APS Section Meeting Briefs
The Texas Section of APS (TSAPS) held its meeting in conjunction with AAPT, Zone 13 of the Society of Physics Students and the National Society of Hispanic Physicists from October 21 through 23 at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Pedro Montano from the Office of Basic Energy Sciences in the Department of Energy delivered a talk outlining an overview of the basic energy sciences being conducted by the Department of Energy. Marilia Samara from the Southwest Research Institute talked about recent advances in low-light-level imaging technology used for observing meteors and aurora. Carlos Ordoñez, from the University of Houston, spoke on the calculation of black hole entropy, and he opted to focus on the methods and logic used to conduct his research in hopes of encouraging the graduate student members of his audience.
The 77th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Section (SESAPS) was held from October 20 through 23 at the Baton Rouge Marriott in Baton Rouge Louisiana. The meeting featured a tour of the LIGO facility for the meeting participants as well as numerous talks from the observatory. Lisa Barsotti from LIGO and MIT delivered an update on how the current upgrade to the “Advanced LIGO detectors” should, once completed, soon yield the first detections of gravitational waves. Todd Adams from Florida State University showed the first preliminary results from the LHC’s CMS experiment. Kristopher Larsen from APS’s Washington office gave a preview of the changing political landscape when it comes to science funding and how physicists can get more involved with the political process.
The California Section of APS (CAL) met from October 29 through 30 at Caltech in Pasadena California. Several special guest speakers highlighted the meeting. Sean Carroll of Caltech spoke at the first plenary session about the origins of time and the universe. Also at the first plenary session, Josh Willis of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory delivered a talk about how global warming is affecting the oceans. Kip Thorne, also of Caltech, spoke after the Friday evening banquet about the warped nature of the universe. The second plenary session featured Tom Murphy from the University of California, San Diego describing how it’s possible to test general relativity by bouncing a laser beam off the moon, and Steve Block from Stanford University spoke on how biophysics can be used in gene sequencing.