The College of Arts & Sciences’ Arts Unplugged series brings research and creative works into the public sphere for discussion and inspiration. These outreach events invite a broad audience to explore the work of scholars and faculty from all disciplines, all backgrounds and all time periods and to celebrate the impact that work continues to have on our daily lives.
Science of the Very, Very Small
Science of the Very, Very Small
March 9, 2022, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
The “science of the very, very small” offers possible solutions for everything from the energy crisis to disease. Ideas that once existed only in science fiction are becoming reality and Cornell scientists are leading the way in nanoscale and quantum materials research. In this virtual Arts Unplugged, we explored some of these exciting innovations – and their ramifications for human society.
- Welcome - Dean Ray Jayawardhana, Harold Tanner Dean of Arts and Sciences
- Introduction - Natalie Wolchover, Zubrow Distinguished Visiting Journalist Fellow, moderator
- Walking nanorobots with brains – Itai Cohen, professor of physics
- Manipulating genes with nanotech – Ailong Ke, professor of molecular biology and genetics, and Julia Markovits, associate professor of philosophy
- Discovering the particles that define us – Liam McAllister, professor of physics, and Peter Wittich, professor of physics and director of the Laboratory of Elementary Particle Physics
- Intermission: Creating origami robots demonstration – Michael Reynolds, M.S. ’17, Ph.D. ’21, postdoctoral associate, Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, College of Engineering; and announcement of “Envisioning the Future” contest winners
- The interplay of science and fiction – Roald Hoffmann, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry and Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor, Emeritus; Liliana Colanzi, M.A. ’14, Ph.D. ’17, assistant professor of Romance Studies; and Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, associate professor of literatures in English
- Designing worlds at the nanoscale – Eun-Ah Kim, professor of physics; Brad Ramshaw, The Dick and Dale Reis Johnson Assistant Professor of physics; and John Marohn, professor of chemistry and chemical biology
- Audience Q&A
Envisioning the Future Contest
Send us your written description (200-word limit) or a visual representation of how you think nanoscience will change our world. What advances will genetics bring us? How could microscopic robots change agriculture, disaster relief, medicine? Could tiny technology change the way we communicate, travel, live? The winning scenarios will be posted online and shared during the March 9 event; winners in the elementary, middle/high school and adult categories will also receive a gift certificate to a local business.
Intermission: Making origami robots
Any square piece of paper can be used; a template for an origami square that can be printed at home will be distributed before the event, and during intermission the link to the template will be shared. During intermission, physicist Michael Reynolds will demonstrate how to make one of the origami robot designs used by Cornell researchers. Download an origami template here.
News about Arts Unplugged
News about Arts Unplugged
Cornell Celebrates Toni Morrison
Cornell Celebrates Toni Morrison
A yearlong series honoring our beloved alumna and literary icon on the 50th anniversary of her first book, "The Bluest Eye"
Toni Morrison at 90
Feb. 18, 2021
A colloquium featuring a panel of international Morrison scholars will coincide with Toni Morrison's 90th birthday. Participants will discuss Morrison's literary legacy and her scholarly work. This event will also be livestreamed and powered by eCornell. Watch this event now!
Past event: Encore presentation of “The Bluest Eye” reading
Feb. 19, 11 a.m. to roughly 6 p.m., online powered by eCornell
Past event:"The Pieces I Am" Screening and talkback
Feb. 15-20, talkback at 4 p.m. Feb. 20
View the documentary of Morrison's life free on demand, then join us for a talkback. View the talkback on Facebook here.
Past event: "The Bluest Eye" reading
Oct. 8, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Hear “The Bluest Eye” read in its entirety by Morrison scholars, authors, poets, celebrities and members of the Cornell and Ithaca communities. Event streams from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., powered by eCornell, and will include memorable photos and archival footage of Morrison. Please note that "The Bluest Eye" will be read in its entirety and does includes racially-charged language and scenes of sexual violence. See this story for a discussion about this issue.
Past event: Toni Morrison Teach-in
Oct. 15, 4:30-6 p.m.
Toni Morrison Teach-In. Listen to Cornell faculty talk about Morrison's work and her impact, then participate in a Live Q&A. Recordings of the faculty talks are available at the links below so you can view them on your own time before the live session. Powered by eCornell.
See videos below.
Other activities/events include:
- A new one-credit fall course, English 2602 “The Bluest Eye at 50.”
- A virtual book discussion at the Tompkins County Public Library, Oct. 28, 2020.
- A Toni Morrison exhibit at Olin Library, Spring 2021. This will includes an online exhibit and a physical exhibit, with book covers of "The Bluest Eye" in 16 languages and other items.
