Science Pubs are where we take science out of the laboratory and bring it into the community, with food and drinks. Join us for fascinating discussions with researchers from throughout OSU and OSU-Cascades. Learn about the work they are doing to solve some of the world's toughest challenges. Get to know the researchers, ask questions, and leave knowing more about the world around you.

To support public health and follow OSU and local health authority guidelines, Science Pubs are presented virtually until futher notice.

Upcoming Science Pubs

March 8, 2021 | 6-7:30 P.M. | Virtual Event

The Moral Terrains of Science Activism and Environmental Justice

Rob Figueroa, Associate Professor, OSU School of History, Philosophy, and Religion

This presentation draws from the numerous examples where Science, Technology, and Society (STS) studies and Environmental Justice Studies (EJS) intertwine to assemble a repertoire of science activism narratives. Science activism operating under the umbrella of the Environmental Justice Movement (EJM) can be examined along intersectional contexts of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality, socio-economic class, and (dis)ability, industrial development, language preservation, Indigeneity, and cultural continuance.

Science activism is initiated once conscious scientific reasoning is employed or avoided in environmental justice contexts or disputes. To say it more directly, there is no neutral science in EJS. Indeed, the very lack of scientific investigation in many EJ cases is indicative of non-neutral science, of scientific favoritism, and status quo narratives about science. As controversial as that claim may sound, it also invites STS to assist in understanding science activism narratives as scientific advance by way of resolving scientific prejudices.

Rob selects some of the more outstanding examples of science activism narratives that span social reform, guerilla science, citizen science, climate science, and the critical analysis of corporate and state systems of scientific dominance against vulnerable environmental communities.



March 16, 2021 | 6-7:30 P.M. | Virtual Event

Climate Change Impacts Around (the) Bend

Larry O’Neill, Associate Professor, OSU College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences; OSU Climatologist

Larger and more frequent wildland fires, smoke severe enough to threaten air quality, and drought are signs of how climate change is changing the U.S. West. But how will a changing climate impact us here in Central Oregon? Join OSU climatologist Larry O’Neill to understand how a continuing drought and shrinking snowpack might impact future water availability issues, how weather patterns may increase rain in the region, and how temperatures and lightning storms may shape the severity of future wildfires.   



Past Science Pubs

February 18, 2021 | 6-7:30 P.M. | Virtual Event

The Promise of 3D Printing Soft Robotics

Stephanie Walker, Postdoctoral Scholar, Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems Institute, OSU College of Engineering 

Soft robots are changing the face of wearable technology, medicine and the art of squeezing into tiny places. Join OSU materials scientist Stephanie Walker as she explores how advanced research in 3D printing have made amazing, real-world applications possible.  She’ll share cutting-edge research that has produced new materials and 3D printing techniques that can form an array of complex devices, including electronic circuitry and actuators, the devices that operate robotics. She will also discuss real-world examples of these highly flexible robots and the work they do. 


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February 8, 2021 | 6-7:30 PM | Virtual Event

When Ideology Trumps Science: Why We Question the Experts on Everything from Climate Change to Vaccinations

Erika Allen Wolters, Assistant Professor, Political Science, Oregon State University; Associate Director, Public Policy Undergraduate Program, Oregon State University; Brent Steel, Professor and Director, Public Policy Graduate Program, Oregon State University

Using examples from high-stakes policy debates centered on hot-button controversies such as climate change, immunization and stem cell research, Wolters and Steel document the many reasons policymakers decline to take science into account when making decisions that affect the general population.

In addition, their research identifies the propensity of both liberals and conservatives to ignore scientific consensus when it diverges from their ideological positions. Possible approaches for overcoming this divide in policy will also be presented for discussion.

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January 11, 2021 | 6-7:30 P.M. | Virtual Event

Seeing Through Clothes: Impressions Formation, Prejudice & Sexism

Regan A. R. Gurung; Professor, School of Psychological Science; OSU College of Liberal Arts; Interim Executive Director, OSU Center for Teaching and Learning

Perceptions of people depend on what it is they are wearing. Job status, sociability, income, health and fitness can be perceived from clothing. People use categories when describing others and learn what types of clothing are associated with categories or labels. Different types of clothing send different messages. For example, men perceived women in revealing clothing as being more flirtatious, seductive, and promiscuous and less capable. African American men in sweatpants are viewed more negatively than when dressed formally. A model dressed in provocative clothing is viewed as more attractive and sexually appealing, but less intelligent and competent. Can we reduce sexism and prejudice by changing what people wear?

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November 17, 2020 | 6:00PM-7:15PM | Virtual Event


The Environment: How it affects you and your health

College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University 

Roberta Marinelli, Dean; Maria Kavanaugh, Assistant Professor, Ocean Ecology and Biogeochemistry; George Waldbusser, Associate Professor, Ocean Ecology and Biogeochemistry

College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University

Javier Nieto, Dean; Perry Hystad, Associate Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health and Epidemiology

When it comes to the environment and human health, everything is connected – from microbes to megafauna, and from pathogens to people. Come learn about the interrelationships of natural systems and your health from an all-star cast of Oregon State University deans and faculty experts.

