What is SPS?
The Society of Physics Students is a professional association explicitly designed for students. Membership, through collegiate chapters, is open to anyone interested in physics. The only requirement for membership is that you be interested in physics. Besides physics majors, our members often include majors in chemistry, computer science, engineering, geology, mathematics, medicine, and other fields.
Purpose and Mission
The SPS exists to help students transform themselves into contributing members of the professional community. Course work develops only one range of skills. Other skills needed to flourish professionally include effective communication and personal interactions, leadership experience, establishing a personal network of contacts, presenting scholarly work in professional meetings and journals, and outreach services to the campus and local communities.
Locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally, the SPS offers the opportunity for these important enrichments to the student’s experience.
The Society of Physics Students was formed in 1968 with a constitution that combined its two “parent” organizations, The AIP Student Sections and the Sigma Pi Sigma honor society. SPS now has over 700 chapters on campuses across the country. About 5,000 students take part in chapter activities each year, making SPS the fourth largest physics society in the country. The associated honor society, Sigma Pi Sigma, now exists in about 450 of those chapters with over 75,000 inductees throughout its history.
SPS at Western Kentucky University
Activities sponsored by the WKU chapter of SPS include monthly meetings in the SPS Room (TCCW 238), picnics with the physics and astronomy faculty each semester, trips to scientific meetings and other places of interest, and an annual banquet where students who have met the requirements for membership are inducted into the national physics honor society Sigma Pi Sigma. In addition, our chapter is active in various outreach activities such as the Western Kentucky Physics Olympics, Science Olympiad and visits to area schools.
All physics majors at WKU are encouraged to subscribe to this site to keep up to date with the current activities of our chapter. If you would like to learn more about the WKU chapter of SPS please feel free to join us at our next meeting or to contact an officer.
The SPS Room
The WKU Chapter of the Society of Physics Students is fortunate to have use of a 460 square foot room solely for the use of SPS members and their guests. The room is located on the second floor of Thompson Complex Center Wing (TCCW 238). Some of the features of the SPS Room include:
- large tables suitable for studying and collaborating on physics problems.
- personal lockers for members to store books and other personal belongings.
- couches and chairs to allow students to relax in between classes.
- a networked computer for checking email or the internet.
- a small refrigerator and a microwave.
SPS & Sigma Pi Sigma
Within SPS is housed Sigma Pi Sigma, the national physics honor society, which inducts members on the basis of outstanding academic achievement. This unique two-in-one society operates within the American Institute of Physics, an umbrella organization for ten other professional science societies.
Local Benefits of SPS Membership
- Free admission for the member and a guest to the Fall and Spring SPS picnics.
- Free admission to the annual Sigma Pi Sigma banquet.
- Use of the SPS Student Lounge (TCCW 238).
- Use of a locker in the SPS Student Lounge.
- Annual trip to Argonne National Laboratory Undergraduate Research Symposium in Chicago.
- Opportunities to visit prominent physics research facilities.
- Free pizza at monthly SPS meetings.
National Benefits of SPS Membership
Upon payment of your $20.00 national dues, you will receive:
- Physics Today (monthly)
- The SPS Observer (quarterly)
- Journal of Undergraduate Research in Physics (online)
- Career Placement Services
- Eligibility for SPS scholarships, internships, research & travel grants, fellowships and other awards
- Free membership with one AIP Member Society for undergraduates only, for up to three years.
Please note that it takes six to eight weeks for your membership to become effective and for publications to begin arriving.
Free Membership to One AIP Member Society
Undergraduates students can receive free membership in one of AIP’s ten member societies for up to three years when joining SPS:
- The American Physical Society (APS) – Promotes the advancement and diffusion of the knowledge of physics and all branches of fundamental and applied physics.
- Optical Society of America (OSA) – Devotes itself to the advancement of optics, pure and applied, in all its branches.
- Acoustical Society of America (ASA) – Seeks to increase and diffuse the knowledge of acoustics and to promote its practical applications.
- The Society of Rheology (SoR) – Promotes the advancement and applications of rheology, the science of deformation and flow of matter, and its applications.
- American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) – Promotes enhancing the understanding and appreciation of physics through teaching.
- American Crystallographic Association (ACA) – Promotes the study of the arrangement of the atoms in matter, its causes, its nature, and its consequences, and the tools and methods used in such studies.
- American Astronomical Society (AAS) – Promotes the advancement of astronomy and closely related branches of science.
- American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) – Seeks to promote the application of physics to medicine and biology.
- AVS Science and Technology Society – Promotes communication, dissemination of knowledge, recommended practices, research, and education in the use of vacuum and other controlled environments to develop new materials, process technology, devices, and related understanding of material properties for the betterment of humanity.
- American Geophysical Union (AGU) – Promotes the scientific study of the Earth and its environment in space.