In the 1960s, the Beatles sang about getting by with a little help from their friends. In the never-ending search for funding, scientists have sung the same tune, but their circle of acquaintances is expanding. They’re partnering with a wider variety of organizations and accommodating more diverse needs. So, as a result, Oregon State’s research enterprise is becoming more creative.
Oregon State’s vice president for research, Rick Spinrad, has been tapped to chair a federal committee on ocean observing systems. The 13 marine scientists, conservationists and industry stakeholders will advise the Integrated Ocean Observation System, as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), on data collection, management and technological innovation.
At a recent meeting of the American Meteorological Society in New Orleans, I participated in a discussion of early warning systems that give the public time to take cover from tornadoes and to prepare for hurricanes. Today, we have hours or days to get out of harm’s way. Contrast that with the hurricane in Galveston, Texas, in 1900: Inability to track and warn of the storm led to the deaths of more than 8,000 people. That event still ranks as the United States’ most deadly natural disaster.
Climate science is moving from “what if” to “when,” “how,” and “with what practical consequences.”
I departed Oregon State University with a deep education, fun memories and well-respected degrees. Yet, moving along in my career and across the continent, I rarely looked back.