SPS Zone 9 Fall Meeting
The Society of Physics Students (SPS) Zone 9 Meeting began on Thursday, October 13th with an informal reception to welcome the visiting universities, colleges and high schools. Students and faculty from Carthage College, Indiana University-South Bend, Marquette University, and a variety of high schools were able to mingle and talk in a casual setting about physics projects at concepts.
After the reception, Dr. Cornell gave his first lecture, "Stone Cold Science: Bose-Einstein Condensation and the Weird World of Physics a Millionth of a Degree Above Absolute Zero" to a full auditorium of physics students, faculty, and other members of the community. By the end of the lecture, the auditorium was so full that people were sitting on the floor in the isles. Dr. Cornell was a captivating and humorous speaker. Everyone present enjoyed his lecture.
The conference continued on Friday morning with a personal breakfast for the Society of Physics Students with Dr. Cornell. The experience was very enjoyable for SPS members involved as a chance for a student to talk one-on-one with a Nobel Laureate is rare. Several students presented posters of physics projects/research prior and during breakfast.
Later that morning, five students gave oral presentations. Brian Kaster, from Marquette University, presented on "Radio Observations of Core Collapse Supernova and Savan Kharel, of the Indiana University-South Bend gave a presentation on "The
Structure of Spacetime in String Theory". Andrew Ratkiewicz, also from Indiana University-South Bend, gave a talk on the subject of "Tracking Multiple Neutron Events in the Modular Neutron Array". Nathan Schumaker, of Highland Community College, spoke about "Projecting a Community Image" and Sabrina Dechene, from Marquette University, concluded with a presentation on "Ethics in Physics".
The afternoon was spent with both students and faculty members participating in a Physics Scavenger Hunt. Teams consisted of a mix of students and faculty from the attending colleges and universities. Each team was given a palm pilot with a digital camera and a list of physics concepts. Some items on the list included periodic motion, a diffuse reflection, a black body, a phase change, something in dynamic equilibrium, a real image, a virtual image, a quantum effect, a vortex and something in static equilibrium. The teams had to find objects on the Marquette campus and in the surrounding Milwaukee area that fit all of the proper physics description, photograph them and return to the meeting room in a one-hour time limit. The introductory physics class for science majors decided the winner of the contest after each team described their photographs. The winning team received a small cash award as well as several small prizes, including Marquette physics t-shirts, pencils, and key chains.
The conference concluded with another lecture by Dr. Cornell on "Rotating the Irrotatable: Quantized Vortices in a Super-Gas." This lecture was given as a joint physics and chemistry colloquium and was more scientific and complex than his talk the previous night. However, Dr. Cornell explained the subject very well and still managed to make his lecture humorous and entertaining. It was a very intellectual and appropriate way to end the conference.