The PhIS group (Physicists for inclusion in Science) has been busy this year! The group fosters inclusion by providing an inclusive community, professional development opportunities, and mentorship for aspiring physicists. This year, their activities have included coffee breaks, mixers (including an amazing dinner and silent auction for the department), book clubs, and many outreach activities.  Check out all the fun at .  The 2018/19 elections have happened and the new PhIS leadership is: MacKenzie Lenz (President), Kelby Hahn (Vice President), Mike Vignal (Treasurer), Mattia Carbonara (Secretary).  They invite everyone to join!

Rebecca Grollman, Graham Founds, Rick Wallace and  Oksana Ostroverkhova’s paper “Simultaneous fluorescence and surface charge measurements on organic semiconductor-coated silica microspheres” has been featured by Advances in Engineering  as a key scientific article contributing to excellence in science and engineering research.  See

for a short summary of the paper and a short video highlighting the result.

Model predictions for flux vs time(solid lines) compared to observations (symbols).
GW170817, detected on August 17, 2017, was the first multi-messenger astronomical source, seen in gravitational waves and across the whole electromagnetic spectrum. Much of the physics of this source has been understood thanks to the high quality data collected for months after the initial detection. We now know that it was due to the collision between two neutron stars, a class of very massive and compact stars that were in orbit around each other and eventually merged forming a black hole. During the collision material was flung out in all directions. Most of the material was sent in the equatorial direction, where new atoms – such as gold and platinum – were formed through rapid neutron capture. Some material was sent in the polar direction, but exactly how much and with what energy is not known, since our observing geometry is far from the polar axis. For that reason, it had been impossible to ascertain whether a short gamma-ray burst also took place with the star collision.
Short gamma-ray bursts are some of the brightest explosions recorded in present day universe. They are produced when extremely fast outflows are sent in our direction by leftover material that accretes onto a newly formed black hole. Scientists believe they should be caused by a neutron star collision, but direct evidence is not yet available. When we detect  the burst directly, it is so bright that outshines all the signs of the neutron star collision. Groundbreaking research performed by the astrophysics group led by Dr. Lazzati and accepted for publication in Physical Review Letters, however, has shown that the unusual increase of the luminosity of GW170817 over time is a sign that a short GRB did happen right after the merger, albeit along a different direction. The figure displays the model predictions (solid lines) along with the observations (symbols), showing the excellent agreement of the model with the data.

The American Physical Society has recognized OSU Physics for Improving Undergraduate Physics Education.

We are one of three institutions to receive the award this year.  explains the award and lists previous winners

For 21 years, the physics department at Oregon State has been a national model for its holistic approach to improving the educational experience for undergraduates, from the nationally recognized, upper division curriculum redesign—Paradigms in Physics, through lower‐division reform, thesis research experiences for all majors, and attention to co‐curricular community‐building. We are dedicated to building a strong cohort group of students, prepared for a wide range of careers. For the broader community, we produce and freely share cutting‐edge curricular materials based on our own physics education research.”

Just a reminder that our annual Yunker Lecture is this Friday the 20th.

Laura Greene (center) in her natural habitat


330 PM in Weniger 328 is a reception/poster show

500 PM in Weniger 151 is the lecture by Prof. Laura Green, Chief Scientist at the National Magnetic Field Laboratory and past president of the American Physical Society.  has a longer description.  One correction is that the reception is now in Weniger 328 instead of 379.


Press release from Mississippi State about Physics Alumna Kimberly Wood:

April 9, 2018

Contact: Sarah Nicholas

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A tropical cyclone authority at Mississippi State is a new selection for the American Meteorological Society’s Early Career Leadership Academy.

Assistant professor Kimberly Wood soon will be among nearly three dozen 2018 ECLA members receiving special training in Washington, D.C. She came to the Starkville campus three years ago.

Founded in 1919 and headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, the American Meteorological Society is the nation’s premier organization for atmospheric, oceanic and hydrologic sciences. Its 13,000 members include researchers, educators, students, enthusiasts, broadcasters and others in these fields.

Supported by IBM, the AMS leadership academy works to sustain a diverse network of early-career achievers. Creative problem-solving, conflict resolution and enhancement of communication skills are major components of the curriculum.

Wood is a 2012 University of Arizona doctoral graduate in atmospheric science and remote sensing. She became an AMS member in 2008.

“Dr. Wood is the only MSU faculty member that has intentionally flown into the eye of a hurricane to collect data,” noted John Rodgers, interim head of the Department of Geosciences. Alongside experiences with hazardous weather systems, she has “excellent computer modeling skills and extensive knowledge of the application of satellite technologies to meteorology,” he said.

