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Sticker Shock

The rising costs of scientific journals

This 2001 display was inspired by a similar exhibit at the Health Sciences and Human Services library at the University of Maryland.

Designed by the Cornell University Engineering Library team of Gregory Tomso (Reference Assistant), Jill Powell (Reference Librarian), and John M. Saylor (Director) with technical help from Kristina Buhrman (Web Support Specialist).


Believe it or not, you could own this brand new Toyota Corolla, complete with air conditioning and a three-year warranty, for the same price as the library’s yearly subscription to the Journal of Applied Polymer Science.


For the same price as the library’s yearly subscription to Theoretical Computer Science, you could own this “Pave X” ring from Tiffany’s. Twenty-eight diamonds, totaling .89 carat weight, are set in 18 karat gold with blue enamel.

2001 Toyota Corolla
The cover of Journal of Applied Polymer Science
Copyright © 2001 Reproduced with permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
"Pave X" ring from Tiffany's
Cover of Theoretical Computer Science


A seven-day, first-class Princess cruise for two through Alaska’s glacier territory costs the same as the library’s annual subscription to Chemical Engineering Science. Ocean-view deluxe stateroom and all meals included.


Harley Davidson promises that this 883 Sportster Hugger motorcycle will deliver “raw-boned experience of the open road.” And the price? About what the library pays for a year’s subscription to Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering.

Photo of Alaskan cruise Princess
Cover of Chemical Engineering Science
Harley Davidson 883 Sportster Hugger motorcycle
Cover of Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering


For the same amount the library pays for an annual subscription to the four parts of Materials Science and Engineering, Cornell could provide a full scholarship for a semester of undergraduate study at one of our state-assisted colleges, including tuition, room, board and books.

Uris Library and McGraw Tower from the bottom of Libe Slope
Four parts of Materials Science and Engineering

Comments? Questions? Email us at

Designed by the Cornell University Engineering Library team of Gregory Tomso (Reference Assistant), Jill Powell (Reference Librarian), and John M. Saylor (Director) with technical help from Kristina Buhrman (Web Support Specialist).

Microbe Hunters

The theory that living organisms arise from nonliving materials is known as the theory of spontaneous generation. The belief in the spontaneous development of microorganisms was widely held for many centuries, and continued until the 19th century, when the Microbe Hunters proved the germ theory of disease, which showed that diseases are caused by the invasion of microorganisms into the body.


Leeuwenhoek, Antony (1632-1723)

Dutch scientist, noted for his microscopic studies of living organisms. He was the first to describe protozoa, bacteria, and spermatozoa and he also made observations of yeasts, red blood cells, and blood capillaries. Among his many other achievements, Leeuwenhoek traced the life histories of various animals, including the flea, ant, and weevil, refuting many popular misconceptions concerning their origin. Leeuwenhoek ground over 400 lenses during his lifetime, achieving magnifications of up to 300 times with a single lens.

The Macmillan Encyclopedia 1995

Spallanzani, Lazzaro (1729-1799)

Italian physiologist, noted for his studies of microscopic life. Spallanzani demonstrated that microorganisms arose not by spontaneous generation but from spores in the air. He also studied regeneration, digestion, and spermatozoa. He showed that contact by semen was necessary for development of the egg and he achieved the first successful artificial insemination of a dog.

The Macmillan Encyclopedia 1995

Jenner, Edward (1749-1823)

British physician, who developed the first effective vaccine against smallpox. Jenner noticed that people who caught the mild disease cowpox never contracted smallpox. In 1796 he inoculated a small boy with cowpox and two months later, with smallpox. The boy did not get smallpox. Jenner published his findings in 1798 and vaccination (a word that Jenner coined) became a widespread protective measure against smallpox.

The Macmillan Encyclopedia 1995

Cohn, Ferdinand Julius (1839-1884)

German Botanist, considered to be one of the founders of modern bacteriology. Following his early studies of algae and fungi, Cohn became interested in the identification of bacteria and established the basic elements of modern classification. He also encouraged Koch to publish his findings on anthrax.

The Macmillan Encyclopedia 1995

Koch, Robert (1843-1910)

German bacteriologist, who was responsible for major discoveries in the study of disease-causing bacteria. As a young doctor, Koch successfully cultured the bacillus causing anthrax in cattle and determined its life cycle. Devising new and better culture methods, Koch succeeded in 1882 in identifying and isolating the bacillus responsible for tuberculosis. He was, however, frustrated in his efforts to find an effective cure for the disease. Koch investigated many other diseases including cholera, bubonic plague, and malaria. He was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1905.

The Macmillan Encyclopedia 1995

Ehrlich, Paul (1854-1915)

German bacteriologist. Ehrlich did much to develop the understanding of acquired immunity to disease in animals and, with Behring, he prepared a serum against diphtheria. In 1910 he announced the discovery of an arsenical compound (Salvarsan) effective in treating syphilis. Ehrlich shared a Nobel Prize with Mechnikov in 1908.

