OSU News Releases
NEWPORT, Ore. – A new exhibit featuring a portion of a dock that washed ashore near Newport more than a year after the devastating March 2011 Tohoku, Japan, earthquake and tsunami will open on Sunday, March 10, at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.
The unveiling of the tsunami awareness exhibit will begin at 2 p.m. at the center, located at 2030 Marine Science Drive in Newport, just southeast of the Highway 101 bridge. It is free and open to the public.
The opening and dedication takes place two years after a massive earthquake rattled northern Japan, triggering a tsunami that killed thousands of people. The tsunami also inundated Japan’s coastline and ripped loose at least three massive docks from the city of Misawa, one of which floated across the Pacific Ocean and washed ashore just north of Newport near Agate Beach in early June of 2012.
A slice of the dock was cut away and preserved, and will serve as an educational exhibit and memorial to the events that brought it to Oregon.
“The exhibit will be a vivid reminder that a similar earthquake and tsunami could just as easily happen here in the Pacific Northwest,” said Janet Webster, interim director of OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center. “The exhibit also will highlight the risk from invasive species, and detail the journey of the dock from Misawa to Newport.”
Webster said the dock has been of great interest to the public and to scientists since it arrived at Agate Beach. It drew thousands of visitors to the coast before it was carted away and cut into pieces, and captured the attention of biologists who rushed to examine the dozens of living organisms attached to the structure.
Television crews from Japan have visited the OSU center several times to follow up on the story, and the arrival of other tsunami debris up and down the coast brings another wave of attention.
Shawn Rowe, an OSU free-choice learning specialist based at Hatfield, said the exhibit provides a good opportunity to broaden public awareness about earthquakes, tsunamis, invasive species, and preparedness. It resonates with the public, he noted, because it had not occurred in recorded history.
“It was a unique confluence of circumstances that led to the dock arriving in Newport,” Rowe pointed out. “While fishing floats, logs and debris arrive on the West Coast from Asia with some regularity, rarely does a structure this large that had been anchored for years in an inlet in Japan – and thus accumulating local seaweeds and organisms – rip loose and journey across the ocean.”
The Hatfield Marine Science Center recently installed a tsunami interpretive trail beginning at the center, which highlights an evacuation route to higher ground for employees, residents and visitors to Newport’s South Beach peninsula.Boiler Plate: Hatfield Marine Science Center Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
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CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will hold a university-wide career fair this Wednesday, Feb. 27, and an engineering career fair on Thursday, Feb. 28, on campus. The fairs will draw more than 140 employers from various industries, organizations and graduate schools.
These daylong events, both held at the CH2M-Hill Alumni Center, provide employers an opportunity to “network with students and alumni, offer jobs, internships and future career opportunities” to OSU students and alumni, according to Lindsey Reed, OSU’s employer relations manager.
Reed said the OSU career fairs provide students and alumni the opportunity to meet prospective employers in a convenient location and, in some cases, go through initial interviews with those companies that are hiring.
“Students and alumni will be able to meet company representatives of all industries and sizes, including government agencies and non-profit organizations,” Reed said. Admission is free and all OSU students and alumni are encouraged to attend.Boiler Plate: Generic OSU Boiler Plate Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
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A horse from Eastern Oregon that was referred to OSU’s veterinary teaching hospital because of illness has been diagnosed with equine influenza virus, a highly contagious respiratory disease in horses.Body:
CORVALLIS, Ore. – A horse from Eastern Oregon that was referred to Oregon State University’s veterinary teaching hospital because of illness has been diagnosed with equine influenza virus, a highly contagious respiratory disease in horses that typically is not fatal.
The four-year-old quarter horse mare, which recently arrived in Oregon from Texas, has been placed in isolation and is being treated.
OSU veterinary clinicians say equine influenza is not transferable to humans or other animal species, but can spread rapidly among horses and other equines. It is the most common contagious respiratory pathogen for horses and most animals fully recover. However, young, elderly or pregnant animals are more at-risk for viral diseases such as equine influenza.
“Equine influenza is especially dangerous to foals and the foaling season just started,” said Keith Poulsen, an internal medicine specialist at the Lois Bate Acheson Veterinary Hospital in OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “The virus can be spread by direct contact with nasal discharge, or when aerosolized from coughing.”
The Large Animal Internal Medicine and Surgery Services program at OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine is working with the state veterinarian’s office to inform veterinarians and horse owners about the disease.
Poulsen said the first clinical sign in horses is typically a fever, followed by cough, nasal discharge and lethargy. Horses with a fever of greater than 102.5 degrees should be seen by a veterinarian. Horse owners should also consult with their veterinarian about vaccinations, he added.
Infected horses can “shed” or transmit the virus for up to 10 days after incubation. Horses that show signs of the disease should be isolated from other horses for 10 days after clinical signs first appear.
“The good news is that many disinfectants can easily kill the equine influenza virus, and thoroughly cleaning stalls and equipment can help prevent the virus from spreading,” Poulsen said.
The Eastern Oregon horse was purchased at a sale in Hermiston last weekend and several horses that were in close contact with it also have developed signs of illness, though they have not yet been diagnosed with equine influenza virus, officials say.
The horse will remain at OSU in isolation until it fully recovers. As an added precaution, the OSU hospital is only accepting equine patients requiring emergency treatment until Wednesday, Feb. 27. Horses being referred for elective surgery, lameness or non-emergency conditions will be delayed until after Wednesday.
