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Ancient blanket made with 11,500 turkey feathers

Turkey feathers.“Blankets or robes made with turkey feathers as the insulating medium were widely used by Ancestral Pueblo people, but little is known about how they were made because so few such textiles have survived due to their perishable nature,” said Bill Lipe, emeritus professor of anthropology at WSU and lead author of a new paper in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

Lipe and a team of archaeologists analyzed an approximately 800-year-old turkey feather blanket from » More …

Wine and fungi: The perfect pairing?

Students on Tanya Cheeke's research team plant wine grape plants for their fungi experiment at WSU Tri-Cities.A team at WSU Tri-Cities is researching the impact that a type of fungus could have on vineyard growth and associated nutrient uptake, which could lead to less watering and less fertilizer required for a successful grape crop.

Tanya Cheeke, assistant professor of biology, was awarded a two-year $40,000 grant to support a field experiment from the BIOAg program of » More …

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum multi‑year initiative

close up gloved hands and the number detail of a Holocaust prisoner uniform.A collaboration between WSU and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., will bring the Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Annual Lecture and programming to the Northwest year next year and begin a multi-year regional initiative to address anti-Semitism, racism, and histories of persecution in North America. The joint endeavor will put WSU at the center of conversations that engage communities and combat racism.

“We hope that by understanding why and how genocides have happened, » More …

New faculty spotlight: Vivienne Baldassare

Vivienne Baldasare.After finishing up an Einstein Postdoctoral Fellowship at Yale University, Vivienne Baldassare’s career options were as vast as the galaxies she studies. The supportive environment in WSU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy won her over, and she joined the faculty as an assistant professor in August.

“I wanted to be somewhere I could make a difference. The faculty here wanted to hear my perspective, and were enthusiastic about my ideas. I got an incredible vibe from my whole visit here and was really charmed by » More …

A new, simple way to classify marine biomes

Coral reef.WSU scientists have developed a new way to classify the ocean’s diverse environments, shedding new light on how marine biomes are defined and changed by nature and humans.

Research by Alli Cramer (’20 PhD environment) and WSU Professor Stephen Katz revealed a new approach which sorts biomes based on their life-supporting potential and stability of the sea floor. » More …

Savage honored for safety, security impact

coughead. As the only facility of its kind in Eastern Washington, WSU’s Technical Services instrumentation and electronics shop is well-versed in meeting special design requests for everything from vacuum chambers to surgical devices to ion current circuitry. During the COVID-!9 health crisis, the shop’s highly skilled staff have stepped up to provide another valuable service: designing and building protective barriers to help safeguard the WSU community and help slow the spread of the virus.

In November, Technical Services supervisor Dave Savage was honored with the WSU Presidential Security Award in recognition of the impact of his vision and his prototyping and engineering skills on the creation of custom barriers for » More …

Dr. Universe: Why do apes walk on their knuckles?

Dr. Universe.A lot of apes walk on their knuckles. Gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos use their knuckles for stability and balance.

That’s what I found out from my friend Nanda Grow, an anthropologist and wildlife biologist at Washington State University who studies primates.

“Gorillas and chimpanzees both do knuckle walking, but they do different kinds,” she said. » More …

International workshop aims to boost number, success of women in STEM

Elissa Schwartz.Elissa Schwartz, an associate professor with faculty appointments in both the School of Biological Sciences and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and an affiliate faculty member of the Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS), is committed to increasing the participation and success of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

In addition to a number of domestic and international activities in recent years, Schwartz recently organized a three-part, interactive forum featuring live mentoring by women scientists, mathematicians and » More …

Maestro of many voicings

Danh Pham.A hush falls over the crowd as symphony orchestra conductor Danh Pham takes the podium and slowly lifts his baton. With the down stroke, he leads the performers through a seemingly effortless musical journey that enchants the audience and clearly brings Pham great joy.

A native of Honolulu’s “ethnic mixing pot,” Pham delights in sharing music with all people, whether that’s conducting the score of The Force Awakens at Spokane’s Fox Theater or teaching a » More …

The power of symbiosis

Stephanie Porter.“Understanding the complex and often positive role the microbiome plays in the health of plants and animals has precipitated a real renaissance in biology,” says microbiologist Stephanie Porter, who studies the evolution of cooperation and plant–microbe symbiosis. “There’s been a blossoming of ideas due to new genomic tools for understanding this microbiome—the set of all microbes that live in and on plants and animals.”

“But there’s also been a shift in our thinking about microbes. We’ve moved from microbes being viewed strictly as the cause of diseases or that they are at best harmless, to thinking they have » More …