The Macmillan Encyclopedia 1995

Behring, Emil Adolph von (1854-1917)

German bacteriologist, who produced an antitoxin that conferred passive immunity against tetanus. By 1882 Behring and Paul Ehrlich had developed a serum that provided effective immunity against diphtheria. He was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1901.

The Macmillan Encyclopedia 1995

Kitasato, Shibasaburo (1852-1931)

Japanese bacteriologist, who, during an epidemic of bubonic plague in Hong Kong, identified the bacillus responsible. In Berlin Kitasato worked with Behring on tetanus and diphtheria, demonstrating the value of antitoxin in conferring passive immunity. Kitasato founded a laboratory near Tokyo that was incorporated with the university in 1899. In 1914 he founded the Kitasato Institute.

The Macmillan Encyclopedia 1995

Hata, Sahachiro (1873-1938)

Japanese researcher, who assisted Kitasato in his research on the bubonic plague. He worked closely with Behring, Koch, and Ehrlich and provided much of the background research on diphtheria, cholera, and syphilis.

Mechnikov, Ilya Ilich (1845-1916)

Russian zoologist, who discovered that certain cells in animals could surround and engulf foreign particles, such as disease-causing bacteria. He called these cells phagocytes and was awarded, with Paul Ehrlich, the 1908 Nobel Prize.

The Macmillan Encyclopedia 1995

Pasteur, Louis (1822-1895)

French chemist and microbiologist, who made great advances in the prevention and treatment of diseases caused by microorganisms. A tanner’s son, Pasteur became a science master and pursued his interest in chemistry: in 1848 he discovered two different optically active forms of tartaric acid that had differing biological properties. In 1854 Pasteur was appointed dean of the faculty of sciences at Lille University. He found that fermentation was caused by microorganisms and that by excluding these, souring or decay could be prevented (Pasteurization). Although partially paralyzed in 1868, Pasteur’s interest in germs and disease directed his attention to anthrax (the life cycle of the causative bacillus in cattle had been studied by Koch). By 1881 Pasteur had devised a means of safely inducing immunity to the disease by injecting a vaccine of heat-treated (attenuated) live anthrax bacilli. Pasteur also produced a vaccine for chicken cholera and – in 1885, his most spectacular achievement – an effective rabies vaccine. The Pasteur Institute was founded in 1888 to treat rabies and has since developed into a world center for biological research.

The Macmillan Encyclopedia 1995

Duclaux, Emile (1840-1904)

French physicist, chemist and biologist, who assisted Pasteur in the invalidation of the theory of spontaneous generation. He also collaborated with Pasteur in the study of silkworm disease. He was a great promoter of the anthrax vaccine campaign for livestock. After Pasteur’s death, he became the director of the Pasteur Institute.

Roux, Pierre Paul Emile (1853-1933)

French bacteriologist, who, following the discovery of the Klebs-Loeffler (diphtheria) bacillus in 1884, showed that the disease symptoms were cause by a toxin released by the bacilli. Roux helped develop an antitoxin serum for diphtheria and – working with Pasteur – discovered a vaccine for anthrax using attenuated bacilli. Roux was the director of the Pasteur Institute (1904-1933).

The Macmillan Encyclopedia 1995

Alexandre Yersin (1863-1943)

French bacteriologist, born in Aubonne, Switzerland. He studied bacteriology with Emile Roux in Paris and Robert Koch in Berlin. In 1890, Yersin went to Indochina where he and Kitasato independently discovered the plague bacillus. To finance the establishment of the Pasteur Institute in Nha Trang (1903), he undertook the cultivation of corn, rice and coffee. He introduced the rubber tree to Indochina.

Encyclopædia Britannica Online

Reed, Walter (1851-1902)

American physician. After serving as an army surgeon, Reed was appointed to investigate yellow fever in Cuba, where C.J. Finlay had suggested that the mosquito was the agent responsible for spreading the disease. Reed and his team subjected themselves to the bites of infected mosquitoes, one of the team dying as a result, but proving that mosquitoes were responsible and enabling yellow fever to be eliminated from the region.

The Macmillan Encyclopedia 1995

Smith, Theobald (1859-1934)

American microbiologist and pathologist who discovered the causes of several infectious and parasitic diseases in animals. Smith graduated from Cornell University , Ithaca, NY in 1881. His most important research was carried out on Texas cattle fever. He discovered that the disease is caused by a protozoan parasite that is transmitted to uninfected cattle by blood-sucking ticks. He differentiated the bovine from the human tubercle bacilli. He was also the first to notice anaphylaxis (an intense antibody reaction in an animal after injection of a foreign protein in the body), which he found occurred after the second injection of diphtheria antitoxin into guinea pigs.

Encyclopædia Britannica Online

Bruce, Sir David (1855-1931)

British bacteriologist. He was a one-time colleague of Robert Koch in Berlin but spent the greater part of his career as a military physician. While commandant of the Royal Army Medical College, Millbank, he directed the research on tetanus and trench fever. He undertook royal commissions of inquiry into various diseases in Malta and central Africa. He was able to trace the cause of Malta fever to a bacterium later name for him as Brucella melitensis. He also investigated the cause of nagana, a disease of horses and cattle in central and southern Africa, and found it to be transmitted by the tsetse fly. This work was of great help in his later research on sleeping sickness, which he also proved to be transmitted by the tsetse fly. He was knighted in 1908.

