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American Physical Society April Meeting in February
by David Klassen
The annual April APS meeting was held 13–16 February 2010 in Washington DC; the change in dates was so that it could be held in conjunction with the annual winter meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers. The meeting allows physicists across the country to meet, present the results of their work, see what is going on outside of their field specialities and even make contact with collaborators. The April meeting also has opportunities for undergraduate students to present research they have been working on in special oral and poster sessions hosted by the national Society of Physics Students (SPS).
James Applegate, Shermane Bengamin, Carl Campbel, Ian Dougherty, Chris Freund, and Peter Harrison went to present their research at talks and posters and were accompanied by Amanda Biggers, Dan Freas, Ryan O'Malley, Erin Posbergh and Rachel Spreng who went for the experience, to support their colleagues, to see physics and physics education talks as well as visit our nation's capitol. The troupe carpooled down in three vehicles and arrived in time for the first SPS session for Ian's talk. For the most part everyone stayed together in one or two groups, seeing talks on cosmology, string theory, quantum dots, materials physics and even nuclear non-proliferation. Ian's impression of the last was that there was one talk "…by a very entertaining presenter. He has travelled to many countries to discuss their nuclear programs. He worked closely with the Soviet Union nuclear program in the eighties, and now he visits North Korea annually to monitor their nuclear progression." In fact, everyone who saw these talks enjoyed them.
It was the general feeling that the Rowan contingent all gave very good talks and poster presentations and enjoyed the chance to really hear about what each other is doing and to see what undergraduates are doing at other institutions. Ryan even found someone who even knew a bit about Glassboro in one of the poster sessions and said: "Another gentleman that Dan Freas and I got to talk with noticed we were from Rowan, asked us many questions about the University and about The Cold War Glassboro Summit Conference that was held at Rowan. He was in luck because I watched a YouTube video on that Conference two weeks prior…"
When not in sessions, everyone went out exploring; as some come from small towns, seeing a Big City was, itself, and experience as they rode the Red Line Metro down to the Capitol Mall and see the many monuments. Jimmy said that "…great because I have seen pictures on T.V. and in books, but never had the opportunity to experience these first hand. We walked to the Capitol building, the Washington Monument and then discovered the location of the White House. I do have to admit, the White House is a lot smaller then I pictured." Of course the food was also impressive both is price (far more expensive than they'd ever seen) and in size—Ryan & Dan found pizza slices that were, allegedly, the length of their own arms.
Overall, the trip was a success, a fun and informative experience and as one of their professors, I can say I was proud of their work and professionalism.