EastBay Today

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Posted January 31, 2019

Meeting of the Minds

Cal State East Bay to host physicists, students for annual meeting

Physics professor Derek Jackson Kimball works with students at Cal State East Bay.
Garvin Tso

A professional association for physics students is working to encourage more students to study the subject, especially those from traditionally underrepresented groups. Its goal? Create and provide a support network that will buoy individuals through their careers.

For the first time, Cal State East Bay will host dozens of physics students from across California and Nevada for the Society of Physics Students Zone 18 annual meeting Feb. 2.

“Physics is a very difficult area of study and can be isolating,” said Dennis Calderon, president of the Society of Physics Students Cal State East Bay chapter. “It is very important to have an inclusive and accepting community where students can come together to share ideas and study together. Gone are the days of scientists working alone as most are now a part of very large experiments with international collaborators.”

Organizers of the event hope students take the opportunity to network.

“In comparison to other fields, those who study physics make up a small group, so it is worthwhile to build a network among this generation of physicists,” Calderon said.

The event will also serve as a place for students to share and present their work. It will include lab tours, workshops, demonstrations and speakers including Janelle Wellons, instrument operations engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.