Ken Hedberg
Ken Hedberg, a professor in the department of chemistry, moved into his office in the basement of Gilbert Hall in the early 1960s. (Photo by: Justin Quinn – Daily Barometer)

Originally printed in The Daily Barometer, Wednesday, February 5, 2014 (used with permission)

By: Dacotah-Victoria Splichalova

Professor Ken Hedberg makes waves in his field after nearly 30 years in retirement.

He tells everyone to “just call me Ken.”

Professor Ken Hedberg is an Oregon State University alumnus and the longest emeritus faculty researcher to continue researching after retirement for nearly 30 years.

Hedberg was born in Portland on Feb. 2, 1920. His father only completed eighth grade, and his mother didn’t continue her education after high school.

“Both of my parents were incredibly smart,” Hedberg said.

When the Great Depression hit, Hedberg’s father lost his job, which put the family in financial straits.

Hedberg recalls the lights being shut off in his home for periods of time; food rationing became a reality.

This experience left a strong imprint on Hedberg.

“My father said to me in my early teens that with every dollar I made, he would match for my college education,” Hedberg said, “but then how the depression hit us and with my father being out of work for such a long time — I knew that this promise would not come to be.”

Readjusting through a series of moves across the state, Hedberg, his mother and his sister moved to Corvallis with the goal in mind for the Hedberg children to attend OSU, while Hedberg’s father took a job working on the coast.

“I was so impressed by how my mother and my father came together to see what options they had in order to do the best for our family,” Hedberg said.

In order to meet this goal, Hedberg’s mother ran a boarding house within their home.

“It was a lot of work for my mother — the cooking the cleaning,” Hedberg said. “Almost 75 years later, I wouldn’t be seated here nor carrying out my research if my mother didn’t work as hard as she did.”

Graduating OSU in the 1940s, Hedberg attended graduate school at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., where he first met Dr. Linus Pauling, a fellow OSU graduate and head of the department of chemistry at the California Institute of Technology.

For the young graduate student, Pauling took note of Hedberg’s talents and intelligence and pushed Hedberg to pursue research that he was interested in. Pauling supported Hedberg by cultivating channels of opportunities and became a close, lifelong mentor and friend.

Upon completing his Ph.D., Hedberg was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship and Fulbright Scholar Program within the same year carrying out his research in Oslo.

Hedberg enjoyed exploring and seeing all the sites that the Norwegian culture offered him.

One warm summer evening in Oslo, Hedberg, a lover of chamber music, booked a ticket to attend an outdoor performance.

While waiting in line to pick up his ticket, Hedberg looked over to see a young woman, a woman researcher who worked with him in his new lab. She too was picking up her ticket for the show.

They entered together.

“Following, we went to a famous restaurant called Blom,” Hedberg said. “We had some snacks and munchies and walked our separate ways home.”

That was the first evening of the rest of their lives.

The couple married. Sixty years later, Lise and Ken Hedberg have two children — who respectively graduated from Stanford University and Harvard University — and four grandchildren.

In the early years, Hedberg worked at Caltech. Yearning to leave the Southern California smog, Hedberg decided to return with his family to beautiful Oregon to carry out his research and teach chemistry at his alma mater in the 1960s.

Hedberg retired from OSU in 1986.

Monday through Friday, Hedberg still arrives in the mornings to work on his research.

Hedberg is considered a sort of phenomena in the chemistry department.

He is an internationally recognized scientist and is one of the world’s pioneers in the development of electron diffraction and the study of molecular structures and intramolecular dynamics.

Moreover, Hedberg is the only researcher in OSU history to remain continuously funded, while being retired.

“Ken’s been retired — but not retired — for almost as long as I’ve been here,” said Phillip Watson, professor of chemistry at OSU.

Working for free, Hedberg continues to conduct his research at OSU and make scientific advancements within his field.

