OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

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Amber fossil reveals ancient reproduction in flowering plants

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A 100-million-year old piece of amber has been discovered which reveals the oldest evidence of sexual reproduction in a flowering plant – a cluster of 18 tiny flowers from the Cretaceous Period – with one of them in the process of making some new seeds for the next generation.

The perfectly-preserved scene, in a plant now extinct, is part of a portrait created in the mid-Cretaceous when flowering plants were changing the face of the Earth forever, adding beauty, biodiversity and food. It appears identical to the reproduction process that “angiosperms,” or flowering plants still use today.

Researchers from Oregon State University and Germany published their findings on the fossils in the Journal of the Botanical Institute of Texas.

The flowers themselves are in remarkable condition, as are many such plants and insects preserved for all time in amber. The flowing tree sap covered the specimens and then began the long process of turning into a fossilized, semi-precious gem. The flower cluster is one of the most complete ever found in amber and appeared at a time when many of the flowering plants were still quite small.

Even more remarkable is the microscopic image of pollen tubes growing out of two grains of pollen and penetrating the flower’s stigma, the receptive part of the female reproductive system. This sets the stage for fertilization of the egg and would begin the process of seed formation – had the reproductive act been completed.

“In Cretaceous flowers we’ve never before seen a fossil that shows the pollen tube actually entering the stigma,” said George Poinar, Jr., a professor emeritus in the Department of Integrative Biology at the OSU College of Science. “This is the beauty of amber fossils. They are preserved so rapidly after entering the resin that structures such as pollen grains and tubes can be detected with a microscope.”

The pollen of these flowers appeared to be sticky, Poinar said, suggesting it was carried by a pollinating insect, and adding further insights into the biodiversity and biology of life in this distant era. At that time much of the plant life was composed of conifers, ferns, mosses, and cycads.  During the Cretaceous, new lineages of mammals and birds were beginning to appear, along with the flowering plants. But dinosaurs still dominated the Earth.

“The evolution of flowering plants caused an enormous change in the biodiversity of life on Earth, especially in the tropics and subtropics,” Poinar said.

“New associations between these small flowering plants and various types of insects and other animal life resulted in the successful distribution and evolution of these plants through most of the world today,” he said. “It’s interesting that the mechanisms for reproduction that are still with us today had already been established some 100 million years ago.”

The fossils were discovered from amber mines in the Hukawng Valley of Myanmar, previously known as Burma. The newly-described genus and species of flower was named Micropetasos burmensis.

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George Poinar, 541-752-0917

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Ancient flowers

Ancient flower


Pollen tubes

Pollen tubes

Celebrate Veterans Day – then head back to class

CORVALLIS, Ore. – With improved educational benefits and after years of conflict in the Middle East, a flood of veterans are heading to college in numbers that surpass those of recent history.

Oregon State University has 1,025 students who are receiving veteran educational benefits, a new record and the most of any university in Oregon. They now account for about one out of every 25 students at OSU, and a range of programs are being created or expanded to help facilitate this stream of incoming veterans.

“I’ve talked to counterparts all over the country and this is clearly a national trend,” said Gus Bedwell, the OSU veteran resources coordinator. “OSU has always had quite a few veteran students, but right now we’re almost triple the number of five years ago. Other institutions are also seeing three to four times as many veterans as they used to.”

Part of the increase, officials say, is due to an expansion of educational benefits that were put in place in the early 2000s, including some that veteran dependents and spouses can use. A weak economy also made it an opportune time for veterans to attend college, just like many other students.

OSU has responded with renewed efforts to pave the way for returning veterans, programs to cut through federal bureaucracy, and make sure the students get both the personal and professional help they need.

Two new initiatives at OSU are an example. A Student Health Services Veterans Work Group is helping to ensure treatment of the full range of health concerns that veterans face, including access to some local services. And a Veterans Work Group focuses much of its efforts on academic and programmatic support. This group and other officials have trained advisers, worked to expedite the transfer of military transcripts to academia, and helped keep students informed during the recent government shutdown.

A website at http://oregonstate.edu/veterans/home/ helps guide veterans, and a veterans lounge in the OSU Memorial Union allows veterans an opportunity to meet and build their community in a casual setting.

“OSU has really made an effort to understand the obstacles veterans face and help work around them,” Bedwell said.

For instance, he said, the federal government is often slow at making veteran educational benefit payments. Officials know the money will come, but in the meantime it can cost students penalties, interest, and create “holds” that interfere with course registration. So the university created a mechanism to avoid these holds, allow regular progress with an educational program, and refund any penalties once the government payments are made. This program is called the “Goodwill Interest Waiver.”

The university’s nationally recognized program of distance education, E-Campus, is also a favorite with many veterans. They can take courses while living literally anywhere in the world and earn degrees in a wide range of fields.

