hovercraft here

There was a buzz of excitement amongst the kids lined up underneath the sign “hover craft here”. The OSU Physics road show was at Periwinkle Elementary School in Albany to be part of the school’s annual “Family Science Night” on Thursday Feb 25th.

IMG_5562vvperiwinkle line

As kids lined up to ride the hovercraft, they enjoyed physic demos on two tables. They learned how to make their own hovercraft using an old cd, a balloon and a bottle cap. They tried out rainbow diffraction glasses that turn white light into a rainbow of colors. They used a hair drier to levitate a ping pong ball, and then used the same hair drier to lift up a 1kg weight. “Wow!”

200 kids brought their families to interact with our exhibits. All the kids went home with their own pair of rainbow diffraction glasses and stories about their hovercraft adventure.

Many thanks to OSU student volunteers: Jay Howard, Kelby Peterson, Evan Peters, MacKenzie Lenz, and James Haggerty. Faculty volunteers Heidi Schellman and Ethan Minot. And Physics Staff Jim Ketter and Clarissa Amundsen.

To learn more about Physics Department Outreach Events visit our outreach webpage. If you are interested in volunteering to help with outreach events, please contact Ethan Minot.


“I can say without hesitation that it has changed my life. The sort of career that I want to have is much closer than a hazy dream now. It feels real, like something I can reach out and touch if I work hard enough at it.”


networkingThe APS CUWiP at Oregon State University was one of nine Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics that took place simultaneously across the United States on 15-17 January, 2016. At the OSU CUWiP, 140 undergraduate women physicists from the Northwest gathered at LaSells Stewart Center to present their research, to tour science facilities, participate in workshops, and to network with women professionals and with their peers. They spent an evening over dinner asking professionals from industry, academia and national labs about the many different careers they might pursue.

The weekend began with tours of science facilities in Corvallis, including Hewlett Packard’s analytical labs, OSU’s Physics labs, Electron Microscope facility, TRIGA reactor, Robotics Lab and the Hinsdale Wave Research Lab.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 2.36.12 PMParticipants heard an inspiring description of What Access Really Means by Mary James, Dean of Diversity at Reed College. Together with 1400 peers from the other CUWiP sites across the country, they heard Ginger Kerrick describe how her physics degree led her to the position of Capsule Commander at NASA. Natalie Roe, Director of Physics at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, described how research from the sub-atomic scale to the astronomical scale proceeds at her National Lab. Laura King, from Hewlett Packard, led them through an example of a STEM-in-the-private-sector career path from a startup company to large-scale industry. The questions from the participants kept coming, and one student summed up her experience afterwards, “I can say without hesitation that it has changed my life. The sort of career that I want to have is much closer than a hazy dream now. It feels real, like something I can reach out and touch if I work hard enough at it.”

discussionThe students engaged in selected workshops that fit their interests. They chose among workshops to help them chart a path through graduate school, to craft a compelling resume, and to present their successes confidently. Some learned about interactive teaching techniques and others explored the transition from community college to a four-year college and how to take advantage of the opportunities to prepare for the next step in a career. Another student said: “There were so many great takeaways from this conference and I am extremely grateful and appreciative …”

posterThe poster session / resource fair was a great success. The students brought their research to Corvallis and spent an afternoon presenting it to their peers and to the many volunteers from regional colleges, universities and companies who came to support the event. LaSells was abuzz with science! There was plenty of time for discussion and networking. Over lunch, the students discussed the concerns of being women in science and took the microphone to address their peers and report their conversations. A science trivia night and a “BAH-fest” added some science fun to the proceedings and more time to make new friends. The students left with the confidence that they will be successful in a field still dominated by men, some new skills and knowledge, and a network of women peers.

CUWiP was organized locally by the Oregon State University Physics Department under the leadership of co-chairs Janet Tate and Allison Gicking and a team of twelve dedicated graduate students. National funding for the event came from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy Office of Science through a grant to the American Physical Society. Major local funding came from ONAMI, the OSU Research Office, and the OSU Division of Student Affairs. Many other OSU offices contributed generously as did local companies and individuals. A list of the sponsors is at http://physics.oregonstate.edu/cuwip/sponsors/

Physics professors Matt Graham and David McIntyre will each receive General Research Fund (GRF) awards this year. The competitive, university-wide award enables faculty to launch new research projects in their fields of expertise to attract more funding sources, as the project expands, and to help develop ambitious research/scholarly activities. Each research project was awarded annual funds of approximately $10,000. This year the Research Office chose 6 projects from a pool of 15 proposals.


Matt Graham
Department of Physics
“Filming the Growth Morphology of Graphene with Video-Rate Transient Absorption of Microscopy”

dave-mcintyre-e1454960856313David McIntyre
Department of Physics
“Micromechanical Evolution of Growing Tumors”

College of Science scholarships and fellowships are available for students in the College of Science at both the graduate and undergraduate level.


Only one application is needed to be considered for over 250 scholarships and awards. Last year, the College awarded more than $700,000 in scholarships.

Graduate students

Graduate students may apply for scholarships administered by the Graduate School. Newly admitted students are automatically considered for fellowships administered by the College of Science, including Wei Family Private Foundation Scholarships.


Learn more about these exciting opportunities