SPS Zone Meeting
March 4, 2016 to March 5, 2016
Colorado Springs, COMeeting host: SPS Chapter:
The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) SPS chapter hosted the SPS Zone 14 Meeting for the first time on March 4-5, 2016. We had 35 visiting students and faculty from Colorado School of Mines, Colorado Mesa University, University of Colorado-Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver and University of Wyoming. The zone meeting provided the opportunity not only to discuss physics education and research, but to foster interactions between military and civilian undergraduates.
We kicked off the meeting on Friday evening with an ice breaker followed by dinner. The highlight of our meeting was a keynote lecture by Professor Eric Cornell of the University of Colorado at Boulder, 2001 Nobel Laureate in Physics. Professor Cornell gave a talk on “Particle Paleontology: Looking for Fossils from Early Universe inside the Electron” describing the experiments his group is doing to measure deviations from the perfect roundness of the electron. The students and faculty not only listened to a talk that was both interesting and entertaining, but also engaged in casual conversations with Dr. Cornell who has an extremely nice personality. SPS president Cadet First Class Anita Dunsmore presented Professor Cornell with an engraved marble plaque, cut from stones that once outlined the cadet marching areas. After the evening activities, the visiting students were met by the cadet hosts and escorted on the Academy’s grounds. The visiting students got a taste of life at USAFA by spending the night in the cadet dormitories and having breakfast the following morning in the cadet cafeteria.
We continued the meeting on Saturday morning with SPS chapter reports where each chapter shared highlights from their activities. This event provided an excellent opportunity to find out what the chapters in our zone are doing to advance the SPS mission. The meeting continued with a presentation by Rosa Wallace, Associate Zone 14 Councilor, who talked about her experience on the SPS National Council. Dr. Alina Gearba, the USAFA SPS faculty advisor, talked about the upcoming Quadrennial Physics Congress in Silicon Valley which stirred up quite an enthusiasm so we made plans to send a Zone 14 team to the congress. The meeting continued with student poster presentations and concluded with tours of the Academy’s 5 research centers. The zone meeting provided plenty of opportunities for the students to mingle and share their interests in informal ways. Overall, we believe that our zone meeting was a success and we are looking forward to more opportunities to get together with the other SPS chapters in our zone.Areas of Alignment: Career Resources: