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College of Arts and Sciences Faculty

Data analytics expert to lead degree program

Nairanjana “Jan” Dasgupta.A highly successful educator and researcher committed to interdisciplinary collaboration and problem solving, Nairanjana “Jan” Dasgupta has been named director of the Program in Data Analytics at Washington State University.

Dasgupta is the Boeing Science/Math Education Distinguished Professor in Mathematics and Statistics at WSU and an expert and practitioner in data analytics, the science of examining large volumes of raw data to extract useful information, such as patterns, correlations, and trends. She has been » More …

International call to halt massive insect decline

Monarch butterfly.From bees to butterflies, ants to wasps, insect populations of all kinds are at risk, according to a growing scientific consensus. Their decline also threatens the many ecosystem services that depend on them, including food production.

“It’s clear that we’re experiencing massive insect declines both in species and in abundance,” said WSU Vancouver conservation biologist Cheryl Schultz. “We are becoming increasingly aware that species that were once common across the landscape are now rare.”

To avert this potential disaster, Schultz recently joined more than 70 scientists from 21 countries in » More …

A funding boost to develop rice for the future

Rice fields.WSU is part of an international effort involving seven institutions to revolutionize rice production. Led by co-principal investigator Asaph Cousins, a professor in WSU’s School of Biological Sciences, and colleagues at University of Oxford, the “C4 Rice Project” recently earned a five‑year, $15 million grant renewal from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The project aims to develop rice strains that are not only more productive but also more resilient. The long‑term effort, which was first conceived in the 1990s, earned its first Gates Foundation grant in 2008 and is now entering its fourth phase. » More …

Dr. Universe: Do babies have ways of communicating?

Dr. UniverseHumans come into the world crying, but that’s actually a good thing. In a way, babies start communicating from the moment they are born. Of course, it can be hard for their caregivers to know exactly what they mean with all those cries.

I learned a lot about how babies use emotion to communicate from my friend Masha Gartstein, a professor of psychology at Washington State University. She told me that crying is just one way babies communicate. After two or three months, babies » More …

International acclaim for music faculty

Book cover - Feng Pan Pacific Ensemble.The Pan Pacific Ensemble’s debut album “Feng” has been listed as one of the top 10 classical recordings of 2019 by The Daffodil Perspective.

Washington State University School of Music faculty members Martin King (horn), Keri E. McCarthy (oboe), Shannon Scott (clarinet), and Sophia Tegart (flute) make up the Pan Pacific Ensemble along with bassoonist Michael Garza (Principal Bassoon, Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra). » More …

Searching for La Belle Dame

Joan Grenier-Winther.Where in the world had the Clumber Park Chartier disappeared to? Joan Grenier-Winther, the Marianna M. and Donald S. Matteson Distinguished Professor of French at Washington State University Vancouver, really needed to examine the fifteenth-century collection of poems by Alain Chartier and others.

After all, her critical edition and translation of an unusual poem of the era was about to be published, and the Clumber Park manuscript had a version she hadn’t yet seen. » More …

WSU political media expert on BBC

FB-BBCWorld.Several hotly contested government seats and the likely fate of Brexit were all up for grabs in the Dec. 12 general election in the UK. To find out how social media and other digital campaign tactics are being used to influence—or manipulate—British voters, BBC World Service invited Travis Ridout, WSU political science professor and political media expert, to the UK to investigate.

In his 30-minute BBC radio documentary, “The Digital Election: How social media is reshaping UK democracy,” Ridout shares highlights and insights of his » More …

Chemist named as a AAAS Fellow

Aurora Clark.Professor Aurora Clark and three other WSU colleagues were recently elected as Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a high honor recognizing their contributions to science and technology.

Clark’s research includes modeling of complex, multicomponent solutions, providing the basic science needed to help solve many industrial problems. Her work has helped » More …

Dr. Universe: How do places get their names?

Dr. Universe: a cat in a lab coatOne way a place might get a name is from the person who explored it. The Americas are named after an Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci. But Amerigo wasn’t the first person to explore these continents, and people living there when he arrived.

For the most part, people name things because they are claiming possession of a place. Because of that, sometimes the original names of places are lost or erased.

That’s what I found out from my friend Theresa Jordan, a history professor who teaches a geography course at » More …