OSU, with its origin as a land grant college, had a mandate under the Morrill Act of 1862 to “include military tactics” as part of its educational program, and the university has always been tuned to the needs of veterans.

It’s one of a limited number of schools that hosts all four branches of the Reserve Officers Training Corp, and its student center, the Memorial Union, was named to help honor veterans, many of them returned from World War I. OSU has earned the title of “Military Friendly School” by GI Jobs several years in a row.

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Gus Bedwell, 541-737-7662

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Veterans Day Parade

Students in parade

Celebrated memoirist Nick Flynn to read at OSU on Oct. 11

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Writer Nick Flynn will read from his work on Friday, Oct. 11, at Oregon State University’s Valley Library rotunda. The free public event begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be followed by a question and answer session and book signing.

Flynn is the author of three memoirs including “The Reenactments” (2013), “The Ticking is the Bomb: A Memoir of Bewilderment” (2010) and “Another … Night in Suck City” (2004). Flynn is also the author of three books of poetry.

Of Flynn’s most recent memoir, “The Reenactments,”  Kirkus Reviews wrote: “Flynn’s determination to better understand his life through the act of writing and remembering has yielded a truly insightful, original work.” Clea Simon of The Boston Globe said Flynn’s writing is “always specific and honest” and “dryly funny.”

His award-winning memoir “Another … Night in Suck City” was turned into the movie “Being Flynn,” starring Robert De Niro and Paul Dano. That book recounted his unusual relationship with his alcoholic father and the suicide of his mother.

Flynn, 52, is a professor of poetry and married to actress Lili Taylor.

Flynn has been awarded fellowships from The Guggenheim Foundation, The Library of Congress, The Amy Lowell Trust, and The Fine Arts Work Center.

The Visiting Writers Series brings nationally-known writers to Oregon State University. The program is made possible by support from The Valley Library, OSU Press, the OSU School of Writing, Literature, and Film, the College of Liberal Arts, Kathy Brisker and Tim Steele, and Grass Roots Books and Music.

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Rachel Ratner, 516-652-5817

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NickFlynn
Nick Flynn

Exhibit featuring graduating students’ thesis artwork at Fairbanks Gallery in June

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University students completing their Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees will present their thesis work in an exhibit June 5-17 at the Fairbanks Gallery on the OSU campus in Corvallis.

Twenty students graduating from various art disciplines will be exhibiting in the show. They are: Milla Oliveira, Mike Chasco, Angelica Ingeman, Diana Robbins, Kelsey Carruth, Ariyon Kawai, Brooklyn Cochran, Kiana McCurry, Mai Xee Yang, Johnny Beaver, Reid Dehle, Lily Hudnell-Almas, Koa Tom, Kaylee Weyrauch, Kody Kirkpatrick, Cat Fitzsimmons, Tiffany Cha, Madelaine Corbin, Alexandra May, Caroline Moses.

A reception will be held in the gallery at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 6. OSU Provost Edward Feser will present the President’s Award for Excellence in Art and the Provost’s Purchase Award. Larry Rodgers, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, will present the College of Liberal Arts Purchase Award. Seniors of Distinction Awards also will be presented to outstanding graduating seniors in studio art, photography and art history.

Also at the reception, scholarships will be awarded to returning students, freshmen and transfer students selected through a competitive portfolio review. The scholarships include the Stone/Sponenburgh Scholarship, Joyce Dickerson Printmaking Award, Norma Seibert Print Scholarship, Yaquina Art Association Scholarship, Freshman Foundation Award, Helen E. Plinkiewisch Scholarship and others.

The Fairbanks Gallery is located at 220 S.W. 26th St., Corvallis. Exhibits are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. It will also be open for special hours 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 15 and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 17.

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Andrew Nigon, 541-737-4880, andrew.nigon@oregonstate.edu

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Tongue and Hip by Milla Oliveira

Tongue and Hip

Transcontinental by Milla Oliveira

 

Transcontinental

Student-directed one-act play festival runs June 1-4 at Oregon State University

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Three original, student-directed, one-act plays will be featured in Oregon State University Theatre’s annual Spring One-Act Festival June 1-3 on the OSU campus in Corvallis.

Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. June 1-3 and at 2 p.m. June 4 in the Withycombe Hall Lab Theatre, 2901 S.W. Campus Way.

The three featured plays are comedies showcasing the creativity of student directors, actors and designers. The line-up includes: 

  • “The Two Minds of Mr. Coffan,” by Hannah Fretz and directed by Sedona Garcial, is a surreal look into the imagination of a struggling young writer whose characters come to life to help improve his terrible novel.
  • “Love Games,” by Heaven Carreon and directed by PJ Harris, is a wacky melodrama about the nature of sex, infidelity, and love.
  • “Skinner,” by Mike Stephens and directed by Brian Greer, is a pun-filled parody of 1980s teen-slasher movies depicting a group of naïve high school students on a weekend camping trip that goes terribly wrong.

