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Byline: Bill Steele

 Robert Richardson


Secrets of superfluid helium explored

When Cornell physicists Robert Richardson, David Lee and Douglas Osheroff received the 1996 Nobel Prize for their discovery of the superfluid state of liquid helium, it was only the beginning. Now a new team of Cornell researchers, building on that work, have found new complexities in the phenomenon, with implications for the study of superconductivity and theoretical models of the origin of the universe.

 A rendering of the CRISPR sequence


Bringing bacteria's defense into focus

By taking a series of near-atomic resolution snapshots, Cornell and Harvard Medical School scientists have observed step-by-step how bacteria defend against foreign invaders such as bacteriophage, a virus that infects bacteria.

The process they observed uses CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) sites, where the cell’s DNA can be snipped to insert additional DNA.

 illustration of the E. Coli bacteria


E. coli bacteria's defense secret revealed

By tagging a cell’s proteins with fluorescent beacons, Cornell researchers have found out how E. coli bacteria defend themselves against antibiotics and other poisons. Probably not good news for the bacteria.

When undesirable molecules show up, the bacterial cell opens a tunnel though its cell wall and “effluxes,” or pumps out, the intruders.

 faculty with new electron microscope


New electron microscope sees more than an image

The electron microscope, a powerful tool for science, just became even more powerful, with an improvement developed by Cornell physicists. Their electron microscope pixel array detector (EMPAD) yields not just an image, but a wealth of information about the electrons that create the image and, from that, more about the structure of the sample.

 Cook Awards recipients


Cook Awards honor those committed to women's issues

Several individuals and organizations received Constance E. Cook and Alice H. Cook Awards March 9. Cook Awards honor Cornell students, faculty and staff members for their commitment to women’s issues and for improving the climate for women at Cornell. The Cook Award Committee and the University Diversity Council select winners from nominations made by members of the Cornell community.

 Moth wing


How the lepidoptera got its spots

By tweaking just one or two genes, Cornell researchers have altered the patterns on a butterfly’s wings. It’s not just a new art form, but a major clue to understanding how the butterflies have evolved, and perhaps to how color patterns – and other patterns and shapes – have evolved in other species.

The genes in question are especially interesting because they have been “co-opted” – they previously did some other job at a different place in the development process.

 Density Waves


Elusive superconductor state observed

A state of electronic matter first predicted by theorists in 1964 has finally been discovered by Cornell physicists and may provide key insights into the workings of high-temperature superconductors.

 Mohammad Hamidian


Alum wins physics prize named for Cornell Nobelists

Mohammad Hamidian, Ph.D. ’11, has been named the 2016 winner of the prestigious Lee-Osheroff-Richardson Prize for his discoveries of new forms of electronic matter at the nanoscale and at extreme low temperatures.

 Hands hold oobleck, a white substance in liquid and solid form


The secret of Oobleck revealed at last

If your kids ever brought home some Oobleck from school, you had a glimpse of a long-standing scientific controversy. Next time, you can just have fun with it, knowing that the argument is over. Cornell physicists have finally explained what makes Oobleck so weird.


Along with science, Cornellians produce science fiction, too

Next time you’re in a cocktail party discussion about science fiction, you’ll have a lot to brag about. The university has produced more than its share of notables in the field, including several mainstream names.


Polls produced by students reveal shifting attitudes

Polls produced by Cornell students reveal shifting liberal attitudes.