A Dictionary of Scientists, Oxford University Press, © Market House Books Ltd 1999

Ross, Sir Ronald (1857-1932)

British bacteriologist, who confirmed the theory of sir Patrick Manson (1844-1922) that mosquitoes transmit malaria. While working in India, Ross discovered malaria parasites in the guts of Anopheles mosquitoes. In his honor was founded the Ross Institute and Hospital for Tropical Diseases (1926), incorporated into the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1933. Ross received the 1902 Nobel Prize.

Encyclopædia Britannica Online

Grassi, Giovanni Battista (1854-1925)

Italian zoologist. He demonstrated (1898) that the Anopheles mosquito carries the plasmodium of malaria in its digestive tract. He is known also for his research on parasites, on migrations and metamorphosis in eels, on the vine parasite phylloxera, and on termites.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Edition.



Bibliographical References and Illustrations

Encyclopædia Britannica Online


The Macmillan Encyclopedia


1995 Microbe Hunters – Paul de Kruif


Images de la Vie et de l’Œuvre de Pasteur – Vallery-Radot


Theobald Smith 1859-1934 – George Henry Falkiner Nuttall


A Dictionary of Scientists, Oxford University Press, © Market House Books Ltd 1999


The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright © 2001 Columbia University Press.


Plagues and Politics, the Story of the United States Public Health Service – Fitzhugh Mullan, MD


Mosquitoes, Malaria and Man – Gordon Harrison


Yellow Fever Black Goddess-The Coevolution of People and Plagues – Christopher Wills


National Library of Medicine


Centers for Disease Control


Under the Guidance of Professor Leonard Dworsky February 2002,

Library Engineering: Students Solving Library Problems: Space Optimization and Inventory Control

Students of Professors Mark Turnquist and Daniel Loucks working with Stacks Manager Catherine Vellake (pictured to the right) have focused on solving practical library problems for Cornell’s Engineering Library in their recent class projects over Fall 1999, Fall 2000, and Spring 2002 in these two courses:
  1. CEE 593 (Engineering Management Methods I: Data, Information, and Modeling)
  2. CEE 594 (Engineering Management Methods II: Managing Uncertain Systems)
These courses focus on modeling and managing systems using these tools:
  • queuing
  • quality control
  • forecasting
  • simulation
  • resource allocation
This exhibit highlights a few of the proposals recommended by the students in the class to address the problems described below.
Photo of Stacks Manager Catherine Vellake

1. Space Optimization and Forecasting

– This library grows by 675 linear feet of shelf space each year

2. Inventory Control

– Shelf reading to find missing books

3. Resource Location

– Finding the best arrangement of books and journals to suit the needs of both public and staff

Space Optimization and Forecasting

Space is a big issues for libraries. Even with the increase of digital collections, the print collection continues to grow. When the shelves are full, what do we do? Where should we allow the most growth room? Here are some suggestions:


1. Move lower-use books to the Library Annex.
The Engineering Library has moved over 70,000 books to the Annex since 1997. A forklift operates there to ensure rapid 24-hour retrieval of any book or journal volume. Articles can be delivered electronically to the desktop. Books are arranged by size, not by call number, for space efficiency.


2. Forecast popular and high-growth areas.
Use a formula that gives usage points for each call number. Checked-out books are rated the highest, then browsed books, then shelves with the most books out of order.


3. Buffer Room
Move the most heavily-used books to Stack 1, which is on the first floor and convenient to all. This is similar to the bookstore model, which places the most popular titles on the most prominent location in the store. This also makes it easier and quicker for those shelving books. Stack 1 could potentially hold 14,940 books. However, this method would make it more difficult to find books overall since the entire stacks would not be in strict call number order.


4. Carrel Clustering
Carrels suffer from poor lighting, not enough space, and are inconvenient to find. By clustering them on Stack 1 or in the Basement (if we removed the microfiche), carrels could provide more space for laptops and small group study.

Other suggestions:
Improve lighting, purchase color copiers, simplify laptop checkouts (and increase the number), include browsing trucks in the stacks to improve efficiency in reshelving.


The Engineering Library has already implemented the following:

  • Installed browsing shelves throughout the stacks so books can be consulted easily, and left for reshelving by staff.
  • Increased the number of circulating laptops and simplified the loan process.
  • Created a pathway on the right (east) wall in Stacks 2 and 3 so it is easier to walk around the shelves as one follows the call numbers, searching for a book. The problem remains on the Basement’s right side.
Graph comparing shelves used vs total shelves in stacks
Current available shelf space in our 4 shelving areas and the extent to which each is occupied.
Bar graph comparing usage of books in stacks
Comparison of the usage of and the number of volumes surveyed in each stack.
Line graph comparing subject area by displacements
Number of displaced books for each subject area over three 2-month intervals.