Science scholarship deadline:  February 15
Current undergraduate students in the College of Science are encouraged to apply for scholarships for the 2014-15 academic year. The amount of scholarships awards range from $500 to more than $8,500 (full in-state tuition) and vary from year to year.
For scholarship descriptions and award criteria or to apply online, click here.
Summer Undergraduate Research Experience in Science (SURE Science)
The College of Science’s SURE Science program offers support for undergraduate students seeking a summer research experience to complement their academic experience. Students can take advantage of opportunities to work alongside faculty for a hands-on learning experience. The program offers students the opportunity to foster meaningful, scholarly connections early in their academic careers.
The deadline to apply is February 28. For more information, visit

Apply for a long-term (6 to 12 months) research room at the Valley Library.  Doctoral candidates and faculty members engaged in special projects may apply.  Applications (available here) will be considered based on project merits and specific need for library space and materials.  The application deadline is Feb. 14 and decisions will be made Feb. 28.  Please complete and return to the library circulation desk, or return by email to

This post will be updated with all the February Food Drive Events.  If you receive our weekly links email, expect to see this title every week.

Did you look in the couch cushions??
Did you look in the couch cushions??


Penny Drive!  The Chemistry Department is holding a penny (but we’ll take your silver change too) drive to benefit the Linn Benton Food Share.  Bring your spare change into Gilbert 153 and fill the flask!  We’re accepting donations through Friday, February 28th.

Crock-Pot-Cook-Off  To Benefit Linn Benton Food Share: Sponsored by the AMBC.  Calling all crock-pot chefs!  Compete for OSU glory and enter your favorite chili, soup or side for just $5.  Cook-off on Thursday, Feb. 6 in Hovland Hall conf. Room 09 from 11:30 a.m. until the pots are empty! Help us judge and taste all the cook-off entries for just $3! See for details.

Quilt Raffle: Beautiful quilt made by Robin Baker of Primetime Quilters. On display in the Research Office located at A312 Kerr Administration Building. Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5 from Jan. 30-Feb. 28. For questions, contact 

NROTC Soup Luncheon: Come and share our bounty of Hearty Soups (one bread item is included) for $3 per bowl on Thurs., Feb. 4. Desserts & additional bread items sold separately for $.50 – $1.00. Serving begins at 11:30 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m at the Naval Armory Qrtdeck. For questions, contact

Book & Media Sale: Check out books and media for sale at the Valley Library’s 4th floor reception area, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., M-F, Jan. 30-Feb.28. Inventory is constantly changing throughout the month. Benefits go to Linn Benton Food Share. For questions, contact

Flower Power for Linn Benton Food Share: For every purchase made at Flower Power Fundraising, 50% will be given back to OSU Libraries, Extension & Experiment Station Communications & E-Campus to support Linn Benton Food Share. Lots of varieties of bulbs, strawberries, vegetables and flower seeds to choose from!

Horticulture Chili Feed to Stop Hunger!: Join us Wed., Feb 5, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in ALS 4018. Cost is $5 or two canned/ packaged food items. For questions, contact

Soup Lunch: Join us Feb. 6, 11:30 a.m.- 1 p.m., 3rd floor Staff Lounge, behind Willamette Room West, Valley Library for many varieties of homemade soup, bread/crackers, drink & dessert for a donation of a minimum of $5. Also have soup bowls made by Crescent Valley High School students for $10 donation! Questions? Contact

OSUsed Store Discount Sale: Wed., Feb. 5, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Property Services Bldg. Donate 3+ Food Drive items at our public sales in Feb. to receive a coupon for use in our store! For each set of 3 donations, receive 1 coupon for up to $20 off. Please see full details at We sell used furniture, computers, sporting goods, bikes, housewares and more.

International Potluck Lunch: Come join us for an internationally-themed lunch on Feb. 5, noon to 1:30 p.m. at ILLC’s fifth floor kitchen to benefit the OSU Food Drive. The suggested donation for this event is $5. All monies collected will be donated to the Linn-Benton Food Share. For questions, contact

Economics Program Plant Sale: Come by Ballard Ext. Hall, Room 303, M-F 8-5, Feb. 3-28, to purchase a variety of easy care plants, mostly succulents. $5 suggested donation for most plants with all proceeds going to the Food Drive. Questions can be directed to

3rd Annual Prettiest Pet Contest: Does your pet have what it takes to be the prettiest? Enter the Grad School’s 3rd Annual Prettiest Pet Contest with your pet’s photo & $1 entry fee at 300 Kerr Admin Bldg. Vote for the prettiest pet by donating funds/food from Feb. 5-28. The “prettiest” pet wins a prize & bragging rights for 1 year! For questions, contact

Papa’s Pizza Coupons for Sale: The University Honors College Student Association is selling coupon sheets to Papa’s Pizza (located in South Town) for $15 each for the Food Drive from Feb. 6-20. This coupon sheet is worth over $100 in savings, including a coupon for a free small pizza. Email for details.

