Student Perspectives on Physics Meetings
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Zone & Regional Meetings

The Society of Physics Students (SPS) chapters are divided into 18 geographic zones, and many zones hold meetings each year. SPS offers support at a level of $500 for SPS chapters hosting a zone meeting. Learn more on the “Host a Zone Meeting” page. SPS also administers the SPS Meeting Enhancement Award, the purpose of which is to connect Nobel Prize winners and students from Minority Serving Institutions (MSI’s).

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SPS Zone Meetings

2009 ICPS  

The Society of Physics Students (SPS) chapters are divided into 18 geographic zones, and many zones hold meetings each year. SPS offers support at a level of $500 for SPS chapters hosting a zone meeting. Learn more on the “Host a Zone Meeting” page.

Zone 1: Trinity College, Connecticut, April 13-14, 2012
The Spring Zone 1 Meeting was held at Trinity College, Connecticut. In total, they hosted about 40 guests from the following schools: Suffolk University, Trinity College, Gordon College, UMass-Amherst, Boston College, Southern Connecticut State University, UMass-Dartmouth, and the University of Hartford. There was Pizza Dinner and Movie Night, Student talks and poster sessions, tours, and lectures.

Zone 2: Adelphi University, Garden City, NY, March 2-3, 2012
On the weekend of March 2nd-3rd, 2012, Adelphi University, in Garden City, NY, hosted the Zone 2 Spring Meeting for the Society of Physics Students. Altogether, over 60 students and faculty were in attendance from Adelphi University, Cornell University, St. John's University, Columbia University, and students from Garden City High School.

Zone 2: Siena College, Loudonville, NY. April 14, 2012
On April 14, 2012, another successful joint hosted conference for undergraduates was held at Siena College, Physics Department, Loudonville, New York. It was the third shared undergraduate symposium held at one of the Rochester Symposium for Physics (Astronomy and Optics) Students (RSPS), Society of Physics Students (SPS) Zone 2, colleague’s venue!

Zone 5: Wake Forest University, April 20-21, 2012
Wake Forest hosted a successful Zone Meeting of the Society of Physics Students from April 20-21, 2012. It was attended by 56 students and faculty from eight institutions. In addition to food, there was a public talk by Nobel Laureate Dr. William Phillips (open to the public with 450+ attendees), department tours, a poster session, and the main event: five undergraduate talks.

Zone 6: Florida State University, April 13-15
Florida State University (FSU) hosted the 2012 Spring Zone 6 meeting in Tallahassee, FL. Around 60 students from Auburn University, Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, University of Florida, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, and Jacksonville University came to represent their respective SPS Chapters and participate in the events at FSU.

Zone 7: Ohio State University, April 14-15, 2012
The Society of Physics Students at The Ohio State University hosted the 2012 Zone 5 meeting. Guests enjoyed several talks given by recognized biophysicists from all over the country, along with a poster session held for visiting undergraduates. Posters ranged from topics on Monte Carlo simulations of polymer statistics to improvements on calculating the astronomical range on planetary bodies.

Zone 10: Henderson State University, March 9-10, 2012
This year, Henderson State University hosted the Zone X Conference. It was well attended by Rhodes College, Christian Brothers University, University of Central Arkansas, University of Southern Mississippi, University of Mississippi, and Henderson State University. There was Liquid Nitrogen Icre Cream, a planetarium show, a cook-out, a game night, among many other things.

Zone 12: University of Central Oklahoma, April 13-14, 2012
This spring, the University of Central Oklahoma hosted a meeting attended by over 15 students from three different schools: University of Central Oklahoma, Pittsburg State University, and East Central University. The goal of hosting this meeting was to promote the interaction, in a professionally relevant context, between physics students from the universities that attended.

Zone 15: Brigham Young University, Rexburg, Idaho, March 9-10, 2012
The SPS/AAPT (American Association of Physics Teachers) meeting unofficially started around 5 pm on March 9th at the local Pizza Pie Café in Rexburg Idaho. Thee we had three chapters from: Idaho State University, Brigham Young University, and Brigham Young University of Idaho. Guests in total ranged at about 50 people including both students and professors.

Zone 17: Green River Community College& Bellvue College, Bellvue, Washington. March 30-31, 2012
Co-hosted by Green River Community College and Bellevue College. Written by Vi Tran, President, Green River Community College SPS. This year the SPS Zone 17 meeting was held in conjunction with the Spring 2012 PNACP meeting at the Bellevue College campus in Bellevue, Washington. The meeting held over a two day period featured various talks from speakers on a range of topics including Slow Slip Earthquakes, Metrology and a Planetarium show.

Zone 18: California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA, April 27-28, 2012
The Zone 18 Zone meeting was great fun. In all there were about 65 students who attended some parts of the meeting. There were groups or individuals from CSU Fresno, CSU Long Beach, CSU Sacramento, CSU Pomona, Sonoma State, Fresno City College, Willow International, as well as students from some local high schools.

Fall 2012 Meetings

Zone 13: Texas Tech University, Oct. 25-27

Zone 5: High Point University, Nov. 16-17


Nobel Laureate Lectures

Howard University   Dr. Eric Cornell: A Nobel Visit
By Ryan O'Donnell, Howard University
Dr. Cornell visited Howard University February 22-23, 2012 and participated in many activities during these two days, including two colloquia (one available on YouTube here) and a morning jog.


