Shane Larson, BS 91, has won the Vth Fermilab Physics Slam – a public contest in which scientists are given 10 minutes on stage to explain what the heck they do to over 1000 people in a sold out auditorium.  has a Chicago Tribune article about the contest.

Shane works  at the Adler Planetarium and teaches at Northwestern University.  He gave a talk here in 2016 on the LIGO gravitational wave discovery.


OSU Cascades in Bend, Oregon  has an opening for a full-time Physics Instructor

Bend, Oregon – photo J. Schellman

– the full consideration date is 3/17/2017 but applications will be considered until the position is filled.

Please see to apply.





Position Information

Department Acad Prog / Student Aff (LCB)
Position Title Instructor
Job Title Instructor – Physics
Appointment Type Academic Teaching/Research Faculty
Job Location Bend
Position Appointment Percent 100
Appointment Basis 9
Faculty Status Regular
Tenure Status Fixed-Term
Pay Method Salary
Recommended Full-Time Salary Range Salary is commensurate with education and experience
Position Summary Oregon State University-Cascades, in Bend, Oregon, in partnership with the College of Science at Oregon State University-Corvallis, invites applications for a full-time, (1.0 FTE), 9-month, fixed term Instructor rank faculty position in Physics. Reappointment is at the discretion of the Dean.

The successful candidate will have the important role of bringing innovative teaching practices to the new Physics program at Cascades.

The person in this position is assigned to work at Oregon State University-Cascades, located in Bend, Oregon. The ideal candidate performs teaching, maintains currency, and performs service.

Oregon State University’s commitment to student success includes hiring, retaining, and developing diverse faculty to mentor and educate our undergraduate and graduate students from entry through graduation. Our Strategic Plan (
articulates the strategies we believe critical to advancing and equalizing student success. As part of this commitment, OSU has established a hiring initiative designed to support these strategies.

Salary is commensurate with academic preparation and professional experience.

About OSU-Cascades: Oregon State University’s branch campus in Bend, Ore., features outstanding faculty in degree programs that reflect Central Oregon’s vibrant economy and abundant natural resources. Nearly 20 undergraduate majors, 30 minors and options, and four graduate programs include computer science, energy systems engineering, kinesiology, hospitality management, and tourism and outdoor leadership. The branch campus expanded to a four-year university beginning fall 2015; its new campus opened in fall 2016.

The anticipated start date is 9/16/17.

Position Duties 80% Student related activities
– Teach regular undergraduate credit courses as assigned. This includes in-class activities, laboratory supervision, class administration and regular office hours, in keeping with the highest professional standards.
-Curriculum development, aimed at improving lectures, studio sessions, recitations, and labs in courses taught.
-Evaluation and purchase of suitable laboratory and audiovisual equipment in cooperation with Physics and Cascades academic leadership.
-Sustained commitment to creating and maintaining an inclusive learning environment for all students.
-General advising of students.10% Maintaining Currency
May include, but not limited to, any of the following:
-Maintain familiarity with recent developments in evidence-based instructional practices.
-Make contributions to general teaching resources such as online learning systems and development of new laboratory experiments.
-Disseminate ideas and methods within the Department, University and broader community.10% Service
May include, but not limited to, any of the following:
-Service on departmental and university committees related to instruction.
-Assisting other faculty members as needed, e.g. mentoring part-time instructors.
-Acting as official adviser for various student organizations and clubs.
-Participation in activities that increase diversity and inclusion, for example Search Advocate training and mentoring students from underrepresented groups.
Minimum/Required Qualifications -Master’s degree in Physics or related fields (examples of related fields may include, but are not limited to, Electrical Engineering, Astrophysics, Geophysics, Applied Mathematics, etc.) by the start of the appointment.

-Experience with or demonstrated potential for teaching Physics at the college or university level. This can include service as a Teaching Assistant and/or formal training in pedagogy at any level.

-Faculty at OSU-Cascades are committed to undergraduate and graduate student success. We seek faculty who have evidence of educating and mentoring a diverse group of learners, which may include experience with sponsoring student research or internships, developing study abroad opportunities, service learning courses, or the use of innovation pedagogies such as hybrid or online learning.

