Bethany Matthews has been awarded the Ben and Elaine Whiteley Endowment for Materials Research Fellowship.  This endowment, established in 2007, provides support for materials research in the College of Science.

Ms. Matthews is a fourth-year PhD student working with Prof. Janet Tate. Her research involves the design, synthesis, and characterization of thin film semiconductors for the improvement of renewable energy applications such as solar cells, thermoelectrics (materials which can convert heat to usable energy), or piezoelectrics (materials which can convert a mechanical stress or push to a usable energy). These semiconductors are stabilized in higher energy states than they would normally be found in through alloying and appropriate temperature control to improve their properties and make them more suitable for devices. She is particularly interested in studying the microstructure (e.g. size, composition, structure, and orientation of crystals on a very small scale) of these materials by electron microscopy and learning how changes to that microstructure explain changes to properties on a much larger scale. This fellowship will allow her to study these materials and similar systems in greater detail at the microscopy facility at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colorado and to explain anomalous property behaviors which, if they can be controlled, could greatly increase device efficiency.

Fourth year graduate student Nicole Quist has been chosen as a member of the United States Delegation for the sixth International Conference on Women in Physics. As a member of the delegation, she is involved in writing the conference proceedings paper for the United States and creating the national poster which focus on the statu

Nicole Quist

s of women in physics in the United States and the problems that women in physics experience. The delegation will also be completing a project that will provide tools to aid women in physics, and Nicole will contribute to this as well. Although she will not be part of the subset of the group that will travel to the conference itself, her contributions will. This is an exciting opportunity for Nicole to work with women around the country to focus on encouraging diversity in physics.

Physics students and faculty have received a total of 7 SURE Science Awards.

The SURE Science Awards support an undergraduate student for a summer of research in a faculty member’s lab.

our student and faculty awardees are:

Cassandra Hatcher (Physics) in the Lazzati Group
Garret Jepson (Physics) in the Schneider Group
Michelle Zhou (Physics) in the Johns Lab (Vet-Med)
Youngmin Park (BB) in the Qiu Lab
Theresa Dinh (Biology) in the Sun Lab
Dublin Nichols (Physics) in the Minot Lab
Attila Varga (Physics) in the Hadley Group

Congratulations to all – we’re looking forward to hearing your reports at the end of the summer.

Bethany Matthews, a 4th-year graduate student in Prof. Janet Tate’s lab, has won a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science Graduate Student Research Award.  The award is for the proposed research project, “Microscopy Analysis of Metastable Heterostructural Alloys with Anomalous Piezoelectric Response”, to be conducted at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, CO during the summer and fall of 2017.

The award citation states that, “The SCGSR award is in recognition of outstanding academic accomplishments and the merit of the SCGSR research proposal, and reflects Bethany Matthews’s potential to advance the Ph.D. studies and make important contributions to the mission of the DOE Office of Science.” Congratulations, Bethany!

Bethany will work with Dr. Andrew Norman of NREL and also with Prof. Brian Gorman and Dr. Andriy Zakutayev, her collaborators in the DOE-funded Energy Frontier Research Center, the Center for Next-Generation Materials by Design. The EFRC members study metastable materials of many types, and Bethany’s role has been understanding metastable alloys.  Her developing interest in transmission electron microscopy, using OSU’s Electron Microscopy Facility under the guidance of Dr. Pete Eschbach, led her to submit a proposal to DOE to study metastable alloys with microscopists at NREL and Colorado School of Mines.

SPIE – the international society for optics and photonics has chosen Matt Graham as one of 10 Rising Researchers for 2017.  He will be honored at their meeting in Anaheim next week!–commercial-sensing/rising-researchers    has the story.

(Graham group member Hiral Patel received the poster award at SPIE last year. Go Micro-Femto group!)

Physics Major Mirek Brandt was just named a National Goldwater Scholar!
Press release:

OSU’s last Goldwater Scholar winner was in 2013; most years there are only a couple successful nominations statewide (3 this year).   OSU also had a second successful nominee this year, True Gibson, a Life Sciences major. Congrats!

The Goldwater Scholarship was established by US Congress in 1986. Each year all universities nominate up to four undergraduates in science or engineering for one of ~240 Goldwater Scholarships.  As all nominees are academically near the top of their school, the primary consideration at the National level becomes “the extent to which that individual has the commitment and potential to make a significant contribution to his or her field. This is judged by letter of references, essays written by the student, and prior research experience.”

Mirek will graduate in June 2018 as a Physics and Math major and plans to pursue graduate studies. Since his freshman year (Fall 2014), Mirek Brandt has been a member of Prof. Matt Graham’s  Micro-Femto Energetics Lab.  His research contributions are very substantial and we thank  URSA-ENGAGE and SURE Science Summer Scholarship programs for funding his research.  He will defend his undergraduate senior project thesis later this year entitled “The Impact of Crystal Morphology on Opto-Electronic Properties of Amorphous and Organic Crystalline Materials”.

To top off this National honor, Mirek was recently recognized internationally by being selected to attend the Kupcinet-Getz International Science School. This program matches top-undergraduates with leading research mentors at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel.  Mirek will join a Theoretical Astrophysics group at Weizmann this summer before returning to Oregon State Physics to take-up his Goldwater Scholarship.

On behalf of the OSU Physics Department, congratulations Mirek!

On Saturday, March 4th, the Physics Department was part of the annual “Discovering the Scientist Within” event at OSU. Twenty-three middle school girls from all over Oregon visited the department and learned about physics by playing with some of our coolest physics toys.

The girls drew “physicists doing physics” on the wall-mounted touch screens in our hi-tech studio classroom. The girls played with our superconducting train, centrifuge chair, precessing bicycle wheel, standing wave strobe setup and tabletop hovercrafts. They used OSU diffraction glasses to look at atomic emission spectra. They zoomed down the halls of Weniger on our leaf-blower hovercraft. We turned out the lights and did some “light painting”. We finished the day with homemade liquid nitrogen ice cream.

For more information about the Discovering the Scientists Within event, see the article in the Gazette Times.


Photo Credit and Copyright: Aran (Ari) Denison 2017 All Rights Reserved
Photo Credit and Copyright: Aran (Ari) Denison 2017 All Rights Reserved
Photo Credit and Copyright: Aran (Ari) Denison 2017 All Rights Reserved
Photo Credit and Copyright: Aran (Ari) Denison 2017 All Rights Reserved
Photo Credit and Copyright: Aran (Ari) Denison 2017 All Rights Reserved
Photo Credit and Copyright: Aran (Ari) Denison 2017 All Rights Reserved
Photo Credit and Copyright: Aran (Ari) Denison 2017 All Rights Reserved
Photo Credit and Copyright: Aran (Ari) Denison 2017 All Rights Reserved

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