Despite its many mysteries, biomechanics serves up surprises about strained muscles and bones broken and mended.
Earlier this year, at the ripe age of 38, Bernard “Kip” Lagat ’01 became the fastest American ever to run two miles indoors. It was a feat of both speed and longevity, helped in large part by a fluid, seemingly effortless running form the New Yorker describes as “perfect.”
It was not always so. In fact, Lagat’s performance, as well as two Olympic medals and several other American records, may never have taken place without the long tutelage of James Li MS ’87 MS, ’93 PhD, who recruited … » More …
If you’re looking for Gary Chastagner around this time of year, you would do well to put out an all-points bulletin to Wherever Christmas Trees Are Sold. He’s perused trees up and down the West Coast, as well as in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Arizona, and Texas. Just look for the cheerful fellow taking clippings, bending needles, and chatting up the owners about things like moisture content and needle retention.
“My family knows that if it’s Christmas time, I’m usually around looking at Christmas tree lots,” he says.
Chastagner, officially a plant pathologist with the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center, is … » More …
As small, relatively obscure seeds go, quinoa has a lot riding on it.
It measures about 3 millimeters across, and its worldwide production is about 1/20,000th of wheat, but foodies, researchers, farmers, grocers, and food policy experts can’t get enough of it. Packed with protein, adaptable, and hardy, it’s an emerging option in the quest to improve farm incomes while feeding a growing planet with impoverished soils and warming temperatures. The United Nations General Assembly has even given it its own year: 2013, the “International Year of Quinoa.” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last February said it is “truly a food for the Millennium Development Goals,” … » More …
When you fill out a career pushing the limits of knowledge, rising to “pioneer in your field” status, things are bound to get pretty technical.
Gene Rosa, environmental sociologist, lived that reality, penning papers with terms like “biosociology,” “post-normal risk,” and acronym-rich analytical tools like STIRPAT. In spite of the technical thickets of his work, say friends and colleagues, Rosa kept his eye on the increasingly threatened natural environment and the people in it.
“Gene was not just interested in the environment for its own sake, but rather he had a deep desire to see a better world, one with greater quality of life and … » More …
Of all the ways a college student can find trouble, at least Ralph Barclay started in the library.
It was 1960, and he was wandering through the engineering library, then on the third floor of Holland, when his eye was drawn to a freshly minted Bell Systems Technical Journal. Inside, amid some positively mind-numbing treatises, he found the article, “Signaling Systems for Control of Telephone Switching.”
Years later, this one article would be referred to as “the keys to the kingdom,” a plain-spoken description of how the phone system evolved and, unbeknownst to the authors, the means by which an 18-year-old electrical engineering student from … » More …
Capt. James T. Kirk: You left spacedock without a tractor beam?
Capt. John Harriman: It doesn’t arrive until Tuesday.
—from Star Trek: Generations
Phil Marston is not a Trekkie, nor has he given much thought to the Star Trek tractor beam that can use focused beams of energy to attract and repel derelict spacecraft or, in one case, USS Enterprise Capt. James T. Kirk.
He was just intrigued by something, in this case, the way an acoustic beam is scattered by a sphere.
“Basically, it goes into the category of a problem you solve because it would be curious to see what … » More …
The Latin-themed recording is one of the great subgenres of jazz, going back at least as far as Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” and running through the likes of Dizzy Gillespie’s “Manteca” and the Getz/Gilberto collaboration that brought “Girl from Ipanema” to hi-fi consoles across the land. Greg Duncan is stepping up with his own contribution, marshaling an Illinois Arts Council grant and Kickstarter funding to bring us an … » More …
Greg Blanchard is making dinner for 224. From the cramped confines of the CUB kitchen, he and his staff have just a few hours to create three different types of crostini, chicken parmesan and linguine, garlic bread, Caesar salad, and strawberry shortcake, with exceptions for vegetarians, the lactose intolerant, avoiders of gluten, and one person who just doesn’t like cheese.
Come 6:30, student waiters and waitresses in black ties will serve the food on individual plates, a timing play that ups a chef’s game from, say, a buffet. If the food is ready too soon, lettuce will get flat, chicken will get dry, strawberries will … » More …
Beyond the notion that animals other than humans may indeed possess
consciousness, Jaak Panksepp’s work suggests a litany of philosophical
implications: How should we treat animals? Do we have free will? Where
might we search for the meaning of life? Are our most fundamental values
actually biological in nature?
For the better part of four decades, Mark Wildung (’89 BS, ’92 MS) felt lousy.
He felt like he had a flu, but wrote it off, thinking everyone felt that way. He had a hollow leg, packing twice as much food as his friends on backpacking trips, but his body was withering away, his weight dropping to 138 pounds.
Finally, at a going-away party before a trip to Germany, a physician-assistant friend suggested he might have celiac disease, an autoimmune reaction to certain gluten proteins found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. His symptoms got worse in Germany, a land of great bread and … » More …