Contest: Does your pet have what it takes to be the prettiest? Enter the Grad School’s 3rd Annual Prettiest Pet Contest with your pet’s photo & $1 entry fee at 300 Kerr Admin Bldg. Vote for the prettiest pet by donating funds/food from Feb. 5-28. The “prettiest” pet wins a prize & bragging rights for 1 year! For questions, contact

Folding for Food- Public Health and Human Sciences:   Put your creativity and your dollar bills to good use – submit your best origami-folded bills to 101 Milam by Feb. 21 for contest prizes. Then vote (with coins or dollars) for your favorite in 101 Milam between Feb 24-27. All money will be donated to OSU Food Drive. For questions, contact

NEW! Archive Film Festival and Bake Sale: Join us on Feb. 13 from noon to 1 p.m. to watch a film from OSU Archives in the Valley Library, Willamette E&W, 3662. Buy some goodies and help out Linn-Benton Food Share. Event sponsored by OSU Libraries & Press/ E-Campus/ Extension & Experiment Station Communications. Questions?




During winter and spring quarter, OSU will undertake a university-wide process to review options for learning management systems to best support our educational needs. Several products, including the current system, Blackboard, are being considered as the platform of choice for OSU. Employees are invited to join an overview session to learn why this effort is underway, how the review is being done, and how to participate. Learn more about this project at or contact Lynn Greenough. Overview session: Friday, Feb. 14, 2 to 3 p.m., Kidder 202. Remote participation:

Guest Blogger: Lindsay Wills

Students watching the Nye/Ham Debate

OSU-ChUME organized a watch party for the Tuesday night debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham entitled, “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?”. This was a long debate, scheduled to last two and half hours, so we got some pizza and gave people a place to watch the debate with fellow scientists and engineers.

The debate was a very interesting watch. Our audience was primarily on the evolution side of this debate, cheering several times at points made by Bill Nye. Nye made several excellent arguments to show that the earth is much older than the 6,000 years asserted by Ken Ham. Nonetheless, Ken Ham reiterated many times throughout the night that he believes that the bible is the literal word of god, and no one could ever convince him that the word of god is not true.

Students watching the Nye/Ham Debate

However, it didn’t seem like Bill Nye was there to change Ken Ham’s mind. Nye put a strong emphasis on reaching out to voters and kids during his chances to talk. He appealed to voters that the U.S. must continue to fund science education and warned that the U.S. could fall behind technologically if we do not keep science important in the classroom. For more information about the debate, or to watch a replay, visit

Students watching the Nye/Ham Debate

OSU-ChUME hosted this event to give undergraduate and graduate science students a chance to intermingle and talk about issues relevant to the lives of both groups. We will continue to host events like this throughout the remainder of the year. For more information about the OSU-ChUME program, contact Maduka Ogba ( or Lindsay Wills (

The Air Force Technical Applications Center is standing up a new laboratory and looking to fill numerous positions.

-The jobs can be found on using the codes listed below.

-The salary ranges do not include a locality adjustment.

-Note that all positions require a US Citizenship and the ability to obtain a Top Secret security clearance.

-Please encourage your students to apply for these jobs, particularly undergraduates finishing up this Spring.

-The job postings are incredibly vague, so below is some more information on what we are looking for on each job.

-Lastly, I expect a Chemical Safety Officer/Radiation Safety Officer job will be posted sometime in the future as well.

Feel free to contact me if any questions arise regarding the Air Force civil service, Florida, the laboratory, etc.


All the Best,

Brent Matteson, 2010


Brent Matteson, PhD

Chief, Laboratory Operations Branch

Air Force Technical Applications Center

Patrick AFB, FL

Comm: 321-494-6312

DSN: 854-6312


*  8X-DCIPS-1032156-028735-JP

Interdisciplinary nuclear engineer/ physics/chemistry – This position is for a senior level mass spec scientist.  (The ad also mentions counting experience, but is really for mass spectrometry.)  We really need a good person here.  They should have both analytical chemistry and mass spec experience.  This is a MS/PhD level position.  They will be supervising several chemists and instrument techs, run two large clean-room suites, and some really cool MS instruments to work with.  We particularly would like chemists with mass spectrometry experience.