Her research “adds a very important component to our already outstanding meteorology program,” Rodgers added.

Wood said her leadership academy participation “already has borne fruit in the form of expanding connections with colleagues I may never have interacted with outside of such a program.” She also credits “strong support” from MSU colleagues and resources for the development of her chosen career.

Last year, she was selected to represent Mississippi at a congressional visit day organized in the nation’s capital by the American Geophysical Union. After helping stress the importance of continued federal science funding, she was asked by the AGU to also join its Climate Science Day program taking place on Capitol Hill in early 2018.

“I believe both experiences positively contributed to my selection for the ECLA, as well as the vision I have for my scientific career,” Wood said.

Academy membership involves a rigorous evaluation process, with documentation required of major accomplishments, successful experiences communicating across cultures and disciplines, and challenges involving weather, water and climate systems.

Wood is a Beaverton, Oregon, native who earned a bachelor’s degree in physics at Oregon State University. She also holds a master’s in atmospheric sciences from the University of Arizona. More biographical information may be read via the “About Us” link at the departmental website

Missions of the American Meteorological Society and Early Career Leadership Academy are online at

MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences includes more than 5,200 students, 300 full-time faculty members, nine doctoral programs and 25 academic majors offered in 14 departments. Complete details about the College of Arts and Sciences may be found at

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at


Prof. Janet Tate has been named one of three Oregon State University’s 2018 Distinguished Professor honorees for 2018

From the press release:

Janet Tate setting up her superconducting demonstration.

The university has presented the Distinguished Professor award annually since 1988 to active OSU faculty members who have achieved extraordinary national and/or international stature for their contributions in research and creative work, education, outreach and engagement, and service.

Professor Tate’s research focuses on creating new semiconductors with transparent circuits with electrical and optical properties that help solve problems such as the efficient conversion of solar energy and efficient light emission. Her research stimulated the invention of the transparent oxide transistor, the enabling technology for the Retina 5K display now found in many Apple products. Tate’s contributions in the classroom earned her the Frederick H. Horne Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching Science in 2002 and two OSU Mortar Board top professor awards.

For more information regarding the 2018 Distinguished Professors, please visit the OSU news release on the award recipients here.



Corrine Manogue

Catalyzing the transformation of science learning at OSU 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

ROOM 100
Please join us for the  2018 F.A. Gilfillan Memorial Lecture featuring Corinne Manogue, professor of physics, who will present “Catalyzing the transformation of science learning at OSU.”
Dr. Manogue will use her experiences leading a highly successful curriculum redesign of the physics major as a model to explore with the audience the possibilities for learning reform in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the university. This method seeks to change the classroom in order to change the culture of learning.
Learn about the College of Science’s groundbreaking ways of understanding physics and the path to educational transformation. With an interactive approach, Dr. Manogue will lead the audience through an exercise of how physical or external representations can be used to understand concepts in physics.
We welcome you to attend this lecture that explores how OSU is catalyzing the transformation of science learning to prepare the next generation to address pressing problems of the 21st century.
Join us for this engaging talk and a light reception.
Zachary Free helps attendees understand the orbit of planets around the sun in the above picture (All photographs curtesy of Ikaika McFadden).

On Friday March 9th, the OSU Astronomy Club and the Department of physics held the first Astronomy Open House of 2018! The Astronomy Club under Emily Simpson, Rachel Hausmann, Samantha Carrothers, Nathanial Miller, Leon Linebarger, Tyler Parsotan and many dedicated volunteers invited OSU students, adults and children to Weniger Hall to have fun with hands on demonstrations that help explain how astrophysical phenomena work.

Emily Simpson helps attendees determine which scientist they are most like.

Some of the activities included a room dedicated to Mars landing sites, by Rachel Hausmann, an activity dedicated to the mythology behind constellations, by Samantha Carrothers, a test created by Emily Simpson to determine which historical scientist you would be. We also had a presentation on remote telescope observations by local astronomers Tom Carrico, a presentation on telescope tuning by Stephen McGettigan, and the OSU Robotics Club show off their Mars rover!

The OSU Robotics Club show off their rover in Rachel Hausmann’s Mars Landing Sites Room.
Astronomy Tom captivated the attendees with how easy it is to get amazing astronomy photographs.

Over 100 people attended the event and got a free NASA poster for completing each activity! While we weren’t able to have telescopes out for this event due to the weather, future events will have night observations; especially as the weather gets better and better here in Oregon. In order to hear about our next event like us on We hope to see you there!