Portland State University college wraps up a summer dotted with science happenings

Students will soon descend on Portland State University for the start of the 2016-17 school year, but it’s not all been quiet around campus this summer. Researchers in various areas have been busy science-ing.

Here are some of the happenings from PSU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which plays home to biology, chemistry, geology, physics, math, anthropology* and psychology* departments, as well as several science-based centers and institutes:

 The Science Research and Teaching Center houses some of Portland State University's science departments, such as biology and chemistry. Susannah L. Bodman | Science In Portland

The Science Research and Teaching Center houses some of Portland State University’s science departments, such as biology and chemistry. Susannah L. Bodman | Science In Portland

Linda George, a professor of environmental science and management who studies urban air quality, has been named lead scientist of a new, collaborative effort to investigate Portland’s air pollution problems. The effort is jointly funded by PSU’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions, the city of Portland and Multnomah County.

It’s timely work, coming on the heels of concerns about toxic lead levels detected in a Portland neighborhood near Bullseye Glass.

The research could have a wide impact on regional toxin regulations and overall public health, according to CLAS staff.

George earned her environmental sciences doctorate in 1991 from PSU, and she has been working on air quality issues for three decades.

To learn more about George and the effort, check out a profile on PSU’s website.

Meanwhile, Doug Wilson, an archaeologist with Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and an adjunct professor with PSU’s anthropology department, led students from PSU and Washington State University-Vancouver in archaeological excavations as part of an annual summer field school in at Fort Vancouver.

Field school participants excavated the site of a World War I spruce mill and a Hudson’s Bay Co. waterfront complex. They found plenty of nails, glass, ceramics, charcoal and bone at the site. Then, digging deeper, they discovered evidence of a tribal site on the riverfront — one that predated arrival of European or Euro-American traders.

The Columbian, a Vancouver newspaper, published an article about the field school, and you can read more about it on PSU’s website.

And finally, PSU has a short piece up about two undergraduates working in chemistry professor Niles Lehman’s lab. The post is part of an effort to promote research opportunities at PSU for undergraduates.

Susannah L. Bodman
Twitter: @Sciwhat
Facebook: Sciwhat.Science

(*These are technically social sciences but some research therein can be complimentary to studies in biology, especially when there is an evolutionary focus or an attempt to understand how humans came to think and act like we do today.)

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