Oregon State Department of Physics Yunker Lecture Series

Photo of Dr. Yunker

The Yunker Lecture Fund was established in 1981 as a result of an original generous gift to the Physics Department from Mrs. Gertrude Yunker, who wished to endow a lecture series in honor of her husband, Dr. Edwin Yunker.

Professor Yunker was a member of the OSU physics faculty from 1925 to 1968, and he served as department chair from 1949 to 1966. Under his leadership we started on the path to becoming a modern, research-oriented physics department. The purpose in establishing the lecture fund was to bring outstanding physicists to the campus to give talks on their specialty areas for a general audience. Additional gifts came from Dr. and Mrs. Yunker; from their daughter Elaine Yunker Whiteley, and her husband, Ben; from their son Wayne Yunker and his wife, Elaine; and from other relatives and friends. Since the first lecture in 1985, we have hosted delightful visitors who have offered stimulating talks on topics ranging from time travel to space-based weapons and from the structure of the universe to the structure of fundamental particles. Although Ed and Gertrude Yunker passed away in 1990, their generosity lives on through this excellent lecture series that they endowed.


Date Speaker
2016 Prof. Meg Urry, Yale University Yunker Lecture with Meg Urry
2015 Prof. Howard Stone, Donald R. Dixon ’69 and Elizabeth W. Dixon Professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton Fascination with Fluids and Flows
2014 Eric Cornell, JILA, NIST & University of Colorado at Boulder Particle paleontology: looking for fossils from the early universe inside the electron
2011 Prof. Philip Kim, Columbia University Relativity, Quantum Physics, and Graphene
2010 Prof. Taekjip Ha, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Single Molecule Nanometry for Biological Physics
2009 Paul L. McEuen, Professor of Physics, Cornell University Small is All: Nano, Bio, and the Future of Technology
2008 Edward W. Kolb, Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago Mysteries of the Dark Universe
2006 W.E. Moerner, Harry S. Mosher Professor of Chemistry, Stanford University Visualizing Single Molecules with Lasers
2005 Sylvester James Gates Jr., John S. Toll Professor of Physics and Center for String and Particle Theory Director, University of Maryland Can Cosmological Concordance Occur With Superstring/M-theory in the Heavens?
2003 Helen Quinn, Professor, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Stanford University The Asymmetry Between Matter and Antimatter
2001 Thomas Rossing, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northern Illinois University Sound, Music, and Physics
2000 Arthur J. Freeman, Morrison Professor of Physics, Northwestern University A New Age of Computational Materials Science: A Scientific Revolution Unfolds
1999 Ted Geballe, Emeritus Professor of Applied Physics and of Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University Magnetic and Superconducting Materials: The Old and the New
1998 Carl Wieman, Professor of Physics, University of Colorado Creating a New Form of Matter at the Coldest Temperature in the Universe
1997 Douglas Osheroff, J.G. Jackson and C.J. Wood Professor of Physics, Stanford University Superfluidity in Helium Three: Discovery and Understanding
1996 Peter Franken, Professor of Physics, University of Arizona Municipal Waste, Recycling, and Nuclear Garbage
1995 John Clarke, Professor of Physics, University of California, Berkeley High Temperature Superconductivity, SQUIDs and Brains
1994 Anthony Leggett, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Chair and Center for Advanced Study Professor of Physics, University of Illinois Does the Everyday World Really Obey Quantum Mechanics?
1993 Daniel Kleppner, Lester Wolfe Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Science, Science Bashing, and the Descent into Wooliness
1992 David Mermin, Horace White Professor of Physics, Cornell University The Vision of Einstein, the Caution of Bohr
1991 Vera Rubin, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Institution of Washington What Newton Didn’t Know about the Universe
1990 Blas Cabrera, Professor of Physics, Stanford University What is the Dark Matter Around our Galaxy?
1989 Kip Thorne, The William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor, California Institute of Technology Time and Time Travel Through Hyperspace: A Physicist Looks at Two Topics from Science Fiction
1988 Richard Garwin, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center Space Defense and the Future of Nuclear Weapons
1987 Leon Lederman, Director, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory The Supercollider: What, Why, and How?
1986 Richard Muller, Professor of Physics, California Institute of Technology Dinosaurs, Comet Storms, and Nemesis
1985 Gary Steigman, Professor of Physics, Ohio State University Cosmic Connections