[Editor's note: Terra Associate Editor Lee Sherman is reporting from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Warsaw, Poland, on research by Gregg Walker, Oregon State professor of speech communications.] I’m sitting at a laptop that’s locked onto a long table of laptops in the vast IT space in Warsaw’s national stadium. Hunched […]
Category » Terra Blog
November 15, 2013
November 4, 2013
When David Noakes asks me if I want to go into the fish trap, I don’t hesitate. Of course! What science writer worth her salt wouldn’t? As I tug on a pair of waders and shrug into a rubberized jacket, I imagine myself getting a brief lesson in fisheries biology — how to net a […]
October 9, 2013
From satellites, balloons, high-altitude surveillance planes and even a two-seater Cessna, Oregon State scientists have been gathering data on the planet for nearly a half century. Their work has helped manage crops, detect threats to Western forests, track activity in Cascade volcanoes and reveal new details about ocean currents and how they interact with the […]
October 9, 2013
Imagine for just a moment that you: 1) are independently wealthy; 2) are a genius, and; 3) have a brilliant idea for a research project (for those readers who already satisfy all three criteria, please indulge me a bit of editorial whimsy). You begin your project with every intention of following the scientific method. You […]
October 4, 2013
CEOAS faculty have been involved in every aspect of satellite remote sensing, including sensor and satellite mission design, development of algorithms for retrievals of the physical and biological variables of interest, and applications of satellite observations to study a host of oceanographic research questions.
September 28, 2013
To influence policy, research on climate change must incorporate many disciplines and bridge the divide between the natural and social sciences. I see similarities and important differences in the way that research is done in the environmental sciences and in economics. One similarity is that, like climate science, economics research on climate change has been […]
August 30, 2013
Governor Kitzhaber has announced that Oregon is joining with the state of California to establish a new panel to focus on the extent, causes, and effects of ocean acidification and hypoxia along the Pacific coastline. Five Oregon State University researchers will participate on the new panel. The West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel […]
July 25, 2013
Leonardo da Vinci combined the practical and the beautiful, the mechanical and artistic. At the 2013 da Vinci Days festival in Corvallis, Oregon State University scientists, engineers and mathematicians shared their journeys under Antarctic sea ice, to an African village, to Mars and through a mathematical landscape.
July 24, 2013
The “Forgotten Fish,” an ancient (and threatened) species native to Oregon’s rivers, found many new supporters among the hundreds who enjoyed da Vinci Days in July.
June 17, 2013
It’s physical and sensual. It’s not an exercise in hypothetical counter-factuals or wonderings about brains in vats or the playing of a clever devil’s advocate. It’s hot and uncomfortable and smelly. You flail in vain at ginormous mosquitos with your forearms and shoulders (because your hands are covered in rubber gloves which are covered in […]
May 21, 2013
Babies don’t wait for you to get your master’s degree. They arrive on their own schedules and change your life. Drew Arnold learned that lesson when he became a father. He also found that sleep comes in a distant third to family and education. In 2010, he began a graduate program in mechanical engineering at […]
May 21, 2013
UAVs can help manage wildfires, support a search-and-rescue mission, plant trees to avoid wind or heat damage, monitor wildlife, improve irrigation, detect crop-disease outbreaks and gauge environmental health.
May 21, 2013
“For scholars, access to the work of their peers is fundamental to the advancement of research.”
February 27, 2013
As a thinking community, we face a conundrum: Scientists uncover some of the empirical knowledge we need to save our planet and ourselves. Yet their devotion to neutrality — an unquestioned necessity in the lab — impedes their voices in the wider world.
