Inspiring Future Scientists

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Interactions - SPS Chapters in Action

Inspiring Future Scientists


David Schmidt, Colorado School of Mines

Colorado School of Mines

The entire Colorado School of Mines volunteer group. Photo by Natalie Dibling.

Every year, the SPS chapter at the Colorado School of Mines does a series of science demonstrations for a nearby high school. This year we received a SPS Future Faces of Physics Award, which allowed us to go to John F. Kennedy High School, a school in a mainly low-income Hispanic community with a poorly funded science department. Our goals were to showcase science in a fun environment and serve as role models for students interested in studying and pursuing careers in physics.

We set up five demo stations for students to learn about different types of physics. We made a mini plasma cutter that sliced through foil, visualized sound waves with a Chladni plate, and more.

acob Wikowsky and Lindsey Hart show a student the mini-plasma cutter made from a voltage supply, pencil lead, and aluminum foil. Photo by Allison Tucker.

Allison Tucker and Nick Smith explain Lenz’s law and the ideas of eddy currents to a group of students. Photo by Fran Mallett.

We reached about 100 juniors and seniors in high school, many of whom do not have family members with secondary education but who are intellectually curious about science, math, and college. It was rewarding to talk to the students about science—many of them asked very challenging questions, showing their interest and exploration outside the classroom. Additionally, many asked questions about college and post–high school options.

The plan for next year is to go to a different school—as we do every year—but we're glad to have built a relationship with John F. Kennedy High School and its students. //

Promote Physics

Future Faces of Physics Awards of up to $500 are made to SPS chapters to support projects designed to promote physics across cultures. Applications are due November 15. For details and applications, see

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Interactions - SPS Chapters in Action