University of Louisville Physics Students Win National Recognition
The University of Louisville chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) has won an Outstanding Chapter Award from the SPS National Office. The chapter is particularly proud that this is the sixteenth consecutive year in which it has been recognized for its excellence as a top-tier student-led physics club, a designation that is given to fewer than 10 percent of all SPS chapters at Universities in the United States. Having sixteen consecutive recognitions is a record in the four-state region including all of Kentucky and most of Tennessee, Indiana, and Illinois.
The Society of Physics Students (SPS) is a professional association designed for students and membership is open to anyone interested in physics. SPS operates within the American Institute of Physics (AIP), an umbrella organization for professional physical science societies.
The SPS chapter at the University of Louisville is advised by a faculty mentor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy of the College of Arts & Sciences, and is led by student officers. The 2013-2014 officers are
- Richard D. Judge II, Physics and Mathematics, ’14, President
- David Warder, Physics and Biology, ’14, Vice President
- Stacie Curran, Physics ’15, Secretary
- Jamie Bougher, Physics Ph.D. ’14, Treasurer
- Shelby Brackett, Physics ’15, Social Coordinator
- Jason Thieman, Physics and Mathematics ’14, Outreach Officer
- Austin Gornet, Physics ’14, Fundraiser
- Jared Keown, Physics ’14, Sergeant at Arms
- Sarah Pagan, Computer Engineering and Physics ’14, Webmaster
“I feel very lucky to be part of this physics department and SPS,” said chapter President Richard Judge. “Our repeated success is a credit not only to the students, but also to the very supportive staff and faculty in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Louisville. It’s a good sign for science in Kentucky."
SPS chapters are evaluated on their level of interaction with the campus community, the professional physics community, the public, and with SPS national programs. The Outstanding Chapter Award recognizes high levels of outreach as well as unique approaches to fulfilling the mission of SPS to “help students transform themselves into contributing members of the professional community.”
The University of Louisville chapter was recognized for its outreach earlier this year with receipt of the Blake Lilly Prize, also given by the national office of the Society of Physics Students. Among their many activities are talks to school children, spring break trips to national laboratories and other high-tech facilities, hosting regional conferences for physics students, and inviting professionals to speak at club meetings. They have created their own YouTube channel, where they post videos about physics topics and about members of the Department of Physics & Astronomy. During weekly meetings, students portray famous physicists from the past and present as part of a tournament to decide the “Physicist of the Year.” As one reviewer from the SPS national office put it: “Amazing chapter! Very active and just an incredible chapter over all!” With sixteen consecutive Outstanding Chapter Award recognitions, the University of Louisville SPS chapter has set a high bar for physics students everywhere.