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Physics Student Group Hosts Regional Meeting

Students watch physics demonstrations during the Society of Physics Students regional meeting. Students from colleges in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa watch physics demonstrations during the Society of Physics Students regional meeting at USD in October.

VERMILLION, S.D. – Nearly three dozen students from across the Midwest spent the weekend of October 19 and 20 at the University of South Dakota’s Vermillion campus to take part in the Society of Physics Students’ Zone 11 Regional Meeting.

Physics students from South Dakota State University, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Minnesota State University Moorhead, and Coe College in Iowa joined USD students and faculty for a mixture of presentations, tours, interactive experiments and networking. Zone 11 of the national society includes five states in the upper Midwest.

Jing Liu, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics and advisor to USD’s student-run Physics Club, said this meeting marks the first time USD has hosted a Zone 11 meeting, although he and USD students have attended others in the region.

“These meetings offer a great opportunity for us to learn from each other and it’s also a good opportunity for USD to advertise to college students around us,” Liu said.

Students presented their own research posters at the meeting and also attended public lectures from USD physics faculty members on the neutrino and detecting dark matter. Highlights of the event included a demonstration in which the group conducted small experiments to show a physics principle. Some examples included making liquid nitrogen ice cream to show how cold liquid nitrogen is, levitating a superconductor using a magnetic field, and setting a gum wrapper on fire using a battery to show how to convert electronic power to thermal power.


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News