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College of Arts and Sciences Archives

Researcher encounters rare, elusive beaked whales off coast of Ireland

Rare sighting off the coast of Ireland of elusive beaked whale. (photo by Ashley Bennison)A researcher at WSU Vancouver encountered rare and elusive beaked whales while on a research vessel west of Ireland last month.

Enrico Pirotta, a post doc in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, was on the last days of a six-day cruise when the crew had several sightings. The first sightings were too far away for positive identifications, but on the final day the crew saw four separate groups of breaching whales, according to an online log of the Ireland-based Marine Institute in Galway. » More …

Homer on a flash drive

Grigar in her computer lab.Plato is sitting at the feet of his mentor Socrates, writing down what the old philosopher says. What Socrates is saying, ironically, is that writing is bad for you: It rots your memory. Preserved in Plato’s Phaedrus, Socrates’s opinion of the then-emerging technology sounds strange to us now—until you recall that that’s pretty much exactly what pundits in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have been saying about TV, video games, and texting.

Dene Grigar, director of Washington State University Vancouver’s program in Creative Media and Digital Culture, laughs and nods. She’s also the president of the Electronic Literature Organization, an international team of scholars and artists dedicated to creating, preserving and evangelizing “born-digital” art and literature. » More …

Making sense of big data

colorful icons connected with dots and linesPeople, businesses and institutions are collecting more and more data, but often don’t know what to do with it. That’s where mathematics comes in. Bala Krishnamoorthy, associate professor and program leader of mathematics and statistics at WSU Vancouver, is participating in a project funded by the National Science Foundation that he describes as follows: “The grant is about applying mathematical techniques to make sense of the loads and loads of data that people are collecting.” » More …

Students Developing Augmented Reality App

Student using software to create augmented reality app Working in partnership with a local nonprofit organization, WSU Creative Media and Digital Culture students are developing an augmented reality app to tell the story of a historic local boarding school and orphanage.

The app will showcase Providence Academy in the 1870s, including founder Mother Joseph, the nuns who worked there, and students who attended the school. Smartphone users will be able to scan codes with their camera in designated locations to experience different augmented realities. » More …

Huge carbon sink exists in soil minerals

artists depiction of carbon in soilA Washington State University researcher has discovered that vast amounts of carbon can be stored by soil minerals more than a foot below the surface. The finding could help offset the rising greenhouse-gas emissions helping warm the Earth’s climate.

Marc Kramer, an assistant professor of environmental chemistry at WSU Vancouver, reports his finding in one of two related papers demonstrating how the right management practices can help trap much of the carbon dioxide that is rapidly warming the planet. » More …

Keller named director of School of the Environment

Keller portrait imageKent Keller, professor and fellow of the Geological Society of America, has been named director of the School of the Environment at Washington State University.

A WSU researcher and teacher since 1988, Keller began his career studying geological processes deep under the Earth. Today he studies the critical zone, the vital skin of Earth where rock meets air and water to support life. » More …

Digital Technology and Culture newsletter, October 2017

screen shot of DTC newsletterFrom winning awards to winning grants, new courses and new equipment, the Digital Technology and Culture faculty and staff are working hard to expand our reach, notoriety, and resources. Our goal is to continue to empower the DTC students who inspire us each and every day. Read the full DTC e-newsletter >>

 

Art for Life’s Sake

Art for Life's SakeWSU Vancouver’s fine arts department may not have a lot of person-power, but it has a powerful commitment to the creative well-being of the campus. Art classes can help with practical skills such as eye-hand coordination and the ability to move between digital and analog experiences. And they can instill critical thinking and cultural awareness in students.

“Instead of art for art’s sake, we emphasize more how art fits into everyone’s lives and how it connects to the discipline they’re studying,” says associate professor Harrison Higgs.

Read more on page 8 in WSU Vancouver’s Crimson and Gray magazine >>

CAS students receive Carson, Auvil undergraduate research awards

portion of the cover of printed programA total of 10 College of Arts and Sciences students received two types of awards from the WSU Office of Undergraduate Research.

Recipients of the Carson and Auvil awards will work with faculty mentors throughout the 2017-18 academic year on research, scholarly and creative projects that advance or create new knowledge in a specific field. » More …

Monarch butterflies disappearing from western North America

butterflies on a pine branchMonarch butterfly populations from western North America have declined far more dramatically than was previously known and face a greater risk of extinction than eastern monarchs, according to a new study in the journal Biological Conservation.

“Western monarchs are faring worse than their eastern counterparts,” said Cheryl Schultz, an associate professor at Washington State University Vancouver and lead author of the study. “In the 1980s, 10 million monarchs spent the winter in coastal California. Today there are barely 300,000.” » More …