Physics department throws science party

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    By Mark Nolte

    Members of the Society of Physics Students gravitated to WSC 3223 Thursday night, Feb. 27, to show one another they could do more than fill a chalkboard with Einstein”s equations.

    Singing, dancing and juggling are just a few of the talents physics students indulged in while participating in “A Physicist for all Seasons,” the name of the club”s talent show.

    “It”s just a chance to get out and be social,” said Danelle Brown, 22, a senior from Layton, Davis County, majoring in physics, who is also the SPS”s Web master. “We usually just do homework.”

    Juan Cruz, 25, a senior form Miami, Fla., majoring in physics, who played the Andean panpipe flute at the talent show said he had been practicing all week.

    “Every time we see each other, it is in a serious setting so it is fun to get together and have fun and make fun of each other,” Cruz said.

    Although SPS is considered a club here on campus, it is a national organization that promotes public appreciation for physics and undergraduate research for students.

    Through unique and fun experiments related to physics SPS hopes to educate the public and club members.

    “The physics crowd is a pretty crazy crowd, more than you would think,” said Eric Peterson, 24, a senior from Los Alamos, N.M., majoring in physics. Peterson is also president of BYU”s SPS chapter.

    Outreach programs, which are presentations given by SPS members at local elementary schools, are designed to get children interested in physics at a young age.

    “It is a good service opportunity,” Peterson said. “The kids are so smart and they ask really insightful questions.”

    SPS members participate in outreach programs two to three times a week. The elementary school students” favorite experiments demonstrate the repelling and attracting power of static electricity and magnets, said Peterson.

    Although five club officers meet weekly to maintain the society”s organization, the entire physics society meets once a month for large activities, like Thursday night”s “A Physicist for all Seasons.”

    Past events included dropping an old computer from a building and constructing ramps to see how far a toy car could jump before landing in a pool of Jell-O.

    Peterson said a popular activity among SPS members is a night of “physictionary,” a game that allows club members to act out their favorite physics experiments.

    In addition to the club”s monthly events, the club officers plan a “research night” once every academic year where students can meet BYU”s physics professors.

    Anyone interested in physics is invited to SPS activities, Peterson said. More information on the society and on upcoming events can be found at webs.byu.edu/sps.

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