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.

Scientists from the Physics Department visited the first grade classes (about 100 students) at Clover Ridge Elementary School. Atul Chhotray and Davide Lazzati used solar telescopes to give students an introduction to astronomy. Nicole Quist, Jacob Bigelow and Ethan Minot used an assortment of interactive demos to explain the amazing things we can do with air. From pushing a sail boat with giant air molecules, to floating on a hover craft. Nicole: “Raise your hands if you want to say something.” Student: “That was awesome!”

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On March 5th, the Department hosted 22 girls from Oregon middle schools who were taking part in the “Discovering the Scientist Within” Workshop (http://oregonstate.edu/dept/cosey/dsw) .

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The students came to the free half-day workshop to learn about the wide range of career options for women in science, technology, engineering and math. 100 girls chose from a range of activities (physics was one option) hosted across campus. Through hands-on activities, they find out what it’s like to work in different careers. Participants have a chance to interact with professional women who work in a variety of fields. And they have a chance to meet other girls who share their interests.

Many thanks to the OSU students, staff and faculty (Liz Gire) who shared their time and enthusiasm with the girls.

The Physics Outreach team visited Hoover Elementary School on Thursday March 3rd. 160 kids came with their parents to play with our physics demonstrations and ride the physics hover craft. Each child left with a pair of “rainbow diffraction glass”, pictured below.

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Here are some photos of OSU grad students (Lee Aspitarte and Jay Howard), and undergrad (Ryan Bailey-Crandell) explaining physics at the event:

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Many thanks to all the OSU student volunteers: Lee Aspitarte, Ryan Bailey-Crandell, Jake Bigelow, Morgan Brown, Jay Howard, and MacKenzie Lenz. Faculty/Staff volunteers Clarissa Amundsen, Ethan Minot and Jim Ketter.

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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.


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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”

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After more than a year at Oregon State, married couple Davide Lazzati (Physics) and Catalina Segura (Forest Engineering, Resources and Management) still look back on their story and agree that it sounds like a fairy tale.

The two met in Colorado where Lazzati worked as a post-doc in Physics; Segura studied geography.

The academics were in different stages of their careers and in completely different departments, but they bonded over a love of the outdoors: skiing, hiking and cycling. After Segura finished her Ph.D. the couple had a baby and moved from their first home together in Colorado to North Carolina. Lazzati was offered a tenure-track job there while Segura accepted a postdoctoral research position. Both of them knew the opportunities for her there were slim, and the possibility of ending up at the same institution was next to impossible.

“Family is the most important thing to us,” Segura says. “But you also have to be happy with your own accomplishments.”

If one of them weren’t able to work for an extended period of time, or if the family found themselves split while each of them pursued separate opportunities, Segura says, “It would be a disaster!”

In North Carolina, the family longed for better opportunities out West, closer to where they’d met and closer to the outdoor settings they loved.

After dozens of applications, Segura was thrilled to interview for an assistant professor position at Oregon State in Forest Engineering, Resources and Management. She says she received help from a member of the search committee to know when in the interview process to bring up her partner. Once the University knew about Lazzati and his accomplishments in the fields of astronomy and physics, they began the process of hiring him through the Dual Career Hiring Initiative. This DCHI is funded by dollars allocated for tenure-track hires. When a tenure-line faculty member recruited for a position has partner who is eligible for a tenure-line position at Oregon State University, the Provost will support the partner hire as part of a collaboration with academic units. After completing an interview process, Lazzati was offered an associate professor position.

“It was amazing how fast the process worked,” Segura remembers. “It was so efficient to be able to get two deans, two heads and a provost all on the same page.”

Lazzati has been able to forge new ground in the College of Science as an astronomer studying gamma-ray bursts and the formation of cosmic dust.

“There wasn’t much astronomy going on before I got here,” Lazzati admits. “But everyone in the physics department was so welcoming. They go the extra mile to make space and to understand my needs.”

The couple has two children and love to spend time together outside as often as possible hiking, camping and riding bikes.

“We are very happy,” Lazzati says. “We feel lucky to be here.”

Congratulations to physics majors Ryan Bailey-Crandell and Jeremy Meinke who were chosen to receive Undergraduate Research, Innovation, Scholarship and Creativity (URISC) Awards for Winter/Spring 2016. The awards are sponsored by the OSU Research Office. A total of $18,000 was awarded to 15 undergraduate students whose proposals for independent research were clear and compelling.

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Ryan Bailey-Crandell (pictured on left) will work with Prof. Ethan Minot (Physics) on a project titled “Graphene Biosensors made from h-BN Heterostructures”.

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Jeremy Meinke (pictured on right) will work with Prof. Weihong Qiu, (Physics) on a project titled “Molecular Mechanism of the Processive Movement and Directionality of FRA1”

La Sells Stewart Center was turned into an interactive science museum for two days last week. Teams of volunteers from across the College of Science shared their enthusiasm for science with approximately 2000 school children during the event. In the Physics room, kids enjoyed hands-on demonstrations of angular moment, electricity, optical illusions, buoyancy and lift.

discovery days fall 2015

The Fall Discovery Days Physics team included Gregg Stevens, Tym Mangan, Corinne Brooks, Renee Anderson, Guang Xi, Tyler P., Kelby Peterson, Jihan Kim, Chris Jones, Sam Grimm, Sam Wiard, Amit Bashyal, Kyle Vogt, Jake Bigelow, Evan Peterson, James Haggerty, Ryan Bailey-Crandell, Jay Howard, Hiral Patel, Emily van Zee, Jim Ketter, and Ethan Minot.