Drink Like a Scientist | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Drink Like a Scientist

OSU Science Pub brews up beer and research

Who says our Beer Issue has to be all about drinking beer in a vacuum of nonsense small talk?

If you like drinking beer while watching "How It's Made" or reruns of "Myth Busters," then you need to attend a local Science Pub. The monthly events take scientists out of the sterile lab setting and put them in local taverns, where the public can kick back with a tasty brew while being taken on a journey into the fascinating world of science.

The collaboration between Oregon State University-Cascades and OSU's main Corvallis campus allows attendees to meet some of the institutions' leading researchers and gain a better understanding of what they are accomplishing, all in the most natural setting for locals imaginable: a pub.

Launched in 2009, the OSU-Cascades' Science Pub series was developed as a way for the University to engage the community in the amazing work that OSU and OSU-Cascades researchers had underway. According to Christine Coffin, director of communications & outreach for OSU-Cascades, the series was modeled after a similar one hosted by OSU in downtown Corvallis.

Coffin says, "OSU is a research powerhouse. It accounts for more research funding than nearly all of the state's comprehensive public universities combined."

The idea is that a casual lecture series like the Science Pub gives attendees an insight into the depth, breadth and impact of OSU's research while introducing them to the talented people who devote their careers to understanding and improving the world.

Science Pub series also gives guests a better understanding of how research can be directly applicable to people's lives—research that does things such as protecting human health, solving problems in food, energy, and water systems and managing natural resources. Coffin says, "(The results) also make their way into businesses like OnBoard Dynamics here in Bend, which launched using licensed technology innovated by OSU-Cascades' engineering professor Chris Hagen." 

The OSU-Cascades' Science Pubs are hosted at McMenamins in Bend, and according to Coffin, the goal is to expand them to surrounding areas such as Sisters, Redmond, and other Central Oregon communities.

To date, OSU-Cascades has hosted about 50 Science Pubs on topics from beer, to the physiology of dogs in the Iditarod race, to the sense of flavor, to autism, to barley breeding.  Coffin says, "We have many attendees who come regularly and always welcome newcomers." The Science Pubs consistently sell out, demonstrating the community's thirst for knowledge.   

Upcoming Science Pubs include "Wolves in Oregon: Fact, Research, Issues" on Oct. 18, which will be led by John Williams, associate professor in the Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences at OSU College of Agriculture. It will introduce participants to a study launched in 2008 that collected data on cattle and wolves over a six-year period.

On Nov. 15 George Waldbusser, associate professor of Ocean Ecology and Biogeochemistry at OSU College of Earth and Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, will lead "Denying the Deniers: The Science of Ocean Acidification," which will discuss the current state of knowledge on ocean acidification and its impacts on marine life.

Upcoming Science Pubs

Father Luke's Room, McMenamins Old St. Francis School

700 NW Bond St., Bend


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