Researchers using VR goggles to study teaching methods
Motivated by curiosity

Research, scholarship and creative works

The body of research, scholarship and creative works emerging from the College of Arts & Sciences is vast, with one common thread -- ALL of our research is curiosity-based. This model of inquiry confers intellectual flexibility, a precursor for innovation, creativity and discovery.

Foundational research

Foundational exploration at the center of a world-class research university

The College of Arts & Sciences is the home of foundational, theoretical and basic research at Cornell. Our researchers and scholars are all curiosity-driven and often collaborate across disciplines and colleges, partnering with applied scientists and researchers to tackle our greatest challenges. Faculty work side by side with postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students to explore the stars, our rural communities, our classrooms, and how humans and society affect the world in large and minute ways.

Below is a sample of the initiatives and projects that result when we collaborate to ask the big questions.


More than 100 interdisciplinary research organizations, 18 Cornell research centers and 2 national research centers


Of A&S students work closely with faculty in research & independent study.

Research and scholarly excellence

Research and scholarly excellence

Our faculty members, research scientists, postdocs and students are leading their chosen fields of exploration, receiving high honors, awards, fellowships and grants. Here are a few recent accolades.

Liz Kellogg

Pew scholar builds on gene-editing technology

Molecular Biology and Genetics
Person serving a piece of pie
Jason Koski/Cornell University Michael Stillman enjoys some pie during a Pi Day celebration, 2015

Faculty research

Faculty research

A thriving research community

Arts & Sciences is a thriving environment for researchers to build on questions large and small, old and new. Faculty and postdocs in A&S are given the opportunity to ask big questions and the resources to follow through and make lasting impacts. 

Drawing of a black and red zigzag line
Provided This schematic illustration shows the structure of a conjugated polymer, which is essentially a series of clustered molecules strung along a backbone that can conduct electrons and absorb light.

Magnetic tweezers reveal polymers’ hidden properties

Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Marine Le Pen
Claude Truong-Ngoc /Wikimedia Commons Marine Le Pen
Jamila Michener
Lindsay France/Cornell University Jamila Michener, associate professor of government, says when enslaved people gained their freedom, they lacked the political and socioeconomic power to influence their lives. In many ways, Black people still lack that power, she says.

Sharing Indigenous stories through film

Jeff Palmer, assistant professor of performing and media arts and a member of the Kiowa Tribe, wants filmgoers to discover the untold stories of Native Americans that have been missing from American history. He’s been nominated for an Emmy Award and his documentary films have appeared in major festivals, from Sundance to the Berlin Independent Film Festival.

Filmmaker Jeff Palmer tells Native Americans’ untold stories

Pushing the limits of quantum nanoscience

Physicists at Cornell are pushing the edge of what can be done with microrobots, from using origami folds in graphene and glass to using magnets for self-assembling systems. In a TED talk, Paul McEuen, John A. Newman Professor of Physical Science, describes creating microbots the size of a single cell, showing how these machines could one day be "piloted" to battle crop diseases or study the individual neurons in your brain.

Paul McEuen, the John A. Newman Professor of Physical Sciencea and his former postdoctoral researcher Marc Miskin, who is now an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, give a TED talk on "microbots."

Undergraduate research

Undergraduate research

Let your curiosity expand your undergraduate experience

As an undergraduate student in the College you will have unique opportunity to do meaningful research in state of the art physics labs and ancient greek burial grounds. Your opportunities are endless.

Joe Connolly ’72, left and Jay Branegan ’72, right
Joe Connolly ’72, left and Jay Branegan ’72, right
Artwork showing a woman in a blue dress looking into a mirror.
Mirror, Mirror II by Alison Saar
Explore Undergraduate Research Opportunities