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The University of Oregon is a fully accredited, comprehensive research university. It was founded in 1876 and now enrolls close to 23,000 students. Of this total, 49 percent come from states other than Oregon, 12 percent come from other countries, 7 percent are graduate students, and 27 percent are ethnic minorities. In the Department of Physics there are approximately 90 graduate students.

Graduate students in physics find support through our world class faculty and high tech facilities. The department has forty two faculty members plus a number of visiting scientists and research associates. Classroom teaching loads are held to a level that encourages excellence in teaching and research and allows research students to receive a maximum of attention. Frequent seminars and weekly colloquia attract many distinguished visiting physicists to the campus, which further stimulates an active research environment.

Many faculty members in physics are internationally recognized in their fields of research specialization. That research is supported in part by competitively awarded research grants, which exceed $6.0 million each year. The faculty includes a Nobel Laureate, David Wineland, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a recipient of a Presidential Young Investigator Award, two Sloan Fellows, ten fellows of the American Physical Society, and two past divisional chairmen of that society. Six faculty members serve as editors or on editorial boards of major scientific journals.

Image from: (Evolutionary paths of different simulated proteins)

The science facilities are closely clustered on the university’s 295-acre campus. The complex includes the science library and four new buildings recently constructed at a cost of $44 million.  Willamette hall, the physics building, completed in 1989, contains 136,000 square feet of laboratory, classroom, and office space

Students also have access to CAMCOR, The Center for Advanced Materials Characterization in Oregon (CAMCOR) is a full service, comprehensive materials characterization center housed in the Lorry I. Lokey Laboratories at the University of Oregon. CAMCOR hosts capital-intensive equipment for microanalysis, surface analysis, electron microscopy, semiconductor device fabrication and traditional chemical characterization. Run by dedicated and professional directors who are highly trained and experienced in their fields, CAMCOR can provide technical and professional expertise to solve any of your problems and meet deadlines.

The physics building also houses a Shared Laser Facility; 3,000-square-foot multidisciplinary laser and optics laboratory shared by chemists, materials scientists, optical scientists and physicists.

The UO Physics department is conveniently located next door to the newly renovated Allan Price Science Commons & Research Library where our students have access to a variety of resources to assist them with their studies and research. Students have access to equipment such a 3D printers, laser cutters and a high definition visualization lab.

Current plans are under way for the construction of a new research center on the UO campus. The University of Oregon’s Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact is an ambitious $1 billion initiative to fast-track scientific discoveries into innovations that improve quality of life for people in Oregon, the nation, and the world. The Knight Campus will work to reshape the state’s public higher education landscape by training new generations of scientists, engaging in new interdisciplinary research, forging tighter ties with industry and entrepreneurs, and creating new educational opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students. For more information visit:

The UO Physics department also provides research opportunities at its very own Observatory, Pine Mountain Observatory, located in Central Oregon.

The City of Eugene

The university is located in Eugene, a city that offers many cultural, entertainment, and recreational opportunities, including an award-winning performing arts center , yet retains a friendly, small-town atmosphere. Skiing, hiking, mountaineering, rock climbing , white-water boating, hunting, and fishing are available in the Cascade Mountains and the adjacent high desert 50 to 100 miles to the east, and the coast of the Pacific Ocean seventy miles to the west offers more opportunities for outdoor recreation and stunning views. Need equipment to explore? That’s easy with UO’s own Outdoor Program.

The City of Eugene is a vibrant, progressive community that embraces its connection to the University of Oregon. Eugene has frequently been recognized as a great place to live:

  • called Eugene one of its Top 10 college towns
  • National Geographic’s “Green Guide” named Eugene the number one green city in the U.S. for air quality, recycling, transportation, and green space
  • Bicycling magazine called Eugene one of the ten most bicycle-friendly cities in the nation
  • Rolling Stone included Eugene in its list of “America’s Top 10 Campus Music Scenes That Rock”
  • Money magazine has ranked Eugene among the best six U.S. cities in which to live

Eugene is a safe, friendly, and exciting city with a small town feel. You’ll find shops to explore, a thriving local art scene, theaters, and several music venues. Visit numerous farmers markets and farm stands in the surrounding community, or subscribe to one of the many CSAs. You will also find a thriving region of vineyards and orchards to explore in the Willamette valley.

The Ruth Bascom Riverbank bike path makes the campus easily accessible from many neighborhoods. Eugene sits at the crossroad of two major rivers, the Willamette and McKenzie, affording endless recreational opportunities. In the summer months it’s not uncommon to find groups of students floating or picnicking along the Willamette River that runs between the campus proper and the lush Alton Baker Park and Autzen stadium across its waters.


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