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Hedy Lamarr’s scientific inventions topic of film, talk

Leslie New
Leslie New

We’ve inherited this idea that the species known as “inventor” is easily identified by markings like a white lab coat, furrowed brow, bottle-thick glasses and, of course, male-pattern baldness.

In which case, where does Hedy Lamarr fit in? Today, the self-taught scientist and inventor is credited (along with an equally unlikely collaborator, music composer George Antheil) with the visionary thinking, and tinkering, that resulted in military “radio-skipping” technology, aimed at blocking Axis powers from intercepting and jamming signals from radio-controlled Allied missiles during World War II.

“She and many other women have contributed to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, but have been dismissed or deliberately forgotten by virtue of their gender,” said Leslie New, an assistant professor of statistics at Washington State University Vancouver.

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The Columbian 

 

Girls Who Code teaches that computer skills aren’t just for boys

Local chapter of national organization builds wall of ideas in first year

Regina McMenomy
McMenomy

Regina McMenomy, an English instructor at Washington State University Vancouver, is facilitating a new chapter of Girls Who Code, a national organization whose mission is to provide computer science instruction to young women and girls through clubs, classes and online programs.

McMenomy isn’t a coder herself. That’s part of the point of Girls Who Code, she said. She’ll be learning along with the group how to write computer-generated music, develop games or design websites. It all depends on their interests.

“The agency is entirely theirs,” she said.

Emma Anderson, 12, and Ivy Isch, 11, are friends who attend Discovery Middle School. The pair huddled around a computer, experimenting with EarSketch, a program that teaches Python and JavaScript through the creation of music.

Emma enjoys learning code in a room of all girls, she said. It’s important that girls don’t “grow up thinking only guys can do” programming.

The girls, who meet once a week on Wednesdays, will over the next 14 weeks develop a virtual murder mystery using a variety of code and programming skills.

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The Columbian

Dramatic decline in genetic diversity of Northwest salmon charted

Bobbi Johnson

Columbia River Chinook salmon have lost as much as two-thirds of their genetic diversity, Washington State University researchers have found.

Writing in the journal PLOS One, the researchers say their analysis “provides the first direct measure of reduced genetic diversity for Chinook salmon from the ancient to the contemporary period.”

 “The big question is: Is it the dams or was it this huge fishing pressure when Europeans arrived?” said Bobbi Johnson, who did the study as part of her WSU doctorate in biological sciences. “That diversity could have been gone before they put the dams in.”

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KUOW
Seattle Times

Dear Dr. Universe: What can you tell me about parasites?

Lisa Shipley

A parasite is an organism that steals resources from another organism in order to survive. Our planet is home to all kinds of parasites and organisms that host them.

While some parasites live off plants, other parasites need animals. Lisa Shipley, a WSU professor who works with animals in the deer family, said some reindeers are host to a parasite that is so small we’d need a microscope to see it. It’s a kind of nematode more commonly called a brain worm.

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Ask Dr. Universe

Jan. 12-Feb. 8: Emotionally powerful exhibit focuses on child loss

Susana ButterworthThe emotionally powerful, poignant “Empty Photo Project,” created by Washington State University Tri-Cities student Susana Butterworth, that details the tragic and emotional experience of what it is like to lose a child, will be on display from Jan. 12-Feb. 8 in the WSU Tri-Cities Art Gallery.

The exhibition, which Butterworth began in a fine arts course at WSU Tri-Cities after losing her own son in utero, tells the story of 25 parents who have lost a child, and the physical and emotional impact it has had on their lives and their relationships with family, friends and even strangers. In addition to the written stories of each parent featured, each features a photo of the parent taken by Butterworth, which represents both the physical and mental hole left in the parents’ lives after the child’s passing.

 

An opening reception for the exhibition will be held 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12, in the WSU Tri-Cities Art Gallery.

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WSU News

Tri-City Herald