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Heidi Schellman in front of brick wall

Heidi Schellman named head of Physics

By Debbie Farris

Heidi Schellman, Head of the Department of Physics

The College of Science is proud to welcome Heidi Schellman as the new head of the Department of Physics January 1, 2015.

Schellman is Professor and Chair of Physics and Astronomy at Northwestern University’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, where she has been on the faculty since 1990 and Chair since 2010. Her primary area of interest is experimental high energy physics. Specifically, her research has focused on measurements of proton structure and electroweak parameters. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and is an outstanding researcher. Her research is funded by the US Department of Energy.

“I am so pleased to welcome Dr. Schellman to the College of Science where she will work with the Department of Physics to enhance our research excellence and to advance our teaching and learning initiatives,” said Sastry G. Pantula, dean of the College of Science.

“With her research experience, academic leadership, innovative approach to course development, and support for underrepresented student populations, I know she will be an excellent addition to our College and to Oregon State.”

At Northwestern Schellman served as Associate Dean for Research in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences from 2004-2007 where she successfully reconfigured funding packages to increase guaranteed support for graduate students from four to five years. As Chair she focused on improving support for undergraduate students in Introductory Physics courses by creating smaller classes and introducing drop-in tutoring.

Schellman has also developed innovative courses to better prepare students from underrepresented groups for successful careers in academia. These include a data analysis and programming course to prepare students for research in their junior and senior years, a rigorous Qualifying Boot Camp course for graduate students and a course on research conduct. Last year, she teamed with a professor of German and a professor of Electrical Engineering to develop a Humanities course called “Einstein in the 20th Century” for non-scientists.

“I was first attracted to Oregon State’s Department of Physics by the reputation of their senior scientists in both research and education,” said Schellman

“Upon interviewing I was able to meet firsthand the outstanding young people that Oregon State has attracted. I’m very fortunate to be joining an already strong department with a very exciting future.”

Schellman received a B.S. in mathematics from Stanford University, and in 1984 obtained her Ph.D. in physics from the University of California at Berkeley. She served as a member of the CCFR neutrino scattering experiment at the University of Chicago for three years in the mid 1980s. In 1988 she joined the E665 muon scattering experiment as a Wilson Fellow at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. In 1999 she returned to Fermilab for one year as a staff scientist, serving as Computing Coordinator for the D0 collider experiment, one of the pioneering projects in worldwide analysis of petascale data samples. Since the D0 experiment shut down in 2011, she has concentrated on neutrino physics.

Schellman has served as consultant on technical issues related to high energy physics and computing for the U.S. Department of Energy (High Energy Physics Advisory Panel and Neutrino Scientific Advisory Group) and CERN in Switzerland. She is currently a member of the Program Advisory Panels for both the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota and for Jefferson National Laboratory in Virginia.