Joint Spring 2020 Meeting of the Texas Sections of APS, AAPT and SPS Zone 13

April 2 - April 4, 2020


Dear colleagues,

In consensus with the President of Lamar University, the Executive Boards of the Texas Sections of the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers, the Joint Spring 2020 Meeting of the Texas Sections of APS, AAPT and SPS Zone 13 (TSS20) has been cancelled. We know that this will be a source of big disappointment to many of our participants, and we deeply regret this outcome. We believe that this is the right decision considering the situation related to COVID-19 developments, and follows the recommendations from the national and international health authorities.

Please check our conference website for possible updates.
We wish everyone to stay safe and in good health.

Christian Bahrim
Chair of TSS20



 Hosted by the Physics Department at Lamar University and

The Office of Undergraduate Research

Co-organizer: Texas Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers

Conference Flyer

APS members and non-members can register for the conference using either the PDF registration form or the weblink.  Please register before March 20, 2020 for early discounted registration fees.

Please submit your abstract here. Submission deadline is March 15, 2020.

Conference guest speakers

Keynote speaker

April 3 - Banquet - 6:30 - 9:00 pm

Dr. Eric Mazur - Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, Harvard University

Eric Mazur

APS Keynote talk Extreme optics with zero index (April 3 @ Banquet from 7pm)
AAPT talk Innovating education to educate innovators (April 3 – morning session)


Plenary speakers - Friday, April 3, 2020 - morning session

Dr. Junichiro Kono
- Professor and Director of Applied Physics Program at Rice University

Jun Knon

APS talk: Flexible, Wearable, and High-Temperature Devices Based on Aligned Carbon Nanotubes (April 3 – morning session)

Dr. Tolga Aytug - Senior Researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Tolga Aytug

Carbon nanomaterial enabled ultra-conductive Cu composites (both talks on April 3 – morning session)

Keynote speaker - Friday, April 3, 2020 - after lunch

Dr. Monica Plisch - Director of Programs, PhysTEC, American Physical Society

Monica Plisch

APS / PhysTEC keynote talk (April 3 - 1:15 - 2:00 pm)
PhysTEC: Building a Solution to the National Physics Teacher Shortage


Plenary speakers - Saturday, April 4, 2020 - morning session

Dr. Brad Conrad
- Director of the Society of Physics Students & Sigma Pi Sigma

Brad Conrad

SPS talk:  Random Walks in Physics: Career Pathways and Undergraduate Department Health (April 4 – morning session)


Dr. Talat Shahnaz Rahman - UCF Pegasus and Distinguished Professor of Physics at University of Central Florida.

Talat Rahman

APS talk: Functionalized 2D Materials for a sustainable future (April 4 – morning session)


Dr. Eugenia Etkina - Distinguished Professor of Science Education at Rutgers University

Eugenia Etkina

AAPT talk: Investigative Science Learning Environment: Helping students learn physics by practicing it (April 4 – morning session)

AAPT workshop: How to use College Physics: Explore and Apply to help your students learn physics, learn to think like scientists, and to develop confidence in themselves Saturday, April 4 from 10:30 - 12:30 pm in the Setzer Student Center


Society of Physics Student (SPS) Track

SPS Chapters are invited to SPS Gets Together!

Thursday, April 2, from 6-9 pm, in the Setzer Student Center, Live Oak Ballroom
Coordinator: Dr. Brad Conrad, Director of the Society of Physics Students and Sigma Pi Sigma National

  • Sigma Pi Sigma Induction Ceremony at Lamar University, 6-7 pm
  • Trivia Questions after 7 pm – All SPS Chapters are invited to participate and compete – SPS National will offer prizes!


SPS Career Toolbox

Friday, April 3 in the Setzer Student Center (late afternoon session)
Coordinator: Dr. Brad Conrad, Director of the Society of Physics Students and Sigma Pi Sigma National
Special Guests: Ms. Lauren van Gerven, Business Solutions Representative & Labor Market Analyst of the Workforce Solutions Southeast Texas

SPS breakout sessions for undergraduate research

Friday, April 3 (from 3:45 pm) and Saturday, April 4 (from 10:15 am) in the Setzer Student Center
Coordinator: Dr. Brad Conrad, Director of the Society of Physics Students and Sigma Pi Sigma National

SPS posters

Friday, April 3 from 2:00 pm in the Live Oak Ballroom of the Setzer Student Center


TSAAPT Workshops

Topics and times

Registration form

Workshop coordinator: Dr. Thomas O'Kuma, Professor of Physics at Lee College (

Special Workshops

PhysTEC Workshops

Friday, April 3 from 3:45 in the Setzer Student Center
Coordinator: Dr. Monica Plisch, Director of Programs at APS

Workshop 1: Get the Facts Out: Changing the Conversation Around Teaching as a Profession
Facilitator: Drew Isola, GFO

In this interactive session we will share the Get the Facts Out project toolkit and website to support your efforts to change the conversation about STEM teaching careers in your department. The toolkit, based on pilot interventions that show positive results in shifting perceptions among students and faculty, and which have been shown to outperform traditional recruitment efforts, is designed to be customizable and adaptable to local situations. The materials and strategies include: (1) both student and faculty focused resources and a how-to guide for running interactive events, including but not limited to slide decks, clicker questions, and handouts with national survey data on retention, job satisfaction, and student loan forgiveness for teachers; (2) sample informational handouts on teacher salaries, comparisons of teacher and faculty salaries, and retirement benefits, with instructions on how to customize these with local teacher data; (3) brochures and posters that incorporate tested messaging strategies; and (4) single-sentence “bulleted messages” that can be used as conversation starters in emails or other resources you design. This work is supported by the National Science Foundation IUSE and Noyce Programs.  

Workshop 2: Learning Assistant Program
Facilitator: Dr. Eleanor Close, Assistant Professor at Texas State University, San Marcos, TX

ALPhA (Advanced Laboratory Physics Association) Workshop

Saturday, April 4 from 11:00 - 2:00 pm in the Setzer Student Center
Coordinator: Dr. Tony Sauncy, Director of the ALPhA Texas Region (TX, OK, AR)

Makerspace breakout session

Saturday, April 4 in the Setzer Student Center
Followed by tour of The Science and Technology Building
Coordinator: Dr. Robert Kelley Bradley, Director of the Makerspace at Lamar University 



Suggested Hotels

Holiday Inn and SuitesHoliday Inn and Suite Beaumont-Plaza
Rooms rates starting at $89.00




MCM Elegante
MCM Elegante Hotel (I-10 at Washington Blvd.)
Room rates starting at $89.00