Breakthroughs

Experience. Explore. Discover. Achieve. And Now: Steward.

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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 the ‘Geosciences’ Category

Aaron Wolf in the Utne Reader

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on July 14, 2009


Water Negotiator Aaron Wolf Spreads Liquid Hope

Wolf’s calling takes him all over the world, wherever bodies of water—usually rivers—are shared by two or more countries. A dam built upstream, on one side of the border, will affect the flow of water on the other side. Whose needs are more important? Is generating electricity the priority? What about pollution?

“Everywhere you find real tension,” he says, “you’ll also find shared rivers.”

Related OSU links:

OSU’s Water Resources Graduate Program

Aaron Wolf in the department of Geosciences

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Posted in Geosciences | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

You Know You’re Putting in an Honest Day’s Work When Your Research Project Shows Up in Popular Mechanics

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on May 5, 2009

brook_mitchell_mentorsEd Brook has missed more than his fair share of faculty meetings on campus, but he’s off the hook. That’s because he and his team have been off in Greenland, working chain saws and pickaxes to free huge chunks of ice containing gases they study to understand climate change. In this article from Popular Mechanics, Brook, who was 39 at the project’s outset and 45 at its conclusion, says “We should’ve got in shape, I don’t think I could do this again.”

Ed! That’s what grad students are for!

In the photo: Ed Brook and Logan Mitchell, from the OSU Mentors program.

Posted in Geosciences | Leave a Comment »

Reminder: F.A. Gilfillan Memorial Award Lecture tonight (Monday, May 4)

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on May 4, 2009

2009Gilfillan PosterDate: May 4, 2009

Austin Auditorium, LaSells Stewart Conference Center

Welcome: 7:15-7:30 p.m.

Introducing Dr. Peter Clark
Dr. Sherman H. Bloomer, Dean, College of Science

Lecture, Q&A: 7:30-8:30 p.m.

About Dr. Peter Clark:

Dr. Peter Clark earned a BS from St. Lawrence University, an MS from the University of Waterloo, and, in 1984, a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado. He worked as an assistant professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago before coming to OSU in 1988. Dr. Clark has pursued wide ranging studies with students and collaborators, including controls on global sea level change, the history of northern hemisphere ice sheets, the role of ice sheets in global climate change, and mechanics of large scale glacial movement and sediment deposition. Deciphering mechanisms of abrupt climate change is a major focus of his work – integrating theoretical studies, field observations, and lab work. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles, has edited three influential books, and has been continuously funded by the NSF since 1987.

Dr. Clark’s work has been recognized with the 2007 Easterbrook Award from the Geological Society of America and the 1997 Gladys Cole Memorial Research Award, also from the GSA. He has played a major leadership role in his discipline, work that includes organizing a Chapman Conference and international conferences on ice sheets, an invitation to be a keynote speaker to the Geological Society of London, service as an editor and on editorial boards of four major geological journals, and significant roles in the leadership of the GSA, and most recently as a lead author for the US Climate Change Science Program on Abrupt Climate Change.

Dr. Clark has been a consistent and committed contributor to education in his department. A baccalaureate core course he developed on Global Change and Earth Science remains a popular part of the Synthesis requirement; he has contributed to numerous required majors courses in geology and a diversity of graduate courses in stratigraphy, glacial geology, and geochronology. His Ph.D. students have gone on to post-doctoral positions at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Columbia University, University of British Columbia, and Oxford University, and faculty appointments at the University of New Hampshire, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the University of Quebec at Montreal, and the University of St. Andrews.  He has also been serving as program director for geology for some time, and is one of the directors of the PALEOVAR initiative, a multi-year, multi-institution program in climate change studies funded by the National Science Foundation.

About the F.A. Gilfillan Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Science:

A true Renaissance man, Francois A. “Doc” Gilfillan inspired colleagues and students alike. He served the College of Science as dean from 1938 to 1962, and OSU as acting president from 1941 to 1942. Doc Gilfillan dedicated his professional life to scholarship and science at OSU as a faculty member in pharmaceutical chemistry.

During his administration as dean, the College gained stature because of his work to establish many new programs in research and education. He was fluent in German, Russian, French, and Italian; studied Latin, Greek, and Japanese; and knew ancient Sumerian and a few NW Indian dialects. His love of learning led him to explore new knowledge all his life.

