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.
The electric elevator was invented in 1891 by Frederick Bedell (Physics, Ph.D., 1892) while he was still a grad student. His invention was an improvement over the hydraulic elevators that couldn’t reach the upper floors of New York City’s rising skyline. Bedell was later appointed to the Cornell faculty as an instructor and in 1904 had risen to the rank of full professor.
Winfried Denk (Applied and Engineering Physics, Ph.D., 1989) developed serial block-face electron microscopy, in which detailed 3-D imagery of minute structures within tissue are generated by the repeated removal of thin slices and scanning the remaining cut surface of samples.
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.
The world’s first Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering awarded by Cornell in 1933 to Ralph M. Barnes, (M.S., 1924). During his career, he received numerous awards in the field. Building on the work of his predecessors, he has given a huge boost to method and time study and continued to build on the classic Gilbreth technique and philosophy and proclaimed that time study and micro-motions study were evidently different analysis techniques.
In 1955, Hugh DeHaven, of the Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory invented the three-point seat belt which has saved millions of lives. His research into crash survival pioneered safety studies and helped shaped the modern automobile industry. "...people knew more about protecting eggs in transit than they did about protecting human heads,” he wrote.