Department News

Jan 24, 2020 - Department holds successful Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics

The Department of Physics and Astronomy hosted a conference for undergradue women in Physics (CUWiP2020@OU) on January 17-19, 2020. The conference was attended by about 130 undergraduate students, mostly women, from Oklahoma, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Following a formal application to the American Physical Society (APS), which coordinates the conference series, OU was selected as one of 12 sites across the US to host CUWiP over the MLK weekend. OU’s CUWiP was organized under the leadership of third-year physics graduate student Amber Roepe, who spear-headed bringing CUWiP to OU and served as Chair of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC).

Doerte Blume served as the Faculty Chair of the conference. The majority of the LOC was made up of undergraduate and graduate students from the Department of Physics and Astronomy. In addition, several staff and faculty members generously donated their time. The feedback from the student participants and presenters was overwhelmingly positive. One student participant wrote after the conference “Thank you so much for such a great weekend. I learned so much.” MacArthur Fellow Prof. Margaret Murnane from the University of Colorado, Boulder/JILA, who gave the after-dinner talk on Friday, said “Terrific conference! The conference program touched on all aspects of undergraduate students’ lives, including the challenges and isolation frequently felt by members from underrepresented minorities. The undergraduate student attendees had the opportunity to visit experimental facilities in Nielsen and Lin Halls, to learn about graduate programs and internships, to enjoy talks by internationally renowned speakers, to interact with OU alumni who are now pursuing highly successful careers in academia, to hear about how to cope with mental health challenges, to learn about unique challenges encountered by underrepresented minorities and the LGBTQ+ community, and to engage in networking. The conference organizers would like to acknowledge the financial support of the conference by the APS, through their NSF and DOE grants; nine OU Departments, Colleges, and Offices; EPSCOR Mississippi; as well as individual donors who donated through OU’s Thousand Strong crowdfunding efforts. 

Congratullations to all!

Dec 19, 2019 - Newsletter 2019

Dec 09, 2019 - Have Peter-Pan Systems Revealed the Fountain of Youth?

Dr John Wisniewski has been awarded $87,267 from SAO/Chandra.

Dec 09, 2019 - Extreme AO Imaging and Integral Field Spectroscopy of Young Planet-Forming Disks

Dr John Wisniewski has been awarded $307,745 from NASA's Exoplanet Research Program.

Dec 09, 2019 - Time Domain Coronagraphy: Diagnosiing the Stripping of AU Mic’s Debris Disk

Dr John Wisniewski has been awarded $57,854.00 by STScI.

Dec 09, 2019 - Disk Detective 2.0

Dr John Wisniewski has been awarded $36,743.00 from NASA-HQ.

Dec 09, 2019 - Collaborative Research: Confirming and Characterizing Transiting Exoplanets around Bright Stars with

Dr John Wisniewski has been awarded $244,471.00 by the National Science Foundation.

Dec 02, 2019 - Bruce Mason wins APS Award on Physics Education

HLD Professor Bruce Mason was a recipient of the 2020 Excellence in Physics Education Award offered by the National Science Foundation. The award was shared with other members of the Open Source Physics Team "for sustained commitment to computational physics education through creating and disseminating programming environments, books, software, simulations, and other tools to support computational thinking, and for research establishing the value of these tools and best practices for their use." Bruce was involved in building and running some of the digital resources of the project, including the ComPADRE Collection of online educational content. Congratulations!

For more info, see APS page.  


Nov 12, 2019 - CQRT Director interviewed by KGOU

The CQRT director Alberto Marino was interviewed by KGOU at the inauguration of the Center for Quantum Technology. The area of quantum physics could generate billions of dollars worth of technology over the next decade. The interview can be found at

Oct 23, 2019 - Presidential Dream Course on Quantum Hybrid Systems

A second quantum technology revolution is upon us! The first used the laws of quantum physics to design systems in which the energy is “quantized,” to allow only certain values. This idea is at the heart of technology ranging from TV remotes to supercomputers. Now, two other features of quantum mechanics, entanglement and superposition, are becoming accessible to control. To do so we must unite the incredible delicacy and uniformity of single atoms with the robust control and reproducibility of larger devices, forming “quantum hybrid systems.”

This Presidential Dream course will give students competence in the fundamentals so that they may pursue research and careers in this field. As part of the course world experts will come to OU to give lectures and meet with students.

For more info:

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Jan 28, 2020 3:45 pm

Nielsen Hall 170 (Neal F. Lane Auditorium) - Julia Wildeboer
Quantum many-body physics beyond the ground state


Jan 30, 2020 3:45 pm

Nielsen Hall 170 (Neal F. Lane Auditorium) - Thomas G. Folland
Infrared Polaritonics: Coupling Long Wavelength Light to Quantum Systems

Astronomy Journal Club

Jan 31, 2020 12:30 pm

Nielsen Hall 103 - Jordan Van Nest & Maria Schutte