“The college has some of the most sophisticated isolation facilities of any facility in the country,” noted Helio de Morais, interim director of the Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Hospital. “Safely treating animals such as these – and working with veterinarians and animal owners around the state to prevent the spread of these diseases – is what we do best.”Boiler Plate: College of Veterinary Medicine Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
Keith Poulsen, 541-737-4812
Helio de Morais, 541-737-6847Promote to OSU home page: Promote to the OSU home page
CORVALLIS, Ore. – The 2013 Starker Lecture Series at Oregon State University will begin Feb. 28 and continue through May with the theme “Forest Biomass: Energy and Beyond.”
Leading experts will examine the changing use of forest biomass to produce energy, fuels and chemicals, while considering technical, economic, environmental implications, wildlife, soils and other issues. The lecture series will conclude with a field trip in Benton and Lane County.
All of the events are free and open to the public, and all lectures will be on a Thursday afternoon from 3:30-5 p.m. in Richardson Hall Room 107.
A capstone field trip titled “A Tour of Forest Biomass – from the Ground Up!” will be held May 30 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will feature visits to forest biomass production sites and energy facilities, and a discussion of on-the-ground and facility supply and processing considerations, including technical, environmental and economic. Advance registration for the field trip, and more information about all of the lectures, is available online at http://starkerlectures.forestry.oregonstate.edu/
The speakers and their topics include:
- Feb. 28: “Sustainable Integrated Forest Biorefineries,” with Shri Ramaswamy, professor at the University of Minnesota.
- April 11: “Wood to Wing: Envisioning an Aviation Biofuels Industry Based on Forest Residuals in the Pacific Northwest,” with Michael Wolcott, director of the Institute for Sustainable Design at Washington State University.
- May 2: “Environmental Considerations,” a panel discussion including Matthew Betts, associate professor at OSU, discussing forest wildlife habitat; Robert Harrison, a professor at the University of Washington discussing forest soil productivity; and Elaine Oneil, research scientist with the University of Washington discussing forest product life cycle analysis.
- May 16: “Oregon’s Biomass Experience: An Integrated Approach to Forest Biomass,” with Matt Krumenauer, senior policy analyst with the Oregon Department of Energy.
- May 30: “A Tour of Forest Biomass – from the Ground Up!” capstone field trip.
The Starker Lecture Series is sponsored by the Starker family in honor of T.J. and Bruce Starker, and is supported by the Oregon Forest Resources Institute and the OSU College of Forestry.Boiler Plate: College of Forestry Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
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CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will recognize the birthday of Linus Pauling, two-time Nobel laureate and its most famous alumni, on Feb. 28 with events that are free and open to the public.
A tour of Pauling artifacts and memorabilia will be held in the OSU Library Special Collections, on the fifth floor of Valley Library, at 11 a.m. No pre-registration is required.
A lunch, with proceeds to benefit the OSU Food Drive, will be at noon in the Linus Pauling Science Center. And a tour of the new building and the Linus Pauling Institute will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the lobby. Pre-register for that tour by contacting email@example.com by Feb. 26.
The day has been proclaimed Linus Carl Pauling Day by Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber.Boiler Plate: Linus Pauling Institute Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
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CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will honor a leading medical researcher and a pioneer in the development of artificial intelligence with the highest honor it gives to its faculty, recognition as “Distinguished Professors.”
Joseph Beckman, director of the Environmental Health Sciences Center at OSU, and Thomas Dietterich, director and professor of intelligent systems in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science will be honored for their achievements this spring.
Sabah Randhawa, OSU provost and executive vice president, said the two faculty members chosen for the award share similar traits of teaching excellence, critically important research contributions, leadership and service to the university and to their respective fields.
“Joe Beckman and Tom Dietterich really exemplify what we hope faculty will strive to become as they develop their careers,” Randhawa said. “They serve as extraordinary role models and exemplars of multi-faceted achievement, from the classroom to the laboratory and beyond. They also have the respect and admiration from their colleagues and peers throughout the world, as well as on campus.”
Beckman is the Ava Helen Pauling Chair and principal investigator in OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute. A faculty member in the College of Science, he is perhaps best known for his discovery of the role of peroxynitrite in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, as well as his studies on antioxidants and nutrients that may help slow progression of the disease.
He is the 2012 recipient of the prestigious Oregon Health & Science University Medical Research Foundation’s Discovery Award, as well as several other honors. An OSU faculty member since 2001, Beckman served as a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army Medical Services Corps, and spent a dozen years as captain in the U.S. Army Reserve’s Medical Services Corps.
“Joe is a true innovator in the study of neurodegenerative disease,” noted Vince Remcho, dean of the College of Science. “I first met Joe when he visited OSU in 2001, and I found his studies on superoxide dismutase and its potential role in ALS to be fascinating. Joe is a valued colleague, a talented scientist, and a wonderful mentor to our junior faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates.”
Dietterich is a pioneer in the field of machine learning and, like Beckman, is one of the most highly cited scientists in his field. He has obtained more than $30 million in research grants over his career, helped build a world-class research group at Oregon State, and created three software companies. Dietterich also co-founded two of the field’s leading journals and was elected first president of the International Machine Learning Society.
In 2012, Dietterich was chosen president-elect of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. His research has numerous applications in such diverse fields as drug design, electronic manufacturing, information management, ecological modeling, and natural resource management.
“Tom leads by example providing exemplary mentoring for faculty and students, collaborating with nearly every discipline on campus, and gaining international respect for his work,” said Sandra Woods, dean of the College of Engineering. “We are so proud to have his leadership in the college.”Boiler Plate: Generic OSU Boiler Plate Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
Sabah Randhawa, 541-737-2111Promote to OSU home page: Not Promote to the OSU home page
A new survey has found that Oregon coastal leaders are concerned about climate change, but slow to address it because of other priorities - a weak economy and preparing for an earthquake/tsunami.Body:
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Many Oregon coast public officials and community leaders believe their local climate is changing and that the change will affect their communities. But overall, they say, addressing the changing climate is not an urgent concern.
