Today’s baseball game, brought to you by Physics Unlimited, is a blockbuster contest between the famous Mathematical Physicists and Washington State University’s own Oblique Collisions.
As the Oblique Collisions take the field, Ernest Rutherford, the renowned English physicist, is first up for the Mathematical Physicists. Better known outside physics circles for his cricketing skills, Rutherford is quite the hitter, though usually of particles much smaller than baseballs.
Indeed, in describing the collision of an alpha particle—better known as the nucleus of a helium atom, two protons and two massive neutrons—with a gold atom, Rutherford had this to say: “It was as if you fired a … » More …
It’s no secret that wildfires are on the rise throughout the western United States. Come summer, the plumes of gray-brown smoke seem to arrive weeks earlier and often linger well into fall. The smoke irritates sinuses, clings to clothes, and despite your efforts, seeps into homes and cars like an ever-present smoldering campfire.
On those haze-filled days, people often wonder, “Is it safe for the kids to play outside? To hold a neighborhood BBQ? What about those with asthma or other respiratory problems?”
Over the last several years, people in Washington state have been exposed to worsening air quality for longer periods of time. The following charts show that increase, based on information from Rahil Dhammapala ’06 PhD (Civ. Eng.) at the Washington State Department of Ecology.
Roschelle “Shelly” Fritz, assistant professor at the WSU College of Nursing in Vancouver, studies how “smart-home” technology can monitor the health and safety of senior citizens from afar. She’s part of an interdisciplinary team that includes WSU engineering professor Diane Cook and WSU psychology professor Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe.
Fritz ran an innovative pilot study that deployed health sensors in five homes at senior living community Touchmark on South Hill in Spokane.
The intricate mastery of Japanese swordmaking relies on a smith’s deep understanding of fire, metal, and techniques to control both. Each unique sword shimmers with thousands of layers from the folding of the metal, a work of art in steel. That steel, though, traditionally comes from an iron-rich sand full of impurities, pounded and blended by the smith. A smith then uses a secret mix of water, clay, ash, and other ingredients over the blade as they once again plunge the sword into fire to create a keen edge. Only when the blade glows a certain color is it quenched in water.
In the embers of an ancient winter day, a Swedish scout scrambles up the hill of snow-covered boulders, hurrying over the slippery ground between them along a narrow path. His panting breath trails after him until he stumbles through the castle gate gasping, “Vandals on the riverbank! Bandits to the east!”
The heavy palisade slams shut behind him as men rush to position along a glinting rock wall. From 150 feet above the valley floor, they watch as silhouettes begin scaling the boulders below. With a signal, arrows and stones rain down upon them, yet the marauders advance, dragging their weapons or clenching them in … » More …
When the tides are high in parts of San Francisco, Charleston, and Miami, city streets experience an odd new kind of flooding that happens even on bright, sunny days.
In San Francisco’s Embarcadero district, king tides caused flooding between Mission and Howard Street last winter. Seattle’s Georgetown and South Park neighborhoods have experienced sewer back-ups into streets and basements after large storms.
These are quite literally waves of the future, confronted by Hope Hui Rising and her students at Washington State University. They are working on the front lines of sea level rise, developing urban design strategies to help communities adapt.
Growing up in Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa, Yonas Demissie never suffered from lack of access to clean water, but he knew from a young age that it was a serious problem in most parts of his home country.
He remembers reading news and watching documentaries about the droughts and related famine that still impact Ethiopia.
“Why can’t a three-year-old eat his breakfast?” the young Demissie would ask his parents and teachers. “A society should not have an excuse for a child to go hungry.”
According to Water.org, which works to improve access to safe water and sanitation, just 43 percent have access … » More …
In the near future, your local hardware store could include a “green electronics” counter where friendly clerks unspool sheets of plastic film and print devices while you wait.
Need a few more solar panels? No problem.
How about a flexible LED lighting strip? This roll over here.
Computer? Loudspeaker? Or maybe transparent, energy-producing panels for your greenhouse? On sale today!
Though the scene is hypothetical, the emerging technology for organic, thin-film polymer plastics is up and running in laboratories around the world, including those of the Collins Research Group at Washington State University.
Led by assistant professor of physics Brian Collins, the enthusiastic … » More …