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November 9, 2020 - Virtual Event

Fires in the West: How to build fire adaptive communities for the future

Erica Fischer, P. E., Assistant Professor, Civil and Construction Engineering, College of Engineering, Oregon State University

The 2020 fire season brought devastation to communities in Oregon's central Cascade mountain range. Explore how communities throughout the West can adapt to wildfire hazards when the climate is growing hotter and drier. Erica Fischer looks at innovative approaches to improving the resilience of structural systems facing natural and human-caused hazards. Join her for a discussion about the wildland urban interface and choices that can be made to reduce damage to infrastructure in the future. 

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October 12, 2020 - Virtual Event

The Pandemic we were not prepared for: The science, politics and the future of pandemics and our life

The COVID-19 pandemic has caught most nations off guard, wreaking havoc with massive mortality and morbidity, while creating major economic damage and disruption to daily lives and work. Around the globe, countries have responded with a range of policies and attitudes, resulting in a spectrum of  outcomes.

Join Chunhuei Chi, a professor in OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences and director of the Center for Global Health as he analyzes how various countries have responded to the pandemic and the consequences of those responses.

You’ll learn more about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and follow it from its discovery in China to its spread to the rest of the world. Chi will explore effective pandemic control policies that some nations have implemented, as well as key social-political factors that help explain the variations we see in national responses.

Chi will share insight about how we can control this pandemic effectively, what a post-COVID-19 world may look like and how we can prepare for it and even shape it.

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September 14, 2020 - Virtual Event

From Extinction to recovery: bringing golden paintbrush back from the brink in western prairies

Tom Kaye, Ph.D, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State University

Last documented in the wild in Oregon in 1938, golden paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta) was apparently extirpated from Oregon through agriculture, urban development and habitat invasion by exotic weeds. A few small populations remain in Washington and British Columbia, but even these have been in decline in recent years. The species was listed as Threatened by the federal government in 2000, and in 2004 became one of the first plants in the country to have a reintroduction plan.

Since 2010, the Institute for Applied Ecology has teamed with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to reintroduce this iconic prairie plant to western Oregon grasslands in an attempt to bring it back to the state, and in the process contribute to its full recovery and potential removal from the threatened species list. This process has faced many challenges, including the need to restore habitat for the species in the process and unravel its basic biology, from seed germination to its parasitic relationships with host plants through root-to-root connections. This presentation will provide a tour of the history of the species in Oregon, review research breakthroughs, and a summary of reintroduction and habitat conservation successes (and failures) in Oregon and rangewide. The story of golden paintbrush and its science-based comeback will brighten your day!

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July 13, 2020 - Virtual Event

Race and Politics: Reflections on a movement and an election

Christopher Stout, Associate Professor, OSU School of Public Policy

This discussion will focus on how Black Lives Matter as a movement arose, its historical antecedents and political ramifications. Christopher Stout will consider why there was a large lull in racial movements in the United States between the Civil Rights Movement and Black Lives Matter, how Black Lives Matter has reshaped American Politics and how the movement is likely to influence the upcoming presidential election.


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May 18, 2020 - Virtual Event

Heceta Bank: Oregon's Hidden Wonder

Jack Barth, Executive Director, OSU Marine Studies Initiative and Professor, OSU College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences; Bob Eder, Commercial Fisherman, Newport, OR; Bill Pearcy, Emeritus Professor, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences; Loren Davis, Professor of Archaeology, Oregon State University; David Baker - Director Oregon State Productions; Waldo Wakefield, Courtesy Associate Professor in Marine Resources Management at Oregon State University and in the Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies

The little-known Heceta Bank is one of the most productive areas on the Oregon coast and a hotspot for biological productivity due to its position and the influence of northern coastal currents in summers. Join OSU marine scientists and other experts to screen a new, short documentary featuring the submerged bank, located 35 miles off the Oregon coast, and learn about the surprising and beneficial impacts it has on our state’s coastal environments.

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May 11, 2020 - Virtual Event

Runners and Their Shoes: Where Non-Traditional Running Footwear Meets Biomechanics

Christine Pollard, Founding Director, Doctor of Physical Therapy; Associate Professor, Kinesiology; and Director, FORCE Laboratory

Running shoes prevent injury and improve performance. They date as far back as the late 1800s, and the first cushioned running shoe was introduced in 1964. Since then running footwear has evolved. Recent trends include a dramatically different shoe style – the minimal and maximal running shoe. Maximal running shoes provide runners with a highly cushioned midsole. Minimal running shoes provide little cushioning, if any. Kinesiology professor Christine Pollard, a biomechanist and physical therapist, is the director of the FORCE Laboratory. She’ll share what is known about the influence of various type of running shoes on our legs, knees and ankles - including the latest research. By the conclusion of her talk, you may have a better idea of things to consider when choosing your “ideal” running shoe.

