PhysCon is a unique and incredible meeting. The 2008 Congress was held at Fermilab in Batavia, IL. More than 600 people attended: a mix of physics students, faculty, and alumni. I was in my first year as a physics major when I attended the 2008 Congress with 7 other students from my school. It was the largest meeting I had ever attended as an undergraduate; there were physicists everywhere! There were plenary talks, there were presentations, there was an art contest, there were tours of FermiLab, and there were roundtable discussions (workshops). The workshops were a brand-new experience for me; in class you sit in lecture, you go back to the lab and do your problems, and you go back to lecture. We had workshops at the 2008 Congress where people sat around and debated scientific citizenship, scientific ethics, the importance of the scientist in society – it was a truly indescribable feeling. For me, it was affirmation that I had chosen the right major and that the physics community had an outstanding future ahead.
Elizabeth Hook, AIP Education Communications Specialist
Physics majors are hard to come by in our school. We were represented by half of the school’s physics majors, five…Needless to say, the sight of that many devoted to our particular field was astounding.
Saint Peter’s College SPS Chapter
[An] impact the Congress had on me was the friends I made. Even three years later, I still keep in touch with some of the students I met there. Whenever I have questions about what I should do after getting my bachelor’s degree, I write out physics students across the nation… When I think back to the 2008 Congress, I can see how much I have matured academically. It will be great to attend the next Congress, so I can continue growing even more.
Xandria McWaters, University of Southern Mississippi
Some sessions got a little heated as we covered some very touchy political issues, but the overall format was open, inclusive, and constructive to the goals of Congress.
Northeastern Illinois University SPS Chapter
Between answering questions from onlookers the presenters traded jokes, tips for better presenting, and even questions about their neighbor’s research projects…small groups would form around posters and instead of a boring ask-and-tell routine, freewheeling conversation about research with a lot of give and take spontaneously formed.
North Carolina State University SPS Chapter
There’s something about seeing such a large group of physicists gathered together in one place that’s very motivating. I think it’s easy for students to lose sight of the reasons they chose their major in the first place, and the Congress was one experience that helped me keep in mind the big picture behind it all – why we do what we do.
Logan Hancock, Angelo State University