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Tina Hilding

Thumb: King tide at the Embarcadero, San Francisco. Photo Mike Filippoff
Fall 2017

Waves of the future

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 …

Thin Ice thumb
Summer 2016

Thin ice

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 …

Terry Ishihara
Spring 2015

Terry Ishihara ’49—“You can’t be happy and bitter”

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 …

Orbiting Carbon Observatory
Fall 2014

Mission accomplished

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 rocket and its … » More …

Pavlo Rudenko
Spring 2014

Pavlo Rudenko ’09—As fast as he can go

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 …

Winter 2011

A power shortage

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 …

Fall 2011

Research gone wild: Engineering power in the Pacific Northwest, part II

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 …

Fall 2011

Using technology to address the challenges of aging

An increasing number of families know the stress of trying to deal with an elderly parent or spouse who is losing his or her ability to live independently. How can we maintain dignity for those who are having trouble completing daily tasks? How do we keep our elders safe, and who takes care of them?

A WSU research team, led by Diane Cook, Huie-Rogers Chair Professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe, professor in the Department of Psychology, will be studying approximately 10-20 residents in Horizon House, a Seattle-based continuing care retirement community, for three years as part of … » More …

Summer 2011

Current events—engineering power in the Pacific Northwest

When electricity first came to Washington in September of 1885, just a few electric lights illuminated downtown Spokane. By the following March, Seattle had them, too. From those early days, Washington State College had a role in helping spread and improve delivery of electricity throughout the state, with many graduates active in the power industry.

The chief engineer for Washington Water Power (WWP) at Long Lake Dam, completed in 1915, and Little Falls Dam, completed in 1911, was a WSC graduate, as was the superintendent of construction. Nineteen students and graduates worked on the Long Lake job. On the Skagit River Project for the City … » More …