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February 18, 2020 — McMenamins Old St. Francis School, Bend – Father Luke’s Room

What’s in Your Snowpack? Snow, Water and the Power of Citizen Science

David Hill, Professor, School of Civil and Construction Engineering, OSU College of Engineering; Co-Leader, Community Snow Observations + YOU; National Geographic Explorer

In the Pacific Northwest and other mountain environments, snow is an essential part of our water resources. The mountain snowpack stores and slowly releases water to downstream locations each spring. Stream ecology, agriculture and humans all benefit. Understanding the distribution and evolution of our snowpack is critical, but between cold temperatures, short daylight, and hard-to-get to locations, measuring it can difficult. Come learn how experts observe, record and study snow, and how they predict snow and ice melt. You'll also learn how citizen scientists enhance scientists' knowledge by crowdsourcing snow depth information.

Registration is now closed.


January 21, 2020 — McMenamins Old St. Francis School, Bend – Father Luke’s Room

Out of the Night, Into the Light: The Secret World of Bats

Tom Rodhouse, Courtesy Faculty; Co-Director, HERS Lab

As a lead architect of the North American Bat Monitoring Program, Tom Rodhouse has devoted more than two decades to bat conservation. He leads the Northwestern Bat Hub, a research and monitoring initiative within the HERS Lab at OSU-Cascades. Join us to learn about the valuable services bats provide natural ecosystems, from pollination to pest control, to hear why these mammals have historically been difficult to study and how the Bat Hub team is monitoring bat populations, including here in Central Oregon.  You’ll also learn about white-nose syndrome, a fungal condition that has been devastating to bats, and the impact of wind power turbines on bats in flight.

Registration is now closed.


November 19, 2019 — McMenamins Old St. Francis School, Bend - Father Luke's Room

Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Future Transportation

Chris Hagen, Director, Energy Systems Lab; Associate Professor, Energy Systems Engineering, OSU-Cascades

Technologies developed in the Energy Systems Lab at OSU-Cascades may shape how people and goods are transported in the future. Join professor and researcher Chris Hagen for a discussion about innovations in energy storage and engine technology that are changing how personal and transport vehicles are powered. He will also explore regulatory and economic factors that play a role in forecasting future transportation technologies. Hagen's research looks at energy conversion, novel transportation fuels, and the development of sensors for harsh environments. He developed a vehicle-based natural gas refueling system that led to the creation of a Bend-based company, OnBoard Dynamics. He launched a second company, Rogue Approach, which is advancing technology developed in the Energy Systems Lab that enables drones to fly farther and for longer periods of time. Hagen was recognized in 2017 by the Society of Automotive Engineers as one of the nation’s top young engineering educators.

Registration is now closed.


October 15, 2019 — McMenamins Old St. Francis School, Bend - Father Luke's Room

Modular and Portable: A New Way to Help Water Stressed Communities

Please note: This Science Pub has an earlier presentation start time of 6:15 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Bahman Abbasi, Assistant Professor, Energy Systems Engineering, OSU-Cascades

Around the globe, fresh water is increasingly scarce and untreated wastewater creates mounting public health challenges. Existing water desalination and wastewater treatment plants are large, permanent and expensive structures — features that are barriers for providing clean water in rural and impoverished areas, and in locations where water is needed urgently. Join OSU-Cascades researcher Bahman Abbasi to learn about efforts underway at the Bend campus to help stressed communities around the world by using thermal sciences to design innovative and perhaps lifesaving technologies. Abbasi is the recipient of more than $4 million in research awards from the U.S. Department of Energy to turn salt water into drinking water, and to treat hydraulic fracturing wastewater to improve the public health and environmental impact concerns associated with untreated wastewater.

Registration is now closed.


September 17, 2019 — McMenamins Old St. Francis School, Bend - Father Luke's Room

Does Your Dog/Cat Love You? The Science behind Human-Animal Bonds

Monique Udell, Associate Professor of Animal Sciences, OSU College of Agricultural Sciences; Director, Human-Animal Interactions Lab

Pet owners can form remarkable, deep and mutual bonds with their animals. Join OSU researcher Monique Udell to explore the source and nature of these human-animal bonds, and the impact these bonds may have on our own dogs and cats. Udell’s research team focuses on the development of cross-species interactions and the variety of social attachments that can develop in both wild and domesticated animals, particularly wolves, dogs and cats. The lab’s studies have examined human-animal attachment, the influence of social enrichment and training on welfare, and mutually beneficial approaches to animal assisted therapy.

Registration is now closed.


Science Pub Archive