These are among the findings of a survey by Oregon Sea Grant at Oregon State University.
During 2012, Sea Grant surveyed coastal professionals such as city managers and planners, elected officials such as city council members and county commissioners, and other leaders including those with nongovernmental organizations. Approximately 60 percent of the 140 survey respondents believe the local climate is changing. By contrast, 18 percent think it is not, and 22 percent don't know.
While most believe that their professional efforts toward addressing climate change would benefit the community, both elected officials and other coastal professionals also believe that a combination of governments and other organizations should initiate a local response to the likely effects of climate change.
Overall, actions appear to be lagging behind beliefs and concerns, according to the research leader, Joseph Cone, the Sea Grant assistant director.
“As of last May, many coastal professionals – about 44 percent of the survey respondents -- were not currently involved in planning to adapt to its effects,” said Cone.
The survey results placed climate change effects next to the bottom on a list of seven significant “potential stressors on your community during the next 10 years.” Coastal professionals scored climate change effects considerably lower (46 percent of respondents said they were moderately to extremely concerned) than the top-ranked stressors – a weak economy, and the impacts of a tsunami or earthquake (approximately 70 percent moderately to extremely concerned for each).
The hurdles to planning most often encountered were a lack of agreement over the importance of climate change effects and a lack of urgency regarding them. Where planning for effects has begun, it has mainly been in an early fact-finding stage, the survey showed. Anticipating this, questions asked what specific information needs coastal professionals had. Most needed was information about diverse environmental and social considerations.
Highly rated needs included information about flooding or saltwater intrusion, species and habitat vulnerability, and predictions of ecosystem impacts; and also social and economic vulnerabilities, the cost of climate adaptation, and how to communicate climate risks rated as important information needs.
The survey was administered online to 348 individuals. Some coastal participants for the survey came from a list of respondents from a similar climate change study conducted by Oregon Sea Grant in 2008, which sampled Oregon coastal managers and practitioners.
Not all coastal communities or officials in them could be, or were, included in the 2012 study. The sample is what statisticians call a “purposive sample” rather than a random sample of all coastal professionals, and provided timely and targeted insights that can help guide further climate planning and assistance, said Cone.
A report of the findings, Coastal Climate Change: Survey Results for Oregon 2012, prepared by OSU doctoral candidate Kirsten Winters, is available for download at http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/sgpubs/coastal-climate-change-survey-results
The Oregon survey was based in large part on a California coastal assessment conducted by California Sea Grant and its partners, and is part of a national Sea Grant study on coastal communities and climate change adaptation, led by Cone.Boiler Plate: Oregon Sea Grant Source:
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CORVALLIS, Ore. - Virginia Morell, author of the new book, “Animal Wise,” will give insights into the inner world of animals during a talk at Oregon State University on Thursday, March 7.
The free, public event begins at 7 p.m. in the Construction & Engineering Hall of the LaSells Stewart Center on the OSU campus.
Covering a range of topics, ranging from how earthworms make decisions to how birds practice songs in their sleep, Morell will take audience members on an exploration into the hearts and minds of wild and domesticated animals.
Morell’s is the first book of its kind to look at a range of animals – from the smallest insects to the largest mammals – and to ask the question: How has evolution selected for the expression of intelligence and emotion?
“Animal Wise” transports readers to field sites and laboratories around the world, introducing readers to pioneering animal-cognition researchers and their surprisingly intelligent and sensitive subjects. She explores how this rapidly evolving, controversial field has only recently overturned old notions about why animals behave as they do. Morell also probes the moral and ethical dilemmas of recognizing that even “lesser animals” have cognitive abilities such as memory, feelings, personality, and self-awareness – traits that many once believed were unique to human beings.
Morell is a Medford-based science writer who has written for National Geographic, Science, Smithsonian and other publications. She is also the author of “Ancestral Passions,” a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.
“Animal Wise” will be released Feb. 26 by Crown Publishing/Random House. Morell’s talk is sponsored by OSU’s Spring Creek Project.Boiler Plate: College of Liberal Arts Media Contact: Angela Yeager Source:
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A new study found that large, snow-fed rivers including the Willamette, McKenzie and Deschutes, may actually be more sensitive to climate change impacts because of steep terrain and geology.Body:
CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new analysis of river basins in the western United States suggests that climate change will have the greatest impact on summer stream flows in those waterways that might seem less vulnerable – the large, snow-fed rivers that originate in the high Cascades and other mountain ranges.
Though these iconic rivers – including the Willamette, McKenzie, Deschutes, Klamath and Rogue – appear to have plenty of water, they also may be among the most sensitive to climate change, the study concludes.
Results were published in the journal, Hydrological Processes.
“These are big rivers fed by snow that enters deep groundwater systems with highly permeable geology,” said Mohammad Safeeq, a post-doctoral researcher at Oregon State University and lead author on the study. “Their response to climate change involves more than just a change in snowfall patterns – the steepness of the terrain and the ‘drainage efficiency’ of the system are just as important to flow rates.
“We looked at 61years of records and it looks like Cascade streams today have an average summer flow that is about two centimeters lower – or about a 36 percent decline – over historical averages,” he added.
Gordon Grant, a research hydrologist with the Pacific Northwest Research Station of the U.S.D.A. Forest Service and co-author on the study, says resource managers shouldn’t panic over such analyses, which he hopes won’t lead to “fear-mongering.”
