Department News

Mar 25, 2020 - Physics & Astronomy Offices are Closed

In order to comply with recent public health statements from our Provost, in consultation with OUHSC and the Centers for Disease Control, our departmental offices are closed.

We are not meeting one-on-one with students at this time.

Please contact via email to your individual professor or contact our Student Services Representative, Ms. Ashley Price,, or you are welcome call our offices directly at 405-325-3961 and leave a message.

We appreciate your respect of the rules instituted to keep us all safe and healthy.

Feb 20, 2020 - Wisniewski helps to validate sub-Neptunian size exoplanet

 A multi-university team of researchers, including OU's John Wisniewski, has validated that a candidate planet signal originally detected by the Kepler space telescope is an exoplanet—a planet orbiting a star outside of our solar system. The planet, called G 9-40b, is about twice the size of the Earth and orbits its low mass host star (an M dwarf star) only 100 light years away, making it the second-closest transiting planet discovered by the K2 mission to date.  Read more here

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

The Department of Physics and Astronomy hosted the Conference for Undergraduate 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! I think everyone benefitted from the wonderful exchanges---and it will motivate us to keep pushing for better environments for members from underrepresented groups!"

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. 

Congratulations 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.  


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