What We Do

Social events:  Every semester we host two parties: one to kick it off, and one to wrap it up before finals begin.  We have pizza and refreshments, and sometimes decorate physics cookies, make liquid nitrogen ice cream, or play physics Bingo with fabulous prizes. These gatherings serve to connect physics undergrads to other students and faculty in the department, and to spread the word about upcoming events, and ways to be involved in the deparment. At the end of the year we throw a party to build and launch water bottle rockets, and to hold our elections for the following year.

Bimonthly meetings:  The club’s officers get together every other week to plan upcoming events and to delegate tasks, as well as review the budget and current goals for the club.  All are welcome to attend and contribute. Meeting times vary, so please contact us if you’d like to attend.

Lab Tours:  Every semester we arrange a lab tour event, where two or three physics faculty give tours of their labs to all interested undergraduates. These events take about two hours, and give new students a chance to familiarize themselves with the department faculty, and to learn about different research opportunities available to undergrads.  We sometimes have guest students from other colleges and universities in attendance, which gives us an opportunity to network beyond University of Utah.  To browse our archived lab tours for undergrads, or to learn about our upcoming lab tours, see our events page.

Outreach:  We also offer lab tours to off-campus groups, usually scout troops or elementary school classes.  These tours are geared toward a young crowd, and usually end with making liquid nitrogen ice cream. We also give physics demonstrations to student groups, and visit classrooms to help with supplementary science education. This is a great way to get involved. To volunteer to help lead these tours, or to give physics demonstrations, send us an email. If you are an educator or group leader, and you have a group you are interested in bringing in for a lab tour, please email one of the officers, or click here for more information.

Other outreach:  As a club, we often join other coordinated outreach efforts that we can attend as a group.  These events include local and regional science fair judging for grades 5-12, assistance with star parties at the South Physics Observatory, volunteering for Science Day through the University of Utah College of Science, and attending local STEM-focused events sponsored by U of U and outside institutions.  Visit the events page to learn how you can be involved in upcoming outreach.

Why Get Involved in Science Outreach?

The rewards of involvement are many, whether you are interested in teaching physics, working with underserved populations, polishing your own science communication skills, making good contacts for future references, or just having some fun with your favorite subject: physics. Being involved in outreach is a great resume-booster for graduate school and employment applications alike, and you never know what contacts you will make to help you network in the world of physics.  Plus- the more people who love science, the better!

Your Projects:  Do you have an idea for a project you’d like to bring into a local school, or carry out in the U of U Physics department?  We can help connect you to resources, including people, equipment, and possibly funding. The Society of Physics Students is your club, and we welcome involvement on all levels!