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Cornell initiates semester abroad in Havana
For the first time, Cornell students have the opportunity to spend a semester abroad in Cuba, conducting research and taking courses at the University of Havana.
Beginning this August, students concentrating in the life sciences and enrolled full time in Havana for fall or spring semester will split their time between regular classes and biological laboratory and field research.
Cornell is “one of the first American universities to open up normal exchanges with a university in Cuba,” said Cornell professor of psychology Tim DeVoogd, who proposed the program. 

Cornell initiates semester abroad in Havana

For the first time, Cornell students have the opportunity to spend a semester abroad in Cuba, conducting research and taking courses at the University of Havana.

Beginning this August, students concentrating in the life sciences and enrolled full time in Havana for fall or spring semester will split their time between regular classes and biological laboratory and field research.

Cornell is “one of the first American universities to open up normal exchanges with a university in Cuba,” said Cornell professor of psychology Tim DeVoogd, who proposed the program. 

Student researchers present their work
More than 500 students and faculty members celebrated the depth and breadth of undergraduate research at Cornell during the 29th annual Spring Research Forum.

“I am happy to see this event increase in size throughout the years as this was our biggest Spring Forum yet, and I look forward to the event growing in the years to come,” said Cecilia Copperman ’14, an arts and sciences student and co-president of CURB.
Cornell’s largest poster symposium, the research forum acts as an outlet for students to publicly announce their findings and discoveries from research they have conducted during previous summers and academic terms, according to Roshni Mehta ‘15, co-president of CURB. 

Student researchers present their work

More than 500 students and faculty members celebrated the depth and breadth of undergraduate research at Cornell during the 29th annual Spring Research Forum.

“I am happy to see this event increase in size throughout the years as this was our biggest Spring Forum yet, and I look forward to the event growing in the years to come,” said Cecilia Copperman ’14, an arts and sciences student and co-president of CURB.

Cornell’s largest poster symposium, the research forum acts as an outlet for students to publicly announce their findings and discoveries from research they have conducted during previous summers and academic terms, according to Roshni Mehta ‘15, co-president of CURB. 

Government Professor Nicolas van de Walle was a featured panelist during a recent roundtable discussion hosted by the Institute for African Development to honor the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide.

Van de Walle said that while conditions in certain places in Africa such as the Sahel region have deteriorated, the African Union is a much “sounder” organization than it was 20 years ago.

Democracy has become much more legitimate in Africa and military rule has become much more illegitimate, van de Walle said. He also said there has been “real progress” in Africa, noting the rapid technological and economic growth occurring there. 

Errant methane plumes detected over Marcellus wells
Using an airplane to detect greenhouse gas emissions from freshly drilled shale gas wells in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus basin, Cornell and Purdue scientists have found that leaked methane is a tougher problem – between a hundred- and a thousandfold – than previously thought, according to a study published April 14 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“We found significant leaks during the drilling phase. It was bigger than we anticipated,” said paper co-author Jed Sparks, Cornell professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. “With increased methane into the atmosphere, the climate gets warmer faster, and early on it has a more intense effect on the whole climate.” 

Errant methane plumes detected over Marcellus wells

Using an airplane to detect greenhouse gas emissions from freshly drilled shale gas wells in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus basin, Cornell and Purdue scientists have found that leaked methane is a tougher problem – between a hundred- and a thousandfold – than previously thought, according to a study published April 14 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“We found significant leaks during the drilling phase. It was bigger than we anticipated,” said paper co-author Jed Sparks, Cornell professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. “With increased methane into the atmosphere, the climate gets warmer faster, and early on it has a more intense effect on the whole climate.” 

A&S students share research

Five Arts and Sciences undergrads will show their work during the Research Paper’s 13th annual Spring Release Party on Wednesday, April 30, at 2 p.m. in the lobby of Mann Library.

