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“So, who does that?”

Managing two research labs can get tricky, especially when you throw in bats and zebrafish. Tamasen Hayward coordinates the lab work for neuroscientist Allison Coffin and biologist Christine Portfors at WSU Vancouver, where they study hearing loss and auditory systems.

Hayward (’15, ’17 MS Biol.) notes that bats need their hearing to survive and, unusually, can regenerate or compensate for hearing loss as they age. The Portfors Lab has about 30 short-tailed fruit bats, including four albinos, and the 40-year-old colony has been vital to research.

Several research projects in Coffin’s lab, including testing prescription drugs to see if they cause hearing loss, keep Hayward busy. Zebrafish are used in the lab due to an excellent organ system on the outside of their bodies that’s very similar to inner ear human cells.

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Washington State Magazine

Exhibit spotlights photo collection of Yakima Valley farmworkers movement

A new exhibit at Washington State University’s Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections showcases the fight by Mexican American migrant workers in southcentral Washington for better working conditions and wages. Titled “La Causa: Social Justice Activism in the Yakima Valley,” the exhibit opens with a reception at 3 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, at MASC’s Terrell Library ground floor location.

Lipi Turner-Rahman.

“La Causa is the fight of Mexican American farmworkers in the United States to improve their working conditions and their lives,” according to Lipi Turner-Rahman, instructor of history and the exhibit’s curator.

“Most people associate La Causa with California’s San Joaquin Valley and Cesar Chavez. Washington State has one of the largest Mexican American farmworker communities in the United States. The story of their struggle to improve their lives by organizing has often been marginalized. The struggle for better wages and working conditions erupted in a walkout and a hop strike in 1970. La Causa tells the story of that struggle and the strike.”

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WSU Insider

‘Tougher now than it ever was’: Mattis talks Russia-Ukraine war, China, Capitol attacks in visit to WSU Pullman

In a visit Thursday to Washington State University, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis acknowledged the elephant in the room: the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the resulting war.

Mattis, the first in-person speaker in the Foley Institute’s distinguished lecture series since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, took questions primarily on the war in Ukraine, but also China, national stability and other related issues. He spoke to an audience that included students and military servicemembers in the Bryan Hall Theatre.

“I think it’s going to be tougher now than it ever was, and we’re just going to have to find ways to do it,” Mattis said of U.S.-China relations. “That’s why I hope some of you are studying diplomatic history and military history here … because we need young people to come in with fresh ideas that can help guide us through this perilous time.”

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The Spokesman Review
WSU Insider

Science journalist Michelle Nijhuis to give V.N. Bhatia Lecture March 30

Award-winning author, science journalist, and reporter Michelle Nijhuis will discuss her 2021 book on conservation of endangered species at a 6 p.m. event Wednesday, March 30, in the Honors Hall Lounge at Washington State University. The free, public event is co-hosted by the WSU Honors College with the support of the Department of English and its Visiting Writers Series (VWS).

“We’re pleased that the author is coming to WSU Pullman to meet students, visit classes, and engage in conversations with the community,” said Peter Chilson, English professor and VWS supporter. “Throughout her career she has blended science with writing, and we look forward to hearing firsthand her insights into building that kind of career.”

The VWS is part of the WSU Department of English in the College of Arts and Sciences. For 40 years the series has brought hundreds of noted poets and writers of fiction and nonfiction to campus for creative readings, class visits, workshops, and collaborative exchanges across intellectual and artistic disciplines.

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WSU Insider

Ask Dr. Universe: Why do numbers never end?

That’s a great observation about numbers. Whether you start counting backwards or forwards, numbers never seem to end.

Kevin Fiedler.

To find out more about these mysterious numbers, I took your question to my friend Kevin Fiedler. He’s an assistant professor of mathematics at Washington State University.

Fiedler reminded me that some numbers are whole numbers, such as 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. But there are also numbers like 1.33333…, and the 3’s go on without end. A lot of the time mathematicians and engineers will round these numbers.

The answer to your question might also depend on what set of numbers you are using in the first place. Fiedler told me about a kind of math called clock arithmetic that uses the set of numbers 1 through 12.

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Ask Dr. Universe