Terra in Print: Spring 2014

More than Science

To download a printable pdf of the spring 2014 magazine, click here.

To download a printable pdf of the spring 2014 magazine, click here.

As I was talking with a student for a story in this issue of Terra, he suddenly dropped his voice. “No one knows this,” he said. “I was very glad to be in this lab because the people helped me through some difficult times. They are awesome.

“A lot of students have this mid-college crisis,” he continued. “When they are just getting out of high school, they think they know what they want to do. And then they realize that’s not the case. That happened to me. But the people here kept me grounded. I could turn to them. It was something stable in my life that helped me tremendously.”

I marvel at students’ willingness to challenge themselves, to master subjects that take them way outside their comfort zones. But as I talk with them, it doesn’t take long to realize they’re not doing this work alone. Their mentors — scientists, lab managers and peers — support them much of the way. Sure, the science is front and center, but research team members often develop deep connections with each other. They become a family away from home.

For many students, such friendships are among the most valuable outcomes of doing research. College life and the complexity of the natural world can be intimidating. Skilled, caring mentors help students professionally and socially and enable them to gain confidence and trust in their own abilities.

In this issue of Terra, we take you through a diverse landscape: research diving from the Pacific to the South Atlantic, archaeological discovery in Idaho, growing threats to privacy, treatment for blood disease, an emerging nuclear partnership and the promise of new medicines from fungi. In every case, students are making real contributions and solving problems. Yes. Awesome.

— Nick Houtman, Editor

 

Poison in the Blood

Poison in the Blood

Features, Healthy People, Spring 2014

A group of researchers in the College of Engineering, however, are working with teams of undergraduate and graduate students on a project that may soon have the whole world talking about sepsis. Finally there may be a way to combat this syndrome with something other than antibiotics — which often don’t work.


Finding Your Inner Einstein

Finding Your Inner Einstein

Features, Spring 2014

Tapping into each student’s inner Einstein — that quester of cosmic secrets, that seeker of deeper insights, that finder of new truths — is what happens when undergrads do original research or scholarship under the wing of a professor or a post-doctoral researcher.


Private Eyes

Private Eyes

Features, Front Page, Spring 2014

“In human history, there’s never been more surveillance of individuals by the state and by private corporations than there is today,” said Oregon State University historian Christopher McKnight Nichols in April when he appeared on National Public Radio’s Philosophy Talk.


Total Immersion

Total Immersion

Features, Front Page, Spring 2014

For an elite handful of Oregon State researchers and students in pharmacy, biology, oceanography, zoology, fisheries, marine resources management — even maritime engineering — their other lab is underwater.


Learning to Dive

Learning to Dive

Healthy Planet, Spring 2014, Student Research

It seemed that Kyle Neumann had a dream job: video broadcasting for the Portland Timbers. But something kept nagging at him. “For me, it just wasn’t fulfilling a higher purpose,” says the Oregon State University senior. He wanted to use his video storytelling skills, he decided, not for professional sports but for Planet Earth. First, […]


Raising Spores

Raising Spores

Features, Spring 2014

While known mostly as a pathogen of wheat, corn, barley and other cereal grains, a species of fungus called Fusarium Graminearum turns out to be a treasure trove of potential new antibiotics and other natural compounds.


No Stone Unturned

No Stone Unturned

Features, Front Page, Spring 2014

In the lower Salmon River canyon of Idaho, Loren Davis and his students are uncovering clues to the human story of North America. “The world was so dramatically different at that time,” Davis says. “There were ice sheets and giant lakes, and sea level was much lower. You have to have a geological outlook to make sense of a lot of it.”


Active Ingredients

Active Ingredients

Innovation, Spring 2014

When two Willamette Valley chemists developed methods for producing industrial chemicals with exceptional purity, they saw a business opportunity. The result is a new company: Valliscor.


