Physics and Astronomy Department

Gale Crater sits on a dry, barren, windy plain where temperatures edge into the 60s only during the summer and plummet below freezing most nights. Its mixtures of sun-baked rocks, jagged scarps and deep sands make geological research a struggle.

The fact that Gale Crater is 140 million…

Melissa Rice’s career revolves around answering a question that continues to entice the human imagination: Can life evolve elsewhere in the universe?

Rice, an assistant professor at Western Washington University, thinks the answer may be found on Mars.

Takele Seda, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Western Washington University, has been part of a research team that recently published a study in the journal "Science" titled “Amorphous Intergranular Phases Control the Properties of Rodent Tooth Enamel.” Among the team's…

Beavers don't brush their teeth, and they don't drink fluoridated water, but a new Northwestern University study reports beavers do have protection against tooth decay built into the chemical structure of their teeth: iron.

Dust to dust: the life cycle of stars will be the topic of discussion at the next meeting of the Coast chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada on Feb. 13.

Guest speaker is Dr. Kristen Larson, associate professor at Western Washington University. Her presentation starts at 7:30…

Professors Mark Bussell (Chemistry), Takele Seda (Physics), Stephanie Brock (Wayne State University) and S. Ted Oyama (Virginia Tech/University of Tokyo) were awarded a $919,000 grant to investigate the fundamental properties of a new class of materials – nanoscale metal phosphides…

Professors Amanda Murphy (Chemistry) and Janelle Leger (Physics/Chemistry) have been awarded a three-year grant totaling $420,000 to synthesize biologically compatible materials that can be fabricated into devices capable of controlled movements, known as actuators. These devices are highly…

Two collaborative teams of faculty from Western Washington University’s Advanced Materials Science and Engineering Center were recently awarded highly competitive grants from the National Science Foundation to carry out interdisciplinary materials science research projects.

When she was a child, Anne Brown’s family members treated themselves to ice cream every year on the date they landed in New York City in 1939 to escape the Nazi terror in their native Germany.

Decades later, Brown and her own family still gather for ice cream every…

A group of physics majors at Western recently formed a club oriented toward a longtime minority in their field: women.
The Women in Physics Club has objectives to combat stereotypes that have prevented women from entering heavily math-based fields such as physics, astronomy, engineering…

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