Inventory Control – Finding Misshelved Books

Students shelf read (scan shelves for out-of-order books) to keep the books in correct call number order and to locate misshelved books. Using the traditional method, each book’s call number is compared to that of the books adjacent to it. Every book is checked, without regard to usage level.

What’s the Shelf-Reading Problem?
It’s tedious work and extremely time-consuming. There are too many shelves (over 7000)!

Traditional Method of Shelf-Reading:
    Average time: 2.24 minutes per 3-foot shelf
    Average number of shelving errors found: 1.18 per shelf
    Time needed to shelfread library by this method: 274 hours (for 7,340 shelves)


Our Goal: Design a procedure which finds 90% of displaced books in half the read time.

What’s Project QuickRead?

  • Project QuickRead was a joint effort between the Engineering Library staff and the students of CEE 593 in the Fall 2000 semester to design a method of library stacks maintenance which optimized available time and resources to find and correct the greatest number of shelving errors in the least amount of time.
  • As implemented, library student employees spend 15 minutes per shift checking 25 to 35 shelves of books for 8 weeks of each term. Once completed, 85% of the entire library has been checked.
  • QuickRead targets high-use call number ranges in the collection instead of trying to cover all 7,340 shelves.
Students scan only the first half of the call number, instead of the entire 5 to 6 lines. This makes the process faster and less tedious. Tests show that Quickread find 83% of the shelving errors, and catches all misshelved books whose correct location is several aisles away – the most troublesome errors for patrons and staff.
Line graph displaying displaced books found for all call numbers
Number of displaced books found using QuickRead.

“Though QuickRead does not find every misshelved book, the real value of the method is its ability to cover far more shelves than conventional reading methods.”

– Catherine Vellake, Stacks Supervisor

Resource Location – What’s the Best Way to Arrange the Collection?

Digitized sketch for roadmap of Engineering Library

Stacks are in A-Z order (Library of Congress Classification System is used).


To make the books and journals easier to find, breaks are made at the end of each floor in a “clean” spot, such as A-Q, not A-QA 76.6.


However, this concentrates the most heavily used books in the basement and costs 217 shelves overall. To the left is a diagram of what we have. Is this the best way?

Questions and comments are welcome to
Designed by Jill Powell and Catherine Vellake

Recent Cornell Engineering Alumni Inventors

David M. Lederman (Ph.D. 1966, EP)

Artificial Heart
CEO, Abiomed

“The AbioCor device itself is totally implantable. An external tool – a coil – transfers battery power through the skin and into the device. A full charge can last 30 to 40 minutes. The external portion can also be plugged into an electric outlet if the patient remains in one area.”


Dr. Lederman has 6 U.S. patents relating to the artificial heart:

  • US6508756 (2003) Passive cardiac assistance device, with Robert T. V. Kung,, Meir Rosenberg
  • US6224540 (2001) Passive girdle for heart ventricle for therapeutic aid to patients having ventricular dilatation, with Robert T. V. Kung
  • US6210318 (2001) Stented balloon pump system and method for using same
  • US5800528 (1998) Passive girdle for heart ventricle for therapeutic aid to patients having ventricular dilatation, with Robert T. V. Kung
  • US4902272 (1990) Intra-arterial cardiac support system, with Frederic L. Milder, Robert T. V. Kung, Param L. Singh
  • US4888009 (1989) Prosthetic heart valve, with Param I. Singh, Clair L. Strohl, Jr.
David M. Lederman
Passive girdle sketch
US5800528 (1998) Passive girdle for heart ventricle therapeutic aid to patients having ventricular dilatation

Robert S. Langer (B.S. 1970, ChemE)

Biomedical Applications of Polymers


After Cornell, Robert Langer graduated from MIT with a Ph.D. in 1974. He is now the Kenneth J. Germeshausen Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


One of history’s most prolific inventors in medicine, Dr. Langer’s 500 issued and pending patents have been licensed or sublicensed to over 100 pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology and medical device companies; a number of these companies were launched on the basis of these patent licenses. Langer pioneered the field of controlled drug delivery using biodegradable polymers. He was the first to engineer synthetic materials that allow for the precisely timed release of chemicals through surgical implants inserted directly within the diseased tissue. Langer’s controlled delivery techniques have been used to treat brain cancer right at the source instead of through damaging chemotherapy. Through Langer’s innovations, the controlled drug delivery industry has become a multibillion-dollar-a-year business that prolongs and saves thousands of lives.


Dr. Langer’s most recent work is with tissue engineering and human tissue regeneration. His goal is to engineer a synthetic framework on which to grow human cells.


He has patents in magnetically controlled drug-release implants, transdermal ultrasound drug delivery, 3D polymer scaffolds for growing human tissue, microchip drug delivery, and biocompatible shape-memory polymers that return to predetermined forms once inside the body.


Dr. Langer is the only active member of all three US National Academies–Engineering, Sciences, and Medicine.

