Press Announcements

A world map with lines spreading across continent tracking destinations of hate language on social media platforms

First of Its Kind Mapping Model Tracks How Hate Spreads and Adapts Online

August 21, 2019

Professor of Physics Neil Johnson led a team of researchers in developing a mapping model, the first of its kind, to track how online hate clusters thrive. Online hate spreads globally through self-organized, scalable clusters that interconnect to form resilient networks across multiple social media platforms, countries and languages. Published in the journal Nature, the team’s project seeks to understand how hate evolves online by mapping how clusters spread their narratives and attract new recruits. The mapping model could help social media platforms and law enforcement in the battle against hate online.

A student sitting at a production control board next to another student standing and wearing a headset.

Knight Foundation Investment to Fund Institute for Data, Democracy, and Politics

July 23, 2019

The Institute for Data, Democracy, and Politics (IDDP), a newly created GW research platform supported by a $5 million investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will fight the rise of distorted and misleading information online. With a team of researchers spanning political communication, journalism, physics, international affairs, computer science and engineering, IDDP will work to educate national policymakers and journalists on strategies to grapple with the threat to democracy posed by digital propaganda and deception. IDDP is supported by a $5 million investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Archaeologists study the sediments at the Bokol Dora site.

Oldest Evidence of Stone Tool Production Discovered in Ethiopia

June 03, 2019

Associate Professor of Anthropology David Braun joined an archaeological team in Ethiopia that discovered the oldest evidence of stone tool production, dating back more than 2.58 million years. The excavation took several years before the researchers exposed a layer of animal bones and hundreds of pieces of chipped stone representing the earliest evidence of our direct ancestors making and using stone knives.

Sea-level rise, marked by ghost forests and abandoned farm fields, will mostly impact rural land

Study Highlights Vulnerability of Rural Coast to Sea-Level Rise

May 27, 2019

Assistant Professor of Biology Keryn Gedan co-authored new research that highlights the growing recognition that sea-level rise will mostly impact rural land—much of which is privately owned—complicating the complex tradeoffs between the value of different land uses. Published in the journal Nature Climate Change, their work is the first to synthesize the growing number of studies of land conversion driven by sea-level rise. 

a starry dwarf frog, or Astrobatrachus kurichiyana

New Frog Species Discovered in Southern India Biodiversity Hotspot

March 12, 2019
S.P. Vijayakumar, a postdoctoral scientist in biology, led a team of researchers on an expedition to  isolated hills in Southern India where they discovered a new, ancient lineage of frogs. With a group of scientists that included R. Alexander Pyron, the Robert F. Griggs Associate Professor of Biology, Vijayakumar located the new species—Astrobatrachus kurichiyana, or the “Starry Dwarf Frog”—on a forest floor within the remote Western Ghats mountain range. The discovery could solve evolutionary questions in one of the world’s major biodiversity hotspots.
Chryssak Cocoon, an explosion of gamma ray burst thought to be the most powerful explosions in the cosmos

Detailed Early Observations of a Nearby Supernova and Associated Jet Cocoon Provide New Insights about Gamma-ray Bursts

January 17, 2019

Professor of Astrophysics Chryssa Kouveliotou and an international team of researchers provided new insights into Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), the most powerful explosions in the cosmos, and their relations to supernova. GRB explosions are so massive that they should always produce visible supernovae. But some supernova do not have associated GRBs. The global research group observed a hot cocoon around the jets of matter that serves as the missing link connecting supernovae and GRBs.

Artist’s reconstruction of important alvarezsaur species from left to right, Haplocheirus, Xiyunykus, Bannykus, and Shuvuuia.

