Press Announcements

GRB 190114C, located about 4.5 billion light-years away in the constellation Fornax.

Researchers Discover Highest-Energy Light From a Gamma-ray Burst

November 20, 2019

Professor of Astrophysics Chryssa Kouveliotou and Assistant Professor of Astrophysics Alexander van der Horst were members of an international team of scientists who identified previously unseen components of gamma-ray bursts, the most powerful explosions in the cosmos. These explosive events emit extreme amounts of energy and are accompanied by an afterglow of light over a broad range of energies that fades with time. The researchers observed a gamma-ray burst with an afterglow that featured the highest energy photons—a trillion times more energetic than visible light—ever detected in a burst. Their discovery was published in the journal Nature.

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.