PULLMAN, Wash. — A day of public events will mark the inauguration of the new building housing Washington State University’s internationally recognized Institute for Shock Physics on Aug. 27.


Tours of the building, located at the intersection of College Ave. and Stadium Way, will be offered between 9 and 10 a.m., followed by a dedication ceremony at 10:30.  In the afternoon, tours will continue between 1:15 and 2:15 and a panel discussion is slated for 2:30, followed by a reception at 4.


The morning dedication ceremony will include comments by U.S. Rep. George R. Nethercutt Jr., Department of Energy officials and Yogendra Gupta, institute director and professor of physics. WSU President V. Lane Rawlins will preside at the event, which will take place outside the main entrance of the new building.


“The new building and our continuing DOE and ONR (Office of Naval Research) support represent strong and tangible commitments at both the federal and state levels for the shock physics program at WSU,” Gupta said.  “We will continue our emphasis on scientific innovations, on tackling hard problems to serve national objectives, and on high quality education for our graduate students and postdoctoral research associates.”


“Yogi Gupta’s research is recognized around the world. He brings considerable visibility, prestige and important technical benefits to our university and the state,” Rawlins said. “WSU’s long tradition of excellence in the field is reflected in the fact that the majority of U.S. shock physics scientists are WSU graduates who worked with him in the institute.” 


Nethercutt and WSU Provost Robert Bates will moderate the afternoon panel discussion “Role of University Research and Education in National Security,” held in Kimbrough Concert Hall.


Members of the panel will include David Crandall, Ph.D., assistant deputy administrator of the DOE/National Nuclear Security Administration; Victor Reis, Ph.D., former director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and former assistant secretary of the DOE; Jay Davis, Ph.D., former director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and former associate director at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; and Leonard Peters, Ph.D., director of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The concluding reception will be in the Kimbrough foyer.


Shock wave research at WSU has grown to become one of the nation’s top programs since its inception in the late 1950s.  Over the years, the WSU program has received strong support from the Department of Defense, particularly the ONR, which awarded a five-year, $5 million grant to the program in 2001.


In 1997, a $10 million grant from the DOE/National Nuclear Security Administration established the institute as a part of the DOE’s strategic investment in selected scientific disciplines important to science–based stockpile stewardship. The response of materials under shock wave conditions helps the DOE determine the safety and reliability of the nation’s nuclear stockpile in an age of nuclear test bans.  The institute received a five-year, $18 million extension of the DOE grant in April.


The new $12.4 million building was funded by the Washington State Legislature. Construction of the building started in fall 2001 and was completed this spring.  The 33,000 square-foot, three-story, brick building provides the institute three times more space than it had when located in neighboring Webster Physical Sciences and other buildings.


The facility includes a number of new laboratories, including an expanded impact laboratory, a laser/shock laboratory, a high-pressure laboratory and a computational facility and more. It also houses state-of-the-art research equipment. 


Muller Hull of Seattle was the architect and Lydig Construction Company of Spokane was the general contractor.