As a youngster, Don Matteson was known among his friends as a bit of a mad scientist. Encouraged by his high-school-biology-teaching father, Matteson cooked up lead alloys, brewed gooey rubber and distilled alcohol from home-canned jars of plums gone bad.
Years later, as a chemistry professor at WSU supervising his first graduate student, he was intrigued by an unexpected boron-based product in one of their experiments. That one “mistake” would lead him on a life-long journey and ultimately to the development of an important cancer treatment that is today saving lives around the world.
A study led by Washington State University researchers has turned a fairly common nonmetallic solvent into a superconductor capable of transmitting electrical current with none of the resistance seen in conventional conductors.
“It is an important discovery that will attract a lot of attention from many scientific communities – physics, chemistry and materials science,” said Choong-Shik Yoo, a professor in chemistry and in the Institute for Shock Physics. The National Science Foundation-funded discovery, which grows out of research by Yoo doctoral student Ranga Dias, appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Faculty member Mark Stephan will speak this week at the 17th annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference in Washington, D.C. He was invited, in part, due to attention received as co-author of the award-winning book, “Coming Clean: Information Disclosure and Environmental Performance.”
George R. Pettit, an organic chemist who pioneered the search for anti-cancer compounds in marine organisms as well as insects and plants, has been awarded Washington State University’s highest alumni honor, the Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award.
The 1952 graduate (B.S., chemistry) will be will be honored at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, in the Compton Union Building (CUB) Auditorium at WSU Pullman, where he will deliver a free, public address, “From the Indian Ocean to Global Clinics: Discovering new paths to improve cancer treatment.”
“Those who know of Bob Pettit consider him a pioneer, innovator, and simply a giant in the field of cancer drug discovery,” says Cliff Berkman, a WSU organic chemist who also works on anti-cancer agents. “More than anyone, Bob successfully translated his early fascination with nature’s creations to a professional career devoted to discovering and developing new drugs to battle nature’s most grievous diseases.” Continue story →
Five Washington State University scientists have been elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences, including:
Sue Clark, regents professor of chemistry and staff scientist, WSU Nuclear Radiation Center. Clark has developed ways to quickly identify radioactive materials in environmental samples. President Barack Obama appointed her last year to the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, which advises Congress on the technical aspects of the management and disposal of the nation’s high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel.
Kelvin Lynn, professor in both the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, director of the WSU Center for Materials Research, George and Diane Conniff distinguished professor, and Boeing chair of advanced materials
They will be inducted during the academy’s fifth annual meeting in Seattle in September. Continue story →