Spanning art, science
Published: Friday, February 15, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 15, 2013 01:02
Oregon State University instructor Randall Milstein has extensive educational achievements.
Milstein discussed his menagerie of interests, his involvement at OSU and the importance of the arts in our community.
“I’ve had the opportunity to teach in 10 different departments on campus just because of my academic and professional background,” Milstein said.
With such a variety of skill sets, he is able to teach in many areas, but his favorite is space science. Milstein teaches an intro to astronomy class and his love of the subject is unwavering.
Milstein began his educational endeavors with a degree in photography.
“When I went to art school and graduated, I got out and it occurred to me that photography really didn’t explain the world to me the way I saw it,” Milstein said.
He decided to continue on in school and received a degree in earth science with an emphasis in stratigraphy and petroleum geology. After receiving his degree, he worked as a commercial photographer until he was presented with an opportunity he could not pass up.
“I was offered a job with the geological survey in Michigan with the petroleum geology in Michigan,” Milstein said.
In a state where a significant percentage of America’s fresh water is found, there are critical rules that need to be enforced regarding the oil that is also prevalent there.
One thing led to another and through the Michigan Geological Survey, yet another opportunity presented itself.
“I got handed a project pertaining to a strange oil field,” Milstein said. “I found out that it was a 450-million-year-old impact crater that was really, really deep in the ground.”
He explained the shattering effect of the impact crater and how it creates a great location for an oil field.
Milstein described the excitement that accompanies discovery as well as how much he enjoyed naming the craters he found.
“I really enjoyed my time as a teaching assistant when I was in school and so I decided to make a change in my career,” Milstein said.
It was a choice between continuing on to law school or coming to Oregon State.
“I decided I wanted the adventure and so I came here,” Milstein said. “Very shortly after that, the geoscience department was looking for someone to teach stratigraphy. When I got done with my degree, I just stayed around as an instructor.”
His photography continues to be an integral part of his life and he recognizes differences and similarities in his science and art backgrounds.
“My job is to teach, and it is a great love of mine but I’m always thinking about science,” Milstein said. “To go and be able to take pictures of something that’s very interesting is an outlet and lets my brain have a break.”
There is cross-over of the subject though.
“When I approach shooting pictures of dancers, I see the physics of it,” Milstein said.
“When it comes down to it, it’s all about forces and the power of the bodies,” Milstein said.
Aside from his work at OSU and his photography, Milstein engages in the Arts Center of Corvallis and is on the board of directors.
As he explains, significance of art in the community is incredibly important.
“I think that if you’re going to be a member of the community, wherever you live, if you’re not contributing to making it better, what good are you?” Milstein said.
Milstein is currently exhibiting a series of photographs from the Oregon Ballet of which he describes the unique experiences it has given him.
“I look at it as my privilege to be able to go photograph the companies,” Milstein said. “You establish a professional, trusting relationship with the athletes.”
His exhibition is in the OSU Center for the Humanities and continues through March 29.
Alice Marshall, arts reporter