Robert S. Langer
Microchip drug delivery device sketch
US5797898 (1998): Microchip drug delivery deviceswith John T. Santini, Jr., Michael J. Cima

Jeffrey C. Hawkins (B.S.1979, EE)

Former founder of Palm Computing
Current CEO, Handspring
57 Patents Relating to Handheld Computing Worldwide

Mr. Hawkins is also founder and director of the non-profit Redwood Neuroscience Institute, a scientific research institute working on theories and mathematical models of brain function (


Selected Patents:

  • US20030046528 (application) Method and apparatus for interacting with a portable computer system, with Robert Yuji Haitani
  • US6516202 (2003) Mobile computer system designed for wireless communication expansion, with Jerome C. Tu, Robert Y. Haitani, Christie L. Cadwell, Karl A. Townsend
  • USD467235 (2002) Hand-held device with handwriting area, with Peter N. Skillman, Michael A. Yurochko
  • US6493464 (2002) Multiple pen stroke character set and handwriting recognition system with immediate response, with Joseph Kahn Sipher, Ron Marianetti II
  • USD466877 (2002) Hand-held device with keyboard, with Peter N. Skillman
  • USD466502 (2002) Flip door for personal digital assistant, with Peter Skillman, Melissa Trott, Martin Bone
Patent sketch for interacting with a portable computer system
US5900875 (1999): Method and apparatus for interacting with a portable computer system - 3Com Corporation, withRobert Yuji Haitani
Personal digital assistant patent sketch
USD466115 (2002): Personal digital assistant - Handspring, Inc., with Peter Skillman, Martin Bone

Jerry M. Woodall (Ph.D. 1982, EE)

Pioneer in Research and Development of Compound Semiconductor Materials and Devices

Received National Medal of Technology award at White House, 2002.


Currently C. Baldwin Sawyer Professor of Electrical Engineering, Yale University.


Fully half of the world’s annual sales of compound semiconductor components are based on Woodall’s pioneering research in that area, and he is the inventor of many electronic and optoelectronic devices commonly seen in modern life, including the red light-emitting diodes (LEDs) used in indicators and stop lights; the infrared LEDs used in CD players, TV remote controls and computer networks; the high-speed transistors used in cell phones and satellites; and high-efficiency solar cells used to power satellites.


He built the first high-purity single crystals of gallium arsenide, enabling the first definitive measurements of carrier velocity versus electric field relationships, as well as gallium arsenide crystals used for the first non-supercooled injection laser. He and Hans Rupprecht pioneered the liquid-phase epitaxial growth of high efficiency infrared LEDs, and gallium aluminum arsenide (GaAlAs), which led to his most important research contribution so far: the first working gallium aluminum arsenide/gallium arsenide heterojunction, the interface between two different semiconductor materials. This remains the world’s most important compound semiconductor heterojunction.


Dr. Woodall co-founded LightSpin Technologies, Inc., a high technology startup company, and serves as its Chief Science Officer. He hold 67 patents.


Selected Patents:

  • US4460910 (1984) Heterojunction semiconductor, Barbara A. Chappell, Terry I. Chappell
  • US4477721 (1984) Electro-optic signal conversion, with Terry I. Chappell, Dieter W. Pohl
  • US4379005 (1983) Semiconductor device fabrication, with Harold J. Hovel
  • US 4316048 (1982) Annealing of ion implanted III-V compounds in the presence of another III-V, with Hans S. Rupprecht
  • US4352117 (1982) Electron source, with Cuomo; Jerome J. Cuomo, Russell W Dreyfus
  • US4358291 (1982) Solid state renewable energy supply, with Jerome J. Cuomo
Jerry M. Woodall meeting President Bush
Patent sketch for energy conversion
US4316048 (1982): Energy conversion
Patent sketch for electrochemically eroding semiconductor device
US4351706 (1982): Electrochemically eroding semiconductor device, with Terry I. Chappell, George D. Pettit

David F. Welch (Ph.D. 1985, EE)

Pioneer in Semiconductor Laser and Optoelectronic Technology


David Welch, Ph.D. is the Chief Technical Officer and co-founder of Infinera, a fiber optic systems company founded in 2001. Infinera is focused on creating new strategic advantages for customers through innovative and disruptive technologies.


Prior to this he was CTO and Vice President of Corporate Development for SDL where his responsibilities include overall technology direction and merger/acquisitions. Dr. Welch joined SDL, Inc. in 1985 as a research scientist and has also held positions of Vice President of R&D and Vice President of the Systems Business Group. He has worked on the development of advanced optical technologies for fiber optic communications, and has published over 250 articles and authored over 50 patents.


Dr. Welch received his BSEE degree from The University of Delaware in 1981 and his Ph.D. degree from Cornell University in 1985.


