SPS Zone 16 Meeting

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SPS Zone Meeting

February 24, 2024 to February 25, 2024

Alququerque, NM

Meeting host:

Society of Physics Students


Andrew Gibson

SPS Chapter:

SPS Zone 16 Meeting 2024

On February 24th-25th UNM held the SPS Zone 16 Meeting. We had students from UNM and Embry Riddle attend with a total of 16 of us present. The agenda and financial report are listed below with receipts on a separate pdf. Photos of the event with captions are also listed below.

For future zone meeting planning we had quite a few ideas for how to make the event run more smoothly in the future. The main fact we would like to improve is higher attendance from more chapters. We also think putting in the funding request earlier would be highly beneficial as we got to a point where we did not know if the funding was coming in or not and requested funds from our department, hence why we tried to keep expenses low. Another thing that could be improved is communicating when chapters are planning on arriving or leaving for this zone meeting as we ended up canceling the Sunday activities due to Embry Riddle leaving on Saturday night. 


Saturday 2/24:

10:00 – 11:00:  Welcome and Keynote Talk

11:00 – 12:00:  Tour of the Department

12:00 – 1:00:  Lunch

1:00 – 2:30:  Student Research Talks

2:30 – 5:00:  Demo Show and Interactive Science Demos

Sunday 2/25:

9:00 – 10:00:  Breakfast and Goodbyes

Narrative for the Society of Physics Students

2024 Zone 16 Meeting

The University of New Mexico

24-25 February 2024

On Saturday, February 24th and Sunday, February 25th, the University of New Mexico (UNM) - Main Campus in Albuquerque hosted a zone meeting for the Society of Physics Students (SPS) Zone 16. This zone includes SPS chapters chartered in the states of New Mexico and Arizona, along with chapters in the nation of Mexico. Despite the long distances between chapters in the Southwestern US and Mexico, this year’s zone meeting saw success in getting a large turnout from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) in Prescott, AZ. Seven students from ERAU joined nine of UNM’s own SPS students in the zone meeting.

Many UNM students arrived early at the beautiful and modern Physics, Astronomy, and Interdisciplinary Sciences (PAIS) building. The UNM students warmly welcomed the ERAU visitors into lecture hall room 1100 to start a day of education, networking, and fun. When all the students were comfortable and seated in the lecture hall seats, the zone meeting had officially begin! UNM’s chapter president Ethan Sloan welcomed the crowd and introduced the speaker for a motivational physics talk. Hatem Babaa, an optical science student and manager of UNM physics demos, gave a lovely and inspiring speech about his journey through solid state and optical physics. Babaa’s speech was a perfect way to start off the event. He not only told about his experiences as a physics student, but also intrigued students talking technically about the research he has done in his career. A motivational speech mixed in with a scientific research presentation was a real treat for the students in attendance. The introductory talk ended with a quick glimpse into what was to come in the day with a demo about wave propagation through a medium using a rubber rope that stretched across the lecture hall.

The attending students then split up into three different groups for campus tours, taking example from last year’s fantastic zone meeting hosted at ERAU. The groups of around 5 students allowed for students to really talk to each other and get to know one another during this time. The groups were led by UNM students Ethan Sloan, Madeline Ayling, and Tristan Larkin. The tours started around PAIS, showing the classrooms, laboratories, and work spaces. The groups then wandered over to Regener Hall, where the first three courses of UNM’s physics sequence are taught and where SPS hosts its biannual demo shows. At Regener Hall, Hatem Babaa presented an electron microscope demonstration that physics II students had worked on in a prior semester. The groups went from Regener Hall around the serene Duck Pond and back to PAIS. The tours lasted around an hour.

By the time tours concluded, students were hungry. For lunch, UNM or- dered catered enchiladas, beans, rice, and sopapillas from Sadie’s Restaurant - a beloved New Mexican restaurant.  Lunch lasted for an hour, giving students plenty of time to talk to each other.

Following lunch, it was time for an hour and a half of undergraduate pre- sentations on undergraduate research and intriguing topics in physics. Tristan Larkin, Sol Samuels, Ethan Sloan, Andrew Gibson, and Madeline Ayling all gave presentations that resulted in many good questions and discussions. This was also good practice for presenting students who were preparing to present at conferences in the near future.

After the research presentations, students walked back over to Regener Hall to look at and participate in physics demonstrations. Hatem Babaa helped im- mensely in organizing the demos. UNM takes a lot of pride in their demos, as faculty and students have done a lot of work in creating large and engaging demos throughout the years. UNM students went through more demos than at a usual demo show, but showed how they generally run the shows and inspire young aspiring physicists in middle school and in high school. The best part about the demo section was that everyone got to participate and have hands- on experience with physics topics. Because UNM is lucky to be able to have such large and impressive demos, doing these demos gave students a great op- portunity to see and participate in topics that they had learned about in the classroom in some of their more impressive forms. Students got to see demos in classical mechanics, electricity and magnetism, wave mechanics, optics, and fluid mechanics. Some highlights were the massive Newton’s cradle, the Tesla coil, the Reuben’s tube, the imploding 50 gallon barrel, and the superconductor on a track. Hatem Babaa had even brought out some demos that many of the UNM students had not yet seen. This portion of the meeting lasted the longest, and went on for the rest of the duration of the meeting. UNM had planned for 30 minutes of physics games, but in the end, everyone seemed to think that doing more physics demos was a much more intriguing use of time.

The students said their goodbyes and wished for safe travels. ERAU was unfortunately not able to make it to the Sunday morning breakfast and net- working event, which was canceled for the morning (as it would have only been UNM students).

UNM’s chapter greatly appreciates ERAU’s participation in this event and for their immense help from ERAUS’s student leadership, along with the help from zone councilor Dwight Luhman. While we hope to get more chapters to join us in future zone meetings, UNM is happy in getting turnout within our vast and sparse zone.



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