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Washington State Magazine

West Nile virus chart
Summer 2014

Charting the course of a globe-trotting pathogen

For more than half a century, West Nile virus was someone else’s problem.

The mosquito-borne pathogen was first isolated from a feverish human in 1937 in northern Uganda’s West Nile district. It then lay low for a decade before emerging in an actual epidemic in Israel in 1951. With several Egyptian outbreaks in the early ’50s, researchers started to see the disease infect non-humans, particularly crows and horses. Mosquitoes of the Culex genus appeared to be its chief transmitter, or vector.

By the time the virus hit the United States, in 1999, it had taken on a more sinister character. Where before it mostly struck … » More …

Summer 2014

Posts for Summer 2014

Recollecting Washington’s landscapes

Tim Steury’s article “Mountains and Rivers and Prairies Without End—Recollecting Washington’s Landscapes” is a great read for this student of all he writes about.

But the narration also brought back fond memories of places and people significant to me. As a WSC freshman in 1956 I hitched a ride with Ed Claplanhoo, who was a senior at that time, from our farm near Port Ludlow back to Pullman after the between semester’s break.

Then in 1988 my wife Louise (Morse), WSC ’59, and I took a class in anthropology of the North Cascades taught by Bob Mierendorf. To get to Stehekin, … » More …

Milky Way in eastern Washington
Summer 2014

A Washington childhood

As spring surrenders to summer, so must we yield our state to its youngest residents, approximately 1.15 million children and teens who will soon take over our communities, yards, pools, beaches, and parks.

milky way
One of my early memories is of exploring a campsite on Mount Rainier. I remember roaming around the spot on a cool June morning, exploring a paved road dusted with pine needles and peering into the wet shadows of the woods. Laced into my first hiking boots, I followed my parents along the Sunrise Nature trail, an easy 1.5 mile loop … » More …

Spring 2014

Two alumni recognized for their contributions to food and agriculture

In recent months, the Washington State University Alumni Association honored United Nations Food Safety Officer Masami Takeuchi and Louisiana State University Professor Gail L. Cramer with WSU Alumni Achievement Awards.

A native of Japan, Masami Takeuchi earned her first bachelor’s degree in 1994 from Kwassui University in Nagasaki, Japan. At WSU, she completed a bachelor’s degree in 1999, a master of science degree in 2001, and a doctorate in 2004, all in human nutrition.

Based in Rome, Takeuchi is one of a small group of food safety and quality officers working for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Nutrition and Consumer Protection Division.

From … » 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 …

Robert Franklin
Spring 2014

Robert Franklin ’75, ’76, ’79—A new leash on life

Over more than three decades, veterinarian Dr. Robert Franklin has advocated for animal welfare—even when those animals never set a paw into his specialty practice in Beaverton, Oregon.

Franklin ’75 BS, ’76 BS, ’79 DVM is on the frontlines of animal wellbeing and companionship issues in the Pacific Northwest, whether he’s working behind the scenes to save a stray or squarely in the spotlight ensuring that famed orca Keiko was getting appropriate medical care.

“The animal welfare movement is waiting for veterinarians to lead it like we should,” says Franklin, who recently received Washington State University’s Distinguished Veterinary Alumnus Award. “We’ve got to look at … » More …

Ken Alexander
Spring 2014

An inquiring mind

“Kenneth was interested in everything,” says Alexander’s mother Marilyn. When her son was four or five, “He would climb on his [father’s] lap and I remember Jack reading radiochemistry out loud to him.”

Once, a small telescope triggered a fascination for the stars and “his dad spent some cold nights outside with him,” says his mother. He also loved music, played the trombone, and as a teen, made frequent trips out of town to play with the local orchestra.

Jack Alexander was the first radiologist hired at WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He was also head of medicine and surgery. Science, medicine, and the … » More …

Spring 2014

A True Story Fraught With Peril

As disaster-obsessed scientists go, geologists must be near the top of the list. They deal with time scales spanning billions of years, so a set of catastrophes occurring 10 million years ago is like yesterday. Something in the last century comes close to being, well, now. 

And they see catastrophe all over the place.

Take the roadcut near the Old Moscow Road. It’s a modest pile of crumbling rock, but John Wolff and Rick Conrey can see in its surrounding rock a thick blanket of hot lava inundating southeast Washington.

“It covers an area that goes from here to Spokane to The Dalles, buried at … » More …

First Words
Spring 2014

First Words

This being my last “First Words,” I have struggled to conjure something profound and insightful, or at least clever, to leave you with. But I am coming up short. So I’ll just skip the philosophical and offer a few observations. Forgive me if I repeat myself. I’ll try not to get sentimental.

From Washington State Magazine’s inception, we have followed the simple principle that we would not produce anything we would not read ourselves. Add that to our tagline—“Connecting you to Washington State University, the State, the World”—and I believe we’ve created a pretty successful formula.

There are many things we deliberately decided not to … » More …

Northside Residence Hall, WSU
Winter 2013

Posts for Winter 2013

Water to the Promised Land

I thoroughly enjoyed the article on the Columbia Basin Irrigation project in the recent issue of WSM. It brought back so many memories. I farmed for a year (1953) with a partner, Vern Divers, a bit south of Quincy. Subsequently, while a research associate in the Agricultural Economics department, I did research on the economics of different systems of irrigation in the Basin.

Interesting to read of the research by Whittlesey and Butcher. I was a member of the Agricultural Economics faculty with them and always respected them, professionally and personally. I retired in 1986.

Ralph A. Loomis

Edmonds