Selected Patents:

  • US6433920 (2002) Ramon-based utility optical amplifier, with Robert J. Lang, Edward C. Vail, Mehrdad Ziari
  • US5392308 (1995) Semiconductor laser with integral spatial mode filter, with David G. Mehuys, Donald R. Scifres
  • US5384797 (1995) Monolithic multi-wavelength laser diode array, with Robert G. Waarts, Jo S. Major, Ross D. Bringans, David K. Fork, G.A. Neville Connell, Robert L. Thornton
Patent sketch for ramon-based utility optical amplifier
US6433920 (2002)
Patent sketch for semiconductor laser with integral spatial mode filter
US5392308 (1995)
Patent sketch for monolithic multi-wavelength laser diode array
US5384797 (1995)

Allyson D. Yarbrough (M.S. 1985, Ph.D. 1988, ECE)

Micromachined Electronic and Electromechanical Systems

Allyson Yarbrough (B.S. EE, New Mexico State University, MS, Ph.D (both ECE) Cornell University), spent three years with Hewlett-Packard Company’s Network Measurement Division as a Product Marketing/Microwave Applications Engineer. In 1988, Dr. Yarbrough joined California State University, Los Angeles as an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering. In 1989 she joined The Aerospace Corporation and has held numerous positions, each with more responsibility. Dr. Yarbrough is currently Principal Director, Electronics Engineering Subdivision. She is responsible for overseeing projects involving the full spectrum of space system electronics engineering from the microelectronic piece-part level to the level of systems and subsystems for launch vehicles and satellites. She holds 5 patents and has published extensively.


Selected Patents:

  • US6238580 (2001) Method of HF vapor release of microstructures, with Robert C. Cole, Ruby E. Robertson
  • US6072686 (2000) Micromachined rotating integrated switch
  • US6045712 (2000) Micromachined reflector antenna method, with Samuel S. Osofsky, Ruby E. Robertson, Robert C. Cole
  • US6008776 (1999) Micromachined monolithic reflector antenna system, with Samuel S. Osofsky, Ruby E. Robertson, Robert C. Cole
  • US5525819 (1996) Microwave concentric mesfet with inherent electromagnetic shielding
Allyson D. Yarbrough
Principal Director, Electronics Engineering Subdivision, The Aerospace Corporation
Patent sketch for micromachined reflector antenna method
US Patent 6045712 (2000): Micromachined reflector antenna method
Patent sketch for micromachined rotating integrated switch
US Patent 6072686 (2000): Micromachined rotating integrated switch

Early Cornell Engineering Alumni Inventors

Kate Gleason

Attended Cornell in 1884 and 1888

Starting as the secretary, treasurer, and chief sales representative of her father’s machine-tool business in Rochester, NY, she helped put the company at the forefront of the machine-tool business. Many, Henry Ford included, gave her credit for the invention of the Gleason bevel-gear planer. She was the first woman to be awarded memberships in the Verein Deutscher Ingenieure in 1913 and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1914.


After leaving her father’s company, she used her solid management skills to restore other companies to solvency. She became the first woman president of the First National Bank of East Rochester.


To improve the depressed condition of East Rochester, she started a project of innovative housing development. This project involved the manufacturing of 100 six-room fireproof cement houses, built by unskilled labor and following standardized plans. She became the first woman member of the American Concrete Institute.


At the end of World War I she supported the restoration of the French village of Septmonts and its 12th Century castle tower. She then continued with restoration and development projects in the U.S.

Kate Gleason
Gleason bevel-gear planer

Willis Haviland Carrier

1901     M.E. in Electrical Engineering – Cornell

While working at the Buffalo Forge Company, his first job after his graduation from Cornell, Carrier collected data showing the amount of heat air would hold when it was blown across steam-heated pipes. The results allowed the company to save money by correcting previous installations.


His first patent (U.S. Pat# 808897) was granted in 1906 for the “Apparatus for Treating Air.”


While waiting on a train platform in the fog and wondering about the problem of humidity control and temperature, he became aware of the connection between humidity, temperature and dew point. This realization allowed him to developed his “Rational Psychrometric Formulae” which he presented to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1911. Modern industry still uses his fundamental calculations for air conditioning.


In 1915, he formed the Carrier Engineering Corporation with the help of six other engineers. The “Centrifugal Chiller” to cool large spaces appeared in 1921. In 1928, he responded to the demands for smaller units to be used in private homes and introduced the “Weathermaker.”

Willis Haviland Carrier
Carrier Corporation

Leroy Randle Grumman

1916 – Cornell

Grumman joined the U.S. Navy during World War I as a machinist’s mate. Within months he became a flight instructor, and later served as a test pilot and project engineer.


In 1929, he opened his own aircraft repair shop. A few years later, he began producing airplanes. He started with a two-seat biplane with retractable gear, and switched to monoplanes in 1940 (F4F Wildcat with folding wing). In 1943, he developed the F6F Hellcat with the bulky teardrop-shaped lines that became his trademark. Not only was the F6F Hellcat the first plane built to pilot specifications, it was also the first to be mass produced. The TBF Avenger, the first torpedo bomber, followed and at the end of World War II, the F9F Panther.


He stepped down as president from the Grumman Corporation in 1946, and the company continued to build aircraft for the Navy.


