Sharing the Friendliness of Physics at the University of Houston

American Physical Society Members Foster Fun and Camaraderie across Campus and Beyond

At one of the most diverse universities in the country, the American Physical Society Chapter at the University of Houston prioritizes inclusion and diversity in their work through engaging events that entertain and educate others about physics. Activities include a chili cook-off competition, sci-fi movie night and discussion, and an APS Championships night filled with physics themed trivia, bowling, and other games. These events have brought together students, faculty, and staff in a spirit of teamwork and community.

Members of the APS Chapter at UH
Members of the APS Chapter at UH participate in a a chili cook-off competition.

“The APS Chapter has become an integral part of the department. They have created a community that provides camaraderie, support, and academic inspiration. This group is truly student-led, and it all works well because of their enthusiasm and the effort they make to create a welcoming and supportive environment for their community,” said Daniel Cherdack, Ph.D., faculty advisor of the APS Chapter at UH.

APS Chapter at UH events also provide students with information and hands-on experience. For instance, to assist physics students at UH in understanding topics covered in the weekly, mandatory department colloquium, the APS Chapter started a weekly Journal Club for students and postdocs to introduce colloquium material.

In a similar effort to share research from graduate students, the chapter collaborated with the UH physics department to host Physics Research Day in February 2023, an event that both gave senior graduate students the opportunity to improve presentation skills and exposed junior graduate students to new research and lab groups.

“The APS Chapter is such a great addition to our department! With their enthusiasm, the members bring new ideas and organize events that help strengthen the sense of community for students, postdocs, and faculty,” said Claudia Ratti, Ph.D., assistant chair of the UH physics department.

To further connect physics students at all levels of their education, the APS Chapter at UH is planning an event to assist undergraduates in applying for graduate programs. The chapter intends to involve other student groups in this event, which will share resources and build community across the campus. The chapter is also putting together a Student Seminar Series, which will invite student speakers from other universities to speak about their research and graduate experiences, connecting them to the broader community of physics students and departments throughout the U.S.

Discover more events from the APS Chapter at UH

- Chapter success story courtesy of the American Physical Society