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August 17, 2015

Announcements and Deadlines

The first day of classes for the Fall 2015 semester is August 24.


Awards and Achievements

Cedric Habiyaremye was recently featured in an article, “From a Refugee Facing Hunger – To a Student Learning to Fight It,” on the United Nations World Food Programme website.

Thiel Lehman was awarded the Franceschi Microscopy Fellowship. The Vincent Franceschi Graduate Research Fellowship Fund in Plant Biology has recently been established to support students’ research in the WSU Franceschi Microscopy and Imaging Center (FMIC). The fellowships will be awarded annually to plant biology graduate students to cover center user fees for one fiscal year. This will allow students unlimited access to the instrumentation in the FMIC. Awards will go to students who are studying plant processes at the cellular level, or plant structure-function relationships.



CSS All State Meeting
August 20-21, 2015
For more information, please contact Tami Nordquist.


For more events, please see the Wheat and Small Grains website calendar.


Recently Published Articles

The CSA News published an article by Henry Simtim in the July issue titled “Seeing Challenges as Stepping Stones in Graduate Education.”


If you have an article that has recently been published and would like to include it in the CSS News, please email Samantha Crow or Tami Nordquist.


In Memoriam

Walt Gardner


The Department of Crop and Soil Sciences mourns the loss of one of our most admired scientists, teachers, and mentors, Professor Walter H. Gardner on June 11, 2015. Dr. Gardner was true pioneer in the field of soil physics and his film Water Movement in Soils is still purchased from the department and the funds used to support student activities. The article below was written by family members and Dr. Gaylon Campbell, who was a PhD student of Professor Gardner before joining the CSS faculty.

Walter was born in Beaver, Utah, on February 24th, 1917, to Willard Gardner and Rebecca Viola Hale. He was fourth in a family of seven children raised in Logan, Utah in a home just off the Utah State University campus. As a youth, Walter excelled at sports, particularly football and tennis, and he was a gifted mathematician (at a glance, young Walt would accurately calculate lumber loads and board feet at the mill). He also was an accomplished glass blower, providing scientific lab equipment for the science faculty at the university to make extra money. Just after college, he used that experience as a designer at Central Scientific Company in Chicago. He was active in his high school paper, serving as managing editor. He often said that he would have been delighted to pursue journalism as a career had his passion for science not eclipsed his interest in writing.

Walter held a deep respect for his father, a renowned scientist known as the Father of Modern Soil Physics (Walter’s children often called him the Son of Soil Physics), and their interests in the physical properties of soil ran parallel courses. Walter did graduate work at Cornell University and then at Utah State University where he was awarded the first Ph.D. granted at that institution.

Walter served in the Army Air Corp as a navigator on B17 Bombers. He served under his uncle, General Grandison Gardner, and was promised that he wouldn’t enjoy great promotional opportunities because of the family tie, but that he would “never lack for interesting things to do.” That proved to be the truth, and Walter had significant input as an instrumentation designer (the man could build anything!) for the state of the art Climatic Hangar at Eglin Field, and the project to develop the U2 Missile based on the German Buzz Bomb near the end of the war. Walter retired as a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.

After the war, Walter met and married Barbara Brown who was a student at Utah State. The two made their family home in Pullman, Washington where he was Professor of Soil Physics at Washington State University. He was dedicated to the success of his many undergraduate and graduate students, and Barbara was a homemaker and devoted mother of five.

Walter and his family traveled extensively. They lived a year in Renkum, Holland, while Walter was a Guggenheim Fellow at Wageningen Agricultural University, and another in Vienna, Austria, where he worked at the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Walter doted on his wife until her death, after which he said his one lasting resentment was that he didn’t have one more day to care for her. He was as attentive to his children’s needs as he was to his companion’s, and his family fondly remembers his complete devotion to his wife, his faith, and his science. He was as comfortable at a chalkboard staring thoughtfully at a long equation as he was doing the dishes, or playing on the living room floor with his children. He was a peaceful and dignified man who cherished a quiet testimony of Jesus Christ.

Walter was a calm and thoughtful father. He was conscious of his health and remained active well into his nineties. Growing from his love of tennis, Walter took up racquetball at the age of fifty and eventually won a number of gold medals in the senior Olympics. His guilty pleasure was to lure unsuspecting young racquetballers into a game with an old man and then “skinnin’ ‘em” on the court– which amused his wife very much.

In 1972 Walter published (with L. D. Baver, and his cousin, Wilford Gardner) the 4th Edition of the widely used text Soil Physics. In 1992 W. A. Jury published the 5th edition, with Walter and Wilford as co-authors. Perhaps Walter’s most widely known professional accomplishment was his time-lapse movie Water Movement in Soil. It changed the way many scientists and industrialists understand the non-intuitive way water moves through soil. The movie continues to be popular and the supporting science remains valid. He was among the first to use multiple energy gamma beams to simultaneously measure water content and bulk density in soil, and the first to use attenuation of neutron beams for soil moisture measurement. He was also the first to create a one-dimensional root system by growing plants on a fine screen, letting only the root hairs through to take up water and nutrients from the soil. He was likely the first to build and use a tension infiltrometer, an instrument now widely used by soil physicists and other soil scientists. He built his first tension infiltrometer when he was an undergraduate student running the physics shop in his father’s department at Utah State.

Walter served the Society in several important capacities during his career. He was chair of the Soil Physics division in 1963, and SSSA President in 1983. He served as associate editor of SSSAJ, and was Editor-in-Chief from 1966-1969.

Walter died on June 11, 2015, of complications of old age– a malady he didn’t particularly believe in.




If you have an item you would like in the CSS News, please email Samantha Crow or Tami Nordquist.