• Stephen Kline/Broadside

    Student Discovers Supermassive Black Hole

    Featured, Multimedia, News1 November 19, 2012 at 1:47 pm Comments are Disabled

    Washington, D.C., may be the political center of the United States, but Mason provides its students with numerous opportunities that extend beyond the government. Take, for example, Nathan Secrest. The second-year graduate student, who is currently working toward his PhD in physics with a concentration in astrophysics, discovered a miniature supermassive black hole in the NGC 4178 galaxy while conducting research for the School of Physics, Astronomy and Computation, otherwise known as SPACS. That may not sound like a big deal to someone who cannot tell his brown dwarfs from his red giants, but within the scientific community, it can have major repercussions. “The reason why this discovery is significant is because of the size of the SMBH and the galaxy it is hosted by,” Secrest said in an e-mail. “[We] do not know very much about intermediate mass black holes.  How are they formed?  What percentage of the total black holes in the universe do they comprise?  Also, NGC 4178 is a bulgeless spiral galaxy.  This is important because the larger SMBH masses have been found to correlate very tightly with the properties of their host galaxy bulges,” said Secrest. At first glance, this information seems too complicated for […]

  • Greg Thompson/Creative Commons

    Jersey Native Laments Sandy’s Effect on the Shore

    Editorials, Multimedia November 5, 2012 at 11:21 am Comments are Disabled

    There is nothing more frustrating or painful than watching as your hometown is torn apart while you sit in safety several hours away. Hurricane Sandy struck my hometown, Toms River,  N.J., on Sunday Oct. 28.  The storm hit the shore full force and in the course of one night, everything that I loved about growing up on the Jersey Shore was completely wiped out. It may just seem like childhood memories to some, but my entire life was spent on the beaches and boardwalks that Sandy stole from us. The first roller coaster that I ever rode is now just a twisted piece of metal. The boardwalk that I have walked every summer since before I was old enough to remember is left in splinters, in the sections where there is boardwalk left, that is. There are some places where it is just gone all together. The ocean has completely overtaken the beaches that I used to lounge on for days at a time.  It was where I laughed, and played and learned about everything that I love about life. From the comfortable bubble that is Mason, it is hard to see the true impact of Hurricane Sandy. Sure, it […]

  • David Shankbone/Creative Commons

    Alumnus Witnesses Hurricane Destruction in New York

    Featured, Multimedia, News1 November 5, 2012 at 11:15 am Comments are Disabled

    Mason alumnus Alex Romano watched the devastation of Sandy unfold right before his eyes. Working with CBS News in Midtown, Romano worked throughout the night, coordinating coverage for the incredible storm and reviewing live shots taken from all across New York City. “I could see the storm evolve from all different parts of the New York metropolitan area at the same time,” Romano said. Romano, a native of Sea Cliff, NY, watched as Battery Tunnel in Brooklyn flooded. He sifted through video footage of power lines and trees being snapped in half. He saw roads and subways just down the street from his office pummeled by rushing water. “Every couple of minutes, there were new feeds coming in,” Romano said. “When you watch the live news, you’re only seeing clips that last a few seconds. We’re seeing hours of footage.” Completely swamped with work, CBS News had arranged for a number of its workers to stay the night in the Le Parker Meridian hotel. As a surge of videos piled in, Romano watched as the crane atop a luxury Manhattan skyscraper partly collapsed, leaving its arm dangerously hanging over West 57th Street. The New York Office of Emergency Management evacuated […]

  • Alumnus Creates “Write Home Soon” Project

    Alumnus Creates “Write Home Soon” Project

    Featured, Lifestyle, Multimedia October 31, 2012 at 11:05 am Comments are Disabled

    In high school, Mark Strandquist spent hours working with social justice groups in D.C., listening to first hand accounts of segregation, unequal schools and housing and the crack epidemic from senior citizens. Strandquist was amazed to realize that after a lifetime of hardship, many of these men and women were still suffering, struggling against gentrification to retain their homes and communities. The experience stuck with him and has inspired his latest art project, called “Write Home Soon.” Strandquist, a Mason alumnus and former student media photographer, is asking for the community to create postcards that share a memory or story from a lost space that was once, or still is, important to them. “The main goal is to democratize the creation, exhibition, and consumption of art,” Strandquist said. “To help and foster a space where any individual, regardless of class, identity, or what side of the Anacostia River they live on, can include their voice, vision and memories near the National Mall.” After spending so much time learning the stories of the senior citizens in D.C., Strandquist wondered what happens when individual histories are not recorded. “What I’m interested in is questioning how our libraries, museums and textbooks would differ […]

  • Stephen Kline/Broadside

    Blood, Sweat and Beers at the Patriot Center

    Featured, Lifestyle, Multimedia October 31, 2012 at 10:59 am Comments are Disabled

    Country music artist Eric Church proudly holds in his right hand a shot glass of Jack Daniels—his drink of choice. “How many shots I have will determine what kind of night it’s going to be,” said Church, during his Oct. 26 Blood, Sweat and Beers concert at the Patriot Center. Regardless of how many shots he actually downed, Eric Church’s show could easily be one of the biggest parties that Mason has seen all semester. Throughout the 90-minute performance, the excitement level was so high that the few thousand audience members rarely sat down. Energy continuously flowed between Church and his audience. “I promise you I’m going to give you everything I got,” said Church, towards the beginning of his performance. “But you also better give me everything you got.” Clapping their hands, singing along, dancing in front of their seats, waving their drinks in the air, and howling at times, the audience heeded Church’s call. The show began as the 35-year-old, 6-foot-2 singer-songwriter emerged in a cloud of theatrical smoke from under the stage, wearing a black t-shirt, blue jeans and baseball cap. The stage was set with pyrotechnics and strobe lights. Playing an acoustic guitar, Church opened with […]

