The Society of Physics Students is continuing its efforts to promote science through outreach following its trip to PhysCon last weekend.
On Nov. 8-10, two national physics clubs, the Society of Physics Students and the Physics Honor Society, convened in Orlando, Fla. for the 2012Â QuadrennialÂ Physics Congress. Often simply referred to as “PhysCon,” the Quadrenniel Physics Congress is conducted once every four years. More than 800 students attended, 30 of which were from ACU.
PhysCon is the only physics conference in the nation that is specifically geared toward undergraduates. It also serves as a platform through which the Society of Physics Students and the Physics Honor Society, also called Sigma Pi Sigma, can set their agenda for the next four years.
The theme this year was “connecting worlds through science and service.” Â Speakers presented ways students could use their physics degrees and encouraged them to look outside traditional scientific outlets like teaching or spending time in a laboratory.Â Carson Brown, junior engineering-physics major from Odessa, said he was exposed to information he wouldn’t normally have been taught.
“I learned how much research and study is going on outside of just the normal fields that you hear about,” Brown said.
SPS has been preparing to attend PhysCon for the past four years. The total cost of the trip was about $20,000, including registration, the use of a charter bus and the cost of a hotel. The organization soughtÂ sponsorships and departmental funding, and also sold liquid nitrogen ice cream, Sonic community cards and baked goods to help fundraise. Ultimately, each student was only responsible for paying $50 to help cover registration.
A variety of speakers and workshops focused on ways science could be spread outside of usual scientific platforms. Spencer Lynn, president of the ACU chapter of Society of Physics Students, said scientific outreach was promoted heavily at PhysCon.
“In explaining physics, we need to do it in a way that does not sacrifice the content of it,” said Lynn, senior physics major from White Oak. “But we need to present it in a way that is in a language everyone can understand.”
The Society of Physics Students is already heavily involved in promoting science outside of the classroom. Twice a year, the group hosts a “Science Cafe,” during which a physicist will give a brief presentation on a popular idea in physics. SPS also conducts “Physics Roadshows.” Members visit elementary schools and give scientific concepts to young children.
“We blow stuff up, we do different tricks, we use liquid nitrogen,” Lynn said. “We deliver a lot of content to the kids. They go home thinking, ‘Wow, science is cool.'”
The Society of Physics Students meets on Tuesdays during Chapel in Foster Science Building Room 350. Meetings are open to all students.