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October 12, 2018

UO Physics and Chemistry Faculty Help Pave the way in Quantum Science Efforts

UO Physics faculty aim to help the United States take a leading role in the fast-evolving quantum technology revolution.

UO physicist Michael Raymer, a Philip H. Knight professor in the Department of Physics, and two colleagues, chemistry professor Andy Marcus and physics professor Brian Smith, have been awarded a $997,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The award is part of a $31 million NSF program for fundamental quantum research that, together with $281 million in Department of Energy investment, aims to help the United States take a leading role in the fast-evolving quantum technology revolution.

“It’s gratifying to see such excitement and widespread bipartisan support for quantum science research and development,” Conover said. “We were invited to this White House meeting because the UO’s expertise in quantum information science is now widely recognized. Such national visibility is largely due to the scientific leadership and lobbying efforts of the UO’s Michael Raymer.”

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

June 20, 2018

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 a simple way to roll objects and has been used to right capsized ships.

The center of a long rope is fixed to the top of a ramp, and two trailing ends are wrapped around a cylinder to be moved. Rope ends are then brought to the top where workers pull on the ropes to move the cylinder safely up the ramp. At the top, the hat would have been tipped and rotated into place.

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

May 31, 2018

Commencement 2018

You are invited to help honor and celebrate our 2018 Physics graduates.

Monday, June, 18th 2018

12:30 p.m. in the Willamette Hall, Paul Olum atrium

May 15, 2018

UO Hosts CALOR 2018 May 21-25

The UO Center for High Energy Physics will host the 18th International Conference on Calorimetry in Particle Physics (CALOR 2018) May 21-25. Jim Brau is the chair of the local organizing committee. About 100 participants will be attending conference sessions at the EMU. Read about it here:

April 12, 2018

HEP Theory gets new grant

Congratulations to the high-energy theory group, which was recently awarded a new 1.1M$ 3-year grant from the Dept of Energy supporting the work of faculty Chang, Cohen, and Kribs.

February 21, 2018

Richard Taylor Delivers Presentation at Inaugural ‘Wings: UO Presidential Speaker Series’

On January 16th, 2018 UO Physics professor Richard Taylor delivered a presentation on his research and design of Bio-Inspired Retinal Implants at the inaugural ‘Wings: UO Presidential Speaker Series’ at the White Stag Block in Portland, Oregon.

“Vision gives us more than knowledge, it also allows us to appreciate beauty, and nature’s beauty and its impact on us is profound.”

39 million people around the world are totally blind.
246 million people suffer vision loss to the extent that it severely impacts their daily activity.

Through evolution, nature has given us a visual system that is very hard to replicate, but we are in an era where progress towards recovery is on the way.

You can watch Richard’s talk here:

The full ‘Around the O’ article can be found here:


January 18, 2018

The UO Physics Dept. successfully wrapped up two large events in one week: the 2018 the Northwest Regional APS Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics & the ‘Physics Slam’

When associate professor Stephanie Majewski of the physics department and her colleagues were planning the upcoming Northwest Regional Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics, they were not overwhelmed by interest in the event. They were greatly overwhelmed, with well over 200 attendees flying in from colleges across the northwest.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many female physicists together in one place.” Majewski said.

Majewski attributed the increase to a growing number of women entering STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — fields and an increasing sense of community among female undergrads currently in those fields, which has led to a virtuous cycle. One goal of the conference is to build on that sense of community, Majewski said.

As part of the conference the Physics department held it’s wildly successful ‘Physics Slam.’ The event, which was open to the public, drew a crowd of well over 600.   The event challenges six UO faculty members to explain their complex research in 10 minutes.

You can find more information by clicking on the links below:

Video of Physics Slam

Physics Slam

CuWIP Conference

CuWip Conference

January 4, 2018

Tesla: Light, Sound, Color (Jan. 10th/11th @ Hult)

Faculty members from the UO School of Music and Dance and the arts and Physics departments came together to create “Tesla: Light, Sound, Color,” a stage show about this oft-misunderstood Super-inventor Nikola Tesla.

The idea for “Tesla” began with Garner; John Park, a senior career instructor in the Department of Art; Jeremy Schropp, also of the Department of Art and who earned a doctorate in music composition and theory at the UO; and Jon Bellona, an instructor of audio production at the music school. The four men comprise Harmonic Laboratory, an artistic group that, among a range of other programs, holds performances and workshops incorporating multiple expressions of art.

But the group wanted to incorporate a strong science element into the show, too, in part to reach a broader audience. So they pulled in Stan Micklavzina, a senior instructor in the physics department.

“I’ve always had this idea of physics and performance, where people are going to come and see the performance, but then you throw the physics in with the performance,” said Micklavzina, who is popular in his own right for his high-energy physics demonstrations.

The group created a 90-minute show that includes dance, an original score, animation, science demonstrations and more. They will perform Jan. 10 and 11 at the Hult Center in Eugene, and then head to Portland on Jan. 13 and Bend on Jan. 15.

Bringing a group together with such a diverse mix of skills to tell Tesla’s story makes sense, Micklavzina said.

“It’s extremely appropriate because Tesla’s an interesting character in many aspects,” Micklavzina said, “a very complicated person.”

You can read the full article from Around-The-O: Here

November 14, 2017

Physics Major Gino Carrillo Wins SACNAS Presentation Award

The UO Physics department congratulates senior Physics major, Gino Carrillo, for his superb research presentation recently delivered at 2017 SACNAS: The National Diversity in STEM Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. At the conference, the judges recognized Gino Carrillo’s work, titled “Electron Interferometry: Transforming the Transmission Electron Microscope into an Electron Interferometer,” as a standout among the student presentations, and selected Gino to receive one of the 2017 SACNAS Student Presentation Awards. Gino’s UO Physics advisor is Ben McMorran.

SACNAS is a society of scientists dedicated to fostering the success of Chicano/Hispanic and Native American scientists—from college students to professionals—to attain advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in science. This year, the National Conference gathered about 4000 students and professionals. Taking place over three days, the conference showcased both undergraduate and graduate student presentations, offered scientific symposia, keynote addresses, professional development sessions, and a grand exhibit hall in which students interacted with over 300 exhibitors representing colleges and universities across the nation.

October 16, 2017

LIGO observes merger of neutron stars

The UO LIGO team played a major role in today’s announcement of the observation of a binary neutron star merger — see Around-the-O. In addition to the gravitational waves, the event GW170817 was accompanied by gamma-ray burst GRB 170817A and a large range of other observations from the electromagnetic spectrum, including the signatures of heavy element synthesis. Several journal articles on the gravitational wave observations were published today in conjunction with the press conference in Washington DC. At least 38 separate papers were also set to appear today from astronomical observers.

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