-A demonstrable commitment to promoting and enhancing diversity and inclusion.

Preferred (Special) Qualifications -Doctoral degree in Physics or related field.

-Previous classroom experience.

-Experience in using and designing online materials. Facility with computer operating systems, web design tools and/or Latex.

-Experience operating and constructing laboratory equipment.


-Numerical computation experience

At the most recent Astronomy Open House, on February 17th, many tried to reach for the… planets?

The newly formed OSU Astronomy Club and the Department of Physics hosted the most recent Open House with invited activities by the Corvallis Public Library and the Corvallis Arts Center. The event also featured Tom Carrico of the local amateur astronomer club: Heart of the Valley Astronomers who talked about how to view an eclipse safely.

At the event, parents, college students, and children alike, learned about how telescopes work, how astronomers identify what stars are made of, what causes the seasons, and the different types of shadows formed by an eclipse! Once each person completed their activity sheet, they were able to get a free commemorative eclipse poster about the upcoming Total Solar Eclipse in August.

Everyone seemed to love the event, and the OSU Astronomy Club is working to make the event even better than it already is, especially with anticipation growing for clear weather for the next Open House! So be sure to keep an eye on to hear about the next exciting Astronomy open House! We hope to see you there!



The Oregon State University Society of Physics Students (SPS) made a strong showing at the Sigma Pi Sigma Quadrennial Congress, which was held on November 2-6, 2016 in San Francisco. In cooperation with LBCC students and faculty, SPS secured funding to send 1 graduate student and 7 undergraduates from OSU and 3 LBCC students to the Congress. The students presented posters, toured scientific facilities, networked with professionals, and listened to talks by the leaders in Physics.

Michael Forkner and Tym Mangan (pictured with their posters) were among the undergraduates who presented the innovative research being done at Oregon State University. During the poster sessions, students discussed their work with other physics students from across the country and received feedback from professional physicists on their presentations. They also toured the Stanford Linear Accelerator or the Google X facilities, and listened to talks by professional scientists while looking at the sort of labs they might work in one day.

There were exciting plenary talks, including one by Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell who discovered quasars. She thinks that the climate in physics for women has improved considerably since her days as a young scientist. Eric Cornell, Nobel Laureate (and former Yunker lecturer) gave a characteristically upbeat and interesting talk about what the life of a real scientist is like. Between plenary talks, PhysCon conducted workshops that allowed SPS members from across the nation (and beyond!) to network and discuss important topics faced by chapters and individuals during their physics journeys. Grad student Kelby Hahn was a panelist who discussed life as a graduate student. The students were delighted to made connections that will last well beyond their short stay at PhysCon.

OSU/LBCC Participants:
Kelby Hahn, Michael Forkner, Evan Peters, Tym Mangan, Elliot Capek, Hazel Betz, Gabe Nowak, Nikita Rosanov; Osvaldo Galvez, Delphine LeBrunColon, Eric Slyter.

Michael Forkner presents his research at PhysCon
Tym Magnan at PhysCon 2016
Delphine LeBrunColon and Elliot Capek at PhysCon
Students at PhysCon


Elementary school students at Franklin School, Corvallis, enjoyed the wonders of riding a frictionless craft across the school gym on Thursday night. They also learned how to make their own hovercraft using an old cd, and checked out other “wow” physics demos. Many thanks to the student volunteers from the Department of Physics who gave over 150 kids a super fun experience with physics. More school events are coming up soon.

A paper just published in Nature Communications by the Single-Molecule Biophysics Laboratory of Assistant Professor Weihong Qiu reports an unexpected mechanical property of a “motor” protein that offers new insights into how motor proteins help build and maintain the mitotic spindle, the American football-shaped macromolecular structures that animal and fungi cells depend on to ensure accurate chromosome segregation during cell division. Located inside cells, motor proteins are tiny molecular machines that convert chemical energy into mechanical work. They interact with train-track-like structures called microtubules to transport cargos or exert forces.

