Group Members

Principal Investigator


Benjamín Alemán

Assistant Professor of Physics

Willamette 178, 541.346.3321

Visiting Scholars

Hannes Bend (and “is”)

We learned that nature is not deterministic, and only probabilities can be predicted.
Probability does not exist.
Google should just do nature’s job.
You know that there’s a sense of progress in science, and as we understand more, it just turns out that, somehow, the world evolves with us.
Science is everyone’s game.

(quotes by Nina Arkani-Hamed, Bruno De Finetti, Michael Vassar, Lisa Randall and Nichelle Nichols)

A focus of my current research is on dimensionality – How we are capable of describing reality through mathematics and science, creating virtual reality through technology, communicating and comprehending via visualizations; and what the implications could be. Are there separate dimensions (2D, 3D, etc.) or are they (mathematical and otherwise) conventions enabling us to make sense, study, program etc. with an astonishing accuracy? Is everything a ‘mathematical structure,’ as proposed by many scholars throughout human history? What does that mean for human and nonhuman life?

Graduate Students


Rudy Resch

Rudy Resch received his BS in Physics from Harvey Mudd College in 2009. His senior thesis was focused on finding a decay mode of an excited charm-strange baryon to a strange baryon and a charmed meson (Xi_c(3080) –> Lambda_0 D). This decay search used data collected by the BaBar experiment. He also did research related to Single Qubit Quantum Secret Sharing using entangled photons. His free time was spent competing in ballroom dance with a nationally ranked formation team and learning lindy hop and blues dancing on the side. After graduation, Rudy spent three years working at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory as part of the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS). This research was focused on building/improving the detector monte carlo, fabricating detectors, and designing a new sensor layout for larger diameter detectors. These larger detectors will be used in a future phase of the experiment. He is now attending the University of Oregon for his PhD in Physics and studying the field emissions and dynamics of NEMS (Nano Electro-Mechanical Systems) using carbon nanotubes.


Emily Hommerding

Emily Hommerding is a first year graduate student in physics. Hailing from snowy Minnesota, she did her undergraduate education at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, IL earning a BS in physics magna cum laude. Emily is a winner of the NSF Graduate Research Program fellowship, beginning tenure in summer 2014. Besides spending long days in the lab, Emily enjoys playing tennis, drinking coffee, and baking.


David Miller

David Miller graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in Fall 2012 with a B.S. in Physics. While there, he worked on a Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay experiment, CUORE, and spent several months on-site at Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Assergi, Italy. In his free time, David likes to enjoy the outdoors and is an avid mountain biker and skier.


Andrew Blaikie

Andrew Blaikie started his trek for a PhD in Physics in Fall 2013. Originally from Michigan, Andrew did his undergraduate work at the College of Wooster, in Wooster Ohio. Previously his research consisted of working on computational and theoretical variations of the two-body problem, using artificial neural networks to predict the outcomes of football games, and spent a summer at the University of Rochester working on the T2K neutrino oscillation experiment. While at Wooster Andrew played the bagpipes in the school pipe band and was able to travel around the states and Scotland through music tours and competitions. For fun he enjoys biking, hiking, yoga, and rock climbing.

Kara Zappitelli

Kara, originally from Chicago, received her B.S. in physics from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in December of 2013. While an undergraduate, she worked extensively in the field of theoretical soft condensed matter. Upon coming to the University of Oregon, however, she has begun experimental work with semiconductor and microfluidic devices and is much happier working in the lab. In her free time, she likes to bask in the glory of the PNW outdoors, travel the world, jam to good music, and watch Blackhawks hockey.




Gabe Dour

Gabe Dour earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Oregon in 2004. Seduced by science, he was forced to put down the pen. In 2009 he began post-baccalaureate work in physics, chemistry and electronics. While pursuing a second degree Gabe has participated in an eclectic variety of research. In 2011 he worked as a research assistant on a fisheries project analyzing 15N signals in fir needles along a local Oregon river and its tributaries. This included an intense three-month in-the-field collection period during which Gabe led a crew of tree climbers to the top 15% of 80 old-growth Douglas fir trees. His research interests include energy harvesting devices and systems, and NEMS. Gabe has spent the last year studying and fabricating dye sensitized solar cells with composite photoanodes. He enjoys snowboarding, capoeira, playing music and backpacking.



Kerisha Williams

Kerisha is pursuing a chemistry degree with a minor in physics and native american studies. She is from Eugene, Or and is totally in love with the northwest. As a student at Lane Community College, she applied for a UCORE research internship at the University Oregon and spent a summer studying metal oxide electrocatalysts for use in photoelectrochemical solar cells. The following summer, Kerisha worked to understand the properties of pyridinium at as an electrocatalyst for the reduction of carbon dioxide as an REU student at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Kerisha transferred from Lane to the University of Oregon in fall of 2013. In her spare time, she enjoying camping, hiking and swimming as well as dancing and community activism.


Brandon Riemer

On being human, Buckminster Fuller reflects: “I seem to be a verb; an evolutionary process – an integral function of the universe.”

My name is Brandon Riemer, and I am a first generation university student. I was born in Southern California, attended thirteen schools from Kindergarten to twelfth grade across the West Coast, and am currently pursuing bachelor degrees in Physics and Computer Science at the University of Oregon. I am enamored with the world and inspired by human potential. If all goes according to my aspirations, my life will have been dedicated to gathering information and developing technologies that will be of benefit to the scientific community and the generations of people to come. Specifically, I am interested in exploring quantum computing and its applications to neuroprosthetics such that cognitive development and communications may be revolutionized.

When I’m not dreaming big or working, you might find me midair – falling after a lead fall from a rock wall, bobbing in the ocean on a surfboard, skipping rocks on alpine lakes, or sipping green tea atop a Cascade peak.

Neil Leonard
Will McNichols
Derek Hallman
Andrew Clarke


Jered Richter–University of Oregon Masters Industrial Internship Program