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    Hello! Welcome to Breakthroughs, a site devoted to sharing with you the latest, greatest advancements from the College of Science at Oregon State University. From breakthroughs in research to transformational philanthropy to interesting tidbits from the daily life of the College, we'll post frequently to keep you up-to-date. Please visit often and absolutely let us know what you might like to learn more about. Enjoy, and of course, GO BEAVS!
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Archive for April, 2008

Corvallis: Green (and orange) place to live

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on April 30, 2008




Posted in General News | Leave a Comment »

Marrying Science and Business

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on April 29, 2008

Prior to say, 1997, when such programs came into existence, scientists may have been on their own finding themselves rising a corporate or non-profit ladder and making all kinds of business-type decisions. Similarly, business-minded folks may have felt out of their element working in a science-oriented industry. OSU has a solution to this conundrum in the The OSU Professional Science Masters Degree Program. (PDF document)

The program was featured in OSU This Week on April 3rd:

PSM students currently enroll in one of four tracks: applied biotechnology, environmental sciences, applied physics and applied systematics in botany. In addition to completing two years of coursework in their scientific discipline, students receive 19 credits of professional training in business management, communications, and research ethics, and they complete an internship in a business or government agency.

Posted in Professional Science Masters Program | Leave a Comment »

A Little Bit of Peace, Love and Chemistry with Every Letter

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on April 21, 2008

A Lasting Impression: The U.S. Postal Service Honors Linus Pauling

In early March, the U.S. Postal Service released a stamp honoring Linus Pauling’s lifetime of achievements. OSU celebrated the release with an unveiling and a commemorative postmark:

Linus Pauling stamp & postmark


Also see the Pauling Blog, maintained by the OSU Libraries Special Collections department.

Bundled within the tens of thousands of web pages that we’ve developed are any number of fascinating stories – stories about Dr. Pauling and stories about, indeed, the history of twentieth century science. It is the primary aim of this blog to extract some of those stories and present them here in easily-digestible form for those who might be interested. Along the way we’ll also be sharing news from within our department – be it upcoming events, new projects soon to be released or extra insight into projects already completed.

Posted in Linus Pauling Science Center | Leave a Comment »

Waves on a Plane

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on April 18, 2008

Sloshing motion of electrons cause Waves on a Plane. Just a little Physics humor for you today.

Posted in Physics | Leave a Comment »

Neighboring fault a bad influence; College of Science’s Chris Goldfinger a good influence

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on April 17, 2008

Geologists: Neighboring fault a bad influence (Inside Bay Area)

In what may be a dangerous example of keeping up with the Joneses, the San Andreas fault appears to be taking cues from a deadly neighboring fault zone offshore near Oregon and Washington. By searching for evidence of underwater sand deposits caused by major earthquakes to the north and comparing the timing to earthquakes on the San Andreas, geologists at Oregon State University and University of California, Berkeley, found a correlation between 13 quakes over the last 3,000 years. “It’s either an amazing coincidence or one fault triggered the other,” Chris Goldfinger of Oregon State University, and an author of the study, said in a news release Tuesday. “It looks like when Cascadia is hit by a major earthquake, another will occur in the San Andreas region — on average, within several decades, but possibly less.”

Posted in Geosciences | Leave a Comment »

Sincerely, Edward J. Ray

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on April 15, 2008

campaignlogoDear OSU Community:
I am delighted to let you know that The Campaign for OSU just crossed
the $400 million mark.  When we publicly launched our first capital
campaign at the end of October, donors had contributed $350 million
toward our $625 million campaign goal.  We have been gaining tremendous
momentum since, with loyal alumni and friends making additional gifts
totaling $50 million in less than five months.