[continued below]

The motor protein KlpA moves in one direction on a single microtubule track and switches to the opposite direction between a pair of microtubules. Illustration credit: Kuo-Fu Tseng, Oregon State University.
[click on image to see the motion] The motor protein KlpA moves in one direction on a single microtubule track and switches to the opposite direction between a pair of microtubules. Illustration credit: Kuo-Fu Tseng, Oregon State University.
In this study, Qiu and colleagues focused on a particular motor protein called KlpA, and used a high-sensitivity microscopy method to directly visualize the motion of individual KlpA molecules on microtubules. The Qiu team shows that, while all other KlpA-like motor proteins are believed to move in only one direction on the microtubule track, KlpA has a “reverse” gear that allows it to go in different directions. This enables KlpA to behave differently in when it is operating at different locations within the mitotic spindle. This research may open the door to understand the similar KlpA-like motor proteins in mammals that are implicated in cancer cell proliferation. Understanding the design principle underlying the bidirectional motion of KlpA may also guide the engineering of motor protein-based molecular devices for targeting drug delivery in a controllable manner.

Math (and Physics) Professor Tevian Dray has been awarded the MAA University Teaching award.

2017 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics from the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), in recognition of his exemplary mathematics teaching and his positive influence on college mathematics curriculum development and teacher training on a regional and national level.

See the IMPACT article below!

Math professor receives national award for teaching excellence

Three Oregon State undergraduates went to the APS Division of Nuclear Physics conference in Vancouver BC in mid-October 2016.

Senior Evan Peters shows how to calibrate neutrino response in the MINERvA detector.
Senior Evan Peters shows how to calibrate neutron response in the MINERvA detector.

Undergraduates Gabe Nowak, Tymothy Mangan and Evan Peters gave posters on their work.  Dept. Head Heidi Schellman gave a talk and provided transportation.  All 3 students had won travel awards from the American Physical Society to cover their hotel costs.

Evan’s poster was placed with theoretical posters presented by students also working on neutrino scattering, leading to much discussion among the neutrino community.

Tymothy Mangan showing his work from Los Alamos last summer.

Tymothy Mangan showed results from a test stand he built at Los Alamos National Lab last summer.

Gabriel Nowak presented preliminary studies of Lorentz invariance that he did as a SULI student at Jefferson Laboratory.

After the poster session we went on a tour of the TRIUMF nuclear laboratory at the University of British Columbia.

Touring the ARIEL facility at TRIUMF. This room will be filled with equipment very soon.
Touring the ARIEL facility at TRIUMF. This room will be filled with equipment very soon.

image1The annual Fall Meeting of the Materials Research Society’s “best poster” awards are eagerly anticipated, and this year, James Haggerty garnered his second one. James presented a poster on his work on titania polymorphs at the Fall 2016 meeting in Boston, MA. The poster, entitled “The effect of amorphous precursors on the crystallinity of TiO2 thin films using pulsed laser deposition,” is a collaborative effort between Tate group researchers and scientists from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, MIT and the Colorado School of Mines.  The researchers are trying to understand why a particular metastable form of TiO2 called brookite is difficult to grow. James’s poster presented evidence that the presence of sodium ions, thought to be important in the growth of bulk crystals, is not necessary in thin-film growth.  Bethany Matthews and Janet Tate were co-authors on the poster.  Last year at the Fall MRS meeting, James and Bethany both won best poster awards – maybe a three-peat in 2017?!

Pavel Kornilovich is a runner-up in the “Physics in 2116” essay contest run by AIP’s “Physics Today”. Pavel’s essay, “African Arrow sees hints of structure in the fabric of space”,  imagines the result of a giant accelerator experiment 100 years in the future that probes energy scalepavels at which the four known forces would be unified.  Of about 200 entries, four essays were chosen for publication in the December 2016 edition of “Physics Today”.  The other essays speculated about the implications of future technologies for privacy, emergent consciousness, and a future telescope, the “Asteroid Belt Astronomical Telescope”, built from polished asteroids.  Happy reading!

Pavel Kornilovich is a Courtesy Professor of Physics at Oregon State University and a Senior Technologist at HP Inc in Corvallis.