Projects funded by 2024 New Frontier Grants look toward the future

How will a new multinational power grid affect people and cultures across Asia? Will artificial intelligence aid or hurt the United Nations? How can scholars take a new approach to Haudenosaunee studies? What new instruments will help us understand and harness the power of two different types of quantum materials?

To support the progress of the Cornell researchers asking these questions, the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) has awarded five New Frontier Grants to cutting edge projects in science, social science and the humanities led by A&S faculty, some with collaborators from other colleges.

“Technologies such as AI and quantum computing are developing rapidly with the potential for profound impacts on our society. At the same time we are gaining new insight into history, communities and human endeavor. The New Frontier Grants awarded this year ensure that Cornell researchers are working at the forefront of discovery in these critical and often interconnected areas, steering their adoption and implementation toward the greater good,” said Rachel Bean, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “This year, five new, innovative projects draw on the expertise of Arts and Sciences faculty, demonstrating our college’s characteristic zeal for interdisciplinary collaboration.

“I am thrilled to announce these groundbreaking research projects conceived by our brilliant scholars, and I am grateful for the donors whose philanthropy has been absolutely vital to the New Frontier Grant program,” she said.

To date, the New Frontier Grant program has funded 39 projects.

Projects funded in 2024 by New Frontier Grants address a wide range of issues in the humanities, social sciences and sciences. Some cross disciplinary boundaries to solve complex problems while others focus closely on mysteries of nature that have implications for future technologies. Detailed descriptions of these projects can be found on the College of Arts and Sciences website.

  • “Development of a Time-Resolved Sagnac Interferometer for Ultra-Sensitive and Ultra-Fast Optical Studies of Spin Dynamics,” Dan Ralph, the F. R. Newman Professor of Physic and Gregory Fuchs, professor of applied and engineering physics;
  • “Engaging Multi-Scalar Dynamics in Trans-Asia Infrastructures,” Shaoling Ma, associate professor of Asian studies and Stefano Galelli, associate professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering in Cornell Engineering;
  • “Imaging Invisible Spin Orders with Nanoscopic Magnetic Tunneling Junctions” Xiaomeng Liu, assistant professor of physics;
  • “New Frontier for AI in Global Policy Dissemination: Exploring the Use of AI for Evaluating International Organization Country Performance Reports,” Sabrina Karim, the Hardis Family Assistant Professor of government; and
  • “Reconceptualizing Haudenosaunee Studies,” John Whitman, professor of linguistics; Kurt Jordan, professor of anthropology; Jolene Rickard, associate professor of history of art and visual studies; and Stephen Henhawk, research associate in linguistics (A&S) and program associate in the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program (AIISP) in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Kate Blackwood is a writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.

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