February 26, 2013
The summer is warm and sunny in Corvallis, but my travels draw me east. Over and past the Cascades is an open land where the cold sparkling waters of a river flow north, and the sweet smell of Ponderosa pine blends with the fresh scent of lodgepole — the Deschutes National Forest. My one-person tent […]
February 1, 2013
The journey from idea to innovation turns, twists and hits the occasional roadblock. Follow the progress of an Oregon State idea that is making the wood-products industry more sustainable. Research by wood-science professor Kaichang Li has enabled Columbia Forest Products, North America’s largest manufacturer of hardwood plywood, to switch from adhesives made with formaldehyde to […]
January 29, 2013
Forest scientist and Oregon State University alumnus Steve Sillett studies and climbs the largest trees in the world. Since 1987, he’s climbed more than 1,000 of these arboreal giants, many of which reach heights greater than 200 feet tall and diameters upwards of 20 feet. Sillett’s study of old-growth forests — and in particular redwood […]
January 24, 2013
I get to call myself a scientist because I’ve got a Ph.D. in oceanography, but is that a prerequisite? No. Before there were “scientists,” even “ordinary people” did science. They learned to grow crops and domesticate animals. They associated the heavens with the seasons and events on Earth. Keen insight into plant properties, animal behavior […]
January 23, 2013
Too often, however, scientific information presented to the public and decision-makers is infused with hidden policy preferences. Such science is termed normative, and it is a corruption of the practice of good science.
December 26, 2012
Parts of the Oregon outback are a poetic juxtaposition of passionate color scattered among charred, stalagmitic trees piercing the sky above like mighty javelins. In autumn, the understory blazes in hues of red, orange and yellow — colors that light the burnt forest as if it were once again on fire.
November 27, 2012
PORTLAND – It was a nippy November day in Pioneer Courthouse Square. The city’s annual Christmas tree was going up — a giant evergreen to mark the holiday season. But that wasn’t the only super-sized object with a seasonal message. A couple of strides from the mega-tree stood a monstrous nose, a reminder that the […]
November 15, 2012
It was a chill December day in Eugene. I was with my falconry sponsor, Christian Fox, who was there in the park with me to observe a training session. I had been training Inanna, my 3-pound red-tailed hawk for about three weeks. Chris was evaluating whether she was ready to come off the creance (a […]
November 6, 2012
A volunteer told me later that the nocturnal octopus rarely comes out during the day.
November 2, 2012
I remember my first day at what’s called “baby field camp” in the Oregon State geology program. Outside Bishop, California, we mapped the area around a cinder cone, long since dead. I quickly learned that the hot sun is a never-ending force of nature, not to be underestimated. I drank at least a gallon of […]
October 12, 2012
As concern about climate change has grown, nuclear energy — long a polarizing subject — has gained increasing favorability. Its low carbon footprint, reliable power supply and strong safety record convinced many critics that nuclear power should be a bigger part of our energy mix. That newfound favorability suffered a setback on March 11, 2011, […]
September 26, 2012
Facebook may be great for cute kitty videos and baby pictures, but who knew it could play a role in science? Brian Sidlauskas, an Oregon State University fish biologist, and his team used the popular social network to advance their study of biodiversity in a South American rain forest. This video produced by Facebook, Degrees […]
August 24, 2012
Did you ever wonder why so many people are attracted to junk food? Why ice cream, french fries and soda pop so often win out over brown rice and broccoli? It’s not actually a conspiracy by fast-food companies to bewitch people into eating things that aren’t good for them. Well, not completely. It’s largely due […]
August 6, 2012
When he’s on Earth, Don Pettit dreams about space. But when he’s in space, he dreams about walking on Earth. “Dreams may have something to do with humans never being satisfied, which is why we go exploring in the first place,” he says. If there’s a gene for the urge to explore new worlds, Pettit […]
July 25, 2012
“Aw, no bugs!” exclaims Betsey Miller after meticulously pouring over a wheelbarrow’s worth of decomposing leaf litter and manure. “The chickens are doing a great job, but it’s still fun for us entomologists to find insects once in a while!” A pen of praiseworthy red-ranger chickens peck away at the grass a few yards away, […]
June 29, 2012
When land grant universities were created 150 years ago, science was already an international activity. Well before the signing of the Morrill Act in 1862, American scientists aboard six U.S. Navy vessels had circumnavigated the globe, collected thousands of plant and animal specimens and mapped parts of the Pacific Ocean from the Columbia River to […]