- Dept Admin
- Chair's message
- Outreach and clubs
Graduate school should provide opportunities to develop skills that will be useful to you in your scientific career. In addition to undertaking course work and your particular research project, you should develop a broad knowledge of physics, learn to present your findings to your colleagues and the general public, develop teaching skills, learn how to communicate with colleagues, co-workers and students, and begin to develop a professional network. In the Physics Department, we try to provide as many opportunities as possible for you to develop this professional sophistication.
The weekly departmental colloquium features researchers from within OSU and from other universities, national laboratories, and from industry speaking on a wide variety of topics. Colloquia are designed to present information that will provide a good introduction to the topic for students, be interesting to faculty and other researchers in different fields, and also present new information for the experts.
Solid State & Optics Seminar
We have an active weekly seminar series in solid state and optics. The seminars are generally given by local and regional speakers. This is where graduate students present their first research seminars, and this is an excellent forum to practice in a friendly and supportive environment. The seminar is also used for students to practice 10-minute talks presented at national conferences.
Usually offered in Spring, the weekly Communications Seminar provides a forum to practice and discuss professional communication. The 10-minute talk, the research seminar, appropriate telephone and e-mail demeanor, and other important topics are part of the program.
Students attend national and international research conferences to present their work. Local and regional conferences provide an inexpensive way to give research presentations locally. Tell your advisor of your interest in attending these. Presenting your work to new audiences is the best way to hone your skills.
Regular conferences in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest:
Spring Meeting of the Materials Research Society (April), San Franscisco, CA
Annual Meeting of the APS Northwest Section (May), Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, British Columbia, Alberta
Oregon AAPT Meeting (March, October) Oregon
Annual Meeting of the Oregon Academy of Science (February), Western Oregon
Annual Meeting of AAAS Pacific Division (March)
SPIE annual meeting (August)
Frontiers in Optics (October)
The research seminar is offered in Winter term. Physics faculty present their research programs to keep graduate students informed of work in the department. This allows newcomers to find research projects, and allows all graduate students to broaden their physics knowledge. The seminar series begins with a session on the culture of research in academia, with broad-ranging topics: funding of research, expectations, how to function efficiently in a research group.
The weekly Fall TA seminar continues the pre-Fall term TA orientation to help incoming TAs develop teaching skills. TAs practice presenting material, running group problem-solving sessions, and supervising labs.
The weekly Teaching seminar runs in Winter & Spring. The format differs from term to term; formats may include discussions of current best pedagogical practices as determined by physics education research PER, discussions of education theories, and opportunities to design curricular materials and to practice teaching. In some terms, this seminar meets jointly with TAs and faculty from other science departments.
Students have a chance to practice presenting responses to typical oral-exam type questions to a group that includes a faculty member and fellow students. This is great practice also for conference presentations and job interview situations. Meets several times a term.
Women in Physics
The Women in Physics group provides a networking opportunity, and a forum to discuss issues of importance to an under-represented group.
The graduate student orientation program runs in the week and a half before Fall classes begin. Faculty, staff and experienced graduate students introduce incoming students to the graduate program: courses, research, advising, TA orientation, and administrative matters. The orientation ends with the departmental Fall Picnic in Avery Park.
There are opportunities to assist in the teaching of a wide varierty of courses. The astromomy courses feature interactive, web-based exercises as well as night observations. The Paradigms curriculum provides an opportunity to teach in an innovative, team-run program. The Computational Physics degree offers courses that allow TAs experience with computational labs. There are advanced labs in optics, lasers, electronics and computer interfacing. Other lab opportunities are in Baccalaureate-core courses on light and sound. Recitation and laboratory sections in calculus- and algebra-based introductory physics are based on the results of physics education research. A peer mentor program is in place to support TAs throughout the teaching experience. Advanced students can seek apprenticeships with faculty members and assume a more responsible role for sections of courses.
Graduate students play an active role in interviewing prospective faculty members, and thus learn about the interview process. Candidates always meet the graduate students as a group, and the meeting is moderated by the graduate student member of the search committee. This student also is involved in the candidate selection process.
Join the American Physical Society
The APS is your professional society. It publishes journals and periodicals of interest (Physics Today for free!), holds conferences, advocates for the health of physics, and is concerned with education and scientific literacy. The forum on Graduate Student Affairs (FGSA) is specifically concerned with issues of importance to graduate students. Student membership is cheap. Join now!
Check out the jobs site!
Jobs & Job Searches
The professional science societies have excellent websites that have job postings and networking, resume-writing, and other useful information.
American Physical Society: APS Careers page
American Association for the Advancement of Science: AAAS Career Resources
Materials Research Society: MRS Career Connections page
Optical Society of America: OSA Career Center
Outreach - informing and educating the broader community about physics and science - is an important part of a career in physics. Graduate students can be instructors in OSU's middle school TAG program Adventures in Learning, and the SMILE science program for underrepresented students in grades 4-12. Each year, Physics runs Beaver Open House, to introduce prospective undergraduates to OSU Physics, and participates in Discovery Days, a pre-College outreach program. Many of these outreach activities can be done in conjunction with the Society of Physics Students, the undergraduate student club.