“Oregon will continue to have plenty of water in the future,” Grant emphasized. “The storage offered in our high Cascades groundwater system is a unique gift on this planet and one that won’t go away. But it is important to acknowledge that even these big, bountiful rivers will be affected by climate change and that may have an impact on everything from power generation, to irrigation and fish survival.”
In their study, the researchers explored daily stream flow data from 81 watersheds across the western United States during the years 1950 to 2010, to explore the drainage efficiency and snowpack dynamics of the systems. They also looked at rain-driven systems and discovered these, too, have experienced declining stream flow in late fall and winter.
While both rain- and snow-driven river systems respond to changing climate differently, the study showed that the intrinsic speed at which water moves through the ground once it falls out of the sky or melts is a key factor in determining how much water will be available in rivers in the future. This speed depends on the steepness of the terrain and the porosity and permeability of the underlying geology.
For instance, the researchers note that in areas with steep slopes and relatively impermeable rocks – such as the Coast Range or older Cascades – rain and snowmelt rapidly run off the land, resulting in high flows in winter and very little water in summer.
In contrast, in young volcanic areas such as the high Cascades the heavy snowfall melts and instead of flowing directly into rivers, much of it seeps into the porous underlying rock and begins a slow journey toward the Deschutes, McKenzie, Rogue and other big river systems.
This slow journey through the rocks means that in a warming climate, when there will be less snow and earlier melt in the spring, rivers draining regions like the Cascades will continue to drop for longer periods, resulting in lower late-summer flows.
“Summer stream flow in rain-driven streams and those in rapidly draining landscapes such as the Coast Range won’t be affected as much by climate change because they’re already more or less dry in the summer,” said Grant, who is a courtesy professor in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. “Systems like the Calapooia River, for example, just don’t have as much water to lose.
“There may be some seasonal differences,” he added, “but the impact by the end of summer isn’t as great as in the slow-draining systems.”
Safeeq, a post-doctoral researcher in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, noted that no one previously had looked at the magnitude of retrospective stream flow change in different river basins “through the lens of their hydro-geologic differences.”
“They act differently and in ways many scientists may not have predicted,” Safeeq pointed out. “The bottom line is that slow-draining, snow-driven river systems may appear to be less affected by climate change, but they are in fact most sensitive to change.”
Grant noted that the study shows that “we have to look beyond just knowing where snow will turn to rain in the future to predict stream flows. The geology of the landscape and its effect on how fast water moves is equally important.”Boiler Plate: College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
Mohammad Safeeq, 541-750-7345
Gordon Grant, 541-750-7328Multimedia:
Oregon State University is helping to address the concerns of dual-career couples by taking the lead in establishing the Greater Oregon Higher Education Recruitment Consortium, a branch of the national organization that helps proactively address dual-career concerns.Body:
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is helping to address the concerns of dual-career couples by taking the lead in establishing the Greater Oregon Higher Education Recruitment Consortium, a branch of the national organization that helps proactively address dual-career concerns.
The local branch includes both private and public colleges, community colleges and universities in Oregon and Washington, and is directed by Robynn Pease. It was established by the OSU Provost’s Office under the direction of Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Becky Warner.
It is one of 14 regional members of the national Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC). The Greater Oregon branch has just launched its website (www.goherc.org) this week to coincide with an updated HERC website and assist more than 200,000 job seekers across the country.
GO HERC allows job seekers to directly link to regional, relocation, diversity, dual career, and job seeking resources. There is also access to free webinars by experts on a range of recruitment and retention topics.
Warner said the philosophy around recruitment has dramatically shifted across campuses in the United States, and taking into account the broader context of familial relationships is essential.
“We do not just recruit an individual anymore,” Warner said. Instead, she added, universities take into account a potential faculty or staff member’s connections to their family and to the community.
Warner said it’s important that potential faculty and staff identify when the university or the community is not a good fit, because universities can spend thousands of dollars bringing new employees to campus, and if they ultimately leave because it wasn’t the right decision, everyone loses.
Because HERC encompasses public and private institutions around the country, as well as some corporate partners, it does what OSU couldn’t do by itself, offer a comprehensive glimpse into the local job market. “OSU can’t go it alone,” she said.
Pease hopes to attract not only more universities to the membership, but also to bring top employers to the table as well. Employees coming to universities often have highly educated partners and spouses with marketable job skills, which she believes could become an untapped resource for local employers.
“This program helps us retain the top talent in the region,” Pease said, because employees are more likely to remain at OSU and other institutions if their partners can find meaningful employment locally as well.
GO HERC is comprised of 18 dues-paying members representing an array of private and public institutions across Oregon and southern Washington with a goal of increasing membership by 50 percent in the coming year. As a member of GO HERC, institutions convey to potential faculty and staff that their institutions are diverse, family-friendly and supportive of dual-career couples.
For more information about GO HERC, contact Pease at 541-737-4842 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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OSU engineers have invented a new technology that could improve the magnetic storage of data, with many possible applications in a field that is nearing the limits of data storage with existing approaches.Body:
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Electrical engineers at Oregon State University have discovered a way to use high- frequency sound waves to enhance the magnetic storage of data, offering a new approach to improve the data storage capabilities of a multitude of electronic devices around the world.
The technology, called acoustic-assisted magnetic recording, has been presented at a professional conference, and a patent application was filed this week.
Magnetic storage of data is one of the most inexpensive and widespread technologies known, found in everything from computer hard drives to the magnetic strip on a credit card. It’s permanent, dependable and cheap. However, long-term reliability of stored data becomes an increasing concern as the need grows to pack more and more information in storage devices, experts say.
