 

“Not only is it the first neutron star collision seen by LIGO, it also confirms our expectation of neutron stars being responsible for commonly-seen cosmic gamma-ray bursts.

“We were very fortunate to find a source this close. It allowed us to unravel a long-standing puzzle in astrophysics. Now, we are all excited to see what comes next.”

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Lawrence Kidder is a senior research associate in Cornell University’s Department of Astronomy and the Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science, and a co-leader of the SXS collaboration. He says:

“The era of multi-messenger astronomy is born. Observations of the merger of two neutron stars via gravitational waves and multiple types of electromagnetic radiation have provided new insights and raised new questions about neutron stars and gamma-ray bursts, as well as enabling new tests of general relativity and cosmology. 

“This event illustrates the tremendous potential of gravitational-wave and multi-messenger astronomy.”

For interviews contact:

Daryl Lovell

office: 607-254-4799

cell: 607-592-3925

NAFTA Struggles

NAFTA struggles to regulate increasingly global supply chain - October 9, 2017

The fourth round of negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) resumes in Washington on Wednesday, amidst concerns that these talks may end in an impasse between the Trump administration and the governments of Mexico and Canada. A Cornell University expert comments on the status of the negotiations and what they mean for the countries involved and the global economy and are available for media interviews

Gustavo Flores-Macias, professor of government at Cornell University and former director of public affairs in Mexico’s Consumer Protection Agency, says American demands are increasingly unacceptable to Mexico and Canada, which are both facing domestic elections next year.

Por favor ten en cuenta que Gustavo Flores-Macias, puede ser entrevistado en español.

Flores-Macias says:

"This week’s negotiations will focus on the most contentious issues so far. In addition to demanding more favorable terms in rules of origin and government procurement, the White House wants to eliminate NAFTA’s dispute-resolution mechanism and include a provision that expires the agreement automatically every few years unless countries agree to extend it.

“The U.S. position seems to be designed so that in the end no agreement is reached. Canada and Mexico consider these demands unacceptable, and their margin for maneuver is becoming increasingly narrow as next year’s elections approach in the three countries. If the three countries fail to reach an agreement, there would be serious consequences for the U.S. Greater trade barriers would result in:

- Increased migration from Mexico because of economic hardship south of the border
- Higher prices and fewer goods for Americans
- A major opportunity for China to expand its commercial influence
​- The strengthening of anti-U.S. candidates in Mexico’s 2018 presidential election."

For interviews contact:

Rebecca Valli
office: 202-434-8049
cell: 607-793-1025
rv234@cornell.edu

Behavioral Economics and the Nobel

Nobel winner linked human psychology to economic behavior - October 9, 2017

University of Chicago professor and former Cornell University academic Richard Thaler was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economic Science on Monday for his contribution in the field of behavioral economics. Tom Gilovich, professor of psychology at Cornell, also works in the field of behavioral economics and is a close associate of Thaler. He comments on the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences decision and says Thaler’s work helped create a more realistic economics.  

Video of Tom Gilovich, Richard Thaler and other panelists speaking about the “Behavioural Economics Revolution” in 2015: http://www.cornell.edu/video/behavioral-economics-revolution 

 Gilovich says:

“For anyone who cares about human behavior, Richard led the way in creating a more realistic economics, one informed by knowing about the capacities and limitations of the human mind.

“And for those Cornellians who were here in the 80s and 90s, he made this a more exciting place to tackle questions about consequential human behavior.”

 

For interviews contact:
Rebecca Valli
office: 202-434-8049
cell: 607-793-1025
rv234@cornell.edu

 

 

Cornell Physicists Talk Nobel Prize

Cornell physicists honored to play vital role in validating detection of gravitational waves - October 3, 2017

Today, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2017 to physicists Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish, and Kip S. Thorne, for “decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves.” In this video, Kip S. Thorne talks about the detection of gravitational waves as a guest speaker at Cornell University in April 2016.

Cornell physicists, who played a vital role in validating the detection of gravitational waves, comment on the news and are available for interviews.

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Cornell physics and astronomy professor Saul Teukolsky has been using supercomputers to solve Einstein’s equations for black hole mergers for much of his career. Teukolsky and the Cornell-founded Simulation of eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) collaboration group have been calculating and completing a full catalog of theoretical solutions since 2000, when supercomputers first became capable of the task.

Teukolsky says:

“Einstein's theory was written down 100 years ago. It made bizarre predictions about warped space and time, including the existence of black holes and gravitational waves. This remarkable experiment has detected gravitational waves and confirmed that they came from colliding black holes far away from the earth.

“The Prize celebrates a remarkable experiment, and Cornell was honored to play a role in the theoretical work that backed up the great discovery."

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Lawrence Kidder is a senior research associate and a co-leader of the SXS collaboration. He says the Prize is well deserved because the work has opened up a new window in astronomy that allows new insights into black holes and neutron stars.

Kidder says:

“The ability to directly observe gravitational waves has opened up a new window in astronomy that will allow new observations of the most compact objects in the universe such as black holes and neutron stars, which are complementary to electromagnetic observations in visible light, x-rays, gamma-rays, radio, etc.  

“By combining gravitational wave and electromagnetic observations, astrophysicists will gain new insights into black holes and neutron stars. The observations will also allow new tests to see if Einstein's theory of general relativity is the correct theory of gravity.

“It is exciting, and a richly deserved honor for the recipients and over one thousand other researchers that participated in the experiment. It is very satisfying that our group at Cornell contributed to the theoretical work used to interpret the discovery."

Kasich's Split from the GOP

Kasich’s comments on GOP reflect two-party predicament - October 3, 2017

Over the weekend Ohio governor and former republican candidate John Kasich hinted he may decide to withdraw support from his own party, should the GOP fail to “fix” itself and continue its current trajectory towards the far-right. Cornell experts comment on Kasich’s remark and offer their take on the well-being of the two-party system.  

Glenn Altschuler, professor of American studies at Cornell University, says the two-party system, unlike the general US population, is becoming less diverse and therefore less effective.

Bio: https://www.sce.cornell.edu/sce/altschuler/index.php

Altschuler says: 

"The two-party system has lasted so long, and served the country relatively well, because each party was ideologically diverse. These days, because the parties are relatively homogeneous, and are driven to the ideological extremes by primaries and gerrymandering, there is little or no incentive for bi-partisanship or compromise.  

"That said, our politics continues to be organized in a way that makes it virtually impossible for third parties (except for candidacies self-funded by billionaires like Ross Perot) to get on the ballot in many states, let alone win elections. Thus John Kasich’s problem: if he no longer supports the Republican Party, where can he go?”


Elizabeth Sanders, professor of government at Cornell, says that both major parties are approaching a once-in-a-generation realignment. 

Bio: http://government.cornell.edu/elizabeth-sanders

Sanders says:

"Well, we do know the GOP may be falling apart and the Democrats too are in a lower-visibility crisis.  

"We are approaching realignment. That’s what all this means. A once-in-a-generation realignment caused by the failure of neoliberalism and globalism to allow decent, reasonably happy and hopeful lives to 40 percent of the US population.”