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Clubs / Organizations

Fish Fans
Summer 2022

Splish splash: Memories of Fish Fans

Fish Fans entertained audiences at Washington State University for 70 years. Here are a few more memories of Cougar synchronized swim club.

 

Kay (Huson) Johnson (x’58 Phys. Ed.)  
Fish Fans, 1957 to 1958

“I only went to WSU for one year, freshman year. My sister, Carol Huson (’59 Ed.), was already in Fish Fans. She was three years ahead of me. We were raised in Castle Rock, in western Washington, one block from the swimming pool and one block from the Cowlitz River. We were at the swimming pool day in and day out. We were both lifeguards there. … You had to … » More …

bunch of hexagons with images of divers on them
Spring 2022

Robot swarms, soft bots, and other robotic ideas

We’ve come a long way from clunky, claw-handed Robot from Lost in Space.

Robots have had industrial and entertainment uses for a number of years, but researchers at Washington State University are rethinking robots’ design, tasks, and collaboration with humans. From the tiniest self-powered robot to soft robots, fruit-picking bots, and swarms of small robots like bees that can search collapsed buildings, the very idea of what is a “robot” is changing.

The creation of the National Robotics Initiative in 2011 also pushed the field toward more collaborative robots (or co-robots), which are designed to work cooperatively with humans. The robots are no longer … » More …

Michelle Gordon riding horse Mac
Fall 2018

Back in the saddles

Winding through barren April wheat fields, my 4Runner rumbles down a gravel backroad heading toward the small farming town of Colton. Rounding the corner, I spot a sign for the Pat Weber ranch and follow their lane to the barn.

Near the corral, a young woman in a riding helmet turns and waves. Michelle Gordon, Washington State University junior and president of the recently revived WSU Equestrian Team, is here along with several other students for lessons with English riding coach Laura Bagby Moore ’08.

“I’ve known Laura most of my life,” says Gordon as she brushes a bay gelding named Mac. “We’re both … » More …

Breaking pumpkin thumb - Getty Images
Fall 2018

The physics of fall

With murmurs and pointing, the crowd watches as a face and then hands—holding a large object—appear in the twelfth-story window of WSU’s Webster Physical Sciences Building.

On the ground, Butch T. Cougar begins a countdown: five, four, three, two… At one, the hands release a 10-pound, half-frozen pumpkin that rockets to the courtyard, exploding in a confetti-bomb of cheers, screams, and a thousand gooey fragments.

Strains of Galileo Galileo from Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” fill the plaza and down comes another pumpkin, then another and another. So begins that nerdy-fun Dad’s Weekend tradition—the Pumpkin Drop.

“Throwing out pumpkins is kind of a rush,” says … » More …

Cloyd and Audrey Artman
Fall 2018

Soaring history

Aviation lifted off the ground in the early twentieth century, but few had the guts to explore the uncharted territory of human flight. Two courageous souls willing to glide into the challenge were Washington siblings Cloyd and Audrey Artman.

Humans fantasized for thousands of years about transcending the realm of the birds. We emulated the techniques of flying animals and insects, strapped ourselves to oversized kites, or jumped off great heights while donning makeshift wings, yet gravity won over centuries of trial-and-error.

 

German aviation pioneer Otto Lilienthal, though, soared with his successful heavier-than-air glider experiments in the late 1880s. He made over 2,000 glider … » More …