“We’re near the peak of what we can do with the technology we now use for magnetic storage,” said Pallavi Dhagat, an associate professor in the OSU School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “There’s always a need for approaches that could store even more information in a smaller space, cost less and use less power.”
That can be possible, scientists say, if the magnetic materials are temporarily heated, even for an instant, so they can become momentarily less stiff and more data can be stored at a particular spot. This has proven difficult to do, because the heating tends to spread beyond where it is wanted and the technology involves complex integration of optics, electronics and magnetics.
With the new approach, ultrasound is directed at a highly specific location while data is being stored, creating elasticity that literally allows a tiny portion of the material to bend or stretch. It immediately resumes its shape when the ultrasound waves stop. The data can be stored reliably without the concerns around heating.
It should also be possible to create a solid state memory device with no moving parts to implement this technology, researchers said. Unlike conventional hard-disk drive storage, solid state memory would offer durability.
These advances were recently reported at the 12th Joint MMM/Intermag Conference in Chicago.
“This technology should allow us to marry the benefits of solid state electronics with magnetic recording, and create non-volatile memory systems that store more data in less space, using less power,” said Albrecht Jander, also an associate professor of electrical engineering and collaborator on the research.
This approach might work with materials already being used in magnetic recordings, or variations on them, the investigators said. Continued research will explore performance, materials and cost issues.
Advances in data storage are part of what has enabled the enormous advance in high technology systems in recent decades.
A disk drive at the dawn of this era in the 1950s had five megabyte capacity, cost today’s equivalent of $160,000, weighed about a ton, had to be moved with a forklift and was so big it had to be shipped on a large cargo aircraft. Experts at the time said they could have built something with more storage capacity, but they could not envision why anyone would want it, or buy it.
A system today that stores 500 gigabytes, or 100,000 times as much information, is found routinely in laptop computers that cost a few hundred dollars.Boiler Plate: College of Engineering Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
Pallavi Dhagat, 541-737-9927
Albrecht Jander, 541-737-2974Multimedia:
OSU engineering alumnus and NASA astronaut Donald Pettit will speak on "Techno-Stories from Space" in a presentation on Friday, Feb. 22, at the LaSells Stewart Center.Body:
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Donald Pettit, an Oregon State University alumnus, NASA astronaut and member of three space missions, will speak at OSU on Friday, Feb. 22, on “Techno-Stories from Space.”
The presentation, which is free and open to the public, will be in the LaSells Stewart Center’s Construction and Engineering Hall from 3-4 p.m.
Pettit, an Oregon native from Silverton, was a 1978 OSU graduate, has worked as a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and overall has spent more than a year living and working in space. His presentation will discuss the challenges and learning opportunities presented by extensive time spent in the International Space Station.Boiler Plate: College of Engineering Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
Thuy Tran, 541-737-6020Multimedia:
A major battle is going on between the most abundant organism in the oceans, and a virus that's now known to attack it. The results have implications for the Earth's carbon balance.Body:
CORVALLIS, Ore. – The greatest battle in Earth’s history has been going on for hundreds of millions of years - it isn’t over yet - and until now no one knew it existed, scientists reported today in the journal Nature.
In one corner is SAR11, a bacterium that’s the most abundant organism in the oceans, survives where most other cells would die and plays a major role in the planet’s carbon cycle. It had been theorized that SAR11 was so small and widespread that it must be invulnerable to attack.
In the other corner, and so strange-looking that scientists previously didn’t even recognize what they were, are “Pelagiphages,” viruses now known to infect SAR11 and routinely kill millions of these cells every second. And how this fight turns out is of more than casual interest, because SAR11 has a huge effect on the amount of carbon dioxide that enters the atmosphere, and the overall biology of the oceans.
“There’s a war going on in our oceans, a huge war, and we never even saw it,” said Stephen Giovannoni, a professor of microbiology at Oregon State University. “This is an important piece of the puzzle in how carbon is stored or released in the sea.”
Researchers from OSU, the University of Arizona and other institutions today outlined the discovery of this ongoing conflict, and its implications for the biology and function of ocean processes. The findings disprove the theory that SAR11 cells are immune to viral predation, researchers said.
“In general, every living cell is vulnerable to viral infection,” said Giovannoni, who first discovered SAR11 in 1990. “What has been so puzzling about SAR11 was its sheer abundance; there was simply so much of it that some scientists believed it must not get attacked by viruses.”
What the new research shows, Giovannoni said, is that SAR11 is competitive, good at scavenging organic carbon, and effective at changing to avoid infection. Because of that, it thrives and persists in abundance even though it’s constantly being killed by the new viruses that have been discovered.
The discovery of the Pelagiphage viral families was made by Yanlin Zhao, Michael Schwalbach and Ben Temperton, OSU postdoctoral researchers working with Giovannoni. They used traditional research methods, growing cells and viruses from nature in a laboratory, instead of sequencing DNA from nature. The new viruses were so unique that computers could not recognize the virus DNA.
“The viruses themselves, of course, appear to be just as abundant as SAR11,” Giovannoni said. “Our colleagues at the University of Arizona demonstrated this with new technologies they developed for measuring viral diversity.”
SAR11 has several unique characteristics, including the smallest known genetic structure of any independent cell. Through sheer numbers, this microbe has a huge role in consuming organic carbon, which it uses to generate energy while producing carbon dioxide and water in the process. SAR11 recycles organic matter, providing the nutrients needed by algae to produce about half of the oxygen that enters Earth’s atmosphere every day.
This carbon cycle ultimately affects all plant and animal life on Earth.
