University of Oregon 2016 Annual Report

QuarkNet Oregon 2016 The Center for High-­‐Energy Physics at the University of Oregon (UOCHEP) hosted the 2016 QuarkNet workshop June 23-­‐24 on the UO campus. This was our 15th summer workshop. A printed version of the workshop web page is given on the next page and the URL (including live links) is here:

The focus for the workshop this year was gravitational waves and LIGO, relating the discovery for which the local group played a major role, and looking forward to prospects for using gravitational waves to learn about our universe. The full list of participants is given in the web page. The UOCHEP faculty participation was Ray Frey (lead mentor and co-­‐PI), Jim Brau (mentor and co-­‐PI), Tim Cohen, Spencer Chang, Graham Kribs, Stephanie Majewski, Robert Schofield, and Eric Torrence. Tim Cohen had just finished his first year as a new faculty member in high-­‐ energy theory. The faculty talks were very well received and, following usual practice, the presentation files are linked on the web page above, where they are available to teachers. A special guest this year was QuarkNet observer Dave Trapp. Six high school teachers joined us this year, including one rookie (Karen Hunter). Except for Hunter, all of the teachers are from public schools within about 100 miles of Eugene. Funds from the UO College of Arts and Sciences were used to cover local expenses (catering, parking, dorm rooms, misc equipment).

Some comments on the main themes of the workshop:

LIGO and gravitational waves. Jim Brau opened the workshop with a modified version of one of his recent public presentations about the discovery of gravitational waves. Ray Frey gave a talk on day two relating what has been learned so far about astrophysics from the discovery, and what we might expect from LIGO in the next years. Spencer Chang gave a talk comparing the similarities and differences between electromagnetic radiation and gravitational radiation (i.e. gravitational waves). Robert Schofield ended the workshop by relating the work he led in making sure the first detected event was really from an astrophysical source, and not some terrestrial noise source which mimicked gravitational waves. Other research. Continuing with the astrophysical theme, Graham Kribs presented what we know about supernovae, emphasizing the role of elementary particles (neutrinos) in the physical process and in the detection. Undergraduate student Taylor Contreras gave a nice talk on the UO’s Pine Mountain Observatory (near Bend, Oregon) and its opportunities for undergraduate research. She showed the recent observation of a supernova in galaxy M66 which she made at Pine Mountain, which tied in nicely with the Kribs talk. Eric Torrence discussed the status of the LHC and Atlas detector at CERN and gave a nice primer on how the LHC works. Finally, Tim Cohen gave a nice introduction to the topic of dark matter.

Education and outreach. Stephanie Majewski gave a nice presentation about a program she initiated a few years ago: “Putting Your Degree to Work.” This program brings UO alums to campus to talk to students about their exciting jobs not in academia. It is a very popular and successful program. Bryan Rebar, co-­‐Director of an organization at UO called STEM-­‐CORE, talked about how this program encourages and promotes research carried out by teachers. Finally, we had our popular teacher-­‐led segment on “cool projects” from last year and plans for the coming year. This gives the participants a chance to benefit from each other’s experience and creativity. It is worth noting that the teachers all provided unsolicited and very positive comments at the end of the workshop about QuarkNet Oregon. Many pointed out that it is truly unique among the many choices teachers in Oregon have for professional development and something they encourage colleagues to become involved with.


UO QuarkNet Workshop June 23-24, 2016, 412 Willamette Hall, University of Oregon
  Thur June 23   Fri June 24
8:30 Catered light food and coffee, Wil 412 8:30 gather, eat, drink
9:00 Ray Frey: Welcome, introductions 9:00 Ray Frey: Astrophysics with GWs – implications so far and prospects
9:20 Jim Brau: Einstein's Warped Universe: Riding Gravitational Waves Through Space-time 10:00 Tim Cohen: Dark Matter
10:50 Stephanie Majewski: Physics in Industry 11:00 (All) What cool projects I did last year and what I plan to do next
11:50 Bryan Rebar: STEM-CORE program; research year. opportunities for teachers    
12:00 lunch, on your own 12:00 lunch, on your own
1:30 Eric Torrence: LHC – How does it work? Current status. 1:30 Projects (contd.)
3:00 Graham Kribs: Supernovae 2:00 Spencer Chang: Radiation – electromagnetic and gravitational
4:00 Taylor Contreras: Pine Mountain Observatory 3:00 Robert Schofield: How do we know we detected gravitational waves?


Contacts: Ray Frey, rayfrey (at, 541-346-5873 Anne McGinley, annem (at, 541-346-4898

UO Faculty participants: Jim Brau, Spencer Chang, Tim Cohen, Ray Frey, Graham Kribs, Stephanie Majewski, Bryan Rebar, Robert Schofield, Eric Torrence

UO Student Presenter: Taylor Contreras

QuarkNet Volunteer: Dave Trapp

High school science teacher participants: Beth Chruchill (Salem) Ron Crawford (Bend) Karen Hunter (Home Schooler) Art Liddle (Springfield HS) Sonia Ljungdahl (Springfield HS) Asher Tubman (South Eugene HS)

Links: Oregon QuarkNet, US QuarkNet

Support: QuarkNet program: National Science Foundation and US Dept of Energy; UO College of Arts and Sciences

QuarkNet Oregon 2016