Come to the 2016 Quadrennial Physics Congress

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Come to the 2016 Quadrennial Physics Congress

2016 Quadrennial Physics Congress, November 3-5, 2016 - Silicon Valley, CA

A workshop at the 2012 Quadrennial Physics Congress. AIP Photos.


This quadrennial meeting brings together physics students, alumni, and faculty members for three days of frontier physics, interactive professional development workshops, and networking. It includes the largest gathering of undergraduate physics students in the world!

The 2016 Physics Congress (PhysCon) will be a cutting-edge, life-changing meeting where undergraduate physics students, alongside mentors and alumni, will be immersed in the topics of innovation and technology.

This meeting happens just once every four years, and presents unique opportunities for attendees to:

  • Bond with fellow physics students from across the United States and beyond
  • Explore graduate programs, summer research opportunities, and workforce options
  • Be inspired by renowned physicists and tours of labs at the forefront of science and technology
  • Grow professionally through workshops on communication, inclusion, and leadership
  • Expand their understanding of physics and its variety of applications
  • Present their research to fellow students, potential graduate school advisors, and potential employers


  • Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford, and Honorary Chair of the 2016 Physics Congress
  • Eric Cornell, Senior Scientist at JILA, NIST, and the Department of Physics, University of Colorado at Boulder, and 2001 Physics Nobel Laureate
  • Persis Drell, Dean of Stanford University School of Engineering and Director Emerita of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
  • S. James Gates, Distinguished Professor and Director, Center for String & Particle Theory at the University of Maryland

Additional speakers will be announced soon—visit the website for updates!

Tour Sites

  • SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
  • NASA’s Ames Research Center
  • Google

Workshop Topics

  • Careers for Physicists
  • Public Relations for Physicists
  • Taking Your SPS Chapter to the Next Level
  • Building up the Community
  • Life as a Graduate Student

Reflections from 2012

Looking back, what was your favorite part of PhysCon 2012?

“Getting to meet new friends from all over the country that share a passion for a compelling field.” –­Cory Schrandt

“The great (not just good) plenary speakers.” –­Rusty Towell

“I loved the variety of workshops; they gave insight to a lot of areas in physics in a hands-­on manner which was refreshing compared to only science talks (which I certainly enjoy as well, but aren't as interactive).”
–­Audrey Burkart

“The fact that I was able to interact with so many great, motivated students in such an intimate environment.”
–­Lynde Ritzow

“I loved the laid back nature of the conference, and the participants too.”
–­Jess Smith

“I enjoyed connecting with other students from various institutions and faculty from prospective universities in my graduate degree.”
–­Janeil Pinder

How did your PhysCon 2012 experience impact your life and/or the life of your SPS chapter or physics department?

“We had a long trip there and back over which we all got to know one another much better. It made everyone in our chapter better friends.” ­
–Tim Head

“It made me excited about SPS again, since our department was so small and physics was not a common subject to be interested in.”
–Jess Smith

“It energized our local SPS chapter.”
­ –Rusty Towell

“[PhysCon] encouraged more of our physics majors to play a more active role in local chapter activities.”-Chuck Stone

"I had always felt a bit like a 'pretend' physicist, or perhaps I didn't fit right. While I'm not working in physics graduation, PhysCon cemented my belonging in the science world."-Audrey Burkart

What advice would you give to students thinking about attending an upcoming Physics Congress?

“If for nothing else, go to see what other physics majors around the country are like. Your differences won't surprise you as much as your similarities.”
–­Kofi Christie

“Get rested up the week before because there's going to be a lot to take in.”
–Cory Schrandt

“Attend! and start planning now.”
–­Tim Head

“It's worth it to go to the Congress, and go to everything you can, since the entire thing is a fantastic experience!”
–Jess Smith

“PhysCon will allow you to network with the largest number of fellow physics majors in the US!!”
–­Jack Hehn

“Plan to take in *all* of the activities. There was not a single "boring" event and the field trip is extraordinary (at PhysCon 2012 we visited NASA’s Kennedy Space Center).”
–­Rich Bergmann

–­Gus Hart

"Attending the 2012 Congress was one of the most influential weekends of my undergraduate career."-Danielle Weiland

2016 Quadrennial Physics Congress

November 3-5, 2016 - Silicon Valley, CA
Host hotel: Hyatt Regency-San Francisco Airport
Hosted by Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honor society

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