Tuesday, May 26, 2020

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NEWS

Opening Doors

Before Colin Wiebrecht came out to himself in January of his senior year of high school, every time someone mindlessly said the phrase “That’s so gay,” he felt a small jab at the person inside of him — he just wasn’t ready to share.

NEWS

Women in Waiting

Linnea Jimison can pinpoint the moment in high school when she stopped pursuing her interest in science. “I didn’t see many women, and didn’t get much encouragement (so I) kind of let it go,” said the arts and humanities senior, whose goal is to go into higher education.

CAMPUS

MSU-bred company seeks national attention

When Rob Privette and the rest of the researchers at XG Sciences, a spinoff company that was born at MSU, decided to combine silicon with graphene, they hoped their research would yield something useful. They didn’t fully realize this combination would help make batteries more efficient — more minutes for a smartphone’s battery and more miles an electric vehicle can travel. The engineering company is hoping for more votes through the website Future Energy, which will provide eight new energy companies the chance to get attention from the U.S. Department of Energy. If they receive enough votes from anyone who visits the site, they could be highlighted at the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Energy Innovation Summit.

CAMPUS

‘Talking computer’ leads to friendship

John Eulenberg, Don Sherman and J. J. Jackson can recall every detail of the day they met 39 years ago . “It was love at first sight — even though I couldn’t see them,” said Jackson, a blind former Artificial Language Lab scientist, as he reached over to touch Sherman’s arm jokingly. Dec. 4, 1974, just two weeks after their meeting, Eulenberg and Jackson decided to help Sherman perform a simple task — ordering a pizza via telephone. Because Sherman has Moebius syndrome, which leaves his face mostly paralyzed, this mundane task was something he had never done before. Little did they know, the team of now-best friends opened the floodgates for MSU’s speech pathology program that night. “I think we all feel it was our destiny to work in this area and to remain committed to it,” Jackson said. “We still honor, love and treasure the link we established in 1974.” The video recording of the event recently went viral, giving the roughly 50,000 viewers a glimpse into the MSU Artificial Language Laboratory’s work to provide voices to those with limited speech. More than three decades later, the men still get together each year on the anniversary of Sherman’s computer-aided phone call. Although MSU’s laboratory has since been downsized, MSU still is involved with communicative disorder research.

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