  • Alexandra Sudak/Broadside

    Students Use Pop Culture Phenomenon to Inspire Voting

    Multimedia, News1 October 31, 2012 at 10:54 am Comments are Disabled

    This election season, Mason is voting Gangnam Style. Twenty people gathered by the George statue on Saturday, Oct. 27, to film a video of Mason students rocking out to the internet hit Gangnam Style, but with a twist–the song’s lyrics were changed to let young people know that voting is something that’s cool to do. The video is part of an effort by the Mason Vote Mob, as well as All Hands on Deck, a self-identified non-partisan group whose goal is to get young people to the polls. The filmmaker, Colin Christopher, is a member of All Hands on Deck. As he filmed the video, Christopher organized and led the group of volunteer dancers in the various signature Gangnam Style dance moves. “This election, there’s a degree of apathy that was not around in 2008,” Christopher said. “It’s important for the politicians and the nation to know that young folks like us are interested, we are engaged, and our voices need to be heard.” Another organizer of the video, junior Janelle Germanos, thought a video based off of Gangnam Style would catch the attention of young people. “We’re hoping to encourage students to vote in a funny way that they […]

  • Lynne Constantine/School of Art

    Wish Tree Project Inspires Professors

    Featured, Multimedia, News1 October 23, 2012 at 10:18 am Comments are Disabled

    Students may have been wondering why there are tags hanging on trees. Suzanna Scott, professor of New Century College’s Art, Beauty, and Culture course, and Lynne Constantine, professor of The School of Art’s Aesthetics course, decided to bring the Wish Tree Project to the George Mason campus as part of their curriculum. For those who don’t know, Yoko Ono originally started The Wish Tree Project in 1996. Scott says, “People participate in the work by writing their personal wishes for peace on white shipping tags and tying the wishes to a tree branch.” This project was started on the George Mason Campus on October 1st and will end on October 18th. When asked why the project would end, Constantine replied, “In a way, the very fleetingness of the tree’s presence here is important. Any longer, and it would simply become part of the landscape. This way, both its appearance and its disappearance are events, opportunities for paying attention.” Once the wishes are taken down on the 18th, they will be shipped to Reykjavik, Iceland where Yoko Ono is collecting all the wishes and building a memorial for her late husband, John Lennon. Both Constantine and Scott were eager to bring […]

  • Min Park/Executive Director of Proposed Korea Campus Operations

    Board of Visitors Approves Mason Campus in South Korea

    Multimedia, News1 October 23, 2012 at 10:04 am Comments are Disabled

    The Board of Visitors authorized the establishment of a branch campus in Incheon, South Korea at a recent board meeting on Oct. 3. Mason was approached by a Songdo Project representative in 2008 and was asked to consider the possibility of establishing a branch of the proposed “Songdo Global University” in Korea. The Songdo Global University Campus is designed to be a global hub for education, economics, politics, research and culture. Many groups participated in the evaluation process in order to authorize the campus. These participants include members of Mason’s senior leadership, the faculty senate and focus groups with students at Mason and in Korea. Interviews were also held with key international leaders. Anne Schiller, Vice President for Global Strategies and Professor of Anthropology at Mason, was involved in the decision-making process. She is one of many who believe this opportunity has the potential to be very beneficial to Mason. “Mason’s 2014 strategic plan described East Asia as a geographic region of particular interest to Mason,” Schiller said. It is projected that U.S. undergraduate students will be able to begin studying at this campus in 2014. The initial Mason-affiliated majors offered will be in management and economics, and in the […]

  • Creative Services/George Mason University

    Chalk It Up As Another Win For Mason

    Editorials, Multimedia October 23, 2012 at 9:59 am Comments are Disabled

    Just when you think Mason cannot get any better, it pulls a fast one on us and raises the bar all over again. While this week’s announcement that the university will be expanding its territory and opening a beautiful campus in South Korea brings outstanding notoriety among East Asian countries, it is a campus that very few students will ever get the opportunity to experience first-hand. Perhaps more relevant to the Fairfax community, though, Mason celebrated the completion of its newest academic residential and dining facilities on Thursday just down the road in Front Royal. A $5 million gift from real estate developer Gerald T. Halpin, namesake of the G.T. Halpin Family Living & Learning Community, helped bring life to a vision imagined by Mason and the Smithsonian that will allow the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation to foster and nurture future generations of conservationists. His generous donation will provide funds to establish an endowment that will provide scholarship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. The campus, where students spend a semester living on campus and engaging in the study of endangered species, includes research halls, dormitories and an animal hospital. Highly qualified world experts – including Smithsonian scientists, Mason faculty […]

  • Stephen Kline/Broadside

    Security Report Finds Increase in Drug Arrests

    Multimedia, News1 October 23, 2012 at 9:56 am Comments are Disabled

    Recently released statistics from Mason’s Annual Security Report surprised many when the amount of reported drug arrests spiked dramatically. Although the numbers for Student Residencies dropped from 41 to 40 from 2010 to 2011, the reported drug arrests for the On-Campus category increased from 77 to 151 and Public Property drug arrests have increased from 34 to 120. However, the numbers alone do not tell a complete story of drug use on Mason’s Fairfax campus. “Due to a change in the definition of on-campus, we now have to include all parking lots and the patriot center, and other areas that previously had been in the public property category, into the category of on campus,” said Mike Lynch, Chief of Mason Police. This definitional distinction means that arrests that occur in residential buildings, which are inaccessible to the public, are counted in the same category as parking lots, which are. This means that drug arrests made from arresting the public are counted in the same category as the student body, which can make the numbers seem worse than they are. This year, drug arrests from parking lots and the patriot center, which totaled 120, “were tallied in both public property and […]