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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. 


Linda Glaser, Publicist

o: 607-255-8942    c: 973-650-8172

Tricia Barry, Communications Director

o: 607-255-7165    c: 607-377-6596


Current press statements from Arts & Sciences faculty:

Space Force

‘Buzzwords and bureaucracy’: Space Force announcement sparks political feuds - June 19, 2018

President Trump ordered the creation of the Space Force as the sixth branch of the military on Monday, raising questions around America’s future role beyond our atmosphere and sparking feuds amongst politicians over the need for a new military branch.

Barry Strauss is a military and naval historian and a professor in humanistic studies at Cornell University. He says that while Space Force is a catchy term, the U.S. needs “free and open debate” over what’s best for the country’s military, national security and space presence.


Strauss says:

“With his usual flair for communications, President Trump has framed the question of the future of U.S. policy in space in two words: Space Force. With their usual tone deafness, Washington’s politicians and administrators have responded with a turf battle.

“Most of us don’t care what governmental hat America’s space warriors wear or what jazzy name they have but rather we care about what they do – and whether they should exist in the first place. What the public needs is a free and open debate about the good of the nation and the world when it comes to the military and space. I hope we get that, rather than buzzwords and bureaucracy.”

For interviews contact:
Jeff Tyson
Office: (607) 255-7701
Cell: (607) 793-5769

Martian Dust Storms Impact Rovers

Martian dust storms ravage rovers, impact future mission models - June 14, 2018

Don Banfield, a senior research associate specializing in planetary sciences at Cornell University, monitors dust storms and atmospheric science on the red planet. He says it's important to consider the risks associated with dust storms, like the one that has silenced the Opportunity rover, when designing future missions to Mars.


Cornell professors, researchers and students designed, built and outfitted Opportunity’s scientific instruments and mission accoutrements. Since Opportunity landed on Mars in 2004, the Cornell MER Team has analyzed the extensive data returned from the rovers and have provided new research insight in the composition of Mars and the possibility of water on the red planet. More information is available here

Banfield says:

“Dust on Mars gets lofted tens of kilometers into the air and in such quantities – like now – that it significantly changes the sunlight reaching the ground and the heat deposited in the air from the sunlight. 

“But we don’t fully understand how dust is lofted at Mars in such quantities and how dust storms can have the feedback needed to go from local storms that happen frequently, to the global dust storms that happen only every several Mars years. When we have people on Mars, being able to better predict dust storms at Mars will be important because dust coating everything could wear bearings down, break down seals, and probably isn’t good for human consumption.

“We need to consider the risks associated with these dust storms when designing future missions to Mars, not only in sizing their power sources (if they are solar powered), but also in terms of how the dust atmospheric heating changes the thickness of the atmosphere when the lander is coming down to the surface and expecting a certain air density to slow it down.”

For interviews contact:
Abby Butler
office: 607-254-4799

Organic Compounds on Mars

Organics on Mars means it’s time to target ‘biosignatures’ - June 8, 2018

Jonathan Lunine is a professor in the Physical Sciences and director of the Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science. Lunine worked for decades on the Saturn Cassini program, was a co-investigator on the Juno space probe orbiting Jupiter, and has testified before Congress on human exploration of Mars. He says the discovery of preserved organics on the Red Planet is a call for new tests directly targeting biosignatures on the Martian surface.


Lunine says:

“The presence of preserved organics, carbon-hydrogen containing, compounds at the Gale crater site is a significant discovery.

“It shows that, if life formed once on Mars, and we do not know whether or not it did, the clues to its presence might still exist there in organic molecules. It makes more pressing the deployment of future experiments that could test for the properties we would expect life would have – biosignatures – either at Gale Crater or elsewhere on Mars.”

For interviews contact:
Abby Butler
Office: (607) 255-6074
Cell: (607) 269-6911

50th Anniversary of RFK Assassination

RFK assassination killed US image as ‘beacon of democracy’

June 5 marks 50 years since presidential candidate and icon for social justice Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated by a gunman at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. His assassination came during a tumultuous year across the globe, and was part of a crucial turning point in the United States according to a professor of government at Cornell University.

Sydney Tarrow, professor emeritus of government and adjunct professor of law at Cornell University studies social movements in the United States and globally. Tarrow is also teaching a summer seminar on the year 1968. He says Kennedy’s death convinced Americans that their country was no longer a “beacon of democracy.”


Tarrow says:

“1968 was a year that rocked the world. But it was never a single thing nor did it have a single epicenter. France and Italy were virtually paralyzed by strikes and student demonstrations, while revolts shook Soviet rule in Eastern Europe. In Mexico, where the Olympics were scheduled, army snipers mowed down hundreds of student demonstrators.

“But it was in the U.S. — where the war and the antiwar movement came together with a presidential election — that the greatest turning point occurred. Of all the momentous events in that year, perhaps the assassination of Bobby Kennedy was the split and Richard Nixon was able to win the presidency. Kennedy’s murder – together with that of Martin Luther King Jr. convinced a generation of Americans that our country was no longer the beacon of democracy that had emerged from World War II.”

For interviews contact:
Jeff Tyson
Office: (607) 255-7701
Cell: (607) 793-5769

Rachel Rhodes
Office: 202-434-8036
Cell: (585) 732-1877