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Rebecca Phillips ’76, ’81 DVM

Take a walk and call me in the morning - thumb
Spring 2016

Take a walk…and call me in the morning

The U.S. Surgeon General wants YOU to get off the couch and start moving. In the new Step It Up! program, Dr. Vivek Murthy urges walking or wheelchair rolling for all Americans. He’s not alone—the Centers for Disease Control touts walking as the closest thing to a wonder drug without any side effects, says April Davis ’97, ’09, ’12 MS, clinical assistant professor in the WSU Spokane Program in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. Like Panacea, the mythical Greek goddess of universal remedy, walking has something for everyone.

Since Kenneth Cooper first popularized aerobics in 1968, millions of Americans have taken up running, cycling, and … » More …

Sweet solution to toxic waste
Spring 2016

Sweet solution to toxic waste

A jar of foul-smelling clay sits on the cluttered workbench. “I’d better not open it,” says environmental engineer Richard Watts. He grabs a smaller jar filled with liquid the color of a dirty mud puddle. “These are soil and groundwater samples from an industrial waste site in North Carolina.”

The repugnant samples arrived in comparatively pristine Pullman to be analyzed by Watts, who then advises the best ways to remedy the mess. In a twist, one of those methods involves the use of sugar.

Watts, a pioneer in oxidizing systems for the detoxification of polluted soil and groundwater and a professor of civil and environmental … » More …

Trip the light fantastic
Spring 2016

Trip the light fantastic

When physicist Mark Kuzyk throws a science soiree he doesn’t mess around. Out come the lasers, high-tech origami, ornate wire sculptures, and sticky-stretchy gel that’s fun to throw at the wall. But it’s all for a greater purpose.

The Washington State University Regents professor is developing a shape-changing, laser-guided electrode for the treatment of pain, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and depression.

The ultra-thin electrode is designed for use in deep brain stimulation (DBS) and relies on optics and photomechanical materials to improve the precision and delicacy of the procedure. Sometimes known as the “brain pacemaker,” DBS holds promise for a wide range of conditions and may … » More …

Living Buddhism cover
Spring 2016

Living Buddhism—Mind, Self, and Emotion in a Thai Community

Living Buddhism cover

Julia Cassaniti

Cornell University Press: 2015

A scholarly work woven with human drama, the book treats readers to an engaging account of Buddhism as it occurs in the everyday lives of two extended families in rural Northern Thailand.

WSU assistant professor of cultural anthropology Julia Cassaniti spent 10 years observing life in the small mountainous community of Mae Jaeng. She formed close relationships with the villagers while helping in their shops, taking … » More …

Winter 2015

Emerging disease: A case study

Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at WSU

1999

Hundreds of people, cats, dogs, porpoises, birds, and other animals on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, fell victim to what was diagnosed as a rare fungal infection called Cryptococcus gattii. Though physicians and veterinarians were familiar with the more common Cryptococcus neoformans, C. gattii was considered a tropical disease found only in places like Australia.

Upon deeper investigation, B.C. health officials were alarmed to discover that C. gattii had established itself in the native trees and soil—and was especially prevalent in decaying wood. Epidemiologists speculate that climate change and warmer summers helped create favorable habitat for the … » More …

Still Time cover
Winter 2015

Still Time

Still Time cover

Jean Hegland ’79

Arcade Publishing: 2015

Still Time, a new novel by Jean Hegland, explores dementia through the eyes of aging Shakespearean scholar John Wilson. Unsettled by life in a residential care facility and a surprise visit from his estranged daughter, Wilson finds solace and structure in the plays and poetry that so captivated his life.

Hegland, who shares poetry at a memory care center near her home in California, says she was inspired … » More …

LIGO Observatory at Hanford. Courtesy National Science Foundation
Winter 2015

Eureka! on the horizon

The silence is unnerving. Not another car in sight as I drive through the desolate Hanford nuclear area. The road unfolds in an eerie lacework of tarred concrete until finally I see it gleaming in the distance—the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO.)

LIGO is home to Earth’s most sensitive optical instrument, uniquely designed to intercept gravity waves. These elusive cosmic waves—or ripples in space-time—are so miniscule that Einstein thought them impossible to view and measure. And so far, he’s been right. Yet if detected, gravitational waves could transform our fundamental understanding of the universe.

They also, incidentally, play a starring role in the hit … » More …