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The state of the department, the state of the department head, and the state of human vision

Date:  Thursday, September 27, 2018

Time: 4:00pm

Location: 100 Willamette Hall

Speaker:   Richard Taylor, Department Head, UO Physics


The state of the department, the state of the department head, and the state of human vision


After three months with a new departmental head, I’m sure we are all curious to reflect on the current  ‘state’ of our department! In this talk, I will give you some qualitative and quantitative observations to help guide us in the year ahead. I’ve already written the first line: ”This is an exciting but complex time for our department.”


How would you place a 13 ton stone hat on top of 30-foot-tall moai statue?

UO Physics professor Ben McMorran helps in collaboration with former UO student Sean Hixon’s honors thesis on Easter Island moai.

“We were talking about inclined planes and rolling motion, and Sean mentioned his honors thesis work on the question of how the inhabitants of Rapa Nui managed to place large, cylindrical stone hats on top of 30-foot-tall moai statues,” said McMorran. “What was a rather rote mechanics problem for introductory physics became a nice collaboration in which we may have solved the mystery.”

Polynesians likely set up ramps using a parbuckling technique. That’s


Michael Raymer featured in an Around-the-O article

A call to action by a UO professor has helped catalyze bipartisan legislation recently introduced in Washington, D.C.

Physics professor Michael Raymer and University of Maryland physicist Christopher Monroe authored proposals for a National Quantum Initiative that is the basis for federal legislation introduced this week. The National Quantum Initiative Act will establish a comprehensive national program to accelerate research and technology development in this emerging area.

Its goals are to advance the country’s economy and national security by securing the United States’ position as