Corvallis Science Pub

Nick Houtman of OSU speaks to the audience. Click here to view past Science Pubs on Terra's Livestream. by Maggie O'Reilly

What’s better than a scientific lecture? Why, a scientific lecture you can enjoy with a pint of beer, of course.

The monthly Science Pub is still going strong at the Corvallis Old World Deli. Science Pub is an event coordinated by OMSI, OSU, and the Downtown Corvallis Association in order to bring scientific issues to the general public.

This month’s presentation was “Trouble with Tunicates” with Sam Chan, professor of  Fisheries and Wildlife, and focused on the growing threat of invasive species in Oregon.

It’s clear, at first glance, that this isn’t just a boring lecture—the place is packed shoulder to shoulder. “This is actually a smaller crowd than usual,” said Shelly Signs, director of University Events, “our first Science Pub here we had to turn about 75 people away.”

But, the Corvallis Science Pub is just one branch of a much larger program. There are monthly Science Pubs in Portland, Hillsboro, Salem, and Eugene.

Each pub has a different scientific theme ranging from environment awareness to medical breakthroughs. The Corvallis pubs often begin with a trivia quiz, and those who get the most questions right win prizes.

Overall, the crowd is a balanced mix of students and older locals. The beer was flowing freely, the atmosphere was casual and laid back. More importantly, Sam Chan’s presentation was accessible and free of complex scientific jargon.

A sneaker covered in the invasive species Zebra Quagga Mussel. Click to learn more. by Maggie O'Reilly

For example, did you know the gypsy moth was accidentally introduced in the 1800s, and since then we’ve been struggling to rid Oregon of them? That’s an example of how insidious invasive species can be. A couple of easy ways to inadvertently import an invasive species is by towing boats, and buying campfire wood from out of state.

The next Science Pub will be June 13 at Old World Deli at 6 p.m. The presentation is “White Carrots, Purple Tomatoes, and the Art of Vegetable Breeding” with Jim Myers from the OSU Department of Horticulture.

You can check out upcoming topics in OSU’s scientific magazine “Terra,” or follow them on Facebook. Or you can log onto the OMSI website to see the Science Pub topics for all locations. I highly recommend getting there early to find a seat.

What do you think?