“It’s a book that rescues the human being from hagiography, and that is, in fact, two biographies: one a purely historical one, based on contemporary accounts; and the second a review of the enormous literature of legend and spin that his Order bestowed upon him. The Francis in this book is terrifying and self-destructive, visionary, and tormented. And the way he was subsequently used – in legend and parable and hearsay – speaks not just to the imagination of the church, but to the obvious miracle of Francis’s life’s work.”
“We are hopeful that the book will provide a useful introduction to the many debates over the nature and philosophical foundations of property,” says Peñalver, professor of law. “At the same time, we wanted to provide an overview of recent property scholarship, identifying the most active debates as well as the areas of consensus.” Adds Alexander, the A. Robert Noll Professor of Law, “The book’s secondary purpose is to provide a brief account of our own theory of property, which is based on the value of human flourishing.”
The fall 2012 Ezra, Cornell’s quarterly news magazine, looks at how a visit to a Cornell library, in person or online, provides a level of customization that would have been unthinkable half a century ago, when the massive card catalog ruled and students filled out carbon-copied punch cards to request items. It also examines how the library’s rich collections and expert staff inspire research and teaching, on campus and around the world.
Also in this issue: New views of Klarman Hall’s planned design, the Cornell NYC Tech campus is ramping up with academic programming and key hires, an update on the Cornell Now campaign, a look at how the Tatkon Center is a hub of support for first-year students, Cornell marks Ithaca Silent Movie Month, the Morrill Land Grant Act turns 150, and faculty legends Alexander de Lahunta and Flora Rose.
The journal Nature Materials has featured Cornell work on transition metal oxides on its October cover. The Cornell team includes Kyle Shen, Darrell Schlom and David A. Muller, who revealed new insights into quantum interactions of transition metal oxide superlattices, which are artificial stacked layers of alternating materials, each just a few atoms thick.
“Sharpen your pencils, dust off your abacus and join me once again for a few weeks of mind-bending pleasure. No, I’m not speaking about politics,” writes Strogatz, the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics, of Me, Myself and Math. “We’ll focus on how the subject I love — math — relates to the subject we all love — ourselves.
“From the DNA that encodes us, to the fingerprints that characterize us, to our place in the universe and our friend counts on Facebook, we are mathematical marvels. In the coming weeks we’ll see what math can reveal about us and our world, and at the same time, how the wonders of us have inspired advances in math. No specialized knowledge or background will be required, just curiosity and a sense of fun.”
“Taking the Back off the Watch: A Personal Memoir” of astrophysicist Thomas Gold, tells the life story of the Cornell professor who – among many other achievements – explained pulsars as rotating neutron stars, recruited Carl Sagan to the Cornell faculty and helped persuade the U.S. Department of Defense to fund conversion of the giant radio telescope at Arecibo, Puerto Rico, into an instrument for radio astronomy.
Gold fled Vienna in 1933, took an engineering degree at Cambridge University and worked on naval radar research during World War II. His interests included physiology, astronomy, cosmology, geophysics and engineering. The late Cornell President Emeritus Dale Corson recalled that he hired Gold in 1959 because “we liked the torrent of ideas that flowed from him,” and Yervant Terzian, the David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical Sciences, who was hired by Gold in 1965, said after Gold’s death in 2004: “Tommy was a star, and everybody knew that.”
The summer 2012 issue of Ezra, Cornell’s quarterly news magazine, features a look at what it takes for a professor to attain the status of legend.
Also in this issue: President Emeritus Frank H.T. Rhodes’ new book, “Earth: A Tenant’s Manual” (with audio excerpts); Cornell Outdoor Education’s 40-year odyssey; the Belfer Research Building goes up in New York City; the unconventional path from team manager to a basketball standout taken by Johnathan Gray ’13; and increased scholarships for international students.
And don’t miss the end note by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Jeffrey Gettleman ’94 about the professor who changed his life and a viewpoint by Andrew J. Rotter ’75 about Professor Walter LaFeber.
Subscribe (it’s free!) to the print edition of Ezra magazine.
Five Cornell professors have been named to “The Best 300 Professors.” The book takes data from RateMyProfessors.com, a website on which students rank professors on helpfulness, clarity, easiness and “hotness.”
“The professors in the book are not ranked (nor are their colleges ranked in this book) but each professor profiled received high ratings from their most important audiences, beneficiaries and critics: the students they teach and inspire,” writes the publisher.
Cornell winners are Gerald Feigenson, professor of molecular biology and genetics; Karl J. Niklas, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor of Plant Biology; Cindy Van Es, senior lecturer in the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management; George Hudler, professor of plant pathology and plant-microbe biology; and Shalom Shoer, senior lecturer in Near Eastern studies.
“One of the reasons is that there was as much celebrity culture in 1912 as today,” Howe wrote in a subsequent email about the interview. “[The public] just paid attention to socialites and industrialists rather than actors. The response to Titanic in 1912 was as if everyone at the Vanity Fair Oscar party was all on a boat together, which went down.”
Howe, author of the best-seller ”The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane,” continued: “[The] Titanic is also about hubris and our faith in technology. We talked not only about the design of the ship, but also about the role that wireless technology played both in the rescue and in the dissemination of news while it was still happening. Titanic is really the first time that newspapers were able to learn about an event while it was still under way.”
Howe’s interview will air in the 8 a.m. hour April 13 – two days before the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking.
“The story, though, is not about what happened in the Gulf, but why it happened and who allowed it,” says Lustgarten, an Ithaca native and investigative reporter for ProPublica.
The narrative draws on leaked internal BP documents, court records and interviews to demonstrate how BP consistently placed profit and cost cutting ahead of safety and environmental protection.
“As a result, over two decades, more than 45 people have died, BP has faced three criminal convictions, but no individual BP employee or manager has yet been held accountable for their actions,” Lustgarten says.
The journal Nature says the book “… reads like a thriller, complete with whistle-blowers and double agents … . Lustgarten paints a picture of neglect, hollow proclamations about safety and environmental stewardship, and draconian cost-trimming going back two decades.”