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100 Faces of Forestry
Milo Clauson

Milo Clauson

Variety is the spice of science


Milo Clauson, Senior Faculty Research Assistant in the Department of Wood Science and Engineering, describes himself as a high-tech millwright. During a week's time, his work activities may range from helping an undergraduate student on a project to helping a graduate student define the details of a test project, to giving forklift and overhead crane driving lessons, discussing signal processing and data capture issues on a project, repairing an old Mack diesel truck, and writing computer code.

Clauson started his research career in the spring of 1971 when he joined the College of Oceanography (later to become COAS) at OSU in the Department of Marine Geology and Geochemistry. During his research time with OSU, his work covered global climate modeling, sediment transport mechanics, benthic flux measurements covering the Pacific Ocean from the Aleutian Islands south to the Antarctic and into the Mediterranean Sea. One of the highpoints of this work was participating in a multi-year sequence of deep ocean dives with the research submarine ALVIN near the Galapagos Islands. These dives have been showcased in the popular TV series produced by National Geographic and NOVA.

A few years later Clauson participated in submersible research dives into Oregon's Crater Lake. After 12 years, he left research at OSU and started a business that provided a deep water subsurface navigation software package. The system was used by oil companies, construction companies, research, and military customers to work in the deep ocean environment. After traveling and working globally with this system, he burned out, sold off the business, and started looking for slightly lower pressure jobs.

In October 1986, he rejoined OSU, this time with the College of Forestry Department of Forest Products, working with Dr. Jim Wilson. Their research again covered a wide range of topics but was largely related to nondestructive testing methods to assess mechanical properties of wood. They also worked on energy utilization in the industry, an area that Wilson still is actively perusing even in his retirement.

Clauson has been with the College of Forestry for about 20 years and with the wood mechanics/engineering group for the past 12 years. His work in this area involves testing of any materials or components related to wood products. He is the principal contact and functions as lab manager for the Gene D. Knudson Engineering Laboratory located in Richardson Hall. With the broad range of his background, Milo provides support largely to the Department of Wood Science and Engineering as well as Forest Engineering, Forest Science, and OSU Chemical Engineering.

Along the winding road of research, Clauson found himself in several South American events of note: a coup d'état in Peru, the overthrow of Salvador Allende in 1973 in Chile, in Peru during the Falkland events, and Panama just prior to the U.S. invasion. He has also had the pleasure of working with great researchers and hardworking talented students. Who says science can't be both fun and high risk?

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