Zone 12 Meeting

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SPS Zone Meeting

October 23, 2015 to October 24, 2015

Ada, OK

Meeting host:

Society of Physics Students


Maranda Clymer and Liz Apala

SPS Chapter:

SPS Zone 12 Meeting

On October 23-24, 2015, East Central University’s Physics Department and SPS chapter had the great privilege of hosting the Society of Physics Students Zone 12 meeting. Students from across Oklahoma (East Central University (ECU) and Mid-American Christian University), Missouri (William Jewell College), and Kansas (Pittsburg University) came for a weekend full of physics information and fun. Friday’s activities started with tours of General Aviation Modifications Inc. (GAMI) and the Holcim X-Ray Diffraction Lab where students and professors were able to enjoy learning about the physics behind these two incredible places. It was definitely a thrill to see so many areas and careers that physics has branched into. These places specialize in aviation modification and cement production, respectively. Neither of which bring the topic of physics to mind right off the bat.

We then met up for Pizza and got to know one another better. We learned about each others’ goals after graduating with our degrees got our professors to tell us about some of their graduate work. After everyone was fed, we listening to the first of two speakers: Dr. Rahmat Rahmat. Dr. Rahmat informed us about working for Apple and being part of CERNS discovery of the Higgs Boson. The way he presented himself gave a strong sense of understanding towards some of the struggles many of us are facing as undergraduates and may confront in the future. Then, we talked about fundraising with zone councilor Dr. Blane Baker and assistant zone councilor Georgette Searan. During this, Georgette instilled motivation in a lot of us to want to try harder at being more involved in all of SPS, and not just part of our school’s SPS. Also, learning about all of the opportunities available at the upcoming Sigma Pi Sigma Congress meeting seemed to spread excitement throughout the room.  We ended that day with a trip to Laser Zone for laser tag and arcade games. This was a great way for everyone to unwind and be themselves.

The next day, everyone met for breakfast and to view all the different posters students brought to show the research they’ve all been working on. Throughout, we got to ask those who brought their posters about their research and mingle more with the students and faculty. This gave us an understanding of different activities and opportunities in different areas. Saturday’s speaker was Josh Fausset, manager of renewable energy at OGE. His intriguing presentation was over wind energy. We got to witness many different techniques from physics all throughout his work. He was not only great with presenting his work and answering questions. One member had a young child present, and he handled the little disruptions in a great and surprising manner.

We then watched Elizabeth Apala give an oral presentation over Ultra-long Gamma Ray Bursts. Afterwards, we went out to lunch and got to know each other more. It was amazing not only seeing people from different states, but from different countries as well. Once back, students got the chance to compete in competitions for best YouTube demo and live demo. During this, we got to see a demonstration of how a gamma ray burst ‘chooses’ what direction it goes in, we witnessed how potential energy transferring into both translational and rotational kinetic energy, and how you can transfer sound through light. The zone meeting ended with inducting new Sigma Pi Sigma Ceremony. This was a very nice ceremony to witness, and it felt great being there for fellow SPS members and share in their accomplishments.

While at GAMI, we were taken to a hangar where they showed us different jet models from the 1980’s on to 2013. We were shown how they improve plane engines, by making fuel injectors. They make these injectors in a large workshop, where they shape the steel, giving them a certain shape and size. The injectors then go to different labs to be tested. They continuously measure temperatures and pressures. During the Holcim tour, they demonstrated how they compile and perfect their cement using x-ray diffraction. Diffraction is used to measure different materials in the rocks they’ve gathered from the dig site. If a sample has too much or not enough of a certain material, such as calcium, they are able to measure the exact amounts and add other materials to get everything at the right amount. The process involves first grinding the sample into a fine powder, reforming it into a disk, then finding out if any additives are needed. They do this throughout the entire process of making cement to ensure nothing is lost and that the quality remains consistent.

In the end, we all definitely came out with more enthusiasm than we went in with. There was a closeness when everyone was leaving that wasn’t initially present, and it felt like things were just taking off, rather than ending. Not only did this give a stronger sense of belonging within SPS, but also with areas of work where physics isn’t the forefront topic. The meeting was an eye opener for many of us to see the bigger picture.

See more photos on the Zone 12 Facebook page.

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