Tickets for the 2017 One-Act Festival are $8 for general admission, $6 for seniors, $5 for youth/students, and $4 for OSU students. Tickets are available online at http://bit.ly/1wgmTkJ.

For accommodations related to a disability, contact the OSU Theatre Box Office at 541-737-2784.

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Oregon State University Band concludes 125th season with May 30 concert

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Band will conclude its 125th season with a performance by the OSU Wind Ensemble and OSU Wind Symphony on Tuesday, May 30, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Austin Auditorium at The LaSells Stewart Center, 875 S.W. 26th St., Corvallis. 

The OSU Wind Symphony, directed by Olin Hannum, will open the concert with five popular favorites from the symphonic band repertoire: Alfred Reed’s “A Festival Prelude,” conducted by graduate music education student Hannah Sneller; John Mackey’s “Hymn to a Blue Hour”; Carolyn “Early Light,” conducted by graduate music education student Tim Chase; an arrangement of Astor Piazzolla’s “Oblivion” featuring student tuba soloist Maria Rivera; and a wind-band adaptation of John Williams’ overture “The Cowboys,” from the John Wayne movie of the same name.

 Director of bands Chris Chapman and the OSU Wind Ensemble will open the second half of the concert with  Justin Raines’ concert overture “Dreams of Flight”; followed by Bruce Broughton’s “In the World of Spirits,” a cinematic 11-minute tone poem written in 2011; “Baron Cimetiere’s Mambo” by Donald Grantham; Gustav Holst’s Second Suite for Military Band, Op. 28, conducted by graduate music education student Tim Chase; and Lucien Cailliet’s arrangement of Richard Wagner’s “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral.”

Tickets are $5 for general admission. Admission is free for K-12 youth and OSU students with valid ID. Advance tickets available online at http://liberalarts.oregonstate.edu/SACevents. For accommodations relating to a disability call 541-737-4671, preferably at least one week in advance.

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Zachary C. Person, zachary.person@oregonstate.edu, 541-737-4671

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OSU Wind Ensemble

OSU Wind Ensemble

Corvallis-OSU Symphony concludes 111th season with ‘Music Transcendent’

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Corvallis-OSU Symphony Orchestra will perform “Music Transcendent” on Tuesday, May 23, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Austin Auditorium of The LaSells Stewart Center at Oregon State University (875 S.W. 26th St.) in Corvallis.

The performance, conducted by Marlan Carlson, will feature works by Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss and Claude Debussy in a display of musical imagery, virtuoso ensemble work and colorful orchestration.

A selection from “The Sea,” a 1905 Debussy piece, opens the program. The orchestra will perform “From Dawn to Noon on the Sea,” the first movement of the three-part symphonic poem in which Debussy depicts the sunrise and waking of the sea.

Strauss’ suite from his opera “The Woman Without a Shadow” closes the first half of the show. The fairytale-based opera premiered in 1919. Strauss extracted key elements from the score for the suite nearly 30 years after its premiere and it is that piece that is most frequently heard by modern audiences.  

The second half of the concert is dedicated to popular excerpts from Wagner’s “Ring Cycle.” In addition to the well-known “Ride of the Valkyries,” Carlson will lead the ensemble in three selections from “Twilight of the Gods” – “Siegfried’s Rhine Journey,” “Siegfried’s Funeral Music,” and the final “Immolation Scene.”

Reserved seat tickets are $22, $27 and $32. They are available online at www.cosusymphony.org. General admission seats are $20 and are available in advance at Grass Roots Books and Music in Corvallis. Students are admitted free with valid student ID. Corvallis Arts for All discounts apply. For accommodations relating to a disability call 541-286-5580, preferably one week in advance.

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Zachary C. Person, 541-737-4671, zachary.person@oregonstate.edu

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Corvallis-OSU Symphony

Corvallis-OSU Symphony

Fishing and seafood in Oregon are the focus of May 18 discussion at OSU

CORVALLIS, Ore. – “Fish Tales: Traditions and Challenges of Seafood in Oregon,” a conversation about Oregonians’ relationship with ocean life and products of the sea, will be held on Thursday, May 18,  beginning at 7 p.m.at The Center for the Humanities at Oregon State University in Corvallis.

Food and travel writer Jennifer Burns Bright will lead the conversation on topics including the impact of the global seafood market, cultural traditions related to fishing, and challenges to the ocean and its bounty.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is part of Oregon Humanities’ statewide Conversation Project. It will be held in the lecture room at the Autzen House, 811 S.W. Jefferson Ave. in Corvallis.

Bright, of Port Orford, recently retired from teaching at the University of Oregon, where she researched desire in 20th-century literature, led a faculty research group in the emerging discipline of food studies and won a national pedagogy award for a team-taught, interdisciplinary class on bread.

