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Out of the Mud

In 2002, the Welsh city of Newport was rocked by the discovery of a wooden ship buried in more than 20 feet of mud along the river Usk. Contractors had been digging a foundation for a new arts center when they struck solid oak timbers. A plan to dispose of the wood and get on […]

Atoms for Peas

The specter of nuclear technology gone wrong haunts the Pacific Northwest. From recent radioactivity traced to Fukushima to issues with waste containment along the Columbia River at Hanford, Washington, citizens have good reason to be suspicious. Radioactive materials can benefit society in many ways: They are used to produce carbon-free electricity, to diagnose disease, and […]

Seventy Years of Peril and Hope

LINUS PAULING, OREGON STATE’S MOST FAMOUS ALUMNUS, spent the latter years of his life warning the world about the humanitarian and environmental threats posed by nuclear weapons. His international activism earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962. (See “Like Looking Over His Shoulder,” Terra, Summer 2008.) Now, Pauling’s alma mater is again raising nuclear […]

Ethical Evolution

Barely a century has passed since Louis Pasteur developed a vaccination for rabies. Since then, scientists have discovered treatments for some of the worst human scourges: smallpox, tuberculosis, polio and influenza. Much of their success can be traced to experiments on animals under circumstances that would shock us today. Pasteur learned about rabies by infecting […]

Bridging the Nuclear Divide

Nothing could have prepared Linda Richards for her visit to the Navajo Nation in 1986. The landscape was littered with piles of uranium debris. Signs warning of radioactive contamination were hung on playgrounds and living areas. The water wasn’t safe to drink. Families were living in homes made of radioactive materials. “Many of the people […]