Category » Terra Blog

Solar Car Race Offers Gold Standard Learning in Abu Dhabi
February 26, 2015

Solar Car Race Offers Gold Standard Learning in Abu Dhabi

Call it the experience of a lifetime. Or just call it part of a great education at Oregon State. In January, nine OSU students took a solar car they built to the United Arab Emirates to participate in the Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge, a four-day, 1,200 kilometer race. This was the first international competition for […]


When Will the Rains Come?
February 23, 2015

When Will the Rains Come?

This weather phenomenon feeds millions

Researchers at the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences are trying to improve our ability to forecast a phenomenon known as the Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO). This eastward-moving pulse of heavy rainfall and strong winds travels around the equator and has broad impacts on climate and weather. While statistical indices of the MJO from past […]


Where Rivers Run in the Human Heart
February 17, 2015

Where Rivers Run in the Human Heart

A stream ecologist tells the story of his watery journey

Kurt Fausch looked the part of a lifelong field researcher, his casual, earth-toned clothes hanging loose and comfortable on his long, lanky frame. But he was about to reveal his alter ego as a philosopher of wild waters.


Understanding Tropical Reefs
February 16, 2015

Understanding Tropical Reefs

Microbes may hold a key to threatened corals

    By David Baker All signs pointed to Ryan McMinds attending Oregon State University as an undergraduate. Both of his parents graduated from OSU, and he grew up just down the road in Jefferson, Oregon. It was always his default choice. “But at the last minute, I decided that I needed to travel and […]


The Adams File: The Future of Health Care
February 12, 2015

The Adams File: The Future of Health Care

Effective strategy demands a holistic approach

As planning for this issue of Terra got underway, the Ebola outbreak was capturing attention in medical journals and news reports and across the Internet. There were fears of a pandemic. Previously known only in Africa, the disease had appeared in the United States and Spain. Public health specialists struggled to cut the rate of […]


February 12, 2015

Squinting at a Diagnosis

  The wind blew unseasonably bitter the day my sister and I took Mom to her first oncology appointment. As Mom leaned into the gale, her jaunty hat flew up suddenly and whirled away. The hairstyle she’d arranged with such care was defeated. “I’m nervous,” she said as we sat waiting for the doctor at […]


January 30, 2015

The Merging Paths to a NSF Research Center

How OSU became the headquarters for reimagining the computer chip

  I AM OFTEN ASKED ABOUT THE STEPS leading to establishment of the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry headquartered at Oregon State University. The story starts with the glimmer of an idea that emerged in the mid-1980s. The idea took hold in the 1990s, and culminated in 2011 with the establishment of a multi-institutional research […]


January 30, 2015

NSF Special Report: Broader Impacts

AS WE AIM FOR SUCCESS of OSU’s broader impacts, it’s important that we understand the national and cultural contexts for broader impacts among researchers and institutions. In November, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released a document titled Perspectives on Broader Impacts, summarizing perspectives of NSF administrators, university leaders, and researchers on the current state and […]


January 14, 2015

Take a Look…

Shining on Portland’s South Waterfront stands a new tower, one that is as functional as it is beautiful. A joint project of Oregon State University, Oregon Health & Science University and Portland State University, the Collaborative Life Sciences Building is emblematic of a new, interdisciplinary era in biomedical research and education. By bringing together top […]


A Greenhouse Gas Finds New Purpose
January 13, 2015

A Greenhouse Gas Finds New Purpose

Someday, CO2 may improve energy storage for your hybrid electric car

WHAT IF WE COULD TURN EXCESS CO2 into a boon for electronics and other industries? Chemists and engineers at Oregon State University have discovered a way to do just that. David Ji and his research team have captured atmospheric carbon dioxide — a greenhouse gas — and used it to make an advanced, high-value material […]


Nuclear Sleuthing
January 12, 2015

Nuclear Sleuthing

The science of nuclear forensics helps thwart terrorist attacks

  “There’s still much too much material — nuclear, chemical, biological — being stored without enough protection.  There are still terrorists and criminal gangs doing everything they can to get their hands on it. And make no mistake, if they get it, they will use it; potentially killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people, perhaps […]


