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Ohio Wesleyan’s Society of Physics Students Earns Outstanding Chapter Award

February 17, 2009

Rachel Decker ’09 and Yaser Helal ’09 use liquid nitrogen to make ice cream during a 2007 demonstration day visit to Olentangy Local School District’s Tyler Run Elementary. OWU’s chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) was just selected as an “Outstanding SPS Chapter” for 2007-2008.
Photo by Nalin Vutisalchavkul ’09
DELAWARE, OHIO – Ohio Wesleyan University’s chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) has been selected by the national organization as an “Outstanding SPS Chapter” for the 2007-2008 academic year.

Selection is based on the depth and breadth of a chapter’s activities in several areas, including research, public education efforts, tutoring programs, and representation at physics meetings and events.

“This award reflects our students’ passion for research and dedication to sharing their enthusiasm about physics with others,” said Robert Kaye, Ph.D., associate professor of physics and astronomy and OWU’s SPS chapter adviser. “I am so proud of them. They have been excellent representatives of our department, and OWU in general, throughout their public appearances in SPS-related events.”

The outstanding chapter award follows two consecutive years in which Ohio Wesleyan’s SPS chapter has earned the Marsh M. White Award for Public Outreach, also awarded by the national SPS organization. This award has enabled OWU students to promote interest in physics by holding demonstration days at secondary schools in Delaware and Columbus.

During the demonstrations, Ohio Wesleyan students make ice cream using liquid nitrogen, create magnifying lenses with gelatin, explain how centripetal force keeps roller coaster riders safely in their seats, and more.

As for their participation in research, Ohio Wesleyan students are actively involved in this arena, with a physics student selected in both 2007 and 2008 to receive a national SPS award for outstanding undergraduate research. Each winner also was one of three college students nationwide chosen to represent the United States at the International Conference for Physics Students.

Ohio Wesleyan students also presented research at multiple professional meetings in 2007-2008, including the Ohio Region Section of the American Physical Society, the American Physical Society Division of Nuclear Physics, and the American Astronomical Society. Research topics varied from starspots, to nuclear structure, to Josephson Junction arrays, and more.

The Society of Physics Students, formed in 1968, is a professional organization created specifically for students. A part of the American Institute of Physics, the society has more than 700 chapters on college campuses across the country. It is based in College Park, Md.

Ohio Wesleyan University is an undergraduate liberal arts college that transforms the lives of its students through a combination of rigorous academics, mentoring relationships, and real-world experiences. Featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” the private university’s 1,850 students come from 47 states and 50 countries. Visit www.owu.edu for more information.