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LU hosts state physics conference

Students, teachers and professionals of physics from across the US will gather at Lamar University March 31-April 2 for the Joint Spring 2016 Meeting of the Texas sections of the American Physical Society (APS), American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) and Zone 13 of the Society of Physics Students (SPS)

Leaders in the physics community are invited to present at conferences each spring and fall at host universities. About 200 guests are expected to attend the conference events that will be held primarily in the Setzer Student Center and Archer Physics Building, according to conference chair Cristian Bahrim, professor of physics, and holder of a joint-appointment with the LU’s Phillip M. Drayer Department of Electrical Engineering.

This event brings to Lamar a plethora of outstanding speakers from top Texas universities like Rice, University of Texas at Austin, Baylor University and Texas A&M College Station, as well as several top-ranked universities like the University of Central Florida and Kansas State University, said Bahrim, the organizer of the conference that will cover a wide range of topics. Other participants represent leading laboratories like the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Brookhaven National Laboratory. “It is rare to have such great participation,” Bahrim said.

The conference offers two keynote speakers: Thomas Killian, chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Rice University, will give the APS talk on dense laboratory and astrophysical plasmas, and Dean Zollman, the former chair of the Department of Physics at Kansas State University, will speak for the AAPT section about visualizations and simulations techniques as learning tools.

Conference coordinators expect more than 120 oral and poster contributions. The event includes research breakout sessions, a career forum, a session presenting undergraduate research from Texas schools, workshops focused on teaching and education preparation, eight plenary speakers and several invited talks. Students of any major can benefit from the programs and are welcome to attend the plenary sessions (8:15 -10:15 a.m. and 2:30 - 3:45 p.m. Friday, April 1, and 8:15 - 10:15 a.m.  Saturday, April 2) or the breakout and poster sessions, Bahrim said.

The Reaud Honors College will support and assist with the conference and will sponsor the “SPS Get Together.” There more than 40 students from Texas universities will gather for social activities and participate in a Graduate Panel Discussion on “Transformation from an undergraduate student to a researcher” with five guest speakers: Zollman; Steve Bradshaw, assistant professor and William V. Vietti Junior Chair of Space Physics, Rice University; Talat Rahman, Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Physics, University of Central Florida; Paul Snijders, Research Staff, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and Gillian Nave, Physicist, National Institute for Standards and Technology.

“We are also grateful for the support of the Beaumont Convention and Visitors Bureau,” Bahrim said.

For more information about the conference, visit or contact Cristian Bahrim at (409) 880-8290.