The Faculty History Project documents faculty members who have been associated with the University of Michigan since 1837. Key in this effort is to celebrate the intellectual life of the University. This Faculty History Website is intended as a component of the effort to document the extraordinary academic achievements of Michigan’s faculty in building and sustaining one of the world’s great universities. It provides access to a comprehensive database of information concerning the thousands of faculty members who have served the University of Michigan.
Find out more.

The Bentley Historical Library serves as the official archives for the University.


Oliver E Overseth
Regents' Proceedings 24

Oliver E. Overseth, Jr., professor of physics, will retire from active faculty status on July 31, 1992, after a highly productive career as a teacher and researcher.

A native of New York City, Professor Overseth graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.S. degree in physics in 1953. He received his Ph.D. degree in physics from Brown University in 1958. He subsequently served as an instructor and then research associate at Princeton University.

In 1961, Professor Overseth joined the faculty at the University of Michigan as an assistant professor of physics; he was promoted to associate professor in 1965 and to professor in 1968. During this period, he was one of several young faculty who helped raise Michigan to a position of leadership in the growing and then relatively new field of high-energy physics.

Professor Overseth's primary research interest was in the properties of elementary particles, which contained the "strange" quark. In a celebrated series of experiments at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, his group observed and studied the polarization of a class of elementary particles known as hyperons in their production at energies of 200 to 400 GeV. Many of his group's determinations of the production, decay parameters, and magnetic moments of hyperons remain today as the best published measurements. More recently, his research has been centered at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), where he has continued his experimental program in elementary particle research.

Professor Overseth was among the best teachers in the Department of Physics: demanding, conscientious, and gifted, particularly in large lecture courses where he demonstrated a special ability. He took a keen interest in teaching at all levels and continually worked to improve the department's educational program. His undergraduate students were exceptionally well prepared for subsequent education. His doctoral students have gone on to successful careers on the faculties of major universities where they continue to bear witness to his outstanding training.

The Regents now salute this distinguished physicist for his dedicated service by naming Oliver E. Overseth, Jr., Professor Emeritus of Physics.