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Dawn Levy, News Service (650) 725-1944; e-mail:


Stanford hosts two national conferences for black physicists

Stanford will host the 15th annual meeting of the National Conference of Black Physics Students from March 29 through April 1. The conference aims to encourage African-American students to further their education in physics and inform them about career opportunities in physics and related fields. Held concurrently with the annual meeting of the National Society of Black Physicists, the conference will give high school, undergraduate and graduate students a chance to hear from and speak to scientists and administrators from universities, national laboratories and industry.