The student group will unveil and distribute its spring magazine, which features undergraduate researchers from a wide range of disciplines from all seven colleges. Featured researchers will be on hand to talk about their experiences and participants can view research posters and explore the breadth of undergraduate research opportunities on campus. Free food and refreshments will be available.

Arts and Sciences students include: Lena Liu ’15, Aaron Oswald ’14, Andrew Dougherty ’15, Prashant (Shawn) Sharma ’15 and Lipi Gupta ’15. 

The 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth is a welcome occasion to reflect on many of the problems that make us ‘modern.’ Shakespeare challenges us to turn with renewed attention to problems of power and desire, the media, economy, belief, memory, history, debt, technology and risk (just to name a few) – that haunt us in increasingly complex ways. We think through these problems with language, and for that alone the fact of Shakespeare is a gift to be celebrated – not provincially, as the property of a (crudely conceived) “national” heritage, but rather with one who is in some ways from ‘another country’ from the start.

“Without this other perspective (other than ourselves) Shakespeare can in fact become a little too ‘familiar.’ When students actually read the plays the encounter has a wonderful de-familiarizing effect. The concentration and pleasure involved in seeing how a play like Hamlet, for example, figures the complexity of life in its ‘dear,’ ‘weary,’ ‘singular,’ and ‘peculiar’ forms can be an exhilarating, if destabilizing experience. Few texts match the variety of perspectives displayed on Shakespeare’s stage. It is in fact the honest unfamiliarity and the struggle with some of Shakespeare’s language that often leads to the most dazzling re-orientations with regard to what one thinks one knows — and that is the starting point for a real encounter.

“In my own research on sovereignty and political theology, Shakespeare’s plays serve as more than mere ‘case studies’ or thought problems. Rather they become sites of historical and theoretical exploration into ideas about power’s origins and derivations, delegations, effects and bonds. We continue to struggle with the fantasy of sovereignty and the problems it gives rise to in the increasingly virtualized space of geopolitical transactions. Shakespeare provides us with terms and tropes (metaphors) for thinking about these problems in relation to changing horizons of what it is possible to think. Shakespeare’s plays both haunt us from a past no longer ours and also in some ways anticipate a future still to come. They are passionate and intelligent, experimental and playful. They invite us to think with them and, for this reason alone, it’s an invitation we should take up, as we reflect on a modernity that was in some ways inaugurated 450 years ago.

Philip Lorenz, associate professor of English, marking Shakespeare’s 450th birthday today.

Learn more at the library’s one-day “flash exhibition,” titled “Shakespeare at 450,” TODAY from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections (RMC), Kroch Library, Level 2B. http://bit.ly/1iLbpO8

The U.S. Supreme Court today handed down a decision that upheld Michigan’s ban on using race as a factor in admissions to that state’s public universities.  

Noliwe Rooks, a human rights expert and associate professor in the Department of Africana Studies, remarks:  

“If we are actually going to have a colorblind system of government and educational access it has to work both ways – and not just function to protect and enhance the educational advantages that some whites enjoy because of their race while dismissing, minimizing and ridiculing the ways that our society both intentionally and unintentionally raises the bar for educational access for blacks and Latinos.

“For example, lost in the firestorm is the fact that, of the 27,000-plus undergraduates presently enrolled at the University of Michigan, only 4.7 percent are black. This is a pitiful, small number and supporters of the Affirmative Action ban seem to be suggesting that over 95 percent of the slots available at the school just won’t do. They want the rest as well.

“While no one wants whites to be oppressed, we also would do well to pay some mind to all of the ways that black and Latino students face structural impediments to their even making it onto college campuses. Whites simply do not face the same hurdles.”

Travis Gosa, an expert on race relations and assistant professor of Africana Studies and social science, had these comments:

“The Supreme Court’s decision on Tuesday is a victory for white supremacy. By upholding Michigan’s ban on the use of race as a factor in college admissions, the court is allowing voters in eight states to ‘Jim Crow’ higher education, that is, to make college a privilege available only to whites and the wealthy.

