Beauty in Inhomogeneity

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Beauty in Inhomogeneity


Deval Mehta, Former AZC Rep

Stony Brook University

At PhysCon 2016, Deval Mehta, associate zone councilor representative (’15-’16), and Sally Dagher, Zone 7 associate zone councilor, introduce Bill DeGraffenreid, PhD, (not pictured) and Brad Conrad, PhD, (not pictured) during the closing workshop. Photos courtesy of the American Institute of Physics.

We have a natural proclivity to declare something “beautiful” if it has some kind of inherent symmetry; if something about it is “the same” as something else, that is to say, if there exists some degree of homogeneity. In physics, we love symmetries because from them we glean insights about the world that otherwise may be difficult to ascertain. Despite the prevalence of symmetry and homogeneity in nature, not all things that are beautiful must exhibit these properties, especially the beautiful landscape of minds that comprises the Society of Physics Students.

During my time as a member of SPS, I’ve met many people, each of whom has walked a different path to reach their current point in life. Of course, all of them have had at least two things in common: a love of physics and the community around it, and a significant impact on me.

I remember stepping into an SPS meeting as a freshman at my alma mater, the University of Delaware, for the first time. It was amazing seeing people with a variety of experiences all in one room, enjoying each other’s company. I experienced the same awe many times over: at the first meeting of every semester, during zone meetings, at National Council meetings, and of course, at the 2016 PhysCon.

At the 2016 PhysCon and over the course of the past year, I’ve had the distinct privilege of serving as your associate zone councilor representative. Holding a National Council position introduced me to a diverse and loving group of individuals—diverse not only by traditional metrics, but also representing diversity of thought, diversity of academic and career paths, and a diversity of approaches. I’ve met and walked alongside budding physicists as they proceeded on their journey. I’ve met established physicists who have provided me with an astounding amount of guidance. I’ve met individuals in an array of fields who, though not practicing physicists, are scientists at heart and have brought to light the countless possibilities that exist for those who love science. I cannot express enough how thankful I am to have been able to experience such an incredible adventure.

With the close of PhysCon on Sunday, November 6, my term has come to an end and a new chapter has begun, in which the Executive Committee now includes my good friend Nick DePorzio. Nick and I served together on the National Council last year and I was overjoyed to learn that he had been reelected. He is a fearless and ambitious leader who is not afraid to speak his mind. More importantly, Nick refuses to allow a single voice to be left unheard. I know that he will serve you well during his time as AZC Rep.

As we move forward, I know that this is not the last time I will experience such a breadth of loving and inclusive individuals. Our paths will cross again, so long as we are willing. Until I see you again, and even beyond that, continue to love yourself, to love others, and employ that love to move above and beyond. Embrace those with different perspectives and have a conversation. Don’t just talk, but take time to listen. Allow me, as I embark, to welcome you to this new era of open communication. //

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