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University of Houston Hosts SPS Zone 13 Joint Meeting

By By Morgan Lynch, Angelo State University SPS Chapter

Cassidy Smith of Angelo State University.  

From Thursday, October 20th, until Saturday, October 22nd, the University of Houston Hosted the Fall 2005 joint meeting of the TSAPS, AAPT, SPS Zone 13, FIAP, NSHP, and NSBP. Located at the on-campus Hilton, The SPS chapter of the University of Houston did an excellent job setting up the event that attracted more than 50 students and faculty from surrounding universities such as University of Texas at El Paso, Stephen F. Austin State University, Angelo State University, Sam Houston State University, Ouachita Baptist University, and Texas State University.

The event began Thursday night with the SPS BBQ hosted by Shell Oil. The evening was spent by the students of the various universities getting to know one another and settling in after their long drives into Houston. After an outstanding meal, Dr. Mario Diaz of the Center for Gravitational Wave Astronomy at the University of Texas at Brownsville gave an exciting presentation on gravitational waves; one of the most striking predictions of Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Following the presentation we received our official welcome and overview of the convention from the zone 13 AZC Kellie Fletcher of Stephen F. Austin State University.

Friday morning started with a delicious continental breakfast and a series of interesting plenary sessions over developments in nanotechnology. Chaired by Professor Allan J. Jacobson, from the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston, the specific topics covered everything from carbon nanotubes to polymer nanocomposites.

In a separate session, the students of SPS gave a series of outstanding presentations consisting of the following: “Envelope Broadening of Strongly Scattered Elastic Wavefields” by Jacob Spencer of Angelo State University, “Quantitative Analysis of the MgB2 phase in Cu-sheathed Superconducting MgB2 Wires” by S. Keith of Sam Houston State University, “Physics on the Road at Angelo State University: The Peer Pressure Team” By Cassidy Smith, and “CCD Protometry of Open Clusters” by Kellie Fletcher.

Friday also consisted of an informative Physics GRE workshop sponsored by the NSBP and NSHP. The night ended with an elegant dinner and a presentation from our keynote lecturer, Dr. Neil Lane. As the former scientific advisor for the Clinton Administration, Dr. Lane shared with us his opinions and experiences from “Surviving the Whitehouse.”

Jacob Spencer of Angelo State University.  

Saturday’s plenary sessions consisted of various topics in ultra cold physics and was chaired by the Fayez Sarofim Professor of Rice University; Professor Randall Hulet. The set of interesting presentations covered everything from ultracold neutral plasmas to atomic number squeezing. Following the plenary session, Dr. Hulet was kind enough to answer a few questions. When asked what is most important to be successful as an undergraduate, Dr. Hulet said that the key lies in “undergrad research and summer internships.”

There was also another series of presentations from SPS students. The presentations were titled: “Light, X-rays, and Atomic Structure in the Classroom” by Jesus Enriquez of the University of Texas at El Paso, “Scaling Monatomic Cross-Sections to Diatomic Molecules” by Josh Richards of Ouachita Baptist University, “Ionization Scaling for High Energy Ion-Aligned Elliptical Rydberg Hydrogen Collisions” by Thomas Cooper of Ouachita Baptist University, and “Imaging Contact Lenses using Atomic Force Microscopy, by Richard Griffin and Heather Galloway of Texas State University. Following the SPS presentations, there was another informative workshop sponsored by the NSBP and NSHP entitled “Guaranteed 4.0.”

The weekend came to an end rapidly but the contents were well worth the trip. There was a large turnout of students from all across the southern U.S. and each of the presentations given by the SPS members was professional and well rehearsed. We all wish to thank the University of Houston chapter of the SPS for all their assistance in the event, and especially for inviting us to their beautiful campus.

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