“Recent attempts to dismantle affirmative action have little to do with fairness or so-called ‘colorblindness.’ Rather, these bans are a veiled attempt to ensure that racial minorities are the only group of students who cannot seek preferences in school admissions. If voters in anti-affirmative action states want fairness, they might start by challenging legacy preferences for the children of alumni and wealthy donors.

“Race-neutral college admissions ignore the racial privilege of white Americans who benefited from generations of black disadvantages, such as blacks being locked out of the G.I. Bill. If and when voters in more states ban race as a factor in college admissions, expect minority student enrollments to plummet and racial tensions to increase.”

'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin
Ever-shrinking electronic devices could get down to atomic dimensions with the help of transition metal oxides, a class of materials that seems to have it all: superconductivity, magnetoresistance and other exotic properties. These possibilities have scientists excited to understand everything about these materials, and to find new ways to control their properties at the most fundamental levels.
Associate professor of physics Kyle Shen and other researchers from Cornell and Brookhaven National Laboratory have shown how to switch a particular transition metal oxide, a lanthanum nickelate (LaNiO3), from a metal to an insulator by making the material less than a nanometer thick.
The team published its findings online April 6 in Nature Nanotechnology (to appear in the journal’s May issue.) 

'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin

Ever-shrinking electronic devices could get down to atomic dimensions with the help of transition metal oxides, a class of materials that seems to have it all: superconductivity, magnetoresistance and other exotic properties. These possibilities have scientists excited to understand everything about these materials, and to find new ways to control their properties at the most fundamental levels.

Associate professor of physics Kyle Shen and other researchers from Cornell and Brookhaven National Laboratory have shown how to switch a particular transition metal oxide, a lanthanum nickelate (LaNiO3), from a metal to an insulator by making the material less than a nanometer thick.

The team published its findings online April 6 in Nature Nanotechnology (to appear in the journal’s May issue.) 

‘Canterbury’ tale
“Far From Canterbury,” an original musical written and scored by Danny Bernstein ’14, will premiere April 24-26 in the Schwartz Center’s Class of ’56 Flexible Theatre. The show is presented by the Department of Performing and Media Arts.
There are four performances, at 7:30 p.m. nightly and a matinee on April 26. Tickets are $5 each, available at the Schwartz Center box office.
“Far From Canterbury” is a re-imagining of “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” from Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales.” The show is directed and choreographed by Stephen Low, a graduate student in performing and media arts.
A music major/theater minor, Bernstein is the Cornell Council for the Arts’ Undergraduate Artist of the Year for 2013-14, recognizing an outstanding student in the arts who has demonstrated talent and dedication with achievements in one or more artistic disciplines at Cornell.
The CCA award presentation is April 24 at 5 p.m. at the Schwartz Center, with Bernstein in conversation with professor of theater Bruce Levitt. The opening performance of “Far From Canterbury” follows the presentation. 

‘Canterbury’ tale

“Far From Canterbury,” an original musical written and scored by Danny Bernstein ’14, will premiere April 24-26 in the Schwartz Center’s Class of ’56 Flexible Theatre. The show is presented by the Department of Performing and Media Arts.

There are four performances, at 7:30 p.m. nightly and a matinee on April 26. Tickets are $5 each, available at the Schwartz Center box office.

“Far From Canterbury” is a re-imagining of “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” from Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales.” The show is directed and choreographed by Stephen Low, a graduate student in performing and media arts.

A music major/theater minor, Bernstein is the Cornell Council for the Arts’ Undergraduate Artist of the Year for 2013-14, recognizing an outstanding student in the arts who has demonstrated talent and dedication with achievements in one or more artistic disciplines at Cornell.

The CCA award presentation is April 24 at 5 p.m. at the Schwartz Center, with Bernstein in conversation with professor of theater Bruce Levitt. The opening performance of “Far From Canterbury” follows the presentation.