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[an error occurred while processing this directive] SPS Sessions at the 2006 APS March Meeting

By Gary White, SPS Director

Left to Right SPS Director Gary White; Lisa Val Verde, a student at University of California-Santa Barbara, and Prof. Luz J. Martinez-Miranda from University of Maryland. Lisa gave a talk on DNA nanotubes at the APS March meeting, a fascinating look at some of the latest results in biophysics research.  

Twenty-two SPS members presented research along with two invited speakers at the 2006 APS March Meeting in Baltimore, MD. Two SPS Sessions and an SPS reception were held during the meeting, which was held from March 13-17, 2006.

Physics of Gongs, Pianos and Banjoes, and more
The morning session featured several talks about the physics of music, including studies of a piano soundboard, a Nigerian slit log gong, and the banjo from Thom Moore’s students at Rollins College in Florida. The log gong’s percussive tones added a memorable aural complement to Jakob Skubal’s analysis of the instrument. Using acoustical waves to extinguish fires was the subject of a talk delivered by Dmitriy Plaks---his video of a bass note snuffing out a candle was remarkable!

SPS interns Bridger Anderson and Lindsay Windsor both worked at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) last summer, and presented their novel research on characterizing organic conductors and surface physics. Students from Northern Virginia Community College, which has an impressive record of physics activity in SPS, presented their work on building a magnetic flywheel.


Talks on magnetic trapping, quantum dots and crystal simulations rounded out the morning session---many got to learn about the crystal simulations in more detail as the group from West Virginia also presented some of their work in the Sigma Pi Sigma poster session on Tuesday night (see related report here).

The room was bustling with activity between the sessions as the participants and the audience engaged in lively conversations and enjoyed light refreshments.

The afternoon session had a more biological flavor, with students from Hendrix College presenting engrossing views of their work in laser assisted cancer immunotherapy. Lisa Val Verde, supported as a featured presenter by SACNAS*, NSHP** and SPS, presented fascinating views of DNA nanotube assemblies from her work at the University of California-Santa Barbara. Zac Izard from Canisius College kicked off the session discussing his mathematical model for late-term cancer chemotherapy.


Self-Propelled Droplets
Two talks on self-propelled droplets had great visual appeal, with a group from University of Wisconsin at River Falls showing curious bouncing drops evaporate to nothingness and Michael Taormina from University of Oregon showing droplets that will roll uphill on some surfaces by virtue of film boiling. The audience watched, thoroughly amused by these spheres of liquid as they would spurt across an asymmetric saw-tooth surface under their own power. Apparently The New Scientist and The Financial Times has found the movie clips of these droplet particularly interesting as well (click here to view).

The afternoon session closed with a set of talks on an interesting variety of magnetic related topics. One visual highlight was a video clip of ferrofluid finger evolution presented by Narelle Hillier at Dickinson College, which came after a talk by Michael Deceglie from the same school, who spoke about holographic optical tweezers. See the abstracts here for more details on the students and their research.

*Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science
**National Society of Hispanic Physicists



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