National Society
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Meetings and Events


Two questions may have already occurred to you by now -- Why should you go to a meeting? To which meeting should you go?

The Role of Meetings

Physics, like all of the sciences, is a very social process. We meet, we talk and argue, and we tell very nerdy physics jokes and stories. We come together to shop for ideas, discuss our results, listen to critiques, share our thoughts, touch bases with friends and colleagues. students at NSHP meeting

Going to meetings is a natural part of being a physicist. Therefore, learning to give a talk, taking part in a discussion, and interacting with colleagues you just met -- are all part of the education of a scientist, a way of establishing your credentials as being part of the community.

And though you will learn much by attending papers and posters on topics of interest ... you will learn much more from conversations and discussions with people who share common interests but who bring a very different perspective. E-mail and phone calls are a poor substitute for face-to-face conversation. And many fruitful friendships and collaborations begin at meetings.

Hopefully, by now you have decided that a meeting might be worth exploring -- but which meeting?

The Choice of Meetings

Rather than try and carve out our own space among the many physics meetings each year, the NSHP holds Joint Meetings with a few selected societies. Each of our partners offers us (and you) a different environment, different opportunities, different vibrations.

The Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science ( is one of the oldest and most dynamic societies devoted to minority students and faculty. Certainly it boasts one of the largest gathering of students at any national meeting.

Though posters on teaching pedagogy and educational initiatives are beginning to make an appearance at this meeting, it remains primarily a place for minority students and faculty to present their research. The SACNAS meeting is unique in that as well as being a scientific meeting, it is also a celebration of culture. The NSHP holds a Joint Meeting with SACNAS in the fall but physics remains a small but growing part of the papers at the meeting.

The NSHP has a small NSF grant to recognize and award the best physics student poster at the meeting.

Award winning poster

Best Student (Physics)
SACNAS/NSHP October 2004

The National Society of Black Physicists ( is older and more established than the NSHP but it shares a similar mission and objectives for African-American physicists. Their meetings began primarily for the physicists in industry and government laboratories but they have continued to grow and now offer a wealth of opportunities for both students and faculty. Indeed, students will find a comprehensive set of sessions devoted to studying at the undergraduate and graduate levels, preparing for the GRE, presenting talks, writing resumes, finding jobs, and many other relevant subjects. Students and faculty are able to present their research and attend plenary talks on frontier research in physics.

Visit YouTube and hear what students had to say about being at the 2004 Joint NSBP/NSHP Meeting in Orlando.

Or you can read about the 2008 Joint meeting.

The American Association of Physics Teachers ( is the organization with the cleanest and greatest focus on the teaching and learning of physics at all levels (K-20). Though NSHP has had two Joint Meetings with AAPT (Austin -- Winter 2003 and Albuquerque -- Winter 2005) due to geographical reasons no other Joint Meetings are scheduled at this time. However, AAPT meetings have much to offer Hispanic students and faculty who are particularly interested in how to more effectively teach physics. In addition, those teachers and faculty wanting to learn how to more effectively engage under-represented groups in physics, indeed how to more effectively engage all students in physics, can learn much by visiting AAPT meetings. The Physics Education Research community has recently been holding a day long conference at the conclusion of the AAPT summer meeting.

The American Physical Society ( is the largest society of research-based physicists in the United States. Though its focus has traditionally been on the research development of the physics community it has started to develop an impressive presence in the fields of physics educational research and teaching physics at the university level. Though we (the NSHP) have not held any Joint Meetings with APS at the national level we have met with sectional APS chapters, primarily the Texas section (TSAPS) and the Southeast section(SESAPS).