How to find Notable Cornellians

100 Most Notable Cornellians by Glenn C. Altschuler, Isaac Kramnick, R. Laurence Moore. Cornell University Press, 2003.

Early Cornell Engineering Inventors, 1880s-1950s - display in Engineering Library

Cornell Engineeing Inventors, 1966-1988 - display in Engineering Library

List of Cornell University Alumni, Wikipedia 

The Unofficial  (and slightly irreverent) Cornell University who's who, by Michael Turback

Corey Earle's AMST 2001 First American University Course

Primary Sources at Other Institutions

Other university have primary sources available online for student use. For example:


Selective list of Cornell Entrepreneurs

  • Robert C. Baker, chicken nuggets
  • Margaret Bourke-White, class 1927, photographer
  • Henry Michael Biggs, telegraph line, physician
  • Emily Dunning Barringer, ambulance surgeon
  • Jane Ellen Brody, class of 1962, biochemist, nutritionist
  • Joyce Brothers, Dr. 1947, won money on quiz show, $64,000 question. Psychologist. Dr. Joyce Brothers show
  • Willis H Carrier, air conditioning
  • ​Anna Botsford Comstock, natural resources, professor
  • John Henry Comstock, botanist, professor
  • Harry Coover, MS 1943, PhD 1944, Super glue
  • Alonzo G. Decker, Jr. 1929, cordless drill
  • Alice Catherine Evans, bacteriologist
  • Charles Francis Feeney, class of 1956, billionaire from Duty Free
  • William Frederic Friedman, cryptologist
  • ​Louis Agassiz Fuertes, ornithologist
  • Allen Funt, actor, Candid Camera movie maker
  • Frank Ernest Gannett, newspapers
  • Kate Gleason, Gleason bevel-gear planer
  • Meredith C. Gourdine, electrogasdynamics
  • ​Wilson Greatbatch, 1950, cardiac pacemaker, 150 patents, solar-powered canoe
  • Leroy Grumman, 1916, retractable landing gear, Grumman Aviation
  • Laurens Hammond, organ
  • George Joseph Hecht, publisher Parents magazine, bought Baker & Taylor
  • ​Henry Heimlich - Heimlich maneuver, Heimlich valve
  • Siyu Huang, 2013, battery technology, Lionano
  • Ida Henrietta Hyde, physiologist
  • Irwin Jacobs, 1954, CDMA standard for 3G cellular technology
  • Richard C. Koch, 1944, Regency TR-1 transistor radio
  • Robert Langer, 1970, Cheme,  pioneered the field of controlled drug delivery using biodegradable polymers
  • Tien Liu, PhD 1939, refined play doh
  • Barbara McClintock, botanist, genetics
  • James Whitman McLamore, Burger King
  • Thomas Midgley, inventor, control system for an aerial torpedo during World War I, Freon-12, leaded gas
  • Richard Meier, 1956, architect
  • Robert Moog,1965, engineering physics; electronic music, synthesizer
  • Edward Leamington Nichols (founder of Physical Review)
  • Bill Nye, 1976, Bill Nye the Science Guy television show
  • John Merrill Olin - Olin Foundation a conglomerate. Had 2 dozen patents, was a civil engineer Class of 1913
  • George Goodwin Pincus, birth control pill
  • Isidor Isaac Rabi, physicist
  • ​Martha Van Rennselaer, professor, home economics 
  • Jon Rubinstein, 1978, M.Eng 1979; Apple iPod
  • George Stibitz, PHD 1930, first digital computer
  • Walter Clark Teagle, chemical engineer
  • Jay Walker, ILR 1978, Priceline, Synapse
  • Colston Estey Warne, Consumer Reports and Consumers Union
  • Sanford I Weill, class of 1955, financial services
  • John Zimmer, 2006, founder of Lyft

Some of these are from this exhibit display others are from The 100 Most Notable Cornellians, by Glenn C. Altschuler, Isaac Kramnick, and R. Laurence Moore and Corey Earle's course American Studies 2001,The First American University, a history of Cornell.

Engineering Librarian

Profile Photo
Jill Powell
103E Carpenter Hall
Engineering Library
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
Subjects: Engineering