Contributors to this research included scientists at OSU’s High Throughput Culturing Laboratory; the University of Arizona’s Tucson Marine Phage Lab; University of California/San Diego’s National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research; and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, which provided opportunity to sample viruses from nature. Funding was provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Marine Microbiology Initiative.Boiler Plate: College of Science Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
Stephen Giovannoni, 541-737-1835Multimedia:
OSU is beginning construction on a system that will test an innovative type of nuclear reactor, one that could not only produce electricity but also hydrogen gas, direct steam power for buidlings or a better way to desalinate water.Body:
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Construction has begun at Oregon State University on a $4.8 million facility to test a new nuclear energy technology that could be safer, more efficient and produce less waste than existing approaches.
It’s a viable and versatile energy concept for the future, researchers say. As needed, it could produce electricity, hydrogen to power automobiles, steam to heat a building complex, or provide a cheaper way to desalinate seawater.
The nuclear power industry is already undergoing a global renaissance with such technologies as “passive safety” and small modular reactors. They use traditional water-cooled approaches in innovative designs, some of which were developed and tested in recent years by OSU nuclear engineers.
But the new approach is a “super-hot” type of nuclear reactor cooled by helium gas, not water, and it would operate at temperatures above 2,000 degrees – about three times as hot as existing reactors. The basic concept of this reactor technology has been known for some time, but advances in material science and the unusual range of applications for such reactors now make them much more attractive.
Like any existing nuclear reactor, the high-temperature nuclear reactors could produce electricity – about 35-50 percent more efficiently than existing approaches. But they also create about half as much radioactive waste, by the nature of their design cannot melt down, and like all nuclear technologies produce no greenhouse gas emissions.
They could be cost-effectively built as small modular reactors, and produce super-heated steam that works well for powering large chemical companies or building complexes. As demand grows for fresh water in arid regions, they could offer a more cost-effective way to desalinate sea water.
And a promising potential is to produce hydrogen that could power the automobiles of the future, using efficient hydrogen fuel cells that leave only electricity and water as their byproducts. There are still obstacles to overcome in hydrogen transportation and storage, but a high-temperature nuclear reactor could directly split water, or H20, into hydrogen and oxygen, without emitting greenhouse gases.
“If they can make the cars, we could use this technology to make the hydrogen,” said Brian Woods, an associate professor of nuclear engineering and director of this project. “One of the biggest attractions of the high-temperature reactors is their versatility, they could be used in so many ways.
“Like any new technology, it will take some time for this to gain acceptance,” Woods said. “But by the middle of this century I could easily see high-temperature nuclear reactors becoming a major player in energy production around the world.”
The test facility now being built at OSU, like some of its previous counterparts in passive safety and small modular reactors, will be used to test high-temperature reactors for safety, and simulate multiple types of accidents. There will be no use of nuclear fuel, with the high temperatures produced by electrical heaters.
“Something that works at a very high temperature might sound more risky, but in fact this type of nuclear reactor technology would be the safest of all,” Woods said. “Everything in the system is designed to withstand extremely high temperatures, and in the event of any system failure, it would simply shut off and slowly cool down.”
The test facility being constructed in the OSU Radiation Center is about six feet wide and 18 feet tall, and will simulate the reactor vessel. In this technology, helium gas is used as the coolant to transfer heat through a steam generator. The system uses special stainless steel and other alloys to handle the extreme heat, and was built by Harris Thermal, Inc., in Newberg, Ore.
Field tests are scheduled to begin in April and continue until summer, 2014. The work is being supported by grants from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The new facility and testing programs will also provide opportunities for OSU graduate assistants and even undergraduate students to gain experience working with some of the newest nuclear power technology, educators said. Research of this type is a key part of a new program just announced, called the Oregon State University Advantage, which boosts educational programs and research with real-world applications.Boiler Plate: College of Engineering Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
Brian Woods, 541-737-6335Multimedia:
CORVALLIS, Ore. – With the baking industry in mind, Oregon State University has developed a higher-yielding soft white winter wheat that's also resistant to the disease stripe rust.
The new cultivar is known as Kaseberg and is ideal for rain-fed and irrigated areas. In field trials, the variety thrived in a number of Pacific Northwest regions, including eastern and western Oregon, southern Idaho and south central Washington.
During two years of testing in Oregon, Kaseberg averaged 136 bushels an acre on land with high rainfall or irrigation – compared with 122 bushels for similar Oregon variety Stephens and 106 for the more recent release Tubbs 06. Under low rainfall conditions, Kaseberg averaged 91 bushels per acre versus 85 for Stephens and 81 for Tubbs 06.
The new variety also resists stripe rust, a fungal disease that can cut yields in half, said Bob Zemetra, OSU's wheat breeder.
"Stripe rust resistance was fairly stable from the 1970s to 1990s,” he said. “Now the disease is changing more frequently, so breeders have to be upgrading resistance constantly."
Kaseberg is also mildly resistant to the disease Septoria, but the cultivar shows susceptibility to strawbreaker footrot, soilborne wheat mosaic virus and crown rot.
OSU researchers developed Kaseberg to appeal to millers and bakers. For cookies and crackers, it's superior to Tubbs 06, Stephens and Madsen because it has weaker gluten and finer flour particles when milled.
"New releases need to equal and surpass the performance of previous varieties,” Zemetra said. “The bar is set higher each time. In breeding we deal with three customers: the farmer, the miller and the baker. We aim to fit the needs of all three."
The new cultivar is named after the Kaseberg family, longtime eastern Oregon wheat growers who have been major contributors to the Oregon wheat industry, held leadership roles in the Agricultural Research Foundation and the Oregon Wheat League, and have allowed OSU to use their land to develop varieties for many years.