“The name Grumman on a plane or a part is like sterling on silver,” said Vice Adm. John McCain during World War II.

Painting of Leroy Randle Grumman
F6F Hellcat in flight

Thomas Midgley, Jr.

1911     M.E. Degree – Cornell

Midgley devised the control system for an aerial torpedo during World War I.


He discovered tetraethyl lead while searching for a gasoline anti-knock compound. He sought a non-toxic, non-flammable refrigerant and discovered dichlorodifluoromethane (better known as Freon-12).


He found that bromine could be extracted from seawater and discovered one of the first catalysts for cracking hydrocarbons.

Thomas Midgley, Jr. testing anti-knock additives

Laurens Hammond

1916     M.E. degree – Cornell

Widely creative, he invented a soundless clock with a spring motor enclosed in a soundproof box. He later developed a synchronous motor that operated on 60-cycle electric alternating current. He persuaded power station engineers to use 60-cycle as a standard; this opened the way for him to manufacture his electric clock.


Fascinated with the idea of producing musical tones through electric synthesis, he developed the Hammond organ which could not get out of tune and was not affected by temperature changes. George Gerschwin bought the first Hammond organ. He later developed “Solovox” which could be attached to a piano to produce the sounds of a variety of solo instruments.


Other inventions include a barometer, a stereoscopic device, and the “Teleview,” which added dramatic sensation of depth to motion pictures.

Laurens Hammond at the Dixie Classic Fair, early 1960s
Dixie Classic Fair in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in the early 1960’s.

Meredith C. Gourdine

Cornell track and field star
1952     Silver medal in the Helsinki Olympics for the long jump
1953      B.S. in Engineering Physics – Cornell
Ph.D. from California Institute of Technology

Gourdine pioneered the research into electrogasdynamics, which studies the interactions of electric currents with other electric currents, with charged particles in gases, or with magnets.


He held many patents for inventions such as the clearing of airport fog, the removal of smoke from buildings (Incineraid), the development of coating systems, the conversion of chemical and thermal energy into electricity.

Meredith C. Gourdine jumping over a hurdle
Display by Jill Powell and Nicole Margirier,

The Machines of Leonardo da Vinci and Franz Reuleaux: Kinematics of Machines from the Renaissance to the 20th Century


“This book is about our machines and their evolution over the centuries as seen through the lives of two engineers who became symbols of their own machine age: Leonardo da Vinci, an Italian artist and engineer of the Renaissance, and Franz Reuleaux, a German engineer scientist of the late 19th century Industrial Revolution. It is a story of the scientific study of the machine, its codification into a language  of invention and its deconstruction into basic machine elements.” – Francis C. Moon, 2007


Francis Moon is Joseph C. Ford Prof. of Mechanical Engineering in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and the Curator of the Reuleaux Collection of Mechanisms and Machines at Cornell University. He is an internationally recognized expert on applied dynamics and has written widely on the history – as well as the scientific and pedagogical utility – of the Reuleaux mechanisms.



KMODDL is a collection of mechanical models and related resources for teaching the principles of kinematics–the geometry of pure motion. The core of KMODDL is the Reuleaux Collection of Mechanisms and Machines, an important collection of 19th-century machine elements held by Cornell’s Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. KMODDL was conceived and built in a collaborate effort of Cornell University librarians and faculty in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics (from


What is Kinematics?

Kinematics is the geometry of pure motion – motion considered abstractly, without reference to force or mass. Engineers use kinematics in machine design. Although hidden in much of modern technology, kinematic mechanisms are important components of many technologies such as robots, automobiles, aircraft, satellites, and consumer electronics, as well as biomechanical prostheses. In physics, kinematics is part of the teaching of basic ideas of dynamics in mathematics; it is a fundamental part of geometric thinking and concepts of motion. The development of high-speed computers and robotics, and the growth of design synthesis theory and mechatronics have recently revived interest in kinematics and early work in machine design (from

Sticker Shock 2


The cost of journal subscriptions continues to rise and the prices will shock you!


The International Journal of Solids and Structures costs $7,833 (A 34% increase in price since 2002!). For that price you could join the Cornell Alumni Trip “Machu Picchu to the Galapagos,” book roundtrip airfare from Ithaca to South America, and even buy the digital camera to take this picture.


The Journal of Applied Polymer Science costs $16,157 (A 30% increase in price since 2002!). For this price you could donate 32 heifers to Heifer International and help needy families become self-reliant through sustainable development.


For the combined price of the Materials Science and Engineering A, B, C, and R journals, $17,986 (A 60% increase in price since 2002!), you could buy a brand new 2008 Honda Civic Coupe!


The Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering journal costs $9,069 (A 34% increase in price since 2002!). With this much money you could outfit a two-person house with a solar hot water system (after a $2,000 federal tax credit) (Renovus Energy)


For the price of the Journal of Membrane Science$7,506 (A 23% increase in price since 2002!), you could buy a 2008 Yamaha VX Sport Jet Ski!


Sticker Shock 2 (2007) updates the original 2002 Sticker Shock display.

