The Thomas Condon Lecture honors the legacy of its namesake, a minister, a university teacher and Oregon’s first State Geologist.  Thomas Condon used the free public lecture to disseminate scientific knowledge to the general public throughout his career.  To honor that legacy, the Oregon Board of Higher Education established the Thomas Condon Lecture in 1944.  The generous support of CEOAS and the Research Office allows OSU to bring world-class scientists to campus each year.

2023 Thomas Condon Lecture

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Title: Ivory, INTERPOL, intrigue: Using chemistry to solve forensic mysteries

Speaker: Thure Cerling, University of Utah

Talk summary: Naturally-occurring variations in elements, called isotopes, can be used in a wide variety of ways in forensic studies. Ratios between isotopes of a given element can provide clues to animal and human diets, region of origin, travel history and other chronologies. Cerling will discuss several applications of isotopic analysis, including travel histories and origins of confiscated ivory.

Watch the lecture recording

Thure Cerling is a distinguished professor of geology & geophysics and distinguished professor of biology at the University of Utah. He uses chemical isotopes to understand geological and ecological processes, and applies that knowledge to interpret ancient and modern ecological and climatology records, to study wildlife and to understand the evolution of landscapes. He is the recipient of multiple awards and honors, including the Émile Argand Medal of the International Union of Geological Sciences, and was elected to the U.S. National Academies of Science in 2001. He holds a B.S. in chemistry and geology and M.S. in geology from Iowa State University, and a Ph.D. in geology from the University of California Berkeley.

2023 George Moore Seminar

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Title: Environments of human evolution in Africa: Some isotopic answers to intriguing, improbable, and (at times) impossible questions

Speaker: Thure Cerling

Abstract: Naturally occurring stable isotopes vary according to climate, ecology, migration, and other aspects of the environment.  In this lecture I will discuss how isotopes have informed us about the environments in which early humans evolved, including aspects of not only their physical environment, but their diets as well

Past Condon Lectures

History of the Condon Lectures at Oregon State

George Moore Seminar

The George Moore Seminar is named to honor the career and contributions of Dr. George W. Moore.  Dr. Moore spent his career working for the U.S. Geological Survey where he focused on regional tectonic and structural problems.  After retirement, he moved to Corvallis, where he volunteered for the Department of Geosciences in a wide variety of capacities.  At the time of his death, George was working on a book about the geology of wine in Oregon.

  • 2022 - Kathy Cashman - Onset and impacts of the c.7700 ybp eruption of Mount Mazama, OR
  • 2020 - Julia Clarke - Voices from the past: How we approach estimation of acoustic characteristics of extinct animals
  • 2018 - Kenneth Ridgway - Cenozoic flat-slab subduction processes and the tectonic development of southern Alaska
  • 2014 - Tullis C. Onstott - The hidden universe