The Physics Club

Kosei Dohi, Astronomy Blogger

The Physics Club is a club here at the school that promotes both physics and engineering for students from grades 9-12. Students meet on A-days during lunch in room 144 to prepare for state and national competitions, including TEAMS, a competition that is held at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in March. Students are split into teams based on their grade and are required to write 200-word essays regarding real-world environmental and engineering problems that are found in our everyday lives. These different problems are called “scenarios” and there are eight of them in total. The competition consists of three portions: a writing portion, a building portion, and a math portion. Different teams are required to write essays, build certain objects with certain materials, and calculate physics problems. Last year, the 9th and 10th graders won 6th out of 21 teams and the 11th and 12th graders won 7th out of 43 teams.

Another notable activity the club has done so far this year was the International Cosmic Ray Day, where students set up cosmic ray detectors and talked to particle physicists across the world, including world-renowned scientist Antonino Zichichi. Zichichi taught students through Skype about cosmic rays and the importance of them in the physics community.

The environment in the Physics Club is usually very friendly and open, where students encourage each other to work hard as a group to help each other grow as students. Mrs. Coyle, the advisor of the club, helps students to become closer by doing group bonding activities such as building towers. Each meeting is different, and activities can vary from building towers out of straw and paper clips, or practicing math problems from past competitions.

Since each Physics Club meeting is different, most students say that this is the reason why the physics club is so fun. “I can’t say there is a typical physics club meeting,” said Tomer Witelston, a freshman here at the school who attends the weekly physics meetings. “We have spent club meetings with our team working on essays, having a practice design-build competition, and talking about courses for the following years. It is extremely varied, and there has not been a single boring meeting. If I had to describe the norm, I would say that we spend our days in preparation for the various requirements of the upcoming competitions. Everybody has been nice and accepting. The kids of the Physics Club definitely contribute positively to the experience.”

Overall, the Physics Club has been a great experience for many students, because of the positive and open environment it has. Students ultimately learn to apply physics to real-world problems by working in groups to participate in various competitions.