Seeking the Secrets of Old Growth
January 12, 2015

Seeking the Secrets of Old Growth

Under a towering canopy, scientists uncover a million mysteries

  OREGON’S OLD-GROWTH FORESTS host thousands upon thousands of animal, plant and insect species: owls and beetles, mosses and ferns, salmon and salamanders, lichens and vines, spiders and songbirds, and trees that are older than the Aztecs and taller than Niagara Falls. For more than 60 years, the rich biological and physical connectivity of this […]


Hub for Health Sciences Media Gallery
January 8, 2015

Hub for Health Sciences Media Gallery


A Hub for Health Sciences
January 8, 2015

A Hub for Health Sciences

Biomedical research takes on a towering presence in Portland

Seen from Portland’s hilly Corbett district, the towers of the city’s new health sciences complex punch upward at optimistic angles from the South Waterfront.  The bridges to its north and south, the Ross Island and the Marquam, bracket the bluish stone-and-glass structure like a pair of parentheses. Just beyond the front entrance, Tilikum Crossing, the […]


Mobilizing Citizens for Doing Science
December 23, 2014

Mobilizing Citizens for Doing Science

A marine researcher taps the coastal community

  CITIZEN SCIENCE, LIKE MANY BROADER IMPACTS ACTIVITIES, is rewarding, but comes with its own set of challenges. Many researchers shirk at the idea of using inexperienced individuals as data collectors, knowing that the ways in which volunteers may approach the natural world can be vastly different from that of scientists, leading to skewed data […]


Paper To Go Away
December 22, 2014

Paper To Go Away

Research Office moves toward online compliance submissions

  SINCE MY ARRIVAL at Oregon State University in February 2000, there has been a constant background of concern about the state of many of the university’s administrative support structures. Back then, proposals were submitted in paper copy, as were virtually all of the non-fiscal compliance protocols such as Institutional Review Board protocols or Animal […]


Leading Indicators
November 4, 2014

Leading Indicators

2014 Annual Report of Research

With a near-record $285 million in research grants and contracts in FY2014, Oregon State University is advancing knowledge and solving problems in Earth ecosystems, human health and social and economic sectors. Download the annual report of research to learn more.


October 21, 2014

Testing the Winds of Research Trends

Tips for tracking emerging priorities in federal investment

University researchers in pursuit of new funding streams would be wise to track emerging priorities through the White House’s offices of Management and Budget and Science and Technology Policy. These key administrative offices help federal agencies and departments set their R&D budgets by providing annual guidance on science-and-technology priorities for federal investment. The topic areas […]


October 21, 2014

Opportunities in STEM, Disaster Resilience, NSF Tools

This month's noteworthy tips and tools for researchers

Women in STEM. Oregon State University has received a $3.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to improve conditions for women in the academic science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. As the first Oregon institution to receive a five-year ADVANCE grant, OSU will recruit, retain and promote more women in STEM and the […]


October 21, 2014

Women Nobel Laureates

The true prize lies in the science

On October 5, May-Britt Moser became the 16th woman to win the Nobel Prize in science or medicine. Moser, a Norwegian neuroscientist, won the coveted prize for her part in discovering those important cells in your brain that allow you to navigate your surroundings and remember where you are — the ones that will get […]


The GMO Conundrum
October 10, 2014

The GMO Conundrum

We could lose an important crop-improvement tool to politics and fear

Oregonians will go to the polls on November 4 to decide whether or not to require prominent labels on food containing ingredients made from genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. The issue of labeling has been around for years, and — déjà vu! — Oregonians have even voted on it before. But the rhetoric has heated […]


Arrested Development
October 10, 2014

Arrested Development

Intellectual property and regulations hinder research

Genetic engineering has become a valuable scientific tool. It has enabled us to gain tremendous insight into the mechanisms of plant reproduction, disease resistance and other useful traits. However, commercial use of this technology has not lived up to expectations and has created serious hurdles for plant breeders. That in turn hampers genetic progress and […]


October 7, 2014

The Scientist’s Apprentice

Budding computer scientists mentor younger students in Margaret Burnett’s lab

For computer scientist Margaret Burnett, the call for broader impacts (see “Terra Up Close” below) means reaching far and wide outside her door. But it begins right inside the heart of her lab at Oregon State University. Every year, she brings in a handful of students, both high schoolers and recent graduates, to work side-by-side […]


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 […]