In his memory, his family established the F.A. Gilfillan Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Science. The purpose of the award is to recognize distinguished scholarship in science by honoring a faculty member in the College whose scholarship and scientific accomplishments extend over a substantial period of time at OSU and are widely recognized by peers. The winner of the award receives a plaque presented at the annual College of Science Faculty and Staff Awards Day, a stipend, and an opportunity to present their research in a public lecture.

Posted in Geosciences | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Committed to a Fault

Posted by houtmann on April 2, 2009

In the arid environment east of Bend, erosion is slow. Topography reveals the presence of fault lines where they are not obscured by ancient lava flows. (Photo: Anita Grunder)

In the arid environment east of Bend, erosion is slow. Topography reveals the presence of fault lines where they are not obscured by ancient lava flows. (Photo: Anita Grunder)

Some of us need a direct, physical connection with a subject to look at it through the lens of science. For Ajeet Johnson, an OSU master’s student in Geosciences from Bend, that connection came from rock climbing at Smith Rock and skiing at Mt. Bachelor. Now she locates fault lines and seeks answers to questions about Earth movements in Central Oregon’s High Lava Plains. She is looking for clues to explain a landscape shaped by volcanoes and colliding tectonic plates, and she wants to know what those clues might mean for our future. See “Committed to a Fault” in the latest issue of Terra.

Nick Houtman

Posted in General News, Geosciences | Leave a Comment »

OSU Professor Peter Clark co-authors study of Antarctic ice melt

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on March 19, 2009

Here’s a story from the Calgary Herald about a study of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and the effects its collapse could have on the earth’s rotation:

The enormous ice sheet, which many experts believe could collapse as the climate warms, is so heavy that as it melts it “will actually cause the Earth’s rotation axis to shift rather dramatically,” reports a team led by geophysicist Jerry Mitrovica, at the University of Toronto. The scientists say the North and South poles would move about half a kilometre if the entire ice sheet collapses and shifts more water north.

He and his colleagues stress that the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, while a big concern, is not imminent and may not occur for centuries. “But these findings do suggest that if you are planning for sea level rise, you had better plan a little higher,” says co-author Peter Clark at Oregon State University.

Posted in Geosciences | Leave a Comment »

Geo Club and Hydrophiles Trip Blog

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on March 17, 2009

The OSU Geo Club and Hydrophiles are spending their spring break in Israel and Palestine. They’ve started a blog which will be updated nightly during their visit. Check it out and enjoy the narrative and photos!

Posted in Geo Club, Geosciences | Leave a Comment »

Terra – Winter 2009

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on February 17, 2009

The Winter 2009 issue of Terra is now available. Stories from the College of Science include Ajeet Johnson’s study of the Brothers Fault Zone in Central Oregon, and how Chemistry is going green in the new Green Materials Chemistry Center.

Posted in Chemistry, Geosciences, Terra | Leave a Comment »

150 Million Years in the Making

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on January 14, 2009

OSU Geologists contributed to a new exhibit at the capitol building in Salem.

With help from geologists at OSU, the Oregon Historical Society unveiled a new exhibit – called “150 Years of Statehood; 150 Million Years in the Making’ – in the capitol building in Salem.

The displays, which are spread along four banks of windows near the information desk at the capitol, took more than two years to organize.

The Capitol building is located at 900 Court Street NE in Salem and is open from 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday.  To celebrate Oregon’s 150th birthday, there will be a family day at the Capitol on Saturday, February 14th — a perfect opportunity to check out the display! Watch their website for more information.


Posted in Geosciences | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Some Climate Impacts Happening Faster Than Anticipated

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on January 5, 2009

While concluding that some projections of the impact of climate change have actually been too conservative – as in the case of glacier and ice sheets that are moving and decaying faster than predicted – others may not pose as immediate a threat as some scenarios had projected, such as the rapid releases of methane or dramatic shifts in the ocean current patterns that help keep Europe warm.

Click here to read the full article.

Posted in Geosciences | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

EarthScope looks into the planet

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

President Ray’s quarterly report brings us news of the EarthScope Program:

A first-of-its-kind transcontinental project called EarthScope, whose national office is located at OSU, is giving geologists an unprecedented look into the depths of North America. Their work is already turning up clues about silent quakes, creaking fault lines and the potential for a tremor to become a convulsion that topples buildings and sends tsunamis racing toward shore.

See the entire article here.

Posted in Geosciences | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »