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Cherie Winner

Summer 2008

What a dive

The Washington State University biologist, who retired in 2001 after decades of studying marine worms, was shorebound when the stubby little submarine called Alvin first carried humans to the bottom of the sea.

Schroeder remembers the excitement in his lab when scientists aboard Alvin discovered vents in the ocean floor, where three-foot-long tube worms and other weird-looking animals lived on the mineral exhalations of the earth’s interior.

“I had a graduate student working on worms then,” he recalls, “and it was in Time magazine, these guys with these giant worms, and [my student] came running into my office and said, ‘What the hell are these … » More …

Summer 2008

"A joyous sight to see"

The next time you visit the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, take a good look around. This is the only Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) facility in the nation that is home to a botanical garden, and the garden is due primarily to the efforts of one man.

The basic facts are easy to find. Carl English (’29 Botany) came to the site in 1931. In 1967 the Corps gave him its highest award for a civilian employee. Carl retired in 1974 and died two years later. In 1978 the site was designated a national historic district, due in no small part … » More …

Spring 2009

Sudoku for Lunch

How does one review a book of Sudoku puzzles? There’s no plot, no metaphor, no elegant or awkward use of language. There are just the puzzles, which themselves are pure pattern.

But the puzzle-making process clearly involves skill and attention, because Sudoku books, like novels and collections of poetry, vary widely in quality. Sudoku For Lunch is a lively, fun, and well-designed example of the genre. (And it has the added benefit of being printed on high-quality paper that stands up well to erasure.)

Riensche presents 250 puzzles in groups based on how long he thinks it will take a reader to solve them. Group … » More …

Fall 2008

Seeing red (and far-red)

Ask crop scientist Michael Neff about plant growth, and he won’t talk about rainfall or fertilizer. He’ll talk about what the plants see.

“What I’ve been interested in forever is how plants use light as a source of information,” says Neff. “Plants have photoreceptors that are completely independent of photosynthesis and chloroplasts, that read their environment and say, ‘I am in full sunlight, I’m in the shade of another plant, I’ve got plants that are growing too close to me,’” and so on. The photoreceptors then trigger a host of hormonal reactions that influence how tall the plant will grow.

Neff thinks it’s possible to … » More …

Fall 2008

Let the invasions begin

As Beijing prepared to welcome athletes and spectators to the Olympic Games, a quieter and much less welcome influx was already under way.

According to a new study by Washington State University ecologist Richard Mack and four Chinese colleagues, China’s explosive economic growth and ambitious public-works projects have allowed non-native species of plants, insects, and other organisms to spread throughout the country and inflict more than $14 billion of damage on the nation’s economy—and the Olympic Games could provide an opportunity for even more biological invaders.

Mack and his co-authors combed through trade and economic data to discover that China’s economic boom has been accompanied … » More …

Fall 2008

If you don’t ask…

Tiffany Ludka ‘04 has a piece of advice for students with big bills: It never hurts to ask for help.

During her first year of medical school at the University of Washington, the Colfax native hit on the idea of asking the medical community in her hometown to consider paying some of her medical school bills if she agreed to go into practice there. She’d known for a long time that she wanted to practice in a small town, preferably the one she grew up in.

Colfax, 13 miles north of Pullman, has a bustling downtown and is the county seat, but with a population … » More …

Fall 2008

To Err is Human

The older a woman is when she conceives, the more likely it is her eggs will have abnormal chromosomes. But beyond the fact of the biological clock, we often overlook a bigger story. Even with young mothers, chromosome abnormalities are the single most frequent cause of miscarriage and birth defects. Between 25 and 30 percent of all fertilized human eggs have the wrong number of chromosomes, a rate that seems peculiar to humans. » More ...
Spring 2006

See Shells Far From the Sea Shore

If the winter grays have you hankering for a glimpse of beach life, head to the Washington State University Tri-Cities campus at Richland. There, more than 200 miles from Washington’s coast—or just a few clicks down the Internet road—you’ll find the Gladys Archerd Shell Collection. Looking at the incredible variety of whorls, spikes, and splashes of color, you can almost hear the gulls calling and feel the sand between your toes.

The collection was the lifelong passion of Gladys Doy Archerd, whose fascination with shells began in the early 1900s with childhood walks along the shores of the Olympic Peninsula. Over the years she became … » More …