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10 The Cornell Daily Sun | Thursday, December 12, 2019

A Decade in Review — Science

Cracking the Codes, Reaching for the

Cornell’s Decade-Defining

AUGUST 1, 2011


First Annual Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency in Machine Learning Workshop The non-profit organization , co-founded by Cornell P.hD. candidate Solon Barocas, was created to increase awareness for and reduce socio-economic bias implicit in machine learning algorithms.

SEPTEMBER 13, 2017

Cornell Grad Steven Sinofksy Ends Term as President of Windows Division at Microsoft After graduating from Cornell CALS, Sinofsky joined Microsoft as a software design engineer in 1989. He became President of the Windows Division in July 2009, and served for 3 years.

Cornell Tech Campus Opens After winning a competition in 2010 among other universities to build a new research institute on New York City’s Roosevelt Island, Cornell Tech campus completes construction and opens its doors.

a Cornell astronomy professor,” Lunine said. Lunine then explained that Cornell researchers contributed to the discovery of liquid methane lakes and seas on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. “The significance of this is that there is no other place in the solar system, that we know of, where there are large bodies of standing liquid, other than the Earth. There is no other place in the solar system to study how liquids are involved in the climate cycle of a planet — so when these were discovered, it gave us a chance to study another place where liquids on the surface play a role in climate,” Lunine said. According to Lunine, Cornell researchers were involved in the development of software to detect and characterize these lakes and seas on Titan using radio signals produced by Cassini. Cornell also developed imaging technology to remove the smear from images taken by the spacecraft. Another achievement made by Cornell researchers was the discovery and localization of Fast Radio Bursts in November 2012, specifically FRB 121102, by a group led by senior research associate Shami Chatterjee. The founding of the Carl Sagan Institute served as another major milestone for Cornell astronomy. “The institute is a multidisciplinary center within which faculty from different departments can all work together in trying to understand how we can learn about whether planets around other stars are habitable, even whether they have life,” Lunine said. “[The institute] produced a catalog of colors from different kinds of microorganisms and life forms on Earth, and those colors can actually be pretty diagnostic of whether there is life [on other planets], and what kind of life. It was the first thorough examination of that,” Lunine said. The CSI has also conducted theoretical research in interpreting spectra, and is now conducting simulations of lava worlds — a planet so close to a star that its surface is molten. Looking to the future, Lunine stated that Cerro Chajnantor Atacama Telescopeprime, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, and two more missions - Mars 2020 and Europa Clipper - are projects that will mark the next decade of Cornell discovery and achievement in astronomy. •

Hepatitis C drug, Sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) is approved A breakthrough drug for treating Hepatitis C, Sofosbuvir, is approved by the FDA. The drug is effective on several strains of Hepatitis C and is taken as an oral pill once a day, unlike previous treatments, which required injections.

JULY 2018

Weill Cornell establishes the Center for Human Rights Weill Cornell creates a student-run clinic that aims to provide medical evidence to support the narratives of asylum seekers in the US.


SPACE From leading Mars missions to searching for life on other planets, Cornell astronomers have experienced a golden age of achievements over the past decade. The theoretical research behind the first detection of gravitational waves was led by Prof. Saul Teukolsky, astrophysics, using data from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. “This research was ongoing for over 20 years … physicists had predicted that these gravitational waves exist, but they had never actually been detected before,” Teukolsky said. “The astrophysical objects producing these waves are so distant that the waves become very weak by the time they reach Earth.” However, Teukolsky explained that as the experiment became more and more sensitive, LIGO was finally successful in 2015 in detecting gravitational waves from the collision of two black holes that were orbiting each other. Besides verifying the existence of gravitational waves, this detection served as a staggering confirmation of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. “General relativity — the best theory of our understanding of gravity — had never been tested before with strong gravitational fields. But supercomputer calculations by the Cornell group showed that the signal agreed almost perfectly with what Einstein’s theory predicted for colliding black holes,” Teukolsky said. With this decade of discovery behind him, Teukolsky is optimistic for the future of gravitational wave science at Cornell as research and experimentation with LIGO continues to expand. “With gravitational wave detection, astronomers had already predicted the orbit of two black holes around each other, and we just didn’t know if nature would provide that for us. But it’s quite possible we might see some event that nobody has predicted — that’s what would be most exciting for me to see in the next 5 to 10 years,” he said. Prof. Jonathan Lunine, astronomy, described Cornell’s contributions to research involving the Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, as well as Cassini - the spacecraft that explored Saturn for 13 years. “For the two Mars rovers, the science principal investigator was Steven Squyres,

Weill Cornell researchers engineer molecules that enable more rapid editing of genes Dr. Lukas Dow, assistant professor of biochemistry, leads a research group in engineering molecules known as base editors. These editors can attach to DNA and edit a single nucleotide base, which enables more precise changes to DNA.

FEBRUARY 20, 2013


Cornell Professor successfully 3D prints an artificial ear Dr. Lawrence Bonassar, biomedical engineering, was able to successfully 3D print an ear that looks real and functions properly. Since then this field has grown and other organs have been 3D printed, including small intestines and hearts.


NOVEMBER 13, 2012




Cornell Grad Lowell McAdam Named CEO of Verizon Wireless After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Cornell, McAdam joined Verizon in 2000 and was named CEO in 2011, which he carried out until 2018.

DECEMBER 12, 2014

Having harbored science visionaries like Steve Squyres, Bill Nye and Carl Sagan, Cornell is teeming with scientific ingenuity. Within the past decade alone, research at Cornell has garnered global recognition in fields like medicine, space science and technology. Here, the Daily Sun has compiled a few of Cornell’s most innovative and successful research projects in the past 10 years.

By Sydney Oraskovich, Srishti Tyagi and Anil Oza

Weill Cornell and Cornell University begin collaboration on treating superbugs Dr. Michael Satlin, assistant professor of medicine in Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Ilana Brito, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, are approved for a $500,000 grant from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention to study the development of genes that lead to antibiotic resistant bacteria.

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