VERMILLION — Nearly three dozen students from across the Midwest spent the weekend of Oct. 19-20 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.

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