OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Expert on subsurface life to present Condon Lecture

11/07/2014

CORVALLIS, Ore. – T.C. Onstott, a geologist, geochemist, biogeochemist and expert on unusual microbial life forms in the Arctic and deep beneath the surface of the Earth, will present the 2014 Thomas Condon Lecture on Thursday, Nov. 20, at Oregon State University.

The lecture is free, open to the public and designed for a non-specialist audience. It is titled "The Hidden Universe."

The presentation will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Construction and Engineering Hall of the LaSells Stewart Center on the OSU campus, preceded by a reception with refreshments. The Condon Lecture, named after a pioneer of Oregon geology, helps to interpret significant scientific research for non-scientists.

Onstott is a professor of geochemistry in the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University. He has won numerous awards, and was named as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2008.

Onstott studies subsurface microbial life and microbial ecosystems of permafrost, and its implications for global warming, petroleum biodegradation, life on Mars and the origin of life. The work also raises questions about how deeply into a planet life can penetrate and whether life could originate inside a planet.

This research has explored the Canadian High Arctic, the mines of South Africa to depths of more than two miles, and Yellowstone National Park. Onstott’s research also involves collaborations with NASA scientists on the development of space-flight capable instrumentation for detecting life. 

Onstott will also give a more technical presentation on a related topic, in the George Moore Lecture titled “Carbon cycling in the deep subsurface: Never was so much owed by so many to so few.” That event will be Friday, Nov. 21, at noon in Gilbert Hall, Room 124.

The presentations are sponsored by the OSU Research Office and the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.

College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

About the OSU College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences: CEOAS is internationally recognized for its faculty, research and facilities, including state-of-the-art computing infrastructure to support real-time ocean/atmosphere observation and prediction. The college is a leader in the study of the Earth as an integrated system, providing scientific understanding to address complex environmental challenges