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CAS in the Media Arts and Sciences Media Headlines

WSU’s nuclear reactor pool gets a new coat

The tank that holds WSU’s research nuclear reactor will soon be coated with a new, flexible epoxy lining without the reactor ever having to leave its watery home.

The university’s Nuclear Science Center has a unique reactor pool: a relatively large, rectangular concrete-walled tank about 25-feet deep and filled with 65,000 gallons of water. Near the bottom, the glowing blue reactor core rests in a square box. It’s hooked to a bridge on a track so it can be moved to one side of the pool while work is done on the other, keeping it constantly under several feet of protective, highly deionized water.

The work, which started last week at the Dodgen Research Facility on the Pullman campus, should take about five weeks, but it’s the result of a much longer process.

Xiaofeng Guo.
Liane Moreau.

The Center has also expanded lab space, and two WSU faculty, Xiofeng Guo and Liane Moreau, who work in chemistry and materials development, are setting up work there.

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WSU Insider

Undergraduate researchers tackle important questions in sciences, humanities

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, relieving chronic pain, understanding protest behavior and conserving wildlife are among the goals of eight faculty-mentored undergraduate research projects funded this spring by the College of Arts and Sciences.

Students from across the college—in mathematicschemistryforeign languages and politicalpsychologicalenvironmental and biological sciences—are working with faculty researchers to solve questions as diverse as what are a book’s chances of becoming a best seller and which food sources threatened butterflies prefer.

Courtney Meehan.

“The College of Arts and Sciences enthusiastically supports our students’ intellectual curiosity and the wide range of exciting and impactful research they conduct,” said Courtney Meehan, CAS associate dean for research and graduate studies. “Providing funds for these projects, and many more, advances the college’s ongoing commitment to support undergraduate students’ participation in an array of innovative research, scholarship and creative activities.”

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WSU Insider

Jeremy Lessmann appointed director of Office of Undergraduate Research

Jeremy Lessman.

Washington State University has appointed Jeremy J. Lessmann, chemistry associate professor, as the director of the Office of Undergraduate Research (UR).

“Jeremy brings to his new position a wealth of knowledge about, and experience with, the office and undergraduate research, in general, and we are excited to have him on board as its leader,” said Mary Sánchez Lanier, assistant vice provost.

Lessmann said, “I am excited to serve all WSU students and the university in this new capacity, and I look forward to helping to advance students’ high-impact learning activities associated with research, scholarship, and creative activities across all majors.”

Lessmann’s own research interests include novel spectroscopic techniques in inorganic and bioinorganic spectroscopy, and chromatographic characterization and quantification of small molecule metabolites of lactobacillus strains in the quest to reduce foodborne illness, especially from poultry.

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WSU Insider

Washington State University Vancouver breaks ground on science building

Set to open to students in fall 2023, the building will serve as an instructional and research facility featuring lab space, classrooms and offices primarily for those studying life sciences such as biology and chemistry. It will also feature space for programs in nursing, psychology and medicine.

Along with Netzhammer, WSU President Kirk Schulz and a handful of state legislators spoke to articulate how education projects like this have been critical in recent years.

“Since the start of the pandemic, a lot of people have become curious about medicinal research and vaccines,” Schulz said. “Even though we planned this building way before that, I think the research that will be done in this building is even more relevant.”

Schulz said what began as an extension of Pullman’s campus has now blossomed into a beacon of pride that supports Southwest Washington’s rapidly growing community.

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The Spokesman-Review

WSU’s Aurora Clark honored as fellow of American Physical Society

Aurora Clark.

Aurora E. Clark, a Washington State University professor and expert in physical chemistry, has been named a fellow of the American Physical Society, the nation’s leading association for physicists.

The prestigious award recognizes Clark’s work in developing innovative methods to advance the study of complex chemical solutions and their interfaces using molecular simulation and integrating methods from graph theory, topology (shape) and geometry.

“This knowledge underpins the basic science needed to solve a variety of important industrial problems that impact human health, environmental management and technological innovation,” Clark said.

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WSU Insider