Before antibiotics were invented, people often used silver, a known antimicrobial that can also be toxic, to tackle infections.
Researchers in the early 1900s also noticed a mysterious and inconsistent effect from using a mild electric current to kill nasty microbes.
Both methods were problematic, though, and were quickly abandoned with the advent of antibiotics, which killed bacteria so effectively throughout the twentieth century.
Now, as the efficacy of conventional antibiotics wanes, Washington State University researchers are reinventing old ideas to fight bacterial infection.
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.
As the oceans … » More …
Being put to the test at the ground zero of climate change
There’s the day the polar bear mangled the meteorological instruments. Or when a massive storm smashed two humidity sensors. Days of howling winds, extremely limited visibility, and weather so cold that power cords snapped like twigs.
For Von P. Walden, a professor in Washington State University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the most exciting day as part of the Norwegian Young Sea ICE Cruise (N-ICE2015) team was last May when the thin layer of Arctic sea ice on which the researchers were working started breaking up.
Wearing a Regatta suit … » More …
Elaine Thomas broke ground as a top metallurgist, a traditionally male field, researching and making high-quality metal castings.» More ...
As a teen in Tacoma, Terry (Teruo) Ishihara had his life planned out. The oldest child in his family, he was going to take over his father’s laundry business.
That all changed in the summer of 1942 when he and more than 150,000 people of Japanese ancestry living on the west coast were imprisoned as the United States entered World War II.
More than seven decades later, Ishihara clearly recalls the particulars of his internment, including names of fellow prisoners and a prized comic book collection that he had to leave behind. He recounts the nightmarish details without rancor. “You can’t be happy and bitter,’’ … » More …
It was 2 a.m. on February 24, 2009, and six years of George Mount’s work had just launched toward space.
Mount, then a physicist in the WSU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, had been part of a team led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to develop the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO), a sophisticated instrument to measure carbon dioxide from space.
It looked like a picture-perfect launch. The researchers had boarded buses from the launch site and were riding back to their hotel when they learned the news: The rocket carrying their satellite had failed to reach orbit. Instead, the … » More …
Imagine particles that can self-assemble at the nano-scale, so that machinery can delay its need for repair. Or that your 20-year-old truck could suddenly become more fuel efficient than today’s model.
Two years ago physics graduate student Pavlo Rudenko ’09 MS started his company, TriboTEX LLC, to develop bio-based super lubricants. He found that nanoparticles of ceramic powders in lubricants can, at high temperatures, create a film on metal surfaces that reduces both friction and wear behaviors.
He bought used analytical equipment off eBay and is running the business on a shoestring out of his home in Colfax.
Last summer he won a highly competitive … » More …
Don Kopczynski ’91 first noticed the power industry’s newest problem around the year 2000. The vice president for Avista Corp. counted 100 engineers on his team. Looking ahead, he realized that half of them would be retiring simultaneously. It made sense, since they all came out of school and entered the workforce at the same time. “We’ve been together our whole careers,’’ he says.
The looming shortage of engineers, though, is not limited to Avista. It’s a national issue, according to a recent survey by the Center for Energy Workforce Development. Fifty-one percent of engineers working in the power industry, including electric, natural gas, and … » More …
In 1946, the Washington State Legislature established Washington State College’s Institute of Technology. In a 1986 oral history, Eugene Greenfield, who directed the Institute’s Division of Industrial Research starting in 1958, explained that the purpose of the institute was to “find technological means for inducing a larger industrial output in the State of Washington.’’
“At the end of [World War II], industry was flopped right straight on its back,’’ said Greenfield. “There was nothing doing, and it looked as though it would be many years before industry would be picking up.’’
The legislature would provide $500,000 a year to fund a division “whose sole purpose … » More …