George Mason in the News

Posted: August 10, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national news coverage George Mason recently received.

Monday, July 30, Newsweek

Putting Time in a (Leaky) Bottle

“New studies suggest that it is possible to measure something without affecting it. The key is doing the experiments, well, gently. Anyone with a vague memory of Physics 101 knows that if you shine a light on what you want to measure, or stick a thermometer in it, you alter it. Taking the temperature of a steak with a cold thermometer, for instance, cools it as heat is transferred from meat to glass. You don’t know what the temperature ‘really’ was before you jabbed in the thermometer — a notion enshrined as the uncertainty principle. To circumvent this rule, Israeli physicist Yakir Aharonov [Mason Distinguished Professor of Quantum Information Science] got the idea of making ‘weak measurements,’ akin to waving your hand over the steak to feel its heat. That’s not very precise with meat, but it works with quantum measurements: if you make enough weak measurements, the average comes impressively close to the actual value, experiments are showing. Weak measurements may indeed show that ‘something that happens now is affected by something that happens in the future,’ says physicist Jeff Tollaksen of George Mason University. ‘It suggests that the universe has a destiny — a destiny that is out there and coming back to us from the future.’”

Friday, Aug. 3, Washington Post

The Glory of Women’s Softball; Washington’s Winning Fast-Pitch Team Is Having a Ball, and So Are Its Fans

“Finally: a non-mediocre, consistently victorious professional sports team in town! The Washington Glory, an unassuming professional women’s fast pitch softball team that plays its home games at George Mason University, is taking names and kicking stats. In its inaugural year, the Glory is perched atop the six-team National Pro Fastpitch League. The team has the best win-loss record; the winningest pitcher in the league and a shortstop who leads in batting average, home runs and runs batted in. ‘I look for ladies who are dedicated to helping the community and to having fun with the fans,’ says team owner Paul Wilson when asked how he has built a winning squad. ‘I want a pro-sports franchise with a fun, family, minor-league atmosphere.’”

Wednesday, Aug. 8, Washington Post

An Economist’s Palate, Applied to Dining around D.C.

“An economist at George Mason University, Tyler Cowen has rather unusual criteria for restaurant selection. He doesn’t first look at the menu, the ambiance or the reviews. Being an economist, he thinks about the rental market, property taxes, competition and clientele. ‘All of us already act like economists,’ he said, digging into a plate of Chengdu dumplings in a black vinegar sauce. ‘We just have to think about what we already know about the world and apply it to dining.’ That’s the message of Cowen’s new book, ‘Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist,’ published last week. It’s the latest in a rash of popular economics books spurred by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner’s 2005 bestseller, ‘Freakonomics.’ But it’s the first to include an attempt to analyze the economic laws that govern food and dining.”

Wednesday, Aug. 8, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Fighting Arsenic: News of Chemistry Professor’s Water Filter Is Spreading around the World

“When Abul Hussam started finding ways to remove arsenic from drinking water about a decade ago, his primary aim was to help his family and native Bangladesh people, who had been poisoned from arsenic in well water. After winning a $1 million National Academy of Engineering prize in February, he has embarked on a global mission to develop solutions to water problems and help millions around the world. ‘Patients drinking the filtered water for two years show arsenical melanosis [skin pigment changes] disappeared with significant improvement in their health,’ said Hussam, who is now an associate professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at George Mason University, Fairfax, Va. After his success in developing the household water treatment system, Hussam is now working to scale the filtration system for community and large-volume use. To help him develop and disseminate sustainable technologies for clean water, [Mason] is planning a Center for Clean Water and Sustainable Technologies that would gather faculties and experts to develop practical solutions to the problem of clean water.”

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