- Toni Morrison quilting project, with contributions from multiple quilters from across the region. This project kicked off Feb. 22. More details are available here. Watch the kickoff video.
- "The Bluest Eye" play reading, Spring 2022, listen in as actors take part in a moving reading of Lydia Diamond's adaptation of the Morrison novel.
Teach-in video resources
Carole Boyce Davies, professor, English Department and Africana Studies and Research Center
- "Toni Morrison was Beloved in Europe."
Anne Adams, professor emerita, Africana Studies and Research Center
- "girl, girl, girlgirlgirl (A reading of Sula)"
Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, associate professor, Creative Writing, English Department
- "Toni Morrison at Cornell"
Roger Gilbert, professor, English Department
- "Toni Morrison's Place in the Teaching of American Literature"
Shirley Samuels, professor, English Department
- "Toni Morrison, the Blues, and Song of Solomon."
Derrick Spires, associate professor, English Department
- "Reading Color and the Cinematic Gaze in The Bluest Eye"
Riché Richardson, associate professor, Africana Studies and Research Center
Writing is really a way of thinking — not just feeling but thinking about things that are disparate, unresolved, mysterious, problematic or just sweet.
– Toni Morrison
An Evening with A.D. White Professor at Large Wynton Marsalis and the Cornell Wind Symphony
Cornell welcomed Pulitzer and Grammy-winning artist Wynton Marsalis as A.D. White Professor-at-Large for a concert with the Cornell Wind Symphony on Nov. 6, 2021. The concert at Bailey Hall was conducted by Barbara & Richard T. Silver '50, MD '53 Assistant Professor of Music James Spinazzola, along with Marsalis and his rhythm section. They performed a wide-ranging program including ragtime, blues, and jazz. Marsalis also offered a talk, "The University’s Place in Promoting American Democracy in the Disciplines."
Policy, Politics and Ethics of the Coming AI Revolution
A free virtual event powered by eCornell
Thursday, April 15 at 7 p.m.
Watch the event here.
Join us for an interactive discussion with leading experts on the enormous changes and considerations of how we can enact policy that supports democracy and an ethical society as AI technology continues to expand.
Moderated by Andrew Ross Sorkin ’99, of CNBC and The New York Times .
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is characterized by the fusion of the digital, biological and physical worlds. Artificial intelligence (AI) is central to this new era, and its influence on our lives is growing quickly. Given the enormity and the breathtaking pace of technological change, not to mention the tremendous promise and the potential peril, it is critical to examine the roles of policy, politics and ethics in shaping emerging technology – and vice versa.
Researchers in Cornell’s Tech Policy Lab warn of the expanding gap between technology and policy, and draw upon the broadest range of disciplines to learn how AI can empower as well as pose challenges to governments. Cornell’s Moral Psychology research group in our Sage School of Philosophy leads the world in the study of ethical human behavior, and is applying the framework of moral decision-making to the complex issues related to the ethical use of technology in the 4IR.
Students in the Milstein Program in Technology & Humanity, who are researching the use of artificial intelligence on social media, have created a quiz to test your ability to distinguish AI-generated content from human-generated content. See how you fare by taking the quiz here.
How has politics already been shaped and disrupted by technology and artificial intelligence?
If intelligent machines are going to be a part of our political system, can they make ethical decisions?
How can we develop public policy that harnesses the positive aspects of artificial intelligence?
How can malicious actors be reined in, and how can we minimize their potential to harm our democracy?
Odyssey in Ithaca
From tales of sinking ships to murderous fights to bedroom shenanigans, a cast of 75 readers told the story of Homer’s “Odyssey” during a daylong event in Klarman Hall, our inaugural Arts Unplugged event. The reading, spearheaded by Athena Kirk, assistant professor of classics, featured speakers from the community and local colleges, state and local representatives, as well as special audio segments from Annie Lewandowski, senior lecturer in music.
Words from a Bear
Cornell’s newest film professor, Jeff Palmer, shared advice for creating a Sundance documentary and screened his latest feature film during our second Arts Unplugged event at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts. “Words from a Bear,” Palmer’s first feature film, explores the creative works of N. Scott Momaday. Our event also included a talk by Gus Palmer, professor emeritus at the University of Oklahoma, and one of the narrators of the film.
Cornell According to Sound
Our third event in the series featured a sonic look at campus, brought to us by Chris Hoff ’02 and Sam Harnett, creators of The World According to Sound. The duo spent the fall semester finding and recording sounds across the university – from fish and frogs, to Latin speakers and dirt. Along with four performances at the Schwartz Center, listeners were able to visit five pop-up listening stations across campus to help them become more aware about the role and impact of sound in their lives.