Nobelist Joins Faculty


Think that atomic clock on your bedside table is as accurate as anything can be? One of the UO’s newest faculty members—a Nobel laureate—pioneered research that helped tweak the precision of timekeeping, and, as a result, has blazed a trail for revolutionizing computing.

A giant in the world of quantum physics, David Wineland joins the UO faculty in November. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2012 for his role in capturing individual atoms in a vacuum, opening the possibility of turning them into quantum bits. These “qubits” can hold exponentially increased amounts of data, opening the way to quantum-based computers.

Wineland comes to the UO from the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado, and the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he worked since 1975.

While Wineland will have the opportunity to continue his research with the Oregon Center for Optical, Molecular, and Quantum Science (OMQ), his role will be more geared to mentoring students and young researchers in the UO's physics department. 

“I’m very thrilled to have him among our physics faculty at the UO,” said Sofiane Merkouche, a graduate research fellow in the OMQ. 

His group, which is led by Associate Professor Brian Smith, studies the fundamental properties of quantum states of light in the hope of using them to improve such things as communications and information security.

“We are setting up a new quantum optics lab, and I can’t think of a more amazing opportunity than to have someone of David Wineland’s caliber to offer his insight,” Merkouche said. “If anyone knows how to build a revolutionary experiment from the ground up, it’s him.”

Wineland’s presence also will mean the UO now may claim connections to three Nobel Prize winners: William P. Murphy, BS 1914 (biology), shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1934 for his research on liver therapies to treat anemia; and Walter Houser Brattain, BS ’26 (physics), shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1956 for his work on semiconductors and transistors while a scientist for Bell Telephone Laboratories in New Jersey.


Buzz on the Blob

“Great reporting, period.” So said the judges of a short, investigative documentary by Zach Putnam, Richard Percy, and David MacKay—of the University of Oregon in Portland’s multimedia journalism master’s program—about lead poisoning in a Portland neighborhood. The Kenton Lead Blob won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for a comprehensive account that uses visual tools to tell a troubling tale.


High-Flying Ducks

ducks trackMakenzie Dunmore (left) and Raevyn Rogers celebrate after setting a new collegiate record in the 4 X 400 meter relay on June 10, 2017, at Hayward Field.


Even by UO standards, 2016–17 was a special year for sports: three national titles for one team, runner-up for another, and deep runs into the postseason for a trio of others.

Those remarkable performances propelled Oregon to ninth place and its highest-ever finish in the Learfield Directors’ Cup, an annual ranking of NCAA athletic departments.

The women’s track-and-field program led the way, earning 300 of Oregon’s 1,027 points after becoming the first women’s program to claim indoor, outdoor, and cross-country national titles in an academic year.

The men’s golf team finished second in the NCAA Championship, the softball team reached the semifinals of the Women’s College World Series, and the men’s and women’s basketball teams made the Final Four and the Elite Eight, respectively, of their tournaments.

Oregon was 13th in the Directors’ Cup in 2014–15 before climbing to 10th in 2015–16.


Legal Assist

Two School of Law programs that serve the state are dreaming big, thanks to an anonymous donor’s gift through the Oregon Community Foundation.

The philanthropist recently granted $1.8 million to the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center and the school’s Nonprofit Clinic.

A $1 million award supports expansion of research in the environmental law center, which informs and reshapes policy and legal issues in Oregon and nationwide on topics ranging from water resources to autonomous vehicles. Another $800,000 fosters growth of the clinic, which brings students in law and conflict resolution together to develop working solutions for Oregon-based nonprofit clients.


Coming Together

black cultural centerPictured, left to right: Chris Holloway, Kena Gomalo, Diamante Jamison, Ashley Campbell, Tristen Bellows, President Schill, Brianna Hayes, Dayja Curry, Interim Vice President for Student Life Kevin Marbury, and Joel Mbala-Nkanga.


President Schill met recently with Black student leaders and members of the Black Student Task Force to share big news about plans for the Black Cultural Center—namely, that fundraising has cleared the halfway point, with more than $1.5 million committed to the project. The university will now start construction plans for the center, a hub for scholarship, community, and cultural connections to be built on East 15th Avenue near Villard Street.


All the World's Her Stage


Senior Harley Emery didn’t win the crown in last month’s Miss America contest, but she’s still going places.

Miss Oregon, an international studies and journalism major, has volunteered in Jordan and recently started a campus group to help Syrian refugees. She also boasts a 3.90 GPA.

“Competing in Miss America showed me that as polished as we may appear on that stage,” Emery says, “all of us are still goofy, down-to-earth college students who are highly motivated leaders in our communities.”



sure cure

For an undergraduate who wants to conduct research, one question is where to start. 

Now there’s an answer: the Center for Undergraduate Research and Engagement (CURE).

The new center is a clearinghouse for undergraduate research opportunities across campus, including lab work in the sciences, scholarship in the humanities, and creative efforts in art, design, or performance.

Students are matched with faculty mentors to ensure that they have a positive experience with inquiry and investigation, says Josh Snodgrass, center director. CURE supports undergraduate research grants and travel stipends, and rewards faculty members who build research requirements into their curriculums.

CURE will also showcase undergraduate research across campus and across the state. The center added new awards to the UO’s 2017 Undergraduate Research Symposium and will display student work at the Allan Price Science Commons and Research Library and the Global Scholars Hall. The latter serves as CURE headquarters, with drop-in advising, workshops, and events.


Tapestry Exclusive at JSMA

flight into egypt

Freshly cleaned and brightened, the Barberini Life of Christ tapestries, produced in Rome between 1644 and 1656, are on display at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (JSMA). The richly textured panels were designed by baroque master Giovanni Francesco Romanelli and woven by hand-picked weavers in the tapestry workshop of Francesco Barberini, the nephew of Pope Urban VIII. The JSMA is the only West Coast venue exhibiting the panels, on loan from the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City. An interactive feature enables users to tap on a tapestry image to learn details of the symbols, stories, and people depicted in the panels. Exhibit continues through January, 2018.


Innovation Festival Oct. 27

What do tomorrow’s entrepreneurs see for the future?

See for yourself Homecoming weekend.

The UO Innovation Summit celebrates innovation and entrepreneurship across campus and beyond during a one-day, interdisciplinary festival October 27.

Cosponsored by the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship, the summit highlights innovation among students, faculty members, alumni, and members of the Eugene community. Activities include speaker presentations, interactive exhibits, skill-building workshops, pitch competitions, hackathons, performances, film showings, and art exhibitions.

The event highlights the latest trends and leadership in science, technology, media, social justice, global issues, arts and literature, sports, music, environment, gender and sexuality, and business.

“Everything falls under the theme of ‘innovation,’” says Kate Harmon, undergraduate program manager with the center. “We want to connect participants and the public to ideas, resources, and one another to advance entrepreneurial knowledge, opportunities, and shared pursuits.”

What can tunes and the tasty treats tell us about making good experiences better?

Thousands of Velella velella, jellyfish relatives, washed ashore on Oregon beaches in April, and now are littering beaches in New Zealand.

Alumnus Edgardo Simone is a successful composer and orchestrator of Hollywood blockbusters, including the Spider-Man and Men in Black franchises