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Physics at Oregon State University


The department has strong research programs in optics and condensed matter physics and an emerging emphasis on biophysics. Experimental, theoretical, and computational research seeks to understand the physics and applications of new materials and to answer fundamental questions about the dynamical behavior of biological and nanoscale systems. As home of the Paradigms in Physics upper-division curriculum project and an expanding program of reform in the lower-division service courses, our department has a strong culture of shared responsibility for curriculum development supported by physics education research. We particularly value collaborative interdisciplinary projects that span departments within the College of Science and with other colleges, especially Engineering and Education.

2016 Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics

The OSU Physics Department is proud to be selected to host the 2016 Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics on January 15 through 17, 2016. For more information, follow the button to the right!

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2015 Jun 7 Congratulations to Brian Johnson who has received the 2015 Physics Graduate Research Award in recognition of his work on organic semiconductors with Oksana Ostraverkhova. For more details and a picture, please see The Spectrometer article
2015 Jun 3

Congratulations to Lee Aspitarte, 2015 recipient of the Ben and Elaine Whiteley Materials Research Fellowship

Lee Aspitarte is a fourth year PhD student working with Prof. Ethan Minot, and recipient of this year’s Whiteley Materials Research Fellowship. He is studying photocurrent generation in photodiodes fabricated from single carbon nanotubes (CNTs). CNTs are exciting candidates for next generation solar technology because they undergo Multiple Electron-hole pair Generation (MEG), where carriers excited by a photon with an energy of more than twice the band gap can decay by exciting additional electron-hole pairs. By utilizing MEG, CNT based solar technology could exceed the theoretical limit on solar power conversion efficiency for silicon based technology, 29%. The research funded by this fellowship will study MEG in CNT photodiodes by manipulating the dielectric environment surrounding the CNT, affecting the electron-electron scattering processes that lead to MEG. The knowledge gained from this study could directly impact design considerations for next-generation high-efficiency MEG based solar cells. Mr. Aspitarte received the Peter Fontana Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award in 2012 and has already co-authored two papers on his research at Oregon State.

The Ben and Elaine Whiteley Endowment for Materials Research, established in 2007, provides support for materials research in the College of Science. In particular, it provides fellowship support for students to work full time during the Summer in a research laboratory, working on materials research related topics.

2015 May 8

Physics undergraduate researchers Jacob Busche (Ostroverkhova lab) and Daniel Lin (Sun lab) will be presenting their posters at the CUE event on May 14, 11 AM - 4 PM, at the MU Plaza ! Also, Jacob Busche, Michael Perlin, and L. Bonner will participate at the UHC thesis fair on May 15, 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM, at the MU/SEC Plaza. Please stop by these events to support our undergrads and celebrate excellence in undergraduate research !!

2015 May 7

OSU Physics graduates and undergraduate students perform exceptionally well in the job market, with many joining high-tech companies in Oregon and Washington. Especially notable are the high numbers of Physics majors, MS and PhD students who have gotten jobs in Intel, often described as one of the toughest tech companies to interview for.
Read more here:
OSU Physics alumni at Intel

2015 May 6

Howard Stone's Yunker Lecture is front page news! See HERE

Howard Stone of Princeton's Yunker lecture on Monday was a great success. He packed Weniger 151 for his talk on "Fascination with Fluids and Flows", which showed many examples of unexpected behavior in Fluid Mechanics. Everyone enjoyed his visit, which included meetings with undergraduates, graduate students and faculty as well as the fascinating lecture at the end of the day.

2015 May 5

Physics major Michael Perlin has accepted a German Academic Exchange (DAAD) fellowship to study in Germany next academic year. Michael was also selected as a Fulbright alternate for Germany.

2015 Mar 27

Physics Professor Janet Tate has been named the first Dr. Russ and Dolores Gorman Faculty Scholar. The three-year rotating award recognizes faculty who bring distinction to the College of Science, connect with industry and have a strong record of innovative research with practical impact.

This award will support Tate’s novel research on transparent semi-conductors with the potential for real-world application. Currently, she is working to develop a new kind of semiconductor with electrical and optical properties to help solve some of the world’s pressing problems such as efficient conversion of solar energy and light emission.

The Dr. Russ and Delores Gorman Faculty Scholar Fund honors the legacy of Dr. Russell Gorman, who was chair of the Health, Physical Education and Recreation departments at the University of Nebraska, Mankato State University (Minnesota) and Illinois State University. Dr. Gorman resided in Corvallis with his wife of more than 65 years, Delores, until his death in January 2015.

More details at:


2015 Mar 12

Daniel Lin wins the Undergraduate Research Presentation Award at the American Physical Society Meeting for work with Prof. Bo Sun

Physics Major Daniel Lin has received the Undergraduate Research Presentation Award at the March American Physical Society meeting for his poster "A Novel Approach to Line Detection using Image Integration Method”. Lin is a Senior with a dual major in Physics and Computer Science.

Daniel's research project is part of Prof. Bo Sun's group’s effort to understand the structure and properties of biopolymer networks. They have developed an image line detection algorithm based on a similarly score with respect to a precalculated image library. Unlike other methods, which typically rely on image gradients, their algorithm uses integration, and therefore is robust even for noisy images. His work has already attracted substantial interest.

A picture of the award ceremony