National Meetings

The Society of Physics Students (SPS) offers travel support at a level of $200 for SPS chapters or individual students reporting on a national physics meeting for SPS, and similar levels of support for individuals presenting research at SPS-sponsored sessions at national physics meetings. Learn more about: SPS Reporter Awards | SPS Travel Awards

SPS works with other societies to develop undergraduate opportunities at national physics meetings, such as poster sessions, receptions, career workshops, and outreach events.

Keep an eye out for other SPS-sponsored student events at the next physics meeting you attend.

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American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT)

AAPT   2012 AAPT Winter Meeting
By Blake McCracken, David To, and Ethan Gully, Angelo State University
Angelo State University sent three students and one faculty member to the 2012 AAPT Winter Meeting to present research, attend presentations, and help with the AAPT Students Exploring Education and Science (SEES) outreach event.

American Astronomical Society (AAS)

AAPT   Undergraduates and Astrophysics at the AAS
By Peter Nguyen, University of Florida/Arizona State University
The 219th American Astronomical Society (AAS) Meeting was held January 8-12, 2012, in Austin, TX. AAS enjoys the second highest SPS association, following the American Physical Society (APS). As a result, it is always a guarantee that AAS meetings have a very large undergraduate presence. There are a large number of events at the meeting that cater specifically to students from Undergrad Orientation, a Student Meet-Up with a Nobel Laureate, to an Evening of Undergraduate Science.

American Physical Society (APS)

APS March   The Superposition of Brainwaves
By Robert Nicholas Lanning, Lamar University
The APS March Meeting is the largest physics meeting in the world. The meeting focuses on physics research from industry, universities, and major labs. This conference participation has become the capstone of my undergraduate career.
APS April   A High Energy Experience in Atlanta
By Jie Liang, University of Central Florida
The theme of the APS April Meeting this year was "100 Years of Cosmic Ray Physics." The University of Central Florida brought 9 students, including one presenter.
    13th Annual Meeting of the Northwest Section of the APS
By Karl Decker and Jon Wilson, Brigham Young University - Idaho
Presentations ranged from the well-delivered to the amateur; topics varied from the findings of the Hubble Space Telescope to simulations of the movement of polyethylene chains. During this meeting physicists talked, learned, ate, presented, and shared their joy for their field.
Patrick Donnan   What's Cooler than Being Cool? Ultracold Physics!
By Patrick Donnan, Auburn University
The 43rd Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics (DAMOP) was held June 4-8, 2012, in Orange County, CA.

Lunar and Planetary Science Conference

LPSC   Experiencing the 43rd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference
By Hearther Chilton, California State University Fullerton
LPSC is geared for professionals presenting on the cutting edge of fields from geochemistry and geophysics to astronomy, petrography, and even mission planning. Despite this, the conference and organizers created a very welcoming and encouraging environment for students.

American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting

Jeff Lapierre   The Culmination of a Year's Worth of Research
Jeff Lapierre, New Mexico Tech
Jason Shuster   The AGU Meeting: Thoughts from the Second Time Around
Jason Shuster, University of New Hampshire
Lois Smith   WOW, What a Week!
Lois Smith, University of Colorado at Bolder

International Meetings

The Society of Physics Students (SPS) offers travel support for two students to represent SPS and the United States at the International Conference of Physics Students (ICPS), an annual conference of the International Association of Physics Students (IAPS). This is facilitated through the SPS Outstanding Student Award for Undergraduate Research.

Winners receive a $500 honorarium and a $500 award for their SPS Chapter, as well as expenses for transportation, room, board, and registration for the ICPS. In addition, winners are invited to give their research presentation at an SPS Research Session at a national meeting.

In addition, SPS Reporter Awards are occaisonally granted to SPS members reporting from other international meetings.

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2012 ICPS (International Conference of Physics Students)

The 2012 International Conference of Physics Students will be held August 4-10 in Utrecht and Enschede. To learn more, visit their website at

ICPS   International Conference of Physics Students 2012
By Chris Frye, University of Central Florida

I had a wonderful time experiencing the 2012 International Conference of Students (ICPS) in Utrecht, Netherlands. During this week, I learned a lot about various cultures and academic systems worldwide, enjoyed fascinating and inspiring talks by world-renowned physicists, discussed scienti c ideas with other students my own age, shared my research with the other participants by giving a lecture, and enjoyed fun parties in the evenings.


ICPS Netherlands 2012
By Rachel Ward, Utah State University
The conference itself was hosted in the city of Utrecht, in the heart of The Netherlands. Upon entering the city, I was struck by its beauty. Having never been to Europe before, many of the sights were new to me. The beautiful greenery and numerous lakes and waterways – created by man, as a result of the land being reclaimed from the ocean by pumps – were foreign to me, as I have grown up in the desert climate of Utah. Numerous quaint old brick buildings, narrow, cobbled streets, and the scarcity of automobiles almost made it seem as though I had been transported back in time several centuries.



Cool Stars 17

Stephanie Douglas   Cool Stars in the Summertime
By Stephanie Douglas, Franklin & Marshall College
Cool Stars is a small, focused, and international conference, held every two years. The location alternates between the US and Europe, and this year, 433 attendees gathered in Barcelona, Spain to discuss pretty much any type of object that astronomers consider "cool."


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