Programs & Awards  

The 2006 International Conference of Physics Students

By Kasandra Jorgensen, Lewis & Clark College

2006 ICPS  
L-R: SPS Outstanding Student Award recipients Kasandra Jorgensen, Cary Pint, and Anthony Davidson at Dracula's Castle.  

Welcome to an ancient country full of rich culture and history.  The University of Agriculture in Bucharest, Romania was the host for this year’s International Conference for Physics Students, bringing students from around the world together to converse about physics.  Romania has contributed much information to the physics community, from helping to develop aviation to dedicated research on particle physics and it was a beautiful setting for the meeting.

The conference was a delicate balance between the scientific sharing of ideas and celebration.  In addition to the closing and opening ceremonies where there were guest lecturers, there were two full days of presentations, all given by students on research they had been working on.  The talks ranged from fuel cell technology, to binary pulsars, to a discussion on how the author of Gulliver’s Travels knew that Mars had two moons 100 years before they had been discovered.  Even at meals the conversation drifted between discussion of physics and the small talk of getting to know other people.

2006 ICPS  

The thing that was most impressive to me about this conference was that it was entirely student organized and run.  All funding, besides the conference fees, was obtained by the students.  All events, logistics and organization was done by the physics students at the Romanian University.  It was truly a conference for physics students, and it was extremely impressive to see such a large event go so smoothly without the aid of professors or university staff.

While there was much emphasis at the conference on science and physics there was an equal emphasis on cultural interaction and understanding.  With almost 300 attendants from nearly every European country, it was a great experience in cultural diversity.  Nearly every night the students would gather for a fiesta, one night for a nations party where every country brought their unique food, drink and music to share, the next for a costume party, where the Norwegians dressed like Vikings and the Romanians like Vampires.

2006 ICPS  

One highlight of the conference was the day excursion to Transylvania to see the Romanian countryside and Dracula’s castle.  Not only was there beautiful mountain scenery (and cooler weather), but for all of the Americans it was our first tour of an authentic castle.  Though much smaller than Hogwarts, Dracula’s castle had a courtyard, a hidden stair way and a tower.  We also visited a ruined citadel where people from the village below would hide when enemies attacked.

2006 ICPS  

At this year’s general meeting, much emphasis was placed on seeking students from outside of Europe.  People asked why there were so few American attendants, and we asked why there were no Asian students.  The three of us made a commitment to try and increase the American attendants, mainly by increasing awareness of the meeting.  We will each be working with our SPS chapters on ways to enhance American participation in future meetings.

SPS & ICPS
SPS funds travel to the annual International Conference of Physics Students (ICPS) for recipients of the SPS Outstanding Student Award for Undergraduate Research.

 

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