Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Ask Dr. Universe: Why do stars blink?
April 28, 2015

Dr-Universe-230PULLMAN, Wash. – Look up to the twinkly stars and you’ll witness starlight traveling from deep space to your eyeballs. That twinkling you see is the light taking lots and lots of detours.

Flyin’ high: WSU flag launched into stratosphere
May 15, 2014

By Sabrina Zearott and Joanna Steward, College of Arts & Sciences

Coug-flag-200PULLMAN, Wash. – The Washington State University flag has flown in many places around the world – from ESPN Game Day to the Great Wall of China – and now more than 18 miles into the stratosphere.

WSU physics and astronomy colloquium
October 14, 2013

Tuesday, Oct. 15, 4:10 p.m., Webster 17

Dr. Paula Heron, University of Washington. Please meet our guest speaker and share refreshments at 3:45 p.m. in the foyer on floor G above the lecture hall.

Is “interactive teaching” sufficient to promote conceptual development in physics?


Contact: Matthew McCluskey,

Star Party, dinner at Jewett Observatory
September 6, 2013



PULLMAN, Wash. – The Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Palouse Astronomical Society will host a Barbecue and Star Party on Saturday, Sept. 7, at WSU’s Jewett Observatory.

A barbecue and live music will run 7-9 p.m., with star gazing to follow 9-11 p.m.
A $7 donation is suggested for the dinner.

Stargazing is free and open to the public. Weather permitting, guests can view Saturn and other stars from various telescopes including the 12-inch Clark telescope – the second largest telescope in the state.

Dress warmly and check the sky before attending – astronomical objects are invisible when there … » More …

James Gimzewski guest for Stephenson Distinguished Lecture
March 11, 2009

The department of Physics and Astronomy’s Stephenson Distinguished Lecture will feature James K. Gimzewski, a leading authority on nanotechnology research. The lecture, Nano Tips: Exploring This Planet, Your Body and Beyond, will be on March 26 at 7 p.m. in the Webster Physical Science Building, Room 16.

Gimzewski is a distinguished professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA, director of the Nano & Pico Characterization lab at the UCLA California NanoSystems Institute and scientific director of the UCLA Art/Sci Center & Lab.

He pioneered research on mechanical and electrical contacts with single atoms and molecules using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and was … » More …

Lunar eclipse visible tonight
February 4, 2008



A total lunar eclipse will be visible in the Pacific Northwest Wednesday evening, Feb. 20.


Michael Allen, instructor at the WSU Department of Physics and Astronomy, said that when the moon rises that evening at 5:11 p.m. the eclipse will already have begun, but the center of eclipse –when the moon is directly in the center of the earth’s shadow– will not occur until 7:26 p.m. The eclipse will end at 10:17 p.m.


“The best time to watch the eclipse is from 5:43 to 9:09 p.m.  Pacific Standard Time,” he said. This gives observers a … » More …

WSU astronomer finds closest gravitational lensing galaxy
February 7, 2007

PULLMAN – A giant elliptical galaxy seen in an image from the Hubble Space Telescope is the closest gravitational lens yet known, according to information released Feb. 6 by the Hubble Heritage Project. John Blakeslee, an assistant professor with the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Washington State University, working with colleagues from the University of Hawaii and the University of Durham in England, targeted the galaxy for a closer look by Hubble. “The galaxy was well-known, but the Hubble images reveal so much more detail about it, including the unexpected finding that it’s the nearest gravitational lens,” said Blakeslee. A gravitational lens is a … » More …

Ambassador at home …and statewide
March 17, 2006

For 10 years he worked in construction, operating his own business for three of those years. That is, until knee surgery left few options other than going back to school. Tom Johnson, scientific instructional technician supervisor for the Department of Physics and Astronomy, landed his dream job through a simple twist of a knee.After earning degrees in physics and education from Eastern Washington University, Johnson found himself on the job market.“I saw a job description at WSU that combined both education and physics,” he said. “I thought, ‘gee, that encompasses all I want to do!’ ” Needless to say, he got the job.Johnson’s primary duties … » More …

Physics and astronomy clubs re-enact Galileo’s law
November 1, 2005

WSU physics and astronomy clubs dropped pumpkins and other objects from a 12th-floor window of Webster Physical Sciences Building on Nov. 5 to enact Galileo’s historical experiment, proving his Law of Falling Bodies. The Law of Falling Bodies states that all objects, regardless of their masses, fall toward the earth at the same rate. Drops will take place from Webster’s 6th, 10th and 12th floors.WSU physics graduate student Fran Morrissey will portray Galileo.”Last year, we had a couple hundred people. It is a good event for families and kids,” said Mary Guenther of the WSU physics and astronomy department. She admits the drop will not … » More …

Colloquium to discuss online tutoring system
October 13, 2005

Tom Dickinson, WSU Regents professor, Paul A. Anderson professor of physics, and professor of material science, will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the WSU On-Line Question and Tutoring System during a physics and astronomy colloquium on Tuesday, Oct. 18.The title of the colloquium is “What you can do and what you can’t do with the WSU On-Line Question and Tutoring System.” It will discuss the development of a web-based questioning and tutoring system that self-grades quizzes and provides tutoring opportunities to students, while remaining easy to use by both students and instructors. The system will be demonstrated live at the colloquium. System creators plan … » More …