What’s Happening to the Engineering Library?

The Engineering Library is not going away.

The book collection will be transferred to other libraries on campus. The space will remain open to students, electronic resources will be enhanced, and the computers and librarians will remain on-site.

What’s going on?

The Engineering Library at Cornell has about 200,000 volumes. A study in 2009 showed that only 1% of them were checked out in the past 5 years. Thinking beyond traditional library models, the Advisory Committee to Re-envision the Engineering Library, in support of the university’s strategic planning, developed a set of recommendations to improve support for the teaching and research mission of the College of Engineering.

The Books

In June 2011, those books used in the last 5 years will be divided up, with 20,000 going to Uris Library (including all course reserves) and some to the Mathematics and Mann Libraries. The remainder will go to the Library Annex.

The Librarians

The librarians will remain on-site and available for individual, group, and classroom reference help, and to continue developing the print and electronic collections.

The Computers

All computers in the library–including those in the 4 ACCEL labs on the first and second floor–will remain in place.

Electronic Resources & the Website

We have already begun to add new electronic resources to our website, including:
  • SAE Technical Papers
  • ASHRAE Standards
  • ASTM Standards
  • SPIE Digital Library
  • Journal backfiles
We will continue to add more new resources in the future. We will be revising our web presence to provide enhanced access to electronic engineering resources.

The Space

Carpenter Hall will remain open as a place for study, meeting, computing and teaching. There is also a possibility that the space will be open 24/7, accessible via keycard for any current student, staff or faculty. Over the coming months, we will be gathering information and asking for suggestions from students, faculty, and staff about the future of the Engineering Library and it’s resources. Questions? Email:
By Jeremy Cusker (, Engineering Library, Cornell University, November 2010

Where are the books?

As of July 2011, all engineering books were moved elsewhere on campus.

The most frequently used and recent books were kept on central campus, while older and more specialized books were sent to the Library Annex.

Engineering Books On Central Campus

Based on subject area, just over 25,000 books were redistributed to Uris (19,500), Mann (1,500), Math (3,000) and Olin (500) libraries.

Engineering Books at the Library Annex

The remaining ~145,000 books were sent to the Library Annex.

The Library Annex is a facility on Palm Road for less frequently used books. There is a reading room at the Annex or books can be requested and delivered to any campus library within 24 hours: Just hit “Requests” in the Classic Catalog.

You can also get a scan of any journal article at the Annex emailed to you: Just go to

Reserve Books

Most reserve books for Engineering classes will be at Uris Library. See to see where your courses’ materials are.

Reference Books & Handbooks

A select group of reference books–including many engineering handbooks–were moved to the reference section at Uris Library.

Engineering Theses & M.Eng. Projects

All engineering theses were transferred to the Annex. All M.Eng. projects were transferred to Uris Library. eCommons and ProQuest dissertations and theses global houses a large collection of dissertations and theses.

Engineering Journals (in print)

A few titles on paleontology were sent to Mann. Bound journals were sent to the Annex. All other current print journals were sent to Uris.

Email us at with questions!

By Jeremy Cusker, Engineering & Earth Sciences Outreach Librarian, Engineering Library, summer 2011
Edited by Hyunjung Lee, Engineering Research & Instruction Librarian, Engineering Library, June 1, 2022

About Technical Standards

What are technical standards?

A formal standard is a document giving requirements about a technical system. It establishes uniform engineering criteria, measurements, methods, processes or practices.


A de facto standard can be a company’s product or just a custom observed and regarded as good practice–but not written down–in an industry (i.e. the QWERTY keyboard layout).


Formal technical standards can be developed by a company, trade association or professional society (i.e. ANSI, NFPA, SAE). Often they are developed jointly by several organizations that work in one field.


Standards can be voluntary or mandatory. Mandatory standards may be part of a building code, business contract, law or government regulation (i.e. EPA emissions standards).*

*Wikipedia. (Nov. 20, 2012). Technical Standards. Retrieved from

Finding & using standards

CUL has access to many standards. Some notable online sources:
  • ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials)
  • IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)
  • ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and AirConditioning Engineers) Standards
These and other sources can be found at: We can often quickly order and download individual standards if we don’t already have access to them.

Standards all around you

ASTM D4263 – Standard Practice for Labeling Art Materials for Chronic Health Hazards: Mandatory standard for children’s art supplies (i.e. crayons) labeled as ‘non-toxic’.


ISO 9000 & ISO 9001 – Quality Management Systems: A group of standards regarding benchmarks in customer service and quality control. The original version was based on military specifications.


SAE 10W-40 – Synthetic Motor Oil: A standard of viscosity for motor oil for automobiles. Developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).


USB 2.0 – Universal Serial Bus: Initially developed by a group of 7 companies for easier interconnection of computer peripherals.

Have a question about standards?

Talk to the Engineering librarians: 

Or see us in person: 103E and 103F in Carpenter Hall

by Jeremy Cusker, Engineering & Earth Sciences Outreach Librarian, Engineering Library, fall 2012