Category » Terra Blog

September 30, 2014

Challenging a Nobel Laureate

A young molecular biologist raises questions about Pauling’s chemical models

Justin Biel’s work could force molecular biologists to rethink basics of protein structure. Linus Pauling won the 1954 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his description of the chemical bond that holds protein molecules together. Sixty years later, an undergraduate researcher at Oregon State University, where Pauling did his own undergrad work, prompted scientists to take […]


September 29, 2014

“You’re Invited…”

…to join us in the lab, in the field and in the incubators of innovation where Oregon State University researchers are doing the business of discovery. Every day, our scientists, scholars and engineers conduct experiments, study natural systems and drive economic development toward a sustainable planet, a thriving population and a prosperous future for all […]


September 24, 2014

Veterans for Peace

A world without war is more resilient, sustainable

Leah Bolger, a veteran who served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years, believes that all wars should be abolished. “War is immoral, it’s illegal, it’s ineffective, and it costs too much.” Bolger says. As a leader of Veterans for Peace, Bolger is working to promote the efforts of World Beyond War — a global […]


September 24, 2014

Water Action Team

Oregon may have a reputation for an abundance of rain, but even in the lush Willamette Valley, water shortages are a growing concern. Sustainable water management is essential for maintaining productive agriculture, flood control and healthy stream habitats for fish.  That’s why the Water Action Team —a volunteer group of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition is […]


September 24, 2014

Divestment Gathers Support

Oregon State students and faculty collaborate on climate action

A year ago, Oregon State University student Jessie Pettibone had never heard of divestment. But last April, a social-media post drew him into to a national movement started by the climate action nonprofit 350.org to divest funds from the fossil fuel industry. Part of the goal was to reinvest in sustainable practices. As president of […]


September 24, 2014

Climate Change for Introverts

A personal approach to a global issue

If environmental catastrophe has you down, call Jana Svoboda. This Corvallis therapist assists people with an array of mental health issues, including sexuality, end-of-life care and even anxieties over a deteriorating environment. Several times a month, she says, patients talk with her about their climate change worries. Svoboda admits that even she gets anxious about […]


The Climate Diet
August 8, 2014

The Climate Diet

Food choices lead to sustainable solutions

Supermarkets always tend to be one or two steps behind the First Alternative Co-op in Corvallis. Since its creation in 1970, this organization successfully led both a buy-local and an organic movement long before they became national trends. With citizens serving as both owners and shoppers, the co-op has its roots spread throughout the community. […]


Circle of Friends
May 28, 2014

Circle of Friends

In the 1960s, the Beatles sang about getting by with a little help from their friends. In the never-ending search for funding, scientists have sung the same tune, but their circle of acquaintances is expanding. They’re partnering with a wider variety of organizations and accommodating more diverse needs. So, as a result, Oregon State’s research […]


Big Data Crunch
May 23, 2014

Big Data Crunch

The demand for data analysts is exploding

1.9 billion. That’s the number of results turned up by a Google search on the term “big data.”


International Imperative in Science
January 22, 2014

International Imperative in Science

Research builds trust, mutual respect

My research career took me to the waters off Africa, South America and Central America. I found the experience of working with colleagues from many nations to be exciting, and I learned a lot about the scientific challenges we were addressing. In retrospect, I realize I learned a lot more about being a good citizen […]


Engineers with Soul
January 22, 2014

Engineers with Soul

Humanitarian Engineering combines technical knowledge with social skills

Engineers excel at solving problems. They can design systems that provide clean drinking water, generate electricity from sunlight and improve personal health. While the design of these systems demands technical skill, success or failure ultimately resides with the people who use and maintain them and whose lives depend on them — that is, with a […]


To Bring Back a Native Fish
January 22, 2014

To Bring Back a Native Fish

February events promote lamprey awareness

Pacific lamprey, Entosphenus tridentatus, after many years of flying under the radar, have just recently received increased attention and awareness. Three events are planned for February, “Lamprey Awareness Month,” as christened by Jeremy Monroe of Freshwaters Illustrated, to give one of the oldest vertebrates some due. On February 10, the Corvallis Science Pub (Old World […]


January 10, 2014

Language Matters

Language matters. It frames our relationships and defines our culture. It affirms common interests and ways of seeing the world.


Wordsmithing the Climate Crisis
November 15, 2013

Wordsmithing the Climate Crisis

International dialog bogs down in linguistic nuance

[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. […]


Thrashing Around at the Fish Trap
November 4, 2013

Thrashing Around at the Fish Trap

A spawning Chinook salmon surprises a science writer with its strength and power

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 […]


Seeing the Planet
October 9, 2013

Seeing the Planet

OSU's "remote sensing" story

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 […]


The Hidden Costs of Research
October 9, 2013

The Hidden Costs of Research

Oregon State's rate for "overhead" is quite low

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 […]


A History of Satellite Remote Sensing Research at Oregon State University
October 4, 2013

A History of Satellite Remote Sensing Research at Oregon State University

Satellite data have revealed fundamental features of the world's oceans

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.


The Economics of Carbon Reduction
September 28, 2013

The Economics of Carbon Reduction

Climate change policy and normative science

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 […]


OSU Researchers Part of New Panel on Ocean Acidification, Hypoxia
August 30, 2013

OSU Researchers Part of New Panel on Ocean Acidification, Hypoxia

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 […]


da Vinci Days 2013: Stories from the Edge of Science
July 25, 2013

da Vinci Days 2013: Stories from the Edge of Science

Oregon State scientists take audiences on a planetary journey

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.


Lamprey Has Star Power at da Vinci Days
July 24, 2013

Lamprey Has Star Power at da Vinci Days

OSU partners with U.S. Fish & Wildlife to share the plight of Oregon's ancient, threatened fish

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.


What It’s Like to Necropsy a Moose
June 17, 2013

What It’s Like to Necropsy a Moose

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 […]


Balancing Work and Family
May 21, 2013

Balancing Work and Family

Drew Arnold juggles personal and professional

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 […]


Flight Plan
May 21, 2013

Flight Plan

UAV technology can create jobs, save money and lives

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.


Freedom of Access
May 21, 2013

Freedom of Access

The public deserves and needs scientific information

“For scholars, access to the work of their peers is fundamental to the advancement of research.”