Skip to main content Skip to navigation
CAS in the Media Arts and Sciences Media Headlines

A new gravitational wave observatory in India could challenge what we know about physics

The frontier of human knowledge can be measured in collisions. With the right instruments, you can hear their echoes, from billions of years ago, many light years away.

Sukanta Bose.
Sukanta Bose

Physicists and astronomers are slowly listening to the stories inside these echoes, known as “gravitational waves,” in hopes of learning more about the birth of the universe and the nature of our reality. One of these researchers is Washington State University physics professor Sukanta Bose, who is helping to develop a new gravitational wave observatory center in India through a U.S. partnership. He is tasked with further developing the country’s scientific community by using astronomical research with the help of LIGO facilities (or Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory).

LIGO began as a joint project between MIT and Caltech, funded by the National Science Foundation, but has since grown into the international LIGO Science Collaboration. Its two facilities are located in Hanford, Washington, about three hours southwest of Spokane, and in Livingston Parish, Louisiana. The new project, expected to be complete in 2024, is another node in an ongoing network of gravitational wave detectors around the world.

“Unlike optical observatories, we don’t care about the quality of the night sky,” Bose tells the Inlander from India. “The sites that we choose can have cloud cover.” Instead, the detectors rely on sound, or rather, vibrations, he says.

When two major astral bodies collide, they cause ripples in the fabric of space-time, a model of our universe that combines the three dimensions of space and the one dimension of time. Albert Einstein predicted these rippling waves in his theory on general relativity in 1915, and in the last few years astronomers have been able to detect them.

Find out more

The Inlander

Balancing Act: Women’s voices are largely missing from newspaper letters to the editor

A majority of letters to the editor that appear in newspapers are written by men, which means a sizable chunk of the nation isn’t taking part in the national conversation.

Joyce Ehrlinger.
Joyce Ehrlinger

Joyce Ehrlinger, assistant professor of psychology at Washington State University, said that women are hesitant to position themselves as experts.

Find out more

Bristol Herald Courier

Shining a light on North America’s first electron microscope

In its day, 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.

Michael Knoblauch, biological sciences
Knoblauch

Michael Knoblauch, a biology professor at Washington State University, wants to fix this.

“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 Knoblauch, who is also the director of WSU’s Franceschi Microscopy and Imaging Center. “Something of this significance should be in the Smithsonian.” » More …

Restoring a musical relic

College of Arts and Sciences sophomore Thomas LeClair is trying to fix a 91-year-old theatre organ he found languishing in the basement of Webster Physical Sciences building on the Pullman campus.

thomas-leclair-sits-among-the-many-pipes-of-the-old-organ-in-the-basement-of-webster-hall
Thomas LeClair works on the old pipe organ.

A biology and music double-degree student, LeClair discovered the existence of the instrument while thumbing through old files in the WSU Libraries Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections.

“I was looking up information about the organ I practice on in Bryan Hall, and came across a couple of papers about a different and much older organ in Webster,” LeClair said. “I was like, ‘What? That’s the physics building, they don’t have an organ.’ So, I went to the office in Webster and asked about it, and they told me that, yes, they do in fact have an old theatre organ in the basement.”

In 1927, early Pullman developer P.W. Struppler purchased the organ now in Webster to accompany silent movies at the Spanish Colonial style Cordova Theatre, which opened on Grand Avenue in 1928.

The old pipe organ was donated to WSU in 1961 and installed in the physical sciences building in 1975 at the behest of then-chairman of physics Edward Donaldson for studying musical acoustics.

Find out more

WSU Insider

Kennedy Center honors WSU theatre faculty for teaching excellence

Mary Trotter, left, and Benjamin Gonzales
Trotter and Gonzalez

Washington State University theatre faculty Benjamin Gonzales and Mary Trotter received separate awards for outstanding and innovative teaching at this years’ Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region VII, held Feb. 19-23 in Spokane.

Outstanding and Innovative Teaching and Service

Gonzales, a clinical associate professor and WSU faculty member since 2003, received the Horace Robinson/Jack Watson Award.  It is presented, each year, to a Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Region VII faculty member who has shown dedication and support for their students above and beyond the normal duties expected of university faculty.

Trotter, a clinical assistant professor at WSU since 2011, was awarded with the Region VII Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE)/KCACTF Prize for Innovative Teaching. This prize is awarded for innovative teaching that supports student success in the area of theatre arts.

KCACTF Region VII includes Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, northern California and northern Nevada and is attended by more than one thousand faculty and students each year.

Find out more

WSU Insider