She holds a doctorate from the University of California, Irvine and a Master Food Preserver certification. As a community organizer linking local producers and consumers, Bright often speaks and teaches at events. Her writing appears in Gastronomica, Oregon Quarterly, NPR’s The Salt, and AAA’s Via.

Through the Conversation Project, Oregon Humanities offers free programs that engage community members in thoughtful, challenging conversations about ideas critical to daily life and the state of Oregon’s future.

 


 

About Oregon Humanities: Oregon Humanities connects Oregonians to ideas that change lives and transform communities. More information about Oregon Humanities’ programs and publications, which include the Conversation Project, Think & Drink, Humanity in Perspective, Idea Lab, Public Program Grants, and Oregon Humanities magazine, can be found at oregonhumanities.org. Oregon Humanities is an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and a partner of the Oregon Cultural Trust.

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Joy Jensen, 541-737-2450, centerforthehumanities@oregonstate.edu

Startup Showcase, a celebration of entrepreneurship, will be held May 10 in Corvallis

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Startup Showcase, a celebration of achievements and a new take on a traditional startup graduation event, will be hosted by the Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator/RAIN Corvallis program on May 10 in the ATAMI building at HP in Corvallis.

The Startup Showcase provides an opportunity to learn about innovations in the pipeline, new technologies and the latest group of emerging startups, while networking with investors and entrepreneurial experts.

The schedule of events includes:

  • 4 to 4:50 p.m.: The Futurists. A panel discussion featuring groundbreaking work by OSU researchers Mark Leid, Brian Paul and Yiğit Mengüç showcasing disruptive innovations.
  • 5 to 5:30 p.m.: Growth Stage. Three-minute pitches by Accelerator clients and finalists from the Next Great Startup competition. Companies include: GobTech, an artificial intelligence platform for game designers; Assure, a safety protection device for female college students; Sensiplicity Systems, lightweight, low-cost module IoT (Internet of Things) sensors for agriculture; Biological Solutions, biochar media for waste water remediation; FUEL, sensors to collect carbon credit data for wood stoves; Bird Bus Decoy, waterfowl hunting decoy carry packs; and Coastal Conditions, predictive technology for surf conditions. 
  • 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.: Launch Stage. Launch clients and alumni will give seven-minute pitches, followed by a short awards ceremony. Companies include: JULVIA Technologies, cost-effective wound closure devices; Hytchr, blockchain technology for photographers and large brands; Seiji’s Bridge, autism spectrum disorder products; and eChemion, improved efficiency and efficacy of large battery storage containers.

Attendees are invited to attend a reception following the Launch Stage. The event is free and open to the public but space is limited and attendees should RSVP online: http://bit.ly/2pDjAV5. The HP campus is located at 1110 N.E. Circle Blvd; attendees are asked to park in the northeast lot, behind the building.

This spring’s showcase falls in the middle of a three-day entrepreneurial event in Corvallis coordinated by the OSU Advantage Accelerator/RAIN Corvallis; Willamette Innovators Network (WIN); and the Willamette Angels Conference.

The events include a pub talk presented by WIN at 6 p.m. May 9 at 101 Eat and Drink in Corvallis. For more information and to obtain tickets, visit: http://bit.ly/2qqdoCP. The three-day series concludes May 11 with the 2017 Willamette Angels Conference at the Whiteside Theater. For more information on the conference or to register, visit: http://bit.ly/2qCizw4.

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Mark Lieberman, 541-368-5203, mark.lieberman@oregonstate.edu

OSU to celebrate its 25th repair fair

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Volunteers will repair broken items for free at the Oregon State University Spring Repair Fair on Wednesday, May 10, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Located at the OSUsed Store at the edge of OSU’s campus, volunteers savvy in a variety of D.I.Y. (do it yourself) and fix-it skills will offer their time and knowledge to teach others how to repair their belongings during the fair.

This event marks the 25th time the event has been offered, with more than 670 repairs taking place during the fairs. Volunteers can help make repairs in the following categories: small appliances and electronics; bikes; clothing; computer diagnostics; housewares, including furniture and lamps; woodwind instruments; and jewelry.

In addition to free repairs, two D.I.Y. demonstrations will be available during each hour of the event. Demos from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. will include workshops on planting seed starts and creating reusable bags from T-shirts. From 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. demos will teach attendees about how to fix bike tire tubes and basics of tire repair, as well as fixing bras when the wire sticks through.

OSU’s waste-reduction volunteer club, the Waste Watchers, hosts the repair fairs. Campus Recycling and the Student Sustainability Initiative jointly operate the club.

Full details for the event, including demos and repair skills, may be found at: http://tiny.cc/repair-fair

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Andrea Norris, 541-737-5398, andrea.norris@oregonstate.edu