Prepare to Make Waves

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Prepare to Make Waves


Brittney Hauke, PhysCon 2019 Planning Committee Member & Graduate Student, Arizona State University

We are less than a year out from the 2019 Physics Congress (PhysCon), and there is a lot to look forward to, both for students and Sigma Pi Sigma members. While the event itself will take place over just three short days in Providence, Rhode Island, the spirit of the Sigma Pi Sigma congress lives on through its members, chapters, and traditions. Sigma Pi Sigma is built on the ideals of encouragement, scholarship, service, and fellowship, and we are encouraging Sigma Pi Sigma members to take ownership of this meeting in their own way.

Many people wonder why this meeting is a “congress” rather than a “conference” or a “convention.” Historically, the meeting began as an opportunity for university students, faculty, and alumni to form a physics community, share in a common experience, voice their concerns, and examine the opportunities available to them as a collective. They then formed a society to take actions to improve departments and the lives of their members. This goal lives on through the congresses! The format and agenda of the congresses have evolved since 1928, but the event fulfills the same needs as it did back then: helping us move forward, break boundaries, and become a stronger community.

PhysCon is an opportunity to reflect on where physics fits into an ever-changing landscape and to foster connections across an increasingly diverse community. The 2019 plenary speakers span that diversity, not just in their careers (industrial physics to national labs to academia) but in their approach and focus. The tours will introduce attendees to a range of rich experiences and open doors to potential places of future work or study. The workshops, particularly the first one of the meeting, will challenge chapters to identify the areas they are proud of and places they will strive to improve. This true meeting of the minds can break down the barriers between us to make waves within the community as we bring ideas and inspiration back to our homes. Each attendee is not just a registrant but a representative at an event designed to help guide the organization forward.

Attendees may hear the same plenary and go to the same workshops, but each person will take away something different. It is through sharing what each of us gains that we begin to learn what makes each of us unique. For those who were able to attend a previous PhysCon, please feel free to share your favorite memories with your colleagues, students, and peers, or share them on social media using the hashtag #physcon2019. For those alumni who were not able to attend, take some time to reflect on why you became interested in physics and how you might connect to your alma mater chapter or a local group in your community. Take time to share those thoughts and experiences. Whether you’re a student or alumnus, start making plans now to attend. Everyone has a part to play in making PhysCon 2019 the biggest and best congress yet. We hope that you will do your part to take ownership of this historic event.

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