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ASU Physics Student Group Featured in National Publication

April 15, 2010

Angelo State University’s chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) will be featured in the winter issue of SPS Observer magazine, the official publication of the national SPS.

The story about the ASU group, “Laser Outreach Jumps to the Next Level,” details how the SPS Peer Pressure Team will use a recent $7,500 grant award won in the Laserfest on the Road competition to upgrade the programs it features in its annual West Texas Road Trip.

“Our road trip will be ‘Laserfest 2010’ themed this year,” said Dr. Toni Sauncy, SPS faculty adviser, “including a new laser light show provided by the grant funds and various hands-on activities. These will include several ‘laser mazes’ that are interactive games for children aimed at fourth through seventh graders.”

Only 36 Laserfest on the Road Grants were awarded, 20 to U.S. universities and 16 to institutions in Canada, Europe, Australia, Africa and South America. The ASU group won its grant for its proposal titled “Peer Pressure Team: bLASING Across Texas” that was written by Sauncy and SPS student president Logan Hancock.

Laserfest 2010 is a year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the laser, which was first demonstrated in 1960. It is a collaborative effort between the American Physical Society, the Optical Society, the Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers and the IEEE Photonics Society.

Starting in 2006, ASU’s West Texas Road Trip has taken the SPS Peer Pressure Team to elementary and middle schools throughout the region performing physics demonstrations for students, faculty and parents. The program is designed to generate enthusiasm for the study of science and spur interested students toward paths that lead to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The West Texas Road Trip program was originally funded by a national SPS Physics on the Road Grant as part of the World Year of Physics celebration in 2005. Since then, it has won a 2007 Marsh White Award and corresponding grant from the national SPS that helped pay for demonstration materials, and a 2008 Blake Lilly Award from the national SPS for outstanding physics outreach. This spring, Angelo State’s SPS chapter was designated an “Outstanding Chapter” by the national SPS for the eighth straight year.

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