What happens to language as populations grow? It simplifies, say researchers

ITHACA, N.Y. – Languages have an intriguing paradox. Languages with lots of speakers, such as English and Mandarin, have large vocabularies with relatively simple grammar. Yet the opposite is also true: Languages with fewer speakers have fewer words but complex grammars. Why does the size of a population of speakers have opposite effects on vocabulary […]

A ‘marine motorhome for microbes’: Oceanic plastic trash conveys disease to coral reefs

Media note: Images from researchers of plastic trash in the ocean can be viewed and downloaded at https://cornell.box.com/s/unoiymcl5le2chvl7oex1dfe8i8omepy Video can be found at https://cornell.box.com/s/fhh20c9ghtcsbp4t865dfsb1ljfyuikg. ITHACA, N.Y. – For coral reefs, the threat of climate change and bleaching are bad enough. An international research group led by Cornell University has found that plastic trash – ubiquitous throughout the world’s […]

Engineers create new architecture for vaporizable electronics

ITHACA, N.Y. – Engineers from Cornell University and Honeywell Aerospace have demonstrated a new method for remotely vaporizing electronics into thin air, giving devices the ability to vanish – along with their valuable data – if they were to get into the wrong hands. This unique ability to self-destruct is at the heart of an […]

All the buzz – bigger honeybee colonies have quieter combs

ITHACA, N.Y. – When honeybee colonies get larger, common sense suggests it would be noisier with more bees buzzing around. But a study recently published in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology reports that bigger honeybee colonies actually have quieter combs than smaller ones. “The surprising result was that – and at first I thought something must be wrong […]

Cornell’s online engineering program ranked top 10 by U.S. News

ITHACA, N.Y. – For the fourth consecutive year, Cornell is in the top 10 on the 2018 ranking of Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs compiled by U.S. News & World Report. Cornell earned the accolade through its only online engineering graduate degree, the Systems Engineering M.Eng. Distance Learning program. After increasing its score from 76 […]

Babies’ babbling betters brains, language

ITHACA, N.Y. – Babies are adept at getting what they need – including an education. New research shows that babies organize mothers’ verbal responses, which promotes more effective language instruction, and infant babbling is the key. It’s long been known that babies modify their sounds to become more speech-like in response to feedback from their […]

Titan topographic map unearths cookie-cutter holes in moon’s surface

Media Note: Images of the topographic maps of Titan can be viewed and downloaded at https://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA17031. Video can be found at https://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA17656.   ITHACA, N.Y. – Using the now-complete Cassini data set, Cornell University astronomers have created a new global topographic map of Saturn’s moon Titan that has opened new windows into understanding its liquid […]

Puerto Rico students prep to take refuge at Cornell

ITHACA, N.Y. – Sixty-two students from Universidad de Puerto Rico (UPR) are getting ready to arrive at Cornell University by mid-January. They’re choosing classes and – almost as importantly – buying winter coats and long underwear online. “I’m always refreshing the Ithaca page and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, it’s so cold!’” said sophomore José […]

Fast radio bursts ‘twists and shouts’ help scientists determine source of cosmic blasts

Media Note: Images, artwork and descriptions can be downloaded at this link. ITHACA, N.Y. – An international group of astronomers has found that the Cornell University-discovered fast radio burst FRB 121102 – a brief, gigantic pulse of radio waves from 3 billion light years away – passes through a veil of magnetized plasma. This causes the cosmic […]

With French grant to ‘Make Our Planet Great Again,’ this scientist to study Earth’s outer skin

ITHACA, N.Y. – The race to see who will lead the fight against climate change is heating up. After President Donald Trump announced in June his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord, French President Emmanuel Macron proposed a “Make Our Planet Great Again” program that would bring climate scientists to […]