Science Cafe Explores Potential Impacts of Oil and Gas Exploration

scafe(STILLWATER, OKLA. / May 22, 2014) — Science Cafe OSU is offering a weekly Community Series beginning May 29 at 6:30 pm in the Stillwater Public Library Auditorium. “Potential Impacts of Oil and Gas Exploration” will feature OSU professors offering basic information about their research.

OSU Librarian and Program Coordinator Karen Neurohr explained the impetus for the series.

“In April the OSU Library, OSU Chapter of Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, and OSU Vice-President for Research Office sponsored a Science Café at the Edmon Low Library on the topic of hydraulic fracturing. We had a record attendance of 155. Many questions were raised by community members, so we decided to offer Science Café as a series of community programs at Stillwater Public Library. We don’t have all the answers. Our intent is to provide information, have civic discussions and increase knowledge.” 

The first program, “Drilling Basics,” takes place Thursday, May 29 and explains the basic facts about the drilling process and oil and gas exploration, including hydraulic fracturing.

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as hydrofracking, fracking, or fracing, is a technique used to release oil and gas from geologic formations. Fracking is used to provide oil and gas resources to consumers and industry. Drilling produces waste that must be safely disposed. 

The program features speakers Todd Halihan and Chad Penn. Halihan is a professor of hydrogeophysics in Geology. His research includes evaluating Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids impacted sites, evaluating groundwater/surface water interactions and hydraulic testing in fractured aquifers.

Penn is an associate professor of soil and environmental chemistry in Plant and Soil Sciences. His current research focuses on water quality and the re-use of industrial by-products in agriculture and for environmental protection. He studies land application of drill cuttings and fluids and disposal sites.

The series continues on June 5 with “Communities and Housing” featuring Drs. Dave Shideler and Gina Peek who will offer basic information about community issues. 

On June 12, “Costs and Benefits” will feature Drs. Larry Sanders and Shannon Ferrell who will offer basic facts about state and federal environmental laws that have implications for industry, communities and consumers.

Neurohr plans to conclude the series on June 19 with a forum of information about Oklahoma agencies and resources.

Science Cafe highlights interesting, relevant and current research and features brief presentations followed by discussion and questions. No science background is assumed or required.

Sponsors for Science Cafe, Stillwater Community include the OSU Library, Stillwater Public Library, OSU Chapter of Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society and OSU Vice-President for Research and Technology.

All events are free and open to the public.  For more information, contact the OSU Library at 405-744-2376 or send a message through, or visit the Stillwater Public Library web site at, email or call 405-372-3633

The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. (the corner of Duck and 12th Ave.).