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November 13, 2019

Allcock Lab Featured in the Emerald

The University of Oregon has invested in the promise of quantum technology. Quantum physicist David Allcock recently joined the UO Physics Department to continue his research on quantum computer technology, according to Around the O.

Allcock likened his work to developing early computer components. “No one really thinks about that. They think about algorithms and operating systems and servers. On some level, some electrical engineer has to figure out, ‘What are the tolerances on all these voltages?’ And that’s kind of the level where we’re working on,” Allcock said.

Early computers were larger and much less powerful than the microprocessors most of us carry around in our pockets today. It took years of research and engineering to make the technology compact and efficient. That is where Allcock’s research comes into play. It doesn’t take a lot to make a single atom move, and that’s precisely what makes quantum computing so difficult. Small interferences, from even just a particle of dust, can disrupt the system.

You can read the full article here.

November 5, 2019

Fishergroup, undergraduate research at PMO featured in the Oregon Quarterly

Thompson, Odelia Hartl, and Nicole Ringsdorf are members of an undergraduate research group named Fishergroup, under astronomy lecturer Scott Fisher. Thompson and Ringsdorf both decided to become physics majors after they took Fisher’s wildly popular 100-level astronomy class. They also signed up for summer volunteer work at the UO Pine Mountain Observatory, which sits on a remote mountaintop about 30 miles southeast of Bend.

Last September, during one of those late-night observing runs, Rose, Thompson, and Hartl took roughly 250 images of an asteroid named Minerva over a three-hour period. Asteroids, rocky objects that orbit the sun in the so-named Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter, are not very big, and they are very distant from Earth. (Minerva, for example, is only 60 miles across and is roughly 250 million miles away.)

In the case of Minerva, the team knew that it rotates once every six hours, so they knew that approximately three hours of data would give them the information needed. The trio wrote code that calibrated the data by removing irrelevant light from the images; then they created a light curve by measuring the brightness of the target in each image. The final light-curve data was compiled and sent to colleagues in Kobe, Japan, for further analysis, including the creation of a 3D model of Minerva.

“I feel like a lot of people don’t realize how special PMO is,” she says. “It is a hub of opportunity. I really love it up there—being able to interact with telescopes and also leading the public nights. Science is such a beautiful thing, and I would like to be a bridge between science and the rest of the world.”

You can read the full Oregon Quarterly article here.

October 17, 2019

University of Oregon invests in its quantum legacy with new lab

The local scientists will capture and manipulate tiny particles, one possible step in building a quantum computer.

Fantastically small particles will drive the computer brains of the future, and University of Oregon scientists soon will be learning to catch and control them.

The university’s decades-old reputation in the study of quantum physics will be furthered next year by a new laboratory where those whizzing particles can be captured and studied, giving local scientists a place in the hunt for the next big breakthrough in computing.

UO scientists currently are tearing out space in the basement of Willamette Hall, home of the physics department, to build a lab that will make it possible to do in miniature the same kind of research done by global companies racing to build the first true quantum computers. And because of research to be done in that lab, those companies may one day be relying on UO grads.

You can read the full Register Guard article here.

August 5, 2019

Laura Jeanty Recipient of DOE Early Career Award

Laura Jeanty’s search for new particles that may shed light on dark matter and explain why the Higgs Boson has the mass it does has landed the UO physicist five years of financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Early Career Research Program.

Jeanty, an assistant professor of the Oregon Center for High Energy Physics, was one of only 73 U.S. scientists chosen for an early career award.

Jeanty is seeking fundamental particles produced by high-energy proton collisions at CERN. Predicted by a theory called supersymmetry, she said, “these particles could clarify the enigma of dark matter, could explain the mass scale of the Higgs boson and might be essential to help unify the theories of the fundamental forces.”
In October, Jeanty will become co-leader of the ATLAS team that is searching for supersymmetry. The UO’s research group is looking for signatures of such particles that might travel through the ATLAS detector for some distance before decaying.

You can read the full Around-the-O article here.

July 24, 2019

Tim Cohen Featured in Symmetry

As a particle phenomenologist, Cohen studies physics beyond the Standard Model, looking for unexpected ideas in experimental data. He also tries to invent models to help inform how to design new experimental approaches. One project is looking at data from the Gaia satellite for patterns that could be traces of dark matter.

You can read the full article here.

May 29, 2019

Chase Craig, a triple major in mathematics, physics and computer science recipient of the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

Chase Craig, busy with his coursework and working in the laboratory of physics professor Benjamín Alemán, almost didn’t apply for the Goldwater but did so at the urging of Alemán, who is more than just a mentor to Craig. “I wouldn’t be here at the UO without him,” Craig said. “That man has done so much for me.”