The other 6 jobs are all classified as physical sciences technicians.  There are two levels of scientists being advertised – GG-09 and GG-11.  The big difference is just in responsibility and ability to solve problems.  None of these are supervisory positions.  A BS or MS is preferred for each position.

*  8X-DCIPS-1031366-029326-JP

*  8X-DCIPS-1031780-033980-SDL

These two positions are sample processing technicians in the radiochemistry section.  We are looking for folks with good analytical skills and any bit of radchem experience.  They will work on elemental purifications.  A third job in this group should come out in the next few days.

*  8X-DCIPS-1032943-033867-SDL

This is a chemistry position working in the mass spec section. This is all very low level work mostly in the clean room environment. Strong analytical skills are desired. Another, tech position in this group will come out in the future.

*  8X-DCIPS-1027157-034011-SDL

*  8X-DCIPS-1030266-029844-JP

These two positions will part of one of the largest count rooms in the world.  These positions will specialize in alpha, beta, or gamma counting chemically separated samples and keeping the instruments up and running. Another job in this group should come out in the next few days.

*  8X-DCIPS-1032208-033965-SDL

This position is for a sample reporting/logging technician.  They will help coordinate the submission of gamma screening and count room data.


Sumit Saha (Photo by: Justin Quinn, c/o Daily Barometer)
Sumit Saha (Photo by: Justin Quinn, c/o Daily Barometer)

By: Dacotah-Victoria Splichalova

Originally printed in The Daily Barometer February 4, 2014 (used with permission)

Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry looks at sustainable compounds used in electronics.

Behind every LCD screen, there are metal components that require high-quality UV exposure in order for the television or iPhone displays to work more efficiently.

Higher quality metals used in LCDs produce faster pixels, which results in better quality devices.

“We’re looking at elements that are more commonly available and affordable like tin, zinc and aluminum,” said Shawn Decker, a Ph.D. candidate in the department of chemistry and a member of the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry. “Our goal is to discover ways to process these materials in more sustainable and less energy-consuming ways.”

Traditionally the materials that go into making electronic devices have been processed using various types of vacuum chambers, which takes a lot of energy, according to Decker. This process is of concern to Decker and his colleagues because it is inefficient and wasteful.

Recognizing the vital need to lessen the energy that goes into the production of these materials, the CSMC’s research is looking at cutting down the waste of materials and energy by focusing on more environmentally friendly compounds and solvents.

For this reason, one of the main solvents being used within the laboratory research is water.

The CSMC is a Phase-II Center for Chemical Innovation and is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. It is the brainchild of Doug Keszler, a distinguished professor in the department of chemistry at OSU and the current director of the center.

Maintaining a strong emphasis on research collaboration, the CSMC brings together university, industry and community partners.

There are six university collaborators involved with furthering research discovery within the CSMC: Oregon State University, University of Oregon, Washington University in St Louis, Rutgers University, UC Davis and UC Berkeley. Hewlett Packard, IBM and Intel are a few of the CSMC’s industry partners.

The CSMC is comprised of researchers from various disciplines including inorganic and computational chemists, mechanical engineers, material science specialists, physicists and electrical engineers.

The industry strives to make displays on electronic devices, like the iPhone or the flat screen television, thinner and thinner.

The overarching goal for CSMC researchers and its industry partners is to produce materials that will in turn shrink the electrical components and all of the parts that go into making these displays.

“These devices can take up less space and be nice and flush against your living-room wall or fit better in your coat pocket,” Decker said.

The center is working with different metals that are low-cost and reusable, so the energy it takes to produce these new materials is reduced.

Sumit Saha, a synthetic chemist, joined the CSMC this past fall as a postdoctoral research scholar.

Saha is focused on cultivating some of these new materials by working specifically with organometallic compounds, which are organic and inorganic metals combined.

This combination of the old technology (organic materials only) with the new (inorganic materials) is a bridge toward becoming more sustainable in the industry.

The opportunity to see how the CSMC’s research performs outside of the lab on the larger scale within industry is important for the researchers in order to recognize what the full potential and benefits are for society, according to Saha.

“It is a great center to work … to commercialize (students’ and faculty’s) research with the potential of starting up a new company,” Saha said. “Researchers need to share our science with the community in order to see if its going to be applicable or not.”