This year, OSU is also releasing another new cultivar known as Ladd. The new soft white winter wheat cultivar is the first produced in the Pacific Northwest resistant to soilborne wheat mosaic virus.
The variety is targeted toward irrigated areas in Oregon and central Washington where the virus has recently been found to thrive. Ladd is also resistant to strawbreaker foot rot and is moderately resistant to stripe rust.
The variety is named for Sheldon Ladd, the head of OSU's Department of Crop and Soil Science from 1985 to 2000.
Creating a new variety of wheat can take more than a decade. Even after that, breeders need an additional three years to generate enough seed for farmers.
Both new varieties are open cultivar releases from Oregon State University and the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station. Registered seed of both varieties and a small amount of certified seed of Kaseberg will be available this fall.
More than 980,000 acres of wheat were harvested in Oregon in 2011, with gross sales exceeding $520 million, according to a report by OSU Extension.Boiler Plate: Generic OSU Boiler Plate Media Contact: Daniel Robison Source:
Bob Zemetra, 541-737-4278Multimedia:
OSU's distance education program has been ranked fourth best in the nation among public research universities, and is continuing to grow and expand its offerings.Body:
CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Ecampus program at Oregon State University has been ranked as the fourth best distance education program in the nation among public research universities, the best program of its type in Oregon, and eighth among all schools, both public and private.
The rankings of “Best Online Colleges and Universities in 2013” were made by SuperScholar Smart Choice, based on academic quality, strength of programs, student satisfaction, prestige and other factors. The prior year, this organization ranked OSU Ecampus as ninth best in the nation among all schools.
“Ecampus is regarded as one of the nation’s best providers of online education,” said Lisa Templeton, executive director of the program.
“Our degree programs and outstanding faculty teach courses that meet the needs of learners around the world,” Templeton said. “Our mission is to provide students with access to a high-quality OSU education no matter where they live.”
As it moved even higher in the rankings last year, OSU Ecampus added several bachelor’s degree programs - in German and psychology, and a novel, faster-paced program in computer science open to students who already have a college degree in another field. Also added were a master’s degree in counseling and a graduate certificate in public health.
“This computer science degree, which focuses on software engineering, databases, and web programming, is truly innovative,” said Terri Fiez, head of the OSU School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
“Employers are looking for people with computer skills that can be applied to a variety of fields,” Fiez said. “A student today who already has an undergraduate degree can get a second degree, online, in as little as one year. For example, by pairing a degree in psychology, a graduate will be prepared for a computing job involving ways to make computers and computer programs easier for people to use.”
Ecampus now has 33 undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs online, which offer hundreds of courses in dozens of subjects. It has grown steadily since its inception, as distance education offers new options that are not bound by place, time, or other conventional constraints on higher education. New technologies and teaching methods are also making distance education more effective than ever, educators say.
“OSU has long been recognized as top-tier in the sciences by online university rankings, especially in agricultural and environmental sciences,” the SuperScholar organization wrote in their analysis. “The university has also built up its online liberal arts programs, and today offers highly acclaimed online degrees in numerous disciplines.”
Only regionally accredited online colleges and universities were considered in the SuperScholar rankings.Boiler Plate: Ecampus Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
Lisa Templeton, 541-737-1279Multimedia:
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University Theatre will hold open auditions for the spring comedy “The Misanthrope ,” on Feb. 18 and 19 at 6:30 p.m., and callbacks on Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m., on the Withycombe Hall main stage, 30th and Campus Way.
Auditions are open to all OSU students, faculty, staff, and Corvallis community members. Scripts will be available for check out in the OSU Theatre Main Office.
“The Misanthrope” is one of the best of Molière's comedies — focusing on the absurdities of social and literary pretension, and on a man who is quick to criticize the faults of others, yet remains blind to his own. This comedy of manners, which satirizes the customs, attitudes, and activities of the fashionable upper classes, utilizes witty dialogue and comic situations which reveal hypocrisy, deceit, excessive pride, and other moral shortcomings.
There are roles for seven men and four women in the play. For more information, contact the director, Tinamarie Ivey at Tinamarie.Ivey@Linnbenton.eduBoiler Plate: College of Liberal Arts Media Contact: Angela Yeager Source:
A new study led by an OSU post-doctoral researcher suggests that salmon may use the Earth's magnetic field to navigate their way across the ocean and get close to their river of origin.Body:
CORVALLIS, Ore. – The mystery of how salmon navigate across thousands of miles of open ocean to locate their river of origin before journeying upstream to spawn has intrigued biologists for decades, and now a new study may offer a clue to the fishes’ homing strategy.
In the study, scientists examined 56 years of fisheries data documenting the return of sockeye salmon to the Fraser River in British Columbia – and the route they chose around Vancouver Island showed a correlation with changes in the intensity of the geomagnetic field.
Results of the study, which was supported by Oregon Sea Grant and the National Science Foundation, were published this week in the journal Current Biology.
“What we think happens is that when salmon leave the river system as juveniles and enter the ocean, they imprint the magnetic field – logging it in as a waypoint,” said Nathan Putman, a post-doctoral researcher at Oregon State University and lead author on the study. “It serves as a proxy for geographic location when they return as adults. It gets them close to their river system and then other, finer cues may take over.”
Earth has a predictable, consistent geomagnetic field that weakens as you move from the poles toward the equator. The magnetic North Pole has an intensity gradient of roughly 58 microtesla, while the equator is about 24 microtesla.
