Science Camps at GWU: Building A New Center of Research

By Phill Powell

“Science” is probably not the first thing that pops up in your mind when we say “Washington, D.C.”—but someday it might be, if scientists at George Washington University (GWU) have their way. The university’s science programs seem to be expanding in many directions, with recent important developments to spotlight.

With more room than eight football fields of space, GWU’s new Science and Engineering Hall will be a sustainable, scientific showplace.

Plus, the university has announced the construction of an impressive new science and engineering hall, to be completed on GWU’s main D.C. campus during 2015.

A Building Big Enough for Today’s Science
GWU’s new Science and Engineering Hall will be an 8-floor facility with total footage of approximately 500,000 square feet. (That’s almost the same area covered by nine regulation NFL football fields combined.) The building will contain 2,000 custom-ordered laboratory benches by Hamilton Scientific that are decked out with piping and wiring and are outfitted with plug-and-play utilities. The university and its architects have also worked hard to incorporate energy-saving efficiencies that will make the facility a sustainable and environmentally friendly part of GWU’s campus.

A Strong Record of Research
Here are just some of the most recent scientific achievements credited to GWU faculty and researchers:

  • New Dinosaur Species: A GWU biologist has helped discover a new species of dinosaur, based on fossil remains uncovered in a remote region of northwestern China. Dr. James Clark led the team that found the dinosaur now named Aorun Zhaoi, after a fabled Dragon King in Chinese folklore. The animal was no T. Rex—measuring just a yard long and weighing only about three pounds—but was probably fossilized while still a young creature. Another researcher on the team provided more details: “We were able to look at microscopic details of Aorun’s bones and they showed that the animal was less than a year old when it died on the banks of a stream.”
  • The Nature of H2O: Another GWU scientist, Professor Tianshu Li, has just published a study documenting what happens to water when it goes through a super-cooling process. “A current challenge for scientists is to unveil water’s behaviors below -35 degrees Celsius and above -123 degrees Celsius, a temperature range that chemists call ‘no man’s land,’” said Dr. Li. The research should prove to be an important link in our study of climate change effects.
  • Climbing the Reptile Family Tree: GWU biologist Dr. Alex Pyron led a research team that has successfully created the first family tree to cover all 4,161 species of snakes and lizards. The team’s findings were recently published. “This is everything from cobras to garter snakes,” said Dr. Pyron. “To tiny geckos to the Komodo Dragon to the Gila Monster. They range from tiny threadsnakes that can curl up on a dime to 10-feet monitor lizards and 30-foot pythons.”
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    George Washington University was established in 1821. Today its endowment exceeds $1.3 billion.

    Have a Robotics Summer!
    GWU is all about science, and so is Digital Media Academy. This summer, students in DMA tech camps at GWU will tackle a variety of cutting-edge subjects. For the scientifically minded kid or teen, DMA offers several courses in the coolest area of science—robotics.

    Robotics has come a long way and is still progressing rapidly. This summer, DMA students will design and build robots far more complicated than early robot prototypes ever were. There are robotics courses for each age group:

    DMA’s Adventures in Robotics camp gives kids age 8 to 12 a perfect introduction to robotics design and building, as well as basic concepts of mechanical engineering. Before they know it, they’re building their own supercool robots, using the LEGO® EV3 robotics kit.

    Campers age 12 to 17 are sure to enjoy DMA’s Robotics & Programming with LEGO EV3. They get to build their own Bluetooth®-controlled robots using the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 and Robot-C software programs. After campers build their robots, they battle them against each other, in DMA Robo-Sumo competitions.

    And for the complete robotics experience, check out DMA’s Academy for Robotics & Engineering, where teens enjoy two full weeks of robotics fun. Here you’ll get the best of both worlds— Arduino™ and LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 —while you pick up important programming fundamentals using C++ and Java™.

    Science and engineering keep marching forward, especially at GWU — a truly incredible research university, and this summer the home to DMA campers who want to explore robotics. Come get your science on, this summer at DMA.