Tag » College of Science

Private Eyes
May 28, 2014

Private Eyes

Americans’ personal data are under scrutiny by government spy agencies, commercial search engines and a vast rabble of phishers, sniffers and black-hat hackers

“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.


May 28, 2014

Bio Boost for Supercapacitors

Cellulose shows promise for energy devices

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, […]


Swimming with Sharks
November 4, 2013

Swimming with Sharks

Childhood inspiration led Courtney Jackson to the ocean

For Courtney Jackson, everything began when she saw a shark swim across a television screen. She was in second grade, and the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week took her underwater and face-to-face with fearsome predators. At the end of it, she came to one conclusion: She wanted to be the scientist swimming with the sharks. A […]


Biological Origami and Naked Mole Rats
October 10, 2013

Biological Origami and Naked Mole Rats

Seeking the secrets of longevity in misfolded proteins

A half-ounce flying mammal, a tiny marsupial that glides from tree limb to tree limb, and a hairless, burrowing rodent with supersize front teeth all share a trait that makes them intriguing to researcher Viviana Perez: exceptional longevity. The little brown bat (Myotis lucifungus), common across North America, has been known to live more than […]


Drug Test
October 12, 2012

Drug Test

Chemists' prototype fingers fake medicines

By some estimates, a third to half of the artesunate, an anti-malarial drug, in some countries is counterfeit. The World Health Organization has called for faster, more accurate tests, and now a team of Oregon State University chemists has stepped up with an innovative approach.


Risk Assessment
September 17, 2012

Risk Assessment

When Annika Swanson arrived as a freshman at Oregon State in 2010, she already had a life purpose: join the ranks of research faculty studying the causes and effects of environmental pollution. “I’ve always had a deep interest in the environment and in environmental toxins and pollution. This began when I was younger and my […]


Behind the Screens
September 10, 2012

Behind the Screens

OSU-UO partnership aims at greening the flat-panel display industry

Some of today’s flat-panel TV and computer screens are nearly as big as a living room wall. They bring us unimaginably sharp detail, from the spots on butterfly wings to the grimace on a linebacker’s face. Whether hooked up to your cable feed, DVD player or wi-fi, this technology is becoming integral to daily life. However, our love of flashy high-res has a dark side.


The Heart of Mass
July 25, 2012

The Heart of Mass

Discovery of the Higgs opens a new chapter in the exploration of nature

The term “God particle” tends to rankle physicists. The flippant reference to the recently discovered particle believed to be the Higgs boson was coined by Leon Lederman, the former director of the Department of Energy’s Fermilab and Nobel Prize winning physicist. But, says Ken Krane, nuclear scientist and emeritus professor of physics at Oregon State […]


Battling the Superbugs
May 30, 2012

Battling the Superbugs

Science wages war on bacteria that are resisting modern drugs

This story has echoes of heroes tramping the Earth (or the galaxy) on a quest to defeat the forces of darkness. Along the way, the travelers encounter strange creatures with remarkable powers. They endure harrowing tests of mental strength and technological prowess. In the end, they prevail, bringing down the enemy and discovering a truth […]


Turncoat Proteins
May 30, 2012

Turncoat Proteins

Scientists scope out the earliest signs of disease

It’s one of life’s little ironies. The proteins in our bodies fight infection, carry messages, ferry oxygen and build tissue. But then, like double agents in a spy novel, they can betray us. They overreact to a virus and attack our own organs. They promote cancer, help clog arteries or set up roadblocks in the […]


Business Partners
May 30, 2012

Business Partners

Entrepreneurs leverage OSU research in startup companies

One sunny spring afternoon, friends sat together in the backyard of a Corvallis home sipping wine, bemoaning the recent hike in gas prices to $3.50 per gallon. Among them were a former product-development specialist for Hewlett-Packard and an Oregon State University chemist. Perhaps inspired by the bioethanol in their glasses, what might happen, they wondered, […]


The Oh! Zone
May 29, 2012

The Oh! Zone

Far-out findings from science

Ancient Blood Brothers Like the “sloth moth,” which lives only in the fur of the ambling two-toed and three-toed mammals, the “bat fly” exists only in the fur of the winged, cave-dwelling mammals. Now scientists know that the flea-like, blood-sucking fly has been hanging around with bats for at least 20 million years. That’s because […]


X-ray vision
May 24, 2012

X-ray vision

Discarded data may hold the key to a sharper view of proteins and other molecules

There’s nothing like a new pair of eyeglasses to bring fine details into sharp relief. For scientists who study the large molecules of life from proteins to DNA, the equivalent of new lenses has come in the form of an advanced method for analyzing data from X-ray crystallography experiments. Reported in this week’s issue of […]


