The top 10 stories of 2015​​

​New​ discoveries, an enhanced campus and another presidential debate rank among the most-read stories of the year

Ken Burns
Filmmaker Ken Burns delivers the 2015 Commencement address at Washington University in St. Louis on Friday, May 15, 2015. (Credit: James Byard/WUSTL Photos)

A look back at the top 10 most-read stories in the Washington University in St. Louis Newsroom in 2015.

Obituary: Douglass C. Nor​th, Nobel Prize-winning economist, 95

Douglass C. North, PhD, co-recipient of the 1993 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and the Spencer T. Olin Professor Emeritus in Arts & Sciences, died Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, at age 95.

Washington University to host presidential debate Oct. 9, 2016

​Washington University will again play a prominent role in the national political conversation when it hosts a presidential debate on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. The schedule of four debates — three presidential and one vice presidential — was announced Sept. 23 by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Carrot or stick? Punishments may guide behavior more effectively than rewards​​

​When it comes to rewards and punishments, which is more effective — the carrot or the stick? Researchers devised a simple experiment to test the effects of rewards and punishments on behavior and have found that punishments seem to be more effective at influencing behavior.

Board of Trustees approves plan to transform the east end of the Danforth Campus​​

​The university announced that in 2017, it will begin one of the most significant capital projects in the recent history of the Danforth Campus: transformation of the east end. The comprehensive plan includes new academic facilities to support the university’s core missions of teaching, research and expansive green space that better connects academic programs and provides a more inviting, relaxed gathering place for the university community and visitors to campus.​

Study shows increase in infant deaths attributed to crib bumpers

A new School of Medicine study showed that the number of infant deaths and injuries attributed to crib bumpers has spiked significantly in recent years, prompting the researchers to call for a nationwide ban on the bedding accessory. The findings indicated that in the majority of incidents studied, crib bumpers were the sole cause of harm, rebutting beliefs that other items also in the cribs caused the deaths and injuries.

Earlier menopause linked to everyday chemical exposures

Women whose bodies have high levels of chemicals found in plastics, personal-care products, common household items and the environment experience menopause two to four years earlier than women with lower levels of these chemicals, according to a new study at the School of Medicine.

Burns delivers call to action to Class of 2015: ’Set things right again’

Ken Burns delivered a sobering call to action to the Washington University Class of 2015 at its 154th Commencement ceremony May 15. “We broke it, but you’ve got to fix it,” he told some 15,000 graduates, parents, friends and family members gathered in Brookings Quadrangle.

New test detects all viruses that infect people, animals

A new test efficiently detects virtually any virus that infects people and animals, according to research at the School of Medicine, where the test was developed.

University names new medical school dean

David H. Perlmutter, MD, was named executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine Dec. 1. A former Washington University faculty member, Perlmutter succeeded Larry J. Shapiro, MD, who stepped down in 2015 after leading the medical school for 12 years.

The economics of Star Wars: How the Empire collapses

​As movie-goers waited in December for the next installment of the Star Wars saga, Zachary Feinstein, PhD, assistant professor of
electrical and systems engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, assessed the condition of the Galactic economy following the Empire’s collapse. His conclusion: the financial repercussions after the Battle of Endor were catastrophic for the Galactic economy.

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