Wanted: A Strong Work Ethic

Healthy Economy, Spring 2014, Student Research

You might think the No. 1 quality professors seek in an undergraduate researcher is braininess. Yes, brains matter. But there’s another valued trait, perhaps less obvious but at least as important: a strong work ethic. In the labs in Oregon State’s Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics, work ethic is often the deciding […]


Spirituality, Religion and Health

Spirituality, Religion and Health

Healthy People, Spring 2014, Terrabytes

Religious practices and spiritual behaviors have distinct but complementary health benefits. That was the conclusion of a study led by Carolyn Aldwin, professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences. She and her colleagues (Crystal Park of the University of Connecticut and Yu-Jin Jeong and Ritwik Nath of OSU) reviewed previously published reports […]


The Shining

Healthy Economy, New Terrain, Spring 2014

New types of materials that change their shape when exposed to light could lead to advances in hydrogen storage, solar energy, carbon dioxide capture and other fields critical to the nation’s economy. The W. M. Keck Foundation has awarded a $1 million research grant to OSU’s School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering and to […]


Circle of Friends

Circle of Friends

Healthy Economy, Spring 2014, Terra Blog

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 […]


Trial by Fire

Trial by Fire

Behind the Scenes, Healthy Planet, Spring 2014

Few places are as hot as 6,000 degrees Centigrade: the surface of the sun, the center of the Earth, the heart of a laboratory device at Oregon State University. In the lab, this is the temperature of a kind of flame produced when argon gas flows through an intense electromagnetic field. Appropriately, the part of […]


Bio Boost for Supercapacitors

Healthy Economy, Innovation, Spring 2014

Oregon State chemists have discovered an inexpensive and rapid process for turning cellulose into the components of supercapacitors. These high-power energy devices have a wide range of industrial applications, from electronics to automobiles. Cellulose, the primary ingredient in paper, is one of the most abundant organic polymers. By heating it in the presence of ammonia, […]


Honors and Recognitions

Honors and Recognitions

Spring 2014

Jane Lubchenco Distinguished University Professor, Adviser in Marine Studies, College of Science Award: Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Ecology & Conservation Biology Organization: BBVA Foundation (Spain) Her research established a scientific framework for defining the optimal locations, size and connectivity of marine reserve networks, effectively integrating her scientific expertise into science-based principles for public policy. […]


Searching the Past

Searching the Past

Healthy People, Spring 2014, Student Research

Since 2009, students from Oregon State and around the country have come to the lower Salmon River canyon and lived in tents for eight hot summer weeks. When not cooling off in the river, they dig, sift, haul and record as they participate in the search for traces of some of the earliest human activity […]


Bioengineering Students Jump-start Their Careers

Bioengineering Students Jump-start Their Careers

Healthy People, Spring 2014, Student Research

A team effort to find a new way to treat sepsis has provided myriad hands-on opportunities for undergraduate and graduate bioengineering students at Oregon State. They’ve made vital contributions to the research and advanced their careers. “This is such a large project that we’ve probably had a couple dozen or more students involved in recent […]


Cows Show Stress

Cows Show Stress

Features, Healthy Planet, Spring 2014

Livestock that have encountered wolves experience stress that may affect their health and productivity.


Wristbands for Health

Wristbands for Health

New Terrain, Spring 2014, Vitality

Pollutants can be undetectable to our senses, but an Oregon State researcher has come up with a simple way to monitor chemicals in the environment. A team led by Kim Anderson, professor in the College of Agricultural Sciences, has created a silicone wristband that absorbs chemicals in the air 24/7. “The wristbands show us the […]


Future Doctors

Future Doctors

Spring 2014, Student Research, Vitality

Students studying genetic properties of a fungal species hope to use their knowledge in medical careers.


Designing Engineers

Healthy Economy, Innovation, New Terrain, Spring 2014

What if the Wright Brothers had tested their flying machine on a computer before launching it on a North Carolina beach? They could have drastically shortened the time from idea to working prototype.


Delving Into Censorship

Delving Into Censorship

Healthy People, Inquiry, Spring 2014, Student Research

The past seemed familiar to Matthew Schuck when he began scouring the Valley Library Archives for clues to censorship during WWI.


Big Data Crunch

Big Data Crunch

Departments, Perspectives, Spring 2014, Terra Blog

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


A Nuclear Bond

A Nuclear Bond

Features, Front Page, Spring 2014

In January, Poland revived its nuclear-energy ambitions when the government pledged to build two nuclear reactors, bringing the first one online as soon as 2024. Oregon State University is a partner in realizing Poland’s new nuclear energy initiative.