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Light years beyond electronics
October 25, 2007

Turquoise lasers crisscross the black fabric workspace as Mark Kuzyk busies himself among cramped research benches. If you could see his thoughts, they might look like a blackboard full of equations — each one coming alive as explosions, flying rockets, supercomputers, or … light-powered “smart material.”


(Catch a glimpse into the mind of Kuzyk, the man, the teacher, the scientist and the dreamer — in a video clip that accompanies this article


A pioneer in the frontier of lasers and nonlinear optics, Kuzyk is proposing that “smart … » More …

Kansas State professor presents seminar
October 22, 2007

A professor of agronomy at Kansas State University, Dr. Jay Ham, will visit WSU on Oct. 29 and present a seminar on instrumentation developed by his research team to study surface-atmosphere exchange from animal feeding operations and native ecosystems.


The seminar, titled Micrometeorological Techniques for Addressing Challenging Problems in Air Quality Research, will take place in the Engineering Research/Teaching Laboratory Room 101 at 3:10 pm. 


Ham will demonstrate how advances in sensor and data acquisition technologies can be combined with theory to create autonomous instrumentation that conditionally “adapts” to changing environmental conditions. … » More …

WSU completes shock wave experiments
September 5, 2007

PULLMAN — A team of physicists from WSU has successfully completed the first experiments using the nation’s premiere synchrotron X-ray facility to detect shock wave-induced changes in a crystalline material.

The Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory, near Chicago, provided the most detailed view yet of what happens to a crystal lattice that is struck by a solid object at high velocity.

“We just made history in shock wave research with these experiments at the APS,” said Yogendra M. Gupta, director of the Institute for Shock Physics at WSU. He said he expects the use of synchrotron x-rays to measure the … » More …

Physicists find light-sensitive molecule heals in the dark
April 10, 2007

PULLMAN – Sometimes all an overworked molecule needs is a good night’s rest.According to a study by physicist Mark Kuzyk and colleagues at Washington State University, a molecule that loses its ability to fluoresce when struck by a laser beam regains that ability if it’s allowed to ‘rest’ in the dark. Recovery begins within 30 minutes and is nearly complete after eight hours of rest, the study found. “It’s almost as if you have a piece of paper that’s yellowed over time, and you put it in a dark room for a day, and it comes back brand-new,” said Kuzyk. The research team of Kuzyk and … » More …

Dickinson to receive Eminent Faculty Award
February 16, 2007

J. Thomas Dickinson, Regents Professor, Department of Physics, has been named the winner of the annual Eminent Faculty Award, the highest honor the university bestows on a faculty member.Nominees must have changed the thinking in their respective fields by making lasting contributions through teaching, research, creative scholarship and service. They must also make notable contributions to the vitality and strength of the WSU community. The award includes a $15,000 honorarium.Dickinson, the Paul A. Anderson Professor of Physics, is recognized internationally for his contributions in both laser materials research and nanotribology. For more than 30 years, he has been continuously funded in applied surface science and … » More …

Physicist produces rare, ‘weird’ Bose-Einstein matter
June 13, 2006

(Physicist Peter Engels and student in lab)PULLMAN — Dozens of lenses, mirrors, lasers and vacuum chambers sprawl across two large tables, linked by electrical cables, optical fibers and water lines. Physicist Peter Engels flips switches and adjusts dials. The machine clicks through its procedure, and a minute later a computer screen flares with a pencil-shaped bright patch on a field of gray.“It’s the coldest thing in the universe,” said Engels, nodding toward the bright image. He has just produced Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC), a rare and, as Engels calls it, “weird” form of matter in which atoms behave like waves rather than like particles. The ability … » 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 …

Engaging students in class and research
March 17, 2006

Some professors teach with overheads or PowerPoint. Some teach by lecture. Tom Dickinson teaches by demonstration. Hands-on demonstrations and in-class puzzlers (questions and problems) are essential to his course.“He rarely lectures but instead focuses on furthering our deeper understanding in what I now can see are the basics of physics,” said Christopher Bates, undergraduate physics and biochemistry major. “He forced us to learn the equations and general topics on our own from our textbook so that he could clarify, build and correct us on the conceptual ideas.”In addition to challenging students in the classroom, Dickinson pushes them to excel in the laboratory. His lab — … » 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 …

WSU physicist named fellow of science association
November 1, 2005

Washington State University physicist J. Thomas Dickinson was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science this week.A member of the AAAS physics section, Dickinson was cited for “fundamental contributions to understanding the underlying mechanisms involved in fracture, tribology and laser interactions with materials.”Dickinson was the first director of the WSU Center for Materials Research and is recognized internationally for his contributions in both laser research and nanotribology. He holds the Paul A. Anderson Professorship in Physics and was named a Regents Professor in 2004.  He is also a recipient of the WSU Distinguished Faculty Address Award, the President’s Faculty Excellence … » More …