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Best of Last Year—The top articles of 2017

Peter Engels
Peter Engels

It was another great year for science, particularly physics.

A team of physicists at Washington State University, led by professor Peter Engels, announced that they had created “negative mass,” which, as they noted, behaved in surprising ways, such as accelerating backwards when pushed from a forward direction—it was created by using lasers to cool rubidium atoms to just above absolute zero and could be used to study challenging questions related to the cosmos.

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How tall trees move sugars

Michael Knoblauch, biological sciences
Michael Knoblauch

Scientists have long assumed that the sugars that nourish trees are pushed by water pressure from the leaves where they are created to the stems and roots where they are needed. But how do taller accomplish that task, given the longer distances the nutrients must travel and the greater force that seems needed to them?

A nine-member team of scientists, including Michael Knoblauch, a plant cell biologist from Washington State University, discovered an answer with a recent study whose findings could also help end a longstanding debate over the dynamics involved in sugar transport in trees. The study, whose results are detailed in the Dec. 4 issue of the journal Nature Plants, determined that the hydraulic resistance to moving sugar-rich sap downward from the leaves does not increase with the height of the tree as much as would be expected, because of physical features in the transport system.

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WSU chemists develop dye offering remarkable potential for bioimaging advancement

Ming Xian
Ming Xian

Washington State University scientists have created an injectable dye that illuminates molecules with near-infrared light, making it easier to see what is going on deep inside the body.

The new dye will help medical researchers track the progression of a wide array of diseases, such as cancer.

Ming Xian, the Ralph G. Yount Distinguished Professor of chemistry, calls the new dye Washington Red. He and Wei Chen, an assistant research professor in the WSU Department of Chemistry, published a study detailing the dye’s unique properties and how it is made in Angewandte Chemie, one of the top chemistry journals in the world.

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WSU News
National Science Foundation
Science Newsline
Drug Target Review
The Lewiston Tribune



Jerusalem: Trump’s gift to evangelicals

Trump has made clear that he is listening to a powerful group of people eager to set the stage for Armageddon and the Second Coming.

By Matthew Avery Sutton, Edward R. Meyer distinguished professor of history

Matthew Avery Sutton

Biblical prophecy is being fulfilled. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has set in motion events that evangelicals have long predicted. Or so it seems to the president’s most faithful supporters.

The president’s latest foreign policy decision is a gift to the evangelicals who have long supported him, those who advise him and those who fill his cabinet.

American evangelicals believe that Jesus is going to return to earth soon. But for that to happen, most of these Christians believe, Jerusalem has to become the capital of Israel.

With Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital, evangelicals are eagerly anticipating what might come next—perhaps the rebuilding of the temple, the rapture of all true Christians from earth, then, for the rest of us left behind, tribulation, war and the battle of Armageddon.

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Seattle Times

Vancouver group steps up to keep ‘A Radio Christmas Carol’ on the air

The golden age of radio gets newer all the time.

For years now, the Kiggins Theatre and Re-Imagined Radio, a Washington State University Vancouver project, have been reviving the bygone era when families gathered around a grand wooden box in the living room to listen.

So, local radio-drama lovers nearly slipped on a banana peel upon hearing that, for the first time in years, Portland’s busy Willamette Radio Workshop won’t perform its annual holiday classic “A Radio Christmas Carol” at the Kiggins this year.

John Barber

“We couldn’t find a time that worked for everyone,” said John Barber, who has steered Re-Imagined Radio as a faculty member in the creative media and digital culture department at WSUV. “It was a challenge we just couldn’t solve.”

But Kiggins owner Dan Wyatt recalled that Vancouver’s own Metropolitan Performing Arts group recently shone during a live reading of the script “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” at a Harry Potter festival. Turning to Metropolitan to carry on the radio-drama tradition seemed like the perfect way to transform a loss into a win, Barber said.

“Let’s go a little more grassroots than before,” he thought. “Why have this event in Vancouver and bring in the entertainment from afar?” The idea of developing a local stable of voice actors and sound-effects specialists “is quite exciting when you think about all the ways it could go,” he said.

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The Columbian