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Astronomers identify likely location of medium-sized black holes

Vivienne Baldassare.

Intermediate-mass black holes are notoriously hard to find but a new study indicates there may be some at the center of dense, star clusters located throughout the universe.

“One of the biggest open questions in black hole astrophysics right now is how do black holes form that are between the size of a stellar mass black hole and a supermassive black hole,” said Vivienne Baldassare, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Washington State University. “Most of the theories for their formation rely on conditions that are found only in the very early universe. We wanted to test another theory that says they can form throughout cosmic time in these really dense star clusters.”

The research team’s work not only suggests that black holes can form in nuclear star clusters but also provides a mechanism by which intermediate-sized black holes could potentially form throughout cosmic time rather than just during the first few billion years of the universe.

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Mirage News
WSU Insider 
Science Daily
Before It’s News


WSU Fulbright awardees bound for Hungary to teach, research

Washington State University math major Annie Lu and alumna and staff member Amethyst Freibott have received Fulbright awards to research and teach, respectively, in Hungary, the Distinguished Scholarships Program said.

Amethyst Freibott.
Annie Lu.

“Both Annie and Amethyst have detailed plans for their Fulbright experiences that start this fall, and they will be excellent ambassadors in Hungary for both WSU and the U.S.,” said April Seehafer, DSP director.

“I am flooded with gratitude to have Fulbright support me in this opportunity to do something I love so much,” said Freibott, who received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) award. She works from Boise as assistant director for the top scholars initiative in the Office of Admissions.

“I’m excited to receive the Fulbright U.S. Student award to study and research abroad,” said Lu. “It’s very rewarding to have years of hard work pay off in this way. I’m lucky to get this opportunity and have a platform to show my work and contribute more.” Lu conducts research into computational mathematical biology with mentor Nikos Voulgarakis.

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WSU Insider

‘A great celebration of a great man’: Chris Matthews, Maria Cantwell and others laud Tom Foley’s legacy at documentary unveiling

As a young chief of staff to House Speaker Tip O’Neill following Democrats’ sound defeat in the 1980 election, Chris Matthews was charged with finding a counterpoint to President Ronald Reagan’s popular weekly radio addresses.

“We needed someone who could agree with Reagan but also take some shots at him,” Matthews said. “So I said, ‘How about Tom Foley?’ ”

But the Washington lawmaker did take up the mantle, on his way to becoming the 49th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and holding the highest position of power a representative from Eastern Washington has held in Congress. The exchange between Matthews and Foley was one of several stories shared Thursday night at the unveiling of a documentary funded by the Washington State University institute of public policy bearing Foley’s name before a sold-out crowd at the Riverside Event Place in downtown Spokane.

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The Spokesman-Review

Scientists find forests’ breaking point for heat, drought

How hot is too hot, and how dry is too dry, for the Earth’s forests? A new study from an international team of researchers, including a Washington State University scientist, found the answers by looking at decades of dying trees.

Henry Adams.

“Widespread forest mortality is occurring worldwide,” said co-author Henry Adams, assistant professor in the WSU School of the Environment. Hammond’s former doctoral advisor, Adams provided input on the research, funded in part by a USDA-NIFA McIntire-Stennis grant.

Adams studies drought-caused deaths in trees, such as the iconic Western redcedar, observed dying back on both sides of the Cascades.

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WSU Insider
Main Street Daily News
Western Farmer-Stockman

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps treat opioid addiction

Raymond Quock.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may help people being treated for opioid addiction reduce their methadone dose and better manage pain and withdrawal symptoms, according to a pair of studies led by Washington State University scientists.

The idea for the two studies came from earlier research by one of the WSU researchers that showed that hyperbaric oxygen therapy provided pain relief and reduced physical signs of opioid withdrawal in mice.

“We were anxious to see if it would work in people,” said study co-author Raymond Quock, a professor of psychology in the WSU College of Arts and Sciences, who led that work.

If their findings hold up in a larger clinical trial, hyperbaric oxygen therapy could become a non-pharmacological tool that providers can use to help people manage pain and potentially reduce their opioid use.

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WSU Insider
News Medical
Medical Dialogues