Blake Lilly Prize
Recent Recipients: 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003
Blake Lilly Prize Flyer—PLEASE POST
The Blake Lilly Prize recognizes SPS chapters and individuals who make a genuine effort to positively influence the attitudes of school children and the general public about physics. For example, many chapters perform "Physics Circuses," conduct classroom demonstrations, offer tutoring services for grades K-12, or assist with school science fairs. The Blake Lilly Prize is an opportunity for you and your chapter to be publicly recognized for these types of physics outreach efforts.
Who is Eligible
All SPS members are eligible to enter the Blake Lilly Prize competition. They can enter either as individuals or as groups representing chapters. Whenever you or your SPS chapter "take physics on the road," you are eligible for the Blake Lilly Prize.
How to Enter the Competition
The effort on your part to enter the Blake Lilly Prize competition is minimal. Here is what we are looking for:
Sometimes the students who see your presentation write thank-you notes that are amusing and thought-provoking. Sometimes they will ask you profound questions--the very questions that drive science. Sometimes they will show their curiosity about the natural world in amazing and beautiful ways. As you gather feedback from the recipients of your outreach efforts, what questions did they ask you? What anecdotal evidence exists that their interest in science was improved by your visit? What positive synergies developed between your physics department and the K-12 teachers that may lead to fruitful collaborative efforts in the future?
Please provide us with this kind of information--anecdotes or letters or observations that will uplift, encourage, and inspire other SPS chapters to interact helpfully with local K-12 grades and the general public.
Submitting Your Entry
Merely submit a brief report, not more than two pages, to the SPS national office describing your outreach efforts, your audience and your interaction with them. You are encouraged to attach items such as photographs, programs, or newspaper articles to your report.
All entries must be postmarked on or before April 15.
Four (4) copies of the report and attachments should be sent to:
Society of Physics Students
Blake Lilly Prize Committee
One Physics Ellipse
College Park, MD 20740
Judging and Announcement of Awards
An awards committee will review the entries. At least two chapters whose feedback from their audiences is especially interesting will receive the "Blake Lilly Prize" consisting of a certificate and a set of the three-volume Feynman Lectures on Physics to be used as the chapter sees fit (e.g. for the chapter library, or as an award to recognize an outstanding student in your department). The names of all participating individuals and chapters will be published in our print and electronic publications.
Why the Feynman Lectures?
Among Blake's possessions were the three-volume set of the Feynman Lectures on Physics. Blake's family said the following:
"Feynman's real gift may have been that he made physics accessible to students like Blake, who have a compelling interest and commitment, but whose talent lay in diligence and hard, consistent study rather than in super intelligence. Feynman spoke to the ordinary student in Blake about the extraordinary beauty of physics."
Richard Feynman's celebrated Lectures were a source of great inspiration to Blake. Feynman enjoyed talking about physics with students. We have heard of SPS chapters inviting him to speak to students, and he would arrive under a pseudonym to keep faculty away. The last project on which he worked was a high school physics project in California.
Feynman also enjoyed talking about physics with the general public, and some of his published public lectures (such as QED) are classics for cutting through pomp and making matters simple and interesting. Thus it is fitting that the Feynman Lectures be given to chapters that are outstanding in physics outreach, as a symbol of effective physics communication. It is also fitting that the award be given in the name of Blake Lilly, who loved this kind of work. Although Blake passed from this life at the age of 25, it remains for us to finish the work he wanted to accomplish.
Intellectual Property Rights
Because the SPS may wish to use all or portions of entries in SPS publications, all entries become the property of the Society of Physics Students. When used in SPS publications, authorship of the entries will be cited.