SPS Zone 17 Meeting

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SPS Zone Meeting

April 19, 2019 to April 20, 2019

Bothell, WA 98011

Meeting host:

Society of Physics Students


Ernie Enkhzaya

SPS Chapter:

The SPS Zone meeting held at the University of Washington Bothell took place on both the 19th and 20th of April, 2019. The part of the meeting held on the 19th was supposed to be an informal event held by students for students while the main events were held on the 20th. Some main events included a few speakers followed by poster presentations created by students and a few demonstrations made by the physics club. Afterward, many of us went out for an informal dinner that ended the meeting on a friendly note.

Unfortunately, some of us could not attend the informal pizza meeting on the 19th, so I cannot include many details from that into this narrative, for that I apologize. Saturday morning we started with coffee and a few introductions among the people who did not meet the evening before. During this time there was also a moment where we all helped set up posters around the event center as our organizer had car trouble and was running late. It was a team effort and we got to look around at these posters for a bit while we waited for the meeting to really get going. 

Once Ernie came in and gave the Welcome Announcement, we sat down and took part in the SPS webinar and then spoke about the SPS National Government. Again, I will apologize about not being to give many details as this meeting happened about half a year ago. The most memorable parts of the meeting were definitely the presentations and demonstrations. Steve Micklavzina, gave his presentation, “Physics demonstrations in Formal and Informal Education,” and much to everyone’s delight he showed us many fun and engaging demonstrations. He turned some of us into a human cord that conducted electricity for his speaker and gave a very funny demonstration on magnetism and taught us all why volume for a speaker means that the noise coming from the speaker will get louder. He also charmed us with his personal academic journey and how he earned his degrees in unconventional ways. When his presentation finished, Ernie gave his chapter report and then we set off for our lunch break.

We also had Jomardee Perkins, a former University of Washington Bothell student, give her presentation, “Alumni in Industry,” who gave us insight on which industries we could get jobs or internships with and how we could do so. It was very engaging when she showed us the work she was doing with fiber optics and how her physics degree had helped her and how it hadn’t (things that they taught her specifically for that position, but not too specifically because they can’t share their trade secrets). 

The last presentation that was given was one on Virtual Reality, because of course you have to save the best for last. The presentation was given by Stormy Daniel who found his love for VR, in his opinion, a little late. The presentation was really engaging when it went over the newest technology and then worked in the ways that it used physics and how we could someday contribute to this field if we wanted. After his talk he had set up a little demonstration of the VR headset that we could play with.

At that time, we also split off for the other demonstrations that the physics club had prepared beforehand. In the event center, we had set up a gravitational wave demonstrations that was essentially a hula hoop that we had stretched a type of spandex material over. We had a set of heavy balls that we would roll on top of the fabric material and the way the material acted was representative of gravitational waves. In another room we had a fluidized sand bed that was basically a box of fine sand that we pumped air into so that it began to behave like a liquid. We had another demonstration with fine sand as well, however this one was a pendulum made from a reused coke bottle, whose cap had a hole punched in its cap and would leave a beautiful trail of sand in its wake showing the path that the pendulum had traveled in. We also gave away many stickers and merch and there was a limited amount of t-shirts given away. 

At the end of the meeting a lot of had bonded and we ended the meeting in an informal dinner at the Beardslee Public House just up the road. The meeting was loads of fun and we made lots of connections with the Alaskan chapter who travelled so far to join us.

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