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.”

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.



Molecular motor mystery solved: Novel protein rounds out plant cells’ machinery

A research team led by Prof. Weihong Qiu and collaborators from University of California, Davis has discovered a novel motor protein that significantly expands current understanding of the evolution and design principle of motor proteins.

White arrowheads indicate the microtubule plus end, and red and yellow arrowheads indicate the leading ends of two different actin filaments.

The findings of the research team, led by of the OSU College of Science and Bo Liu ­of UC Davis, were published today in Nature Communications.

Read the full OSU announcement at:


Prof. David McIntyre of the Department of Physics, and Marisa Chappell of the School of History, Philosophy and Religion (SHPR) have been named the 2018 Honors College Eminent Professors. The award recognizes faculty for outstanding teaching, research and undergraduate mentorship.

David McIntyre has been teaching physics at Oregon State since 1989, after earning his B.S. from the University of Arizona and a Ph.D. from Stanford University. He has mentored two honors students’ thesis projects and was one of four faculty members who led the inaugural Honors College London Experience in the summer of 2016. He regularly teaches the honors recitation of the introductory physics course. He allows students’ curiosities to drive class discussion, asking them to submit a question each week about the course material or about any sort of physics question on their minds. “When students are first starting out, they’re very eager. I appreciate how curious they are. I try to make it centered around them,” McIntyre says. He has brought in lively demonstrations to spark that curiosity. For instance, he has used a Levitron – a magnetic toy – to show how frogs float using magnetism.

McIntyre in London.

While teaching a course on Isaac Newton in the Honors College London study abroad program, he particularly took advantage of the possibilities for designing tangible experiences that illustrated and underlined course themes, including a trip to Greenwich to do navigational measurements with a sextant. “I try to present things in different ways. Everyone learns differently. In physics we have equations, graphs and words – all different ways to say things.” He says that over the years, he has continuously refined his teaching, finding out how to reach students and better determine what they already know and need to know. And, in turn, the students’ energy and curiosity inspire him in his teaching. “I got into academia because you’re guaranteed to work with younger and younger people and their energy. It’s why I’m in it. It’s just fun,” McIntyre says.

The Honors College Eminent Professor awards are made possible through the generosity of Honors College donors, particularly Ruth Beyer and Joseph (Sandy) and Cheryl Sanders. For a list of previous honorees, see

Trio Receives Prestigious Scialog Award To Study Collective Cancer Cell Dynamics

A cancerous tumor has cells that act as leaders as the tumor invades and degrades the body’s extracellular matrix, a collection of molecules secreted by healthy cells that provides for their structural and biochemical support. Little is known about how cancer cells become leader cells or how a hierarchy is established as the invasion moves forward.

Three scientists — Michelle Digman, University of California Irvine, Steve Pressé, Arizona State University, and Bo Sun, Oregon State University – have formed a collaboration to screen novel metabolic and rheological (i.e., flow) markers within an invading group of cancer cells. Specifically they aim to determine the probabilities of a cell belonging to a certain type within the invading tumor, and also determine how to eliminate leading cells, as well how new leaders are “elected.”

Among the three scientists, who have not worked together before, there is considerable expertise in live cell imaging and analysis, mathematical analysis and statistical modeling, and tumor patterning and cancer migration.

Digman, Presse and Sun formed their collaboration at the most recent Scialog: Molecules Come to Life conference organized by the private foundation Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA).
Scialog is a combination of “science” plus “dialog.” The unique conference encourages early career scientists to form multidisciplinary teams to identify and tackle critical research challenges. The program is designed to fund highly innovative, but untested, ideas with the potential for high impact on challenges of global significance.

“Funding early stage, potentially high-impact research of this nature can be riskier than funding well-established lines of research,” notes RCSA Senior Program Director Richard Wiener, “but it represents an approach to accelerating the pace of breakthrough scientific discoveries.”

The $168,750 in funding for the trio’s research is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which is co-sponsoring Scialog: Molecules Come to Life.


About Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA):
Founded in 1912, Research Corporation for Science Advancement ( is the second-oldest foundation in the United States (after the Carnegie Corporation) and the oldest foundation for science advancement. RCSA is a leading advocate for the sciences and a major funder of scientific innovation and of research in America’s colleges and universities.

Media Contact:
Research Corporation for Science Advancement
Dan Huff

Physics Dept. Head, Heidi Schellman has been chosen as Chair of Commission of Commission 11 of the International Union for Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP)

US IUPAP representatives in 2015. Beverly Berger, Aihua Xie, Kennedy Reed (IUPAP president-elect) and Heidi Schellman. Courtesy APS news.

IUPAP is an international organization formed in 1922 with the mission “to assist in the worldwide development of physics, to foster international cooperation in physics, and to help in the application of physics toward solving problems of concern to humanity.” In addition to its ongoing role in assuring international cooperation in Physics,  IUPAP is occasionally asked, as the worldwide organization for the field, to endorse international agreements, such as the proposed modifications of the standard for SI units and C11’s reports on authorship standards in particle physics.

Commission C11 is the body concerned with Particle and Fields.  C11 oversees the major international conferences in the field and sponsors the International Committee on Particle Accelerators and a Young Scientist Prize awarded every two years.

See  outgoing IUPAP President Bruce McKellar’s recent article in Physics Today for a longer explanation of IUPAP and its work in international development and equity.  Or check out their website at

OSU’s August 19-21 eclipse event, OSU150 Space Grant Festival: A Total Eclipse Experience, was featured on KMTR on August 19th.

Department of Physics graduate student Dr. Atul Chhotray was interviewed for the story.
You can see the full piece here.

The OSU Astronomy Club was very active in the educational outreach stations at this event.
Thank you to our volunteers for your time and enthusiasm in making last weekend a fun, educational experience.