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College of Arts and Sciences Research

Using the world’s most powerful X-ray telescope

Vivienne Baldassare.One of the biggest questions in astrophysics right now is how do black holes form that are between the size of a stellar and a supermassive black hole? The existence of these intermediate-sized black holes has long been theorized but finding them has proven difficult.

“Most of the theories for their formation rely on conditions that are found only in the very early universe. We wanted to test another theory that » More …

Research and innovation highlights

WSU Spirit Mark.As COVID-19 swept the nation in March 2020, faculty with ongoing studies were required to put them on hold or pivot to make the research relevant to the pandemic.

“Science and teamwork are our best hope for a way forward,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz in October 2020. “I am incredibly proud of our faculty whose persistence and innovation will help us get through this crisis and prevent a future one.” » More …

Researchers create, measure hexagonal diamonds

Diamonds.For the first time, researchers have hard evidence that human-made hexagonal diamonds are stiffer than the common cubic diamonds found in nature and often used in jewelry.

Named for their six-sided crystal structure, hexagonal diamonds have been found at some meteorite impact sites, and others have been made briefly in labs, but these were either too small or had too short of an existence to be measured. » More …

Similar values, different views

A face mask with one half blue with white stars, the other side red with white stars.When it comes to wearing masks, partying, or just going to work at the office, Americans react a little differently based on which side of the political aisle they sit on.

In a nationwide survey, WSU sociologists found both liberal and conservatives in the U.S. disapprove of individuals putting the health of their community at risk, but conservatives cared more about why those individuals were taking the risks in the first place. » More …

Eyes in the sky

A drone flies over the landscape.With the support of the Biologically Intensive Agriculture & Organic Farming grant program at WSU, environmental scientists are using satellites and drones to help local conservation districts monitor areas near rivers and streams to help improve agricultural sustainability.

“The state’s program is really a bottom-up approach, where the state encourages local stewardship to improve riparian areas and monitor them,” said Alexander Fremier, associate professor in » More …

A healthy sense of disgust can prevent sickness

Kid holding his nose.You might want to pay attention to those bad, queasy feelings. New research co-author by WSU anthropologist Aaron Blackwell  suggests that disgust could be the body’s way of helping humans avoid infection.

“We found that people with higher levels of disgust had lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers that were indicative of having bacterial or viral » More …

Breastfeeding while COVID‑19 positive

An infant.Breastfeeding women who have COVID-19 transfer milk-borne antibodies to their babies without passing along the SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to a new study.

“The results indicate that it is safe for moms to continue to breastfeed during a COVID-19 infection with proper precautions,” said Courtney Meehan, a WSU anthropology professor and co-author on the study published » More …

Most-read research stories of 2020

College of Arts and Sciences - Washington State University.In a year dominated by COVID-19, popular research news played on questions of how things could get worse, or how we might leave this troubled planet altogether. Overall, news stories about WSU research that did the best still had a focus on real world impact.

CAS faculty featured in five of the top 10 most popular stories, and were well-represented in the next 90-plus press releases tracked by WSU News.

» More …

Big name corporations more likely to commit fraud

Downtown buildings.Fortune 500 firms with strong growth profiles are more susceptible to “cooking the books” than smaller, struggling companies, according to a recent study published in Justice Quarterly.

“Prestigious companies, those that are household names, were actually more prone to engage in financial fraud, which was very surprising,” said Jennifer Schwartz, WSU sociologist and lead author on » More …