Department News

May 13, 2020 - Schwettmann and Biedermann receive DOD DEPSCOR grant

OU physics professors Arne Schwettmann (PI) and Grant Biedermann (Co-PI) have been awarded $584,418 by the Department of Defense through the Defense Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (DEPSCoR) for their research project titled "Harnessing entanglement in ultracold atomic gases.”

Award Announcement:

May 01, 2020 - Harnessing entanglement in ultra cold atomic gases

Dr. Arne Schwettmann (PI) and Dr. Grant Biedermann (Co-PI) have been awarded $584,418 by the Department of Defense through the Defense Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (DEPSCoR).

Apr 23, 2020 - OU Physicists Develop New Approach to Increase Performance of Solar Energy

Experimental condensed matter physicists in the Department of Physics at the University of Oklahoma have developed an approach to circumvent a major loss process that currently limits the efficiency of commercial solar cells.

Members of the Photovoltaic Materials and Devices Group, led by OU associate professor in the Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy, Ian Sellers, along with theorists at Arizona State University, led by David K. Ferry, have demonstrated a breakthrough toward the development of a hot carrier solar cell.

A hot carrier solar cell is a device that reduces heat losses in the material and could increase the efficiency of solar cells by more than 20%, which would be a significant breakthrough for solar energy. Although this device has been the source of a considerable amount of research over the last 10 to 15 years, the realization of a practical solution to this challenging problem has thus far eluded researchers.

This new approach, recently published in the journal Nature Energy, demonstrates significant progress in the realization of the hot carrier solar cell and the potential for ultrahigh-efficiency single junction semiconductor devices, which would revolutionize the field of photovoltaics and renewable energy generation.

Apr 22, 2020 - Leighly, Marino and Sellers receive faculty awards

HLD professor Karen Leighly received the Regents' Award for Superior Research and Creative Activity, awarded by the University of Oklahoma.  HLD faculty Alberto Marino and Ian Sellers were the recipients of the Ted S. Webb Presidential Professorship. The award recognizes faculty members who excell in all their professional activities and who relate those acticities to the students they teach and mentor. 


For more information, see announcement.

Apr 14, 2020 - OU physicists awarded European Physics Society prize


The European Physical Society has awarded the the CDF and DZero collaborations with the prestigous 2019 High Energy and Particle Physics Prize "for the discovery of the top quark and the detailed measurement of its properties."

Several members of the OU Physics & Astronomy department are members of the DZero collaboration, including faculty members Patrick Skubic, Phillip Gutierrez, Michael Strauss, and Brad Abbott.


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.

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