As the campaign tagline — This amazing place. This historic moment. —
suggests, The Campaign for OSU is about more than just numbers.  It’s
about the amazing things happening in classrooms, on playing fields, and
in labs across campus.  It’s about students and faculty striving to make
an historic impact on our state and our world, from strengthening
Oregon’s economy and quality of life through innovations and creative
ideas to helping find answers to society’s most pressing problems
through the groundbreaking collaborative research that has become a
hallmark of our institution.
Our alumni and friends clearly believe the campaign will broaden and
deepen OSU’s impact in these areas.  I’m pleased to see that so many of
you do, too.  In the last few months, we have seen remarkable generosity
from OSU faculty and staff, both current and emeritus.  Their
commitments to The Campaign for OSU now total nearly $10 million and
benefit everything from Presidential Scholarships and endowed faculty
positions to the Poetry Interest Group and the Automotive Engineers
Fund.  I’m deeply grateful for this support from the people who are
closest to our mission — those who see most clearly the needs and the
potential of our teaching, research, and service.
As we proceed through the first year of the campaign’s four-year public
phase, I will endeavor to keep you informed of campaign progress and the
emerging impact on our university.  Therefore, this message initiates a
series of communications from me to all OSU faculty and staff about The
Campaign for OSU and related topics of importance to you and our
community.  I’ll be sending these e-mails as news warrants and welcome
your comments and suggestions as you receive them.
Along these lines, I want to share news of two important leadership
gifts we just received.
• An anonymous donor has committed $5 million to help construct the
   Student Success Center.  Augmenting our existing student support
   programs in Waldo Hall, this new building will house a range of academic
   services that will help students as they transition to — and fully
   engage with — OSU.

• Two new endowed professorships, one in forest management and another
   in turf management, were established recently through a $4 million gift
   from Jacqueline Giustina and the estate of her husband, the late Nat
   Giustina, long-time supporter of OSU.

• In all, 24 endowed faculty positions have been created since the start
   of the campaign, and more than $62 million in new commitments secured
   for scholarships and fellowships.

This support for OSU faculty and students is a great illustration of the
momentum and impact of the campaign and a strong vote of confidence in
everyone associated with Oregon State.  I, too, thank you for all you do
to help OSU succeed!
Edward J. Ray
For additional information about The Campaign for OSU, visit

Posted in Campaign | Leave a Comment »

Speed of Light Too Slow!

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on April 8, 2008

New Material Bends Light “Wrong Way,” Opens Optical Possibilities

Media Contact: David Stauth, 541-737-0787cover_image2_72

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The development of a new type of composite material that can bend light the “wrong way” is moving researchers another step closer toward creation of functional devices that could have a wide range of important optical and electronic applications.

Scientists at Oregon State University, Princeton University and Alcatel-Lucent have created the first “negative index” material that could be producible in bulk form and still have the capability to bend infrared light the opposite direction of any natural material.

“We were able to use existing technology that’s available for producing semiconductors to create this material, which is a multi-layered structure composed from reflective and transparent layers,” said Viktor Podolskiy, an OSU assistant professor of physics.

The advance was recently reported in a professional journal, Nature Materials.
Negative refraction of light, considered just a scientific theory until a few years ago, is the ability of a material to bend light in the opposite direction of any material found so far in the natural world. It’s a concept of considerable interest and importance in the optics research community, especially since the creation in recent years of some materials that could actually do this.

The new material, however, is the first negative refraction material that could be created in a comparatively thick form and used for broader practical applications at infrared frequencies.

The material might be of use to shrink the size of infrared optical systems. With further development it might lead the way to a working super lens, which could have an extraordinary level of resolution and be able to “see” things the size of a nanometer – keeping in mind that a human hair is 100,000 nanometers wide. It could also be used to construct “photonic funnels” – the waveguides that would connect telecom fibers to nanometer-sized molecules or quantum dots.

Such optical components could be of importance in machine vision systems, electronics manufacturing, data storage, or medical systems. The new material might also have applications in optical computing, which could be the new frontier of computers that are limited only by the speed of light, not the movement of electrons.

In theory, this type of technology might even be able to make things appear invisible – although for the time being this would be mostly just a scientific curiosity, not the Romulan “cloaking device” of Star Trek fame.

OSU researchers will continue work on the materials and the full range of possible applications they may allow, Podolskiy said.

Here’s the article in Nature Materials.
(photo by Keith Drake)

Posted in Physics | Leave a Comment »