Craig started as a high schooler in Alemán’s Physics 251 course, which was the impetus for realizing he had a future at the UO and in advanced research work. Craig eventually wants to do research that involves artificial intelligence and autonomous rovers.

He is involved in The North Star Project, which improves the student experience by “cultivating an inclusive environment that supports excellence and diversity in the physical sciences,” and has won several scholarships and honors, including the Julifs Scholarship and the Oregon Space Grant Consortium scholarship.

You can read the full Around-the-O article here.

More information on the Goldwater Scholarship can be found here.

May 14, 2019

Check out UO Physics on Social Media

Discover new ways to connect with the UO Physics Department for students, faculty, staff, and alumni! The Physics Department has recently created social media accounts with the purpose of highlighting the events, research, academics, and other amazing things that go on in our department. Click on the icons below to like, follow, or join.





May 10, 2019

The Mystery of Expanding Galileo Spacetimes

Special Physics-ITS-Math Colloquium

Date:  TUESDAY, May 14th, 2019

Time: 4:00pm

Location: Deady Hall, room 208

Speaker: Beverly Berger, Stanford University

Abstract: For the past 15 years or so, Jim Isenberg and I have been trying to understand the attractor-like behavior we observed in certain mathematical cosmologies (solutions in general relativity with cosmological boundary conditions) in the expanding direction. While others had found similar behavior, we were unable to make any progress, especially with regard to mathematical statements. Finally, Jim’s student Adam Layne (now a postdoc in Sweden) found the key ingredient we had missed. I will introduce the Galileo spacetimes, describe our recent results, and say a few words about Jim

Host: Ray Frey

All attendees are invited to attend a colloquium reception in the Willamette Hall, Paul Olum atrium at 3:30pm.

Colloquium Preview

Colloquium Archive

April 29, 2019

Wineland wins Micius Quantum Prize

The prize, awarded by the Micius Quantum Foundation, recognizes major advances in quantum science, ranging from early conceptual contributions to the recent experimental breakthroughs.

Wineland, a Philip H. Knight Distinguished Research Chair, was chosen as a 2018 winner for “his groundbreaking experiments that opened the way to quantum computing and quantum metrology with trapped ions.”

“I’m very honored to receive the award, but it’s a bit humbling because there are many other people as deserving,” said Wineland, who is based in Oregon Center for Optical, Molecular and Quantum Science. “I look forward to my Oregon colleagues receiving similar recognition.”

Wineland will officially receive his award in September during the International Conference on Emerging Quantum Technology in China.

You can read the full Around the O article here.

And more information on the Micius prize can be found here.

April 3, 2019

Jayanth Banavar will assume his appointment as a professor in the UO’s Department of Physics

Dear University of Oregon community:

I am writing to let you know that Jayanth Banavar will complete his service as provost and senior vice president as of July 1. In stepping back from his academic leadership position, Jayanth, a renowned physicist, will assume his appointment as a professor in the UO’s Department of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences. I am delighted that he will continue to be part of the UO community.

I want to thank Jayanth for his distinguished service as provost over the last two years. He has served in one of the most challenging executive roles at any university with great warmth, caring, and an unwavering focus on strengthening and building academic excellence at the UO. During his tenure, he has implemented major changes within the Office of the Provost to improve academic affairs, made impressive strides that bolster the UO’s academic foundation, and been a champion of diversity and inclusion. Among his numerous accomplishments, Jayanth solidified the use of a more transparent budget model for our schools and colleges and an innovative academic hiring plan that is strategically increasing our faculty ranks. He also advanced our coordinated effort to revolutionize student advising on campus, helped launch an ambitious interdisciplinary data science program, assisted in the revamping of our Clark Honors College, and recruited several deans and outstanding scholars, including Nobel Prize-winner David Wineland.

There is no doubt Jayanth has made an indelible and lasting positive impact on the UO during his tenure as provost. I personally appreciate his sense of humor, his ability to approach an issue both analytically and with empathy, and his constant dedication to doing what is best for the institution. I respect his decision to step down and am very grateful for his service to the UO.

Going forward, we will strive for a smooth transition that maintains all of the momentum and progress that Jayanth has delivered in the Office of the Provost. Over the next few weeks, I will consult with campus stakeholders and faculty leaders about selecting an interim provost and the process for filling the role permanently. The provost is the chief academic officer of the institution, and ensuring that we have effective leadership in the position is vital to achieving our shared academic goals and objectives.

Please join me again in thanking Jayanth for all he has done to serve the University of Oregon.

Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

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