Why Cornell Engineering?
"Scientists study the world as it is; engineers create the world that never has been." Theodore von Karman
Cornell engineers challenge the status quo by breaking the rules to do great things. Steeped in an environment of questioning, and with a focus on innovation, Cornell Engineering pursues excellence in all areas. Its faculty, students, and alumni design, build, and test products, improve the world of medicine, inform and shape our laws, create and drive businesses, become research luminaries, and overcome real and perceived barriers to achieve scientific breakthroughs that advance the quality of life on our planet.
We invite you to learn more about Cornell Engineering and its programs.
Did you know?
Professor Thomas O’Rourke (B.S. 1970), a specialist in the field of monitoring large construction projects, headed the team analyzing the impact of 9/11 attacks against New York City. The assessment found that the infrastructure of New York City survived the attack remarkably well, and led to creation of another team to determine the attributes of engineering that led to such resilience.
Charles Manly (M.S., 1898) invented and built the first gasoline engine used for aviation. He also piloted an early experimental aircraft called the Great Aerodrome, built in collaboration with the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution (Samuel Langley), but the early experiments were not successful and Manly crashed it into the Potomac River.
Cornell was the first among all U.S. colleges and universities to allow undergraduates to borrow books from its libraries.
Elmer Sperry, a Cornell engineering student from 1878 to 1879, invented many navigation and stabilization devices for ships and airplanes—all using the gyroscope. His compasses and stabilizers were adopted by the US Navy and used in both world wars.
James W. Spencer (Civil Engineering, B.S., 1949, M.S. 1951) became the first "official" leader of the Cornell Local Roads Program (CLPR). Established after WWII in 1923, the program provided comprehensive applied research and extension support to highway superintendents and under Spencer hosted “Highway School” for 70 years.