GW SPS Chapter – Your Local Host for the Celebration of the Century

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Special Feature

GW SPS Chapter – Your Local Host for the Celebration of the Century


Davie Loria, SPS Chapter Officer, Alexander van der Horst, Associate Professor of Physics and Deputy Chair, and Gary White, Adjunct Professor of Physics, The George Washington University

GW SPS board members Gabe Grauvogel, Marisa Lazarus, Addy Irankunda, and Davie Loria having fun with atoms. Our SPS chapter at The George Washington University (GW) is the local host of the 2022 Physics Congress. We are located right in the heart of Washington, DC, and are excited to welcome so many physics students to our city. We are planning lots of fun activities for you.

On the first day of PhysCon, there’s a walking tour through DC that includes national monuments and other amazing spots in the city. The first stop will be GW’s historic Corcoran Hall. This building is home not only to our physics department, but to lots of physics history as well. It’s where the famous Alpher-Bethe-Gamow cosmology paper was written,1 Niels Bohr announced the splitting of the uranium atom, and the bazooka was developed.

The GW physics department has illustrious alumni, including George Gamow and Edward Teller, who were both inducted into Sigma Pi Sigma at GW in 1936. There are several tributes to their work in physics in and around Corcoran Hall. Be sure to check them out during the walking tour!

On the Friday night of PhysCon, we are hosting an evening full of games and physics inside Corcoran Hall and in the nearby quadlike area called University Yard. There will be all the board games you can imagine, trivia, physics demos, SPS outreach, and more! Telescopes will be set up for stargazing, and there will be hot chocolate, cookies, and other treats. It will be a great opportunity to make new physics friends, relax, and hang out with like-minded people.

Then, on Saturday night, we’ll contribute to the Centennial Festival! There will be music, demos, and activities, as well as a bunch of booths and exhibits to explore from other groups.

We look forward to meeting everyone at the 2022 Physics Congress and being the local hosts for this centennial celebration, which is bound to be an incredible conference filled with learning and fun! //

1. Alpher, Ralph A., Hans Bethe, and George Gamow, “The Origin of Chemical Elements,” Phys. Rev. 73, (April 1948): 803.
For the entertaining story of how Bethe became an author see “April 1, 1948: The Origin of Chemical Elements,” APS News, 17 no. 4 (April 2008).

About Us

GW SPS board members Gabe Grauvogel, Marisa Lazarus, and Danny Allen making liquid nitrogen ice cream. Photos courtesy of the SPS chapter.Our chapter has won SPS Outstanding Chapter Awards for the last several years. Our regular activities include outreach at local after-school programs to expose young students to science, in particular students from underrepresented groups in physics, and to get them excited about learning. We also host weekly homework clubs where any GW student can get physics homework help from SPS members, as well as ask questions, review concepts, or simply hang out and learn about physics. We organize fun social events for students and faculty, including the physics department’s Halloween and holiday parties, which helps to foster a sense of community and belonging among those interested in physics at GW. This past year we also received an SPS Chapter Research Award to support building and launching a high-altitude muon detector balloon to measure high-energy particles in the Earth’s atmosphere.


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