Society of Physics Students

Society of Physics Students (SPS)

The Society of Physics Students at UT Dallas, SPS, is our student club for those interested in physics and physics-based careers. It is not necessary to be a physics major or enrolled an any physics courses, but rather any student interested in physics can join.

Our activities include BBQ’s, movie nights, guest lectures on physics careers and physics in society, research opportunities, campus-wide physics events/competitions, and outreach to the public at large. UT Dallas SPS is part of the National Society of Physics Students, an organization that promotes physics through regional and national conferences, scholarships, and grant opportunities.

Talk hosted by SPS and Cosmic Life Society

The Society of Physics Students and Cosmic Life Society will host a talk by Dr. Eilene Theilig, former project manager of NASA’s Galileo mission to Jupiter, on November 18th 2014 at 7 pm in the Kusch Auditorium.

theilig_eilene_headshot

Dr. Theilig holds a Ph.D in Geology with a concentration in planetary studies from Arizona State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from the University of Texas. In 1987 she started at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a National Research Council Post-Doctorate Research Associate investigating the radar characteristics of terrestrial lava flows for the Magellan Mission to Venus. She joined the Galileo Project in 1989 as an engineer planning computer command sequences for the spacecraft traveling to Jupiter.  In the ensuing years her role expanded into management of the teams charged with operating the spacecraft and maintaining its health and safety. In 2001, Dr. Theilig became the Galileo Project Manager responsible for the success of the final phase of the mission. Prior to her work at on the Galileo mission, Dr. Theilig also interned at JPL, working on the Orbiter Imaging Team on the Viking Mission, as well as serving as a research assistant at NASA Ames Research Center. Her current pursuits combine her life-long interests in religion, science and education. In 2006 she earned her Master of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion, was ordained, and joined Brite Divinity School as the Director of Lay and Continuing Education.

This talk will be an excellent opportunity for students in all STEM fields to gain insight into planning and executing such a prestigious scientific mission.

 

SPS Sponsors a Rocket Contest

To build and fly a rocket, you have to break some eggs. That simple lesson came home for several students and faculty members at a model rocket competition in April 2013 sponsored by the UT Dallas chapter of the Society of Physics Students.

Read the full story at UT Dallas News Center – Rocket Contest Competitors Strive for Height, Cargo Protection.

Photos from the Contest

Physics graduate student Ed Graef explains model rocket science.

Physics graduate student Ed Graef explains model rocket science.

UT Dallas' Dr. Phil Anderson makes a final safety check.

UT Dallas’ Dr. Phil Anderson makes a final safety check.

Ed Graef prepares his rocket for launch.

Ed Graef prepares his rocket for launch.

Mikaela McMurtry works on her rocket.

Mikaela McMurtry works on her rocket.

Alan Harrison, a physics graduate student, works with Dr. Phil Anderson to prepare a rocket for launch. Harrison and Anderson are members of the National Association of Rocketry.

Alan Harrison, a physics graduate student, works with Dr. Phil Anderson to prepare a rocket for launch. Harrison and Anderson are members of the National Association of Rocketry.

From left: Matthew Henderson, Mikaela McMurtry, Dr. Phil Anderson, and Brooks McMaster, physics major.

From left: Matthew Henderson, Mikaela McMurtry, Dr. Phil Anderson, and Brooks McMaster, physics major.

Matthew Henderson launches his team’s rocket with teammate Mikaela McMurtry.

Matthew Henderson launches his team’s rocket with teammate Mikaela McMurtry.

Mikaela McMurtry discovers that the raw egg payload on her team’s rocket has returned intact. Her team's rocket won the contest for going 383 feet and protecting the egg cargo.

Mikaela McMurtry discovers that the raw egg payload on her team’s rocket has returned intact. Her team’s rocket won the contest for going 383 feet and protecting the egg cargo.

Dr. Phil Anderson uses a drill to attach sections of a contestant’s rocket.

Dr. Phil Anderson uses a drill to attach sections of a contestant’s rocket.

UT Dallas physics professor Phil Anderson (right) assists teammates Matthew Henderson, a physics junior, and Mikaela McMurtry, an interdisciplinary studies junior, to prepare their rocket for launch.

UT Dallas physics professor Phil Anderson (right) assists teammates Matthew Henderson, a physics junior, and Mikaela McMurtry, an interdisciplinary studies junior, to prepare their rocket for launch.