Skip to main content Skip to navigation
College of Arts and Sciences seabertson

Dr. Universe: How do cacti survive in hot, dry environments?

Dr. Universe. A cartoon cat in a lab coatAll plants need water to survive. Those that live in places where water is scarce use some interesting strategies to stay alive.

That’s what I found out from my friend Charles Cody, who manages one of the greenhouses at Washington State University. When I went to visit the greenhouse, he pointed out a few different cacti. One was tall and cylindrical with big spines. Another was » More …

Researchers estimate magma under supervolcano

Washington State University researchers "spike" a Yellowstone hot spring with deuterium, a stable isotope, to calculate water and heat flowing out of the springs and estimate how fast magma is recharging beneath the Yellowstone supervolcano. The material had no environmental impact and was done with a permit from the National Park ServiceWSU geologists have found a new way to estimate how fast magma is recharging beneath the Yellowstone supervolcano.

Scientists now have a better understanding of a key factor of what’s underneath the massive caldera: a pool of basalt magma continually recharging the system.

“It is the coal in the furnace that’s » More …

Mellon Foundation funds digital archiving project

logo imageThe Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded $42,000 to migrate the Electronic Literature Organization’s (ELO) archives to an open-source repository system that ensures their preservation and public accessibility. Much of the archiving and documentation will take place at WSU Vancouver’s Electronic Literature Lab, under the leadership of Professor Dene Grigar, director of the lab.

WSU Vancouver is the current sponsoring institution for » More …

Physics research heads to International Space Station

Rocket on lauchpad in the distance, seen against setting sunWSU physicists have a new laboratory in outer space. On May 20, the Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL), a remotely operated research platform, blasted off for the International Space Station (ISS) where it will be used by researchers to probe quantum phenomena that would be impossible to observe on Earth.

Professor Peter Engels and graduate student Maren Mossman will use CAL remotely » More …

Radio art supports women broadcasters in Africa

Promo image for "A Radio Bridge Across Zambezi"Women broadcasters in Zambia and Zimbabwe, Africa, are sharing their traditional culture via radio art with the help of radio artists from 17 countries, including John Barber, clinical associate professor in the Creative Media and Digital Culture Program at WSU Vancouver.

Although they share the Tonga history and culture, Zambia and Zimbabwe are divided geographically by a large man-made lake, Lake Kariba, which makes up much of the border between the two countries. A new CD compilation that includes Barber‘s radio art » More …

North America’s first electron microscope

Composite image of the restored microscope and the researchers' notebookEarly in the 20th century, a five-foot-tall golden microscope on the Washington State University campus was the most powerful imaging device on the continent. Despite its scientific significance, it has been largely lost from the pages of history.

“Europe’s first electron microscope earned its inventors a Nobel prize and is on display at the Deutsches Museum, the world’s largest museum of science and technology, while nobody really knows about our instrument.” said Michael Knoblauch, biology professor and director of WSU’s Franceschi Microscopy and Imaging Center. “Something of this significance should be in the Smithsonian.” » More …

Hydrologist earns NSF CAREER award

NSF logo.Kevan Moffett, assistant professor of environmental hydrology at WSU Vancouver, has earned a prestigious Faculty Early Career Development Program award from the National Science Foundation. Highly competitive, ‘CAREER’ awards emphasize the importance of developing academic careers in which the excitement of research is enhanced by inspired teaching and dissemination of new knowledge.

Moffett’s research explores how the urban water cycle interacts with the heat generated by urban areas. Most hydrological research takes place » More …

Psychology adds human touch to technology

Image of shelves in a smart homeProfessor Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe is one of three interdisciplinary researchers examining the potential of applying human judgment to smart-home data to detect behavioral patterns. The project brings together WSU colleagues in psychology, computer science, and nursing, and seeks to determine whether applied technology can help people stay in their homes longer.

» More …

Dr. Universe: Why are animals symmetrical?

Dr. Universe: a cat in a lab coatIf we drew an imaginary line straight down the middle of the human body, it would look pretty similar on each side.

We see this kind of symmetry in lots of animals, from cats and birds to worms and frogs. In fact, about 99 percent of animals have bilateral or two-sided symmetry, says my friend Erica Crespi, a biologist at Washington State University who studies frogs and asks a lot of big questions about how animals develop.

Imagine if animals like frogs, birds, cats, or humans didn’t have their two-sided symmetry. Birds might have a hard time flying with one wing. Frogs might hop in circles » More …

Washington State University