Rare Fossils Reveal Bird-Like Dinosaur Clues

August 23, 2018

James Clark, the Ronald Weintraub Professor of Biology, led an international team of researchers who discovered a new bird-like species of dinosaur called Xiyunykus pengi during an expedition to Xinjiang, China. The discovery fills in a missing evolutionary link for an enigmatic group of dinosaurs that share many characteristics with birds, including bird-like skulls and many small teeth instead of the large, sharp teeth seen in other dinosaurs.

political cartoons by Rob Rogers depicting starbucks and nfl sensitivity trainings

‘Spiked’ Political Cartoons Find Public Display at Corcoran

July 17, 2018

A collection of censored political cartoons by fired Pittsburgh Post-Gazette artist Rob Rogers were first seen by a public audience at a nationally recognized  Corcoran School of the Arts and Design exhibition titled “Spiked: The Unpublished Political Cartoons of Rob Rogers.” The gallery features 10 unpublished Rogers cartoons and eight sketches.

Steinkamp Loop at the Corcoran

Corcoran Acquires Historic Art Trove

May 14, 2018

The Corcoran School of the Arts and Design acquired hundreds of sculptures, paintings and photographs from the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s permanent collection, laying the foundation for an estimable research collection that will be accessible to Corcoran students as well as faculty, staff and the public. The 18 paintings, 642 photographs, 93 prints and 15 sculptures gifted to the Corcoran School include works by Ansel Adams, Eugene Delacroix, Sally Mann, Mary Ellen Mark and William Wegman.

Microscopic view of carbon nanotubes created from carbon dioxide using the C2CNT process

Greenhouse Gas Reduction Project Advances to Research Competition Finals

April 09, 2018

Professor of Chemistry Stuart Licht and his team of researchers are finalists in the $20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition for their C2CNT project, a low-energy, low-cost method of transforming carbon dioxide into harmless and widely-used carbon nanotubes. The greenhouse gas reduction technology developed in Licht’s lab may potentially impact climate change.

Alison Brooks and Rick Potts

Researchers Discover Evidence of Technology and Behaviors Linked to Emergence of Human Species

March 15, 2018

Professor of Anthropology Alison Brooks led a team of international collaborators, including scientists from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, that discovered evidence of early humans in East Africa using coloring materials and obtaining a range of raw materials from distant sources— activities which imply the existence of social networks—about 320,000 years ago, much earlier than previously thought.

Modern humans (left) have brains that are more than three times larger than our closest living relatives, chimpanzees (right)

Brain size of human ancestors evolved gradually over 3 million years

February 22, 2018

A study by Bernard Wood, professor of human origins at the GW Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology, and a team of Columbian College alumni showed that the average brain size of human ancestors increased gradually over 3 million years, growing to more than three times larger than our closest living relatives.

This artist’s impression shows two tiny but very dense neutron stars at the point at which they merge and explode as a kilonova.

Astrophysicists Identify 'Monumental' Kilonova Blast

October 16, 2017

Four Columbian College astrophysicists are part of a global group of scientists who collaborated to identify and study the first confirmed observation of two merging neutron stars, a so-called kilonova. The existence of a kilonova—an explosive event roughly 1,000 times brighter than a nova—had long been suggested but was never definitively witnessed until now.

Dr. Arnaud Martin have found a "painting gene" that influences the pattern and evolution of butterfly wings

Scientists Find ‘Painting Gene’ Influences Pattern, Evolution of Butterfly Wings

September 18, 2017

An international team of scientists including Arnaud Martin, assistant professor of biology, made a breakthrough in understanding how genetics and evolution work in concert to shape biodiversity by investigating the complex color patterns of butterfly wings. Martin used CRISPR gene-editing technology to study the role of the WntA gene in the formation of shapes and colors on butterfly wings—and how they diversify.

An excerpt from a leaf of the newly discovered manuscript of “Fath al-bari” at the Suleymaniye Library in Istanbul.

Early Drafts of a Classic Work of Islamic Thought Discovered

June 08, 2017

GW Assistant Professor of History Joel Blecher recently discovered the new manuscripts of two previously unknown versions of “Fath al-Bari,” a classic work that shaped the way Sunni Muslims understand Muhammad’s sayings and practices. Dr. Blecher visited the Suleymaniye Library in Istanbul in 2014 to examine a database of digitized manuscripts that can only be accessed in person, with the goal of learning more about how medieval Muslims interpreted Muhammad’s sayings and practices, called hadith. The manuscripts reveal how medieval Islamic scholars drafted and revised their understanding of Muhammad’s teachings to the early Muslim community.

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