Springfield, Ohio – Wittenberg University students majoring in physics enhanced their educational experience at the Quadrennial Physics Congress, where they made the most of a unique opportunity to interact with some of the most acclaimed professionals in the field.
The theme of the Quadrennial Physics Congress, which took place in Orlando, Fla., was “Connecting Worlds Through Science and Service.” Hosted by Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honor society, the congress included plenary talks, workshops, poster presentations, exhibits and an art contest.
For Jeremy Massengale, class of 2015 from Springfield, Ohio, Cody Mann, class of 2015 from Chesapeake, Ohio, Steven La Count, class of 2015 from Cincinnati, Ohio, Lisa Simpson, class of 2014 from Springfield, Ohio, Susannah M. Engdahl, class of 2013 from Columbus, Ohio, Amanda Fagan, class of 2014 from Chelmsford, Mass., and Peiqian Li, class of 2014 from Changchun, China, the November 2012 trip offered a chance to learn from top graduate physics students and practicing physicists, including a Nobel Laureate and a former astronaut.
Made possible by an endowed fund established by Wendell Lutz, class of 1966 and a member of Wittenberg’s Board of Directors, in honor of Emeritus Professor of Physics Paul Hagelberg, participation in the congress offered students an opportunity to further their physics education and meet people with similar interests.
“We got the opportunity to see many other research projects done by physics majors across the country, which was awesome,” La Count said. “It enhanced my Wittenberg experience as it gave me a unique chance to interact with fellow physics-oriented people in a fun and informative environment.”
Associate Professor of Physics Paul Voytas said the congress focused participants “on the idea that the field of physics is not just a subject that you study in school. It is a significant intellectual and applied endeavor.” The 2012 congress also emphasized a responsibility to service to humanity.
He added that interacting with some of the brightest minds in the field today exposes students “to a wider community of learners engaged in the study of the subject and related areas. This gets them to think about themselves as part of a world-wide community of people engaged in a similar pursuit.”
Mann agreed that attending the congress enriched his Wittenberg experience and fostered a new passion for his studies and future goals. He added that one of the highlights for him was a tour of a NASA facility, which kindled his interest in aerospace engineering.
“By partaking in such a unique opportunity I realized that physics is the right major for me,” he said.
Written By: Megan Conkle ’14 & Jordyn Baker ‘14