Botanist leads international fungal genome project
December 22, 2011

Botanist leads international fungal genome project

Joey Spatafora's goal: 1,000 fungal genomes in five years

Fungi are master recyclers, turning waste into nutrients and providing humankind with everything from penicillin to pale ale. Although fungi are members of one of the world’s most diverse kingdoms, we know relatively little about them. That is about to change. A new study headed by Joseph Spatafora, an Oregon State University professor of botany […]


OSU undergraduate solves long-standing problem in organic chemistry
December 8, 2011

OSU undergraduate solves long-standing problem in organic chemistry

Sam Bartlett's findings make chemical synthesis faster, more efficient

When Sam Bartlett, an Oregon State University senior in chemistry, put on his lab coat, goggles and latex gloves in the summer of 2010, he didn’t expect to wind up helping organic chemists around the world. With guidance from Chris Beaudry, assistant professor of chemistry, he developed the most efficient and productive method yet reported […]


Contraceptive vaccine under study for elephants and horses
November 21, 2011

Contraceptive vaccine under study for elephants and horses

For Ursula Bechert, reducing conflicts between wild animals and people comes down to good birth control.

The first lesson the elephants taught Ursula Bechert was that they had a sense of humor.


Chemistry for Life
October 27, 2011

Chemistry for Life

The foundation for OSU's new science center was built a century ago

In 2011, the first Baby Boomer turned 65 — the leading edge of a wave that is going to change the country. By 2030 one in every five Americans will be older than that. People are already living longer, taking time to travel and to enjoy their families. Think gourmet cooking classes, fishing trips and […]


Bug Zoo
October 12, 2011

Bug Zoo

OSU’s arthropod museum provides a window on the past and clues to our future

The other day, I found myself sharing a room with 3 million dead bugs.


Thinking Like a Physicist
February 21, 2011

Thinking Like a Physicist

OSU leads national effort to reform upper-level physics education

Walk into an upper-level college physics classroom almost anywhere in the country, and you’ll see students sitting down, listening to the professor and taking notes. Despite years of education research showing that students learn better by being active, the common curriculum for juniors and seniors in physics still emphasizes passivity. In recent years, a revolution […]


Surprise in the Sargasso
February 1, 2011

Surprise in the Sargasso

Microbes are masters of adaptation. In some of Earth’s most extreme environments — Antarc- tica’s frigid ice fields, Yellowstone’s sulfuric hot springs, Crater Lake’s lightless depths, the oceans’ deep-sea basalts — Stephen Giovannoni has discovered thriving communities of bacteria. As the holder of the Emile F. Pernot Distinguished Professorship in Microbiology, he has discovered some […]


Lionfish Outcompete the Natives on Coral Reefs
February 1, 2011

Lionfish Outcompete the Natives on Coral Reefs

Lionfish memo to coral reefs in the Bahamas: There’s a new predator in town. Native to the South Pacific, the invasive lionfish is reducing the abundance of native fishes on coral reefs in the Bahamas (see “Deep Ecology,” in Terra, spring 2008). OSU zoologist Mark Hixon leads a team of graduate students and other collaborators […]


Yellow tang study shows marine reserve benefit
December 22, 2010

Yellow tang study shows marine reserve benefit

The popular aquarium fish are rebounding after being nearly wiped out

Marine ecologists at Oregon State University have shown for the first time that tiny fish larvae can drift with ocean currents and “re-seed” fish stocks significant distances away – more than 100 miles in a new study from Hawaii.


Expedition to the Edge
May 23, 2008

Expedition to the Edge

An OSU scientist braves an uncharted rainforest in a search for rare and endangered species

A love of bugs led Chris Marshall to take a white-knuckle flight into a remote South American rainforest. With an eye on cataloging the diversity of these rich ecosystems before they vanish, he returned with species never seen by scientists.


Deep Ecology
April 4, 2008

Deep Ecology

From coral reefs in the tropics to Oregon’s rocky banks, Mark Hixon investigates coastal marine fishes

When talk turns to the mud-dwelling creatures of the deep seafloor, Mark Hixon jumps up from his swivel chair, strides to a cabinet in his office and swings open the door. Taking out a long cardboard box, he gently lays it on his desk. “This,” he says, reaching inside, “is a sponge from just off […]


Invaders in the Dunes
January 23, 2008

Invaders in the Dunes

Unnoticed by most beach–goers, a showdown is under way in Oregon’s coastal dunes, and the winner could pack increased risks for coastal property, especially during winter storms. OSU scientists have documented a slow but steady takeover by American beach grass (Ammophila breviligulata), an invasive species from the East Coast and Great Lakes. They have found […]


Glass Half Full (roughly speaking)
July 23, 2007

Glass Half Full (roughly speaking)

It takes a model to measure subsurface water

The next time you sip a glass of spring water, consider this: Before it got to your lips, that water was soaking through soil, creeping along basalt crevices or flowing through porous volcanic rock. It nurtured microbes, carried dissolved minerals and may have spread the byproducts of human activities. Its pivotal role in the environment […]