SOCORRO, N.M., February 28, 2002 -- The New Mexico Tech chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) will host the student organization's regional conference this weekend at various locations around the Tech campus.
Registration for university students attending the SPS Zone 16 conference will be held Friday evening, and will be immediately followed by a star party for participants at the Etscorn Campus Observatory.
Saturday's conference schedule will include a morning tour of New Mexico Tech's Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center, complete with a field demonstration of explosives testing typically conducted at the research facilty, as well as an afternoon of technical presentations delivered by undergraduates involved in research projects at their respective universities.
Saturday evening will be dedicated to more "recreational" pursuits, with conference participants competing in "Physics Jeopardy" and launching glow-in-the-dark soccer balls with their hand-built trebuchets, a type of large catapult.
On Sunday, nearly 60 representatives of SPS chapters from New Mexico Tech, New Mexico State University, University of New Mexico, Northern Arizona University, University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and the University of Texas at El Paso will conduct a morning-long business meeting.
Conference attendees will then be treated to an afternoon tour of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope facility.
New Mexico Tech's SPS chapter, host of this year's regional SPS conference, was honored last year with the "Outstanding SPS Chapter Award," and more recently was chosen to receive the organization's "Marsh White Award," which consists of $300 to be used by the winning chapter to design and construct a trebuchet.