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Fall 2023

Plugging in to the future of materials

Close up of a smart car charging station

Dear Friends,

This is an exciting time for the College of Science! As we anticipate another academic year, once again we reaffirm our commitment to developing the next generation of science leaders, mentors and culture shapers and harnessing the power of science to improve the health of our planet and its people.

We are proud of our 629 ambitious undergraduate students who graduated in June with baccalaureate degrees, including 91 Honors graduates. We also commend our incredible graduate students, including 80 students who received master’s degrees and 45 who earned Ph.Ds. We are proud of their hard work, resilience and commitment. We know Beaver Nation will support them as they move forward with their lives.

Over the last year, faculty and students in our College have made cutting-edge research discoveries addressing local, regional and global challenges, some of which you’ll read about in this issue. For a more comprehensive look, please review our digital magazine. We are grateful for the trust of College friends, foundations and agencies who contribute funds to further our globally impactful research.

As this issue was going to press, we shared exciting news from the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav), an NSF-funded Physics Frontiers Center led by Oregon State University. The center uses the galaxy as a detector of gravitational waves, hunting for the signal of coalescing supermassive black holes, like the one at the center of our galaxy.

College of Science physicists Xavier Siemens, the co-director of NANOGrav, and Jeff Hazboun, along with 20 undergraduate and graduate students participate in this research. NANOGrav collaborators here and around the world received global attention when they reported evidence that a background hum of gravitational waves permeates our universe, as Einstein theorized over a century ago. This result brings us closer to understanding supermassive black holes and how galaxies evolve.

The news was shared by The New York Times, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Washington Post, NPR, AP News, The Indian Express and NASA among countless others. On Yahoo News, the discovery garnered over 136 hundred million views.

It brings me great pleasure to celebrate the many outstanding accomplishments of our community. I hope you will take the time to read some of the senior profiles on p. 3 and meet our diverse graduates who will change the future of science. Together, we are extending the reach and impact of science, Moving Science Forward locally and regionally in Oregon and making a lasting impact on the world.

Spread the word – Science Matters!

Vrushali Bokil
Interim Dean, College of Science