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Fontaine plays Sherlock Holmes with book on rare play

Like many good mysteries, it began with innocent curiosity. Michael Fontaine was on paternity leave and, wanting “a small project” to occupy him between baby duties, thought he’d write about “Mater-Virgo,” a 17th-century play by Lutheran pastor Joannes Burmeister, based on a work by the Roman playwright Plautus.


Hidden Cornell treasures to be digitized

Some hidden Cornell treasures soon will be available to scholars around the world, thanks to the Cornell University Library and the College of Arts and Sciences’ Grants Program for Digital Collections, which this year awarded four grants.


Government incompetence is the real threat to China

Cornell government professors commented on the market volatility in China and the Chinese government’s response.

Jeremy Wallace, associate professor of government and faculty member of Cornell’s China and Asia Pacific Studies Program, is the author of “Cities and Stability: Urbanization, Redistribution, and Regime Survival in China.”

Wallace says:

“Don’t worry about the Chinese stock market collapse, worry about government incompetence.

 Laurent Dubreuil


Book on thought unites neuroscience, humanities

A new book tackles questions of thought and meaning.

 Kate Manne


Sympathy for the Rapist: What the Stanford Case Teaches

The Brock Turner rape case at Stanford triggered a firestorm of criticism; an op-ed by assistant professor of philosophy Kate Manne in the Huffington Post helps to explain why.

The case, she wrote, “vividly illustrates…all of the ways we collectively ignore, deny, minimize, forgive, and forget the wrongdoing of men who conform to the norms of toxic masculinity, and behave in domineering ways towards their historical subordinates: women.”


Elementary school students dig archaeology

Lori Khatchadourian teaches the Exploring Archaeology mini-course at the Elizabeth Anne Clune Montessori School of Ithaca.

The week of June 15-19, professors Adam T. Smith, anthropology, and Lori Khatchadourian, Near Eastern studies, led a mini-course on archaeology at the Elizabeth Anne Clune Montessori School of Ithaca. Nine children ages 5-8 spent five mornings exploring aspects of archaeological research.


Student 'senators' debate U.S. budget in government class

“We’re down one Democrat. It’s going to be a slaughter,” someone called out.

The students in Suzanne Mettler’s Introduction to American Government and Politics class huddled in small groups in eight different classrooms, bargaining, brokering deals and negotiating, trying to overcome gridlock and partisan loyalties to pass a budget.


New teaching model a 'game changer'

Hundreds of students have just completed new courses in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Active Learning Initiative (ALI), part of a strategic effort by the college to embrace engaged learning models and emerging technologies. The ALI five-year pilot project is funded by Alex and Laura Hanson, both Class of 1987.


Finding infant Earths and potential life just got easier

Among the billions and billions of stars in the sky, where should astronomers look for infant Earths where life might develop? New research from Cornell University’s Institute for Pale Blue Dots shows where – and when – infant Earths are most likely to be found. The paper by Blue Dots research associate Ramses M. Ramirez and director Lisa Kaltenegger, “The Habitable Zones of Pre-Main Sequence Stars,” is forthcoming in Astrophysical Journal Letters.


Strogatz helps students find the magic in math

Math, to a mathematician, is an aesthetic, creative endeavor. But for too many high school students, math has become a reviled, boring subject.

It doesn’t have to be that way, as Steven Strogatz aims to show the students in his new College of Arts and Sciences course, Mathematical Explorations. The course fulfills the math distribution requirement and has attracted seniors who put off taking a math class as long as they could, as well as freshmen intrigued by the course’s title.

 Sally Wen Mao


Sally Wen Mao: A honey badger of a poet

The fearless honey badger steals lions' prey and gobbles cobras for dinner. Tenacious and determined, it devours honeycombs despite countless bee stings. This is the totem animal of Sally Wen Mao, MFA '13, and an inspiration for her first book of poems, "Mad Honey Symposium," published in May by Alice James Books.


Class examines Cornell past and future

“Welcome to Cornell Ruins National Park,” Adam T. Smith tells his students. “We’re lucky today. We have a cache of objects to examine discovered in the ruins of McGraw Hall.”

This “Rise and Fall of ‘Civilization’” class examines traditional archaeological topics, like kingship and the origins of cities, partly by looking at our current civilization through the lens of a single site – the Cornell campus as it would look 1,000 years from now.

 Doctors at work


A passion for justice and concern for patients shape this alum's life

A poor childhood in Guyana spent watching his mother get pushed around gave Frank Douglas, Ph.D. '73, M.D. '77, an early awareness of injustice. At age 12 he was challenging his school principal on fairness, despite the risk to his academic future.
 The Kalmar Nyckel, a maritime educational vessel


Tall ship sailing is ongoing research project for Captain Lauren Morgens

Captain Lauren Morgens '02 stands on the quarterdeck surveying her ship, red sash around her waist and a tall feather in her pirate hat. It is a cloudy August afternoon in Lewes, Del.; her crew has finished scrubbing the Kalmar Nyckel's deck, and the last sailor has come off the rigging. Once the tall ship clears the shallows, Morgens' command to "set the mizzen" rings across the ship in a sing-song cadence that seems as old as the sea itself.

 James R. Michaels '68


Government is excellent prep for rabbinic career, says Michaels '68

James R. Michaels '68, a member of Cornell's 100th graduating class, always knew he wanted to be a rabbi. He dutifully chose a philosophy major when he entered Cornell but found that the department's emphasis then on linguistic evaluation wasn't a good fit.

 Cathy Choi


Cathy Choi '93 used her major in theater as training for running a business

Cathy Choi '93 entered Cornell with numbers on her mind. But an English class cross-listed with theater turned Choi away from her planned math major. "I had never read a play before in my life, but I got bitten by the bug and really fell in love," says Choi. "I ended up as a theater major."

Aerial photo of white buildings at the end of a long road
LIGO Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO)


Hawking’s black hole theorem observationally confirmed

Saul Teukolsky and other physicists at Cornell, MIT and elsewhere have confirmed Hawking's area theorem for the first time, using observations of gravitational waves.


The College Years of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, a Founder of Queer Theory

The advent of queer theory “caused a shock wave which has affected all intellectual disciplines,” as Didier Eribon, a leading French intellectual, once said. A look back at the undergraduate years of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, ‘71, a founder of queer theory, reveals a unique glimpse of where that shock wave first began.