Salmon originating from Oregon that have spent two to four years in the northern Pacific Ocean off Canada or Alaska would return as adults, the scientists speculate, journeying southward off the coast until they reached a magnetic field intensity similar to that of their youth.
“That should get them to within 50 to 100 kilometers of their own river system and then olfactory cues or some other sense kicks on,” said Putman, who conducts research in OSU’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.
Vancouver Island provides a natural laboratory for the study of salmon, the researchers point out. Salmon returning to the Fraser River must detour around the massive island to reach the mouth of the river, choosing a southern or northern route. In their study, the scientists found that the “drift” of the geomagnetic field correlated with which route the salmon chose.
When the normal intensity level for the Fraser River shifted to the north, the sockeye were more likely to choose a northern route for their return. When the field shifted slightly south, they chose a southern route.
This “field drift” accounted for about 16 percent of the variation in the migration route, Putman said, while variations in sea surface temperatures accounted for 22 percent. The interactive effect between these two variables accounted for an additional 28 percent of the variation in the migration route.
“Salmon are a cold-water fish, and all things being equal, they prefer cold water,” said Putman, who earned his Ph.D. in biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “But the fact that they also demonstrate geomagnetic fidelity in choosing a route shows that this could be a major instrument in their biological toolbox to guide their way home.”
Putman said that his previous studies of the Columbia River have shown that the magnetic intensity shifts less than 30 kilometers in either direction over a period of three years, which is about the length of time many salmon spend in the ocean.
“Salmon have to get it right because they only have one chance to make it back to their home river,” Putman said, “so it makes sense that they may have more than one way to get there. The magnetic field is amazingly consistent, so that is a strategy that can withstand the test of time. But they may also use the sun as a compass, track waves breaking on the beach through infrasound, and use smell.”
Putman and OSU fisheries biologist David Noakes plan to follow through with experiments on varying the magnetic field for salmon in a laboratory setting, using the Oregon Hatchery Research Center in Oregon’s Alsea River basin.
Other authors on the study include Kenneth Lohmann, University of North Carolina; Emily Putman, an independent researcher; Thomas Quinn, University of Washington; A. Peter Klimley, University of California, Davis; and David Noakes, Oregon State University.Boiler Plate: College of Agricultural Sciences Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
Nathan Putman, 205-218-5276Multimedia:
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Nationally-recognized poetry slam and spoken-word artist Myrlin Hepworth will perform on Friday, Feb. 22, at 7:30 p.m., in the Memorial Union Journey Room on the Oregon State University campus.
Hepworth has written and performed his poetry across the United States. In 2009, the Arizona Commission on the Arts selected him for its roster of teaching artists. In 2010 he became the first undergraduate teaching artist for the Young Writers Program at Arizona State University.
In addition to visiting nearly 30 high schools each year, Hepworth performs at universities, youth centers, group homes, museums, and theaters. He has competed on three National Poetry Slam teams and co-founded and coached the Phoenix youth team to consecutive appearances at the Brave New Voices International Poetry Slam. He is the author of “From the Rooftops.”
The Roger Weaver Poetry Activities Fund, along with the School of Writing, Literature, and Film, presents this event annually.Boiler Plate: College of Liberal Arts Media Contact: Angela Yeager Source:
Heather Brown, 719-232-1485Promote to OSU home page: Not Promote to the OSU home page
PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon’s first woman governor, a groundbreaking heart surgeon, a dynamic chief executive and innovative tech startup founders are among the recipients of this year’s Weatherford Awards, Oregon State University’s annual celebration of entrepreneurs and innovators.
The awards will be held Thursday, Feb. 21, at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower.
Hosted by OSU’s Austin Entrepreneurship Program, the event starts at 5:30 p.m. with a reception, followed by a dinner and the award presentations. Tickets are $95, available until sold out, and can be obtained at http://business.oregonstate.edu/programs/aep or by contacting Mary McKillop, 541-713-8044 or email@example.com.
The awards are named for OSU's Weatherford Hall, where entrepreneurship and business students can explore their innovations and new venture ideas in a unique, living-learning residence hall. Traditionally, the awards have been given to entrepreneurs and innovators later in their career. This year, for the first time, a trio of young entrepreneurs and Oregon State alumni are being honored as well.
The recipients of the 2013 Weatherford Awards are:
- Don Robert, an Oregon State alumnus and the chief executive officer with worldwide responsibility for global information services company Experian. Previously CEO of Experian North America, Robert started his career at US Bank, and joined Experian from The First American Corporation in 2001. From 1995 to 2001, he held positions with First American and before that served as president at Credco, Inc.
- Gov. Barbara Roberts, a fourth-generation Oregonian and the first woman elected as governor of Oregon. In 1985 she was elected Oregon’s Secretary of State and in 1991 she became governor. After her term she served as director of the State and Local Government Executive Programs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, held a senior fellowship at the Harvard Women and Public Policy Program, and served on the Metro Council in Portland.
- Dr. Albert Starr, co-inventor of the world’s first successful artificial heart valve. Dr. Starr joined Oregon Health and Science University in 1957 and led OHSU’s heart surgery program from then until 1964. In 1960, he and engineer M. Lowell Edwards invented the Starr-Edwards heart valve. He now serves as the Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine in the School of Medicine. Last fall, he was appointed to co-lead the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Center.
- Alex Polvi, Dan Di Spaltro, Logan Welliver, the trio of Oregon State alumni who co-founded Cloudkick. The group was part of the 2009 Y Combinator startup incubator, which provided the support needed to launch Cloudkick. The company, which provides cloud server monitoring and management tools, was acquired by Rackspace Hosting in December 2010.
Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695Multimedia: