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Asparagus and morels. Photo Bruce Andre
Summer 2016

Morels

Mysterious. Elusive. Delicious.

The smell of rain-soaked earth permeated the logged-over clearing in the woods in mid-May as my friend Mike and I peered closely at the ground and walked slowly. We were hunting mushrooms.

Mike’s more adept eyes spotted a cluster of light brown, honeycombed caps. He sliced the morel mushrooms with his knife. After a while we filled a small bucket, which we took back to Mike’s mom. She battered and fried them and, as a teenager in northeast Washington years ago, I had my first taste of the rich flavor of the wild Northwest mushroom.

Mike and I had likely picked Morchella … » More …

Smart couture thumb. Image from UDK Berlin
Summer 2016

Smart couture

Wearable electronics are leaving the lab and hitting the runway

From smart phones to FitBits, mobile electronics have been woven into the very fabric of our lives. But things are about to get a lot more literal as e-devices begin to be incorporated into the clothing we wear.

Imagine a “smart” shirt or other item of clothing that can monitor your biometrics and ping your doctor when something is out of the ordinary. Or, to manage diabetes, we’ll use a contact lens or pair of glasses to monitor blood glucose levels—and leave behind forever the expensive and annoying finger prick test kit. But wearable … » More …

Dave Wilson '86 with WSU-themed boxes for graduates, produced by Spokane Packaging. Photo Robert Hubner
Summer 2016

Boxing day for Cougs

Hundreds of eager WSU seniors prepare to leave Pullman each spring after graduation. Some might be headed to new jobs or internships. Others will go to graduate school, the military, or the Peace Corps. Whatever the destination, almost all those Cougs have a common need: sturdy boxes.

As they pack their crimson sweatshirts, posters, and books, the graduating students will carry away another reminder of their college days: free WSU-themed packing boxes.

And they can thank Dave Wilson ’86 for his volunteer efforts in arranging delivery of about 1,500 of those boxes for the last eight years.

“The way the box is designed you don’t … » 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 part … » More …

Green for all seasons
Spring 2016

Green for all seasons

The quirks of Pullman weather can make gardening tough. It was only a few years ago that it snowed in June. But in the greenhouses scattered around campus, researchers and students can keep growing and studying plants in adverse weather. Even visitors to campus can enjoy vegetables, holiday poinsettias, and flowers long before they’ll thrive on the Palouse.

The latest addition to the greenhouses on campus, a two-story building that resembles a glass apartment complex with glowing sodium lights, sits behind the Lewis Alumni Centre. The research facility allows scientists to raise up to three generations of wheat, barley, and other grains every year, says … » More …

The TUB
Spring 2015

Down “The Drain” in the TUB

In the 1950s Patty Ernst and Marian Baldy Kenedy would pass time between classes at the TUB. The former women’s gymnasium, built in 1901, became the Temporary Union Building while a new student union was being built. A structure of many uses, it had also served as an ROTC armory, a bookstore, a bowling alley, and temporary housing for a surplus of students just after World War II.

Playing on the bath-like name, the building even had “The Drain,” a basement café and hangout filled with booths and a jukebox. Friday and Saturday night dances there were very popular, with more than half the student … » More …

WSU Soccer Field
Spring 2015

A new field of dreams

In November under the lights of their newly renovated field, the WSU women’s soccer team competed in their fourth straight NCAA tournament, a first for the Cougars. They played tough against Seattle University in the polar chill, losing by one goal in double overtime.

The debuts of both the rebuilt Lower Soccer Field and head coach Steve Nugent came back in August with a 3-0 win versus Texas Christian University. Nugent and the team went 10–4–4 for the season, led by a group of seniors that boasts 48 victories, the most in school history during a four-year span.

Among them was goalkeeper Gurveen Clair, who … » More …