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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.”


Science that Breaks Your Heart
February 27, 2013

Science that Breaks Your Heart

Coupling facts and morality to save our Earth

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.


Roots of Relationship
February 26, 2013

Roots of Relationship

Under the pine needles lies one of the secrets to forest health

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

10 Steps for Innovators

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 […]


Documenting the Giants
January 29, 2013

Documenting the Giants

Canopy science for old-growth forests

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 […]


Volunteers for Science
January 24, 2013

Volunteers for Science

Citizens contribute valuable data

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 […]


Normative Science
January 23, 2013

Normative Science

It is easy — and wrong — for scientists to become stealth policy advocates

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.


How Fire Saves Water
December 26, 2012

How Fire Saves Water

Controlled burns can keep water-hogging juniper in check

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.


‘Tis the Season
November 27, 2012

‘Tis the Season

Winter brings flu — and drug awareness, too

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 […]


Tethered by Respect
November 15, 2012

Tethered by Respect

Forging a bond with a wild bird

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 […]


Octo-Enchantment
November 6, 2012

Octo-Enchantment

Finding solace and stress relief in an elusive cephalopod

A volunteer told me later that the nocturnal octopus rarely comes out during the day.