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UNLV Newsmakers 2018: March

A collection of recent news stories highlighting the people and programs of UNLV.

Campus News  |  Apr 6, 2018  |  By UNLV Media Relations
UNLV esports champions trophy

UNLV's competitive video gaming team, 8-Bit Esports, won the inaugural Mountain West Esports Showdown in March. (UNLV Creative Services)

UNLV continued its rise in the U.S. News & World Report graduate and professional rankings released in March, with the Boyd School of Law moving up to 59th overall and taking the nation’s top spot in legal Writing.

The month also saw UNLV’s students continue to represent the Rebels at the highest level on the national stage, winning first place in the competitive Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival and besting Boise State in the first-ever Mountain West Conference Esports Showdown. The university's nationally ranked debate team advanced to the Elite Eight of the National Debate Tournament and cemented itself as the team to watch heading into next season.

On the research front, two headline-grabbing studies led by UNLV faculty published in March. The journal Science told of unique "ice" diamonds, identified for the first time, which may improve our understanding of the inner workings of Earth; another study in Nature argued that a tiny shard of volcanic glass proves our ancestors didn't just survive a massive volcanic eruption 74,000 years ago - they thrived.

Below is a sampling of media highlights from March on UNLV’s people and programs.

A Volcano, a Tiny Glass Shard, and Climate Change

Our ancestors not only survived a massive volcanic eruption 74,000 years ago, they may have flourished during the resulting climate change that occurred, a new Nature study by UNLV geoscientist Eugene Smith and colleagues found. The conclusions counter previously held beliefs that the eruption of an Indonesian super volcano – called Mount Toba – and the resulting “winter” of ash and smoke spread thousands of miles and nearly wiped out humans.

A Cool Discovery

Geoscientist Oliver Tschauner and colleagues have discovered the first direct evidence that water pockets may exist deep in the Earth’s mantle. The team analyzed unique impurities in diamonds pushed from deep inside the Earth and found first naturally occurring example of the mineral ice-VII. The findings were published in the journal Science.

Martian Fossil Hunters

UNLV research could help assess landing locations and excavation sites for NASA’s 2020 Mars rover mission that hopes to find evidence of past life in the red planet’s rocks. A team of geoscientists – including professor Libby Hausrath and former student Seth Gainey – recreated clay minerals akin to those on Mars and published their work in Nature Communications. Here's our News Center take on the research, and a link below for a great story from the national science/tech news site Seeker.

"All In" on Esports

Two of the best in collegiate video gaming squared off March 8-10 when UNLV topped Boise State in the inaugural Mountain West Conference Esports Showdown. 8-Bit Esports, UNLV’s collegiate esports organization, defeated the Broncos in the popular games League of Legends and Overwatch to bring home the title. Las Vegas is becoming a bigger player - both literally and figuratively - with some help from UNLV. Beyond fielding a competitive esports team, UNLV has one of the nation’s only academic programs combining the art, science, and business of of the booming industry.

Need Experts? We Got 'Em

Media turn to UNLV faculty daily - both through requests and proactive outreach - to help their audience understand what’s happening in the community and world around them. Working with media to include UNLV expert insight on the day's news is an opportunity to educate the community, but also to broadly reinforce UNLV's strengthening image and reputation. Here are a few recent highlights:

Local News Roundup

UNLV people and programs were well represented in local news in March, with stories on the Rebels' rising debate team, a program tracking the biggest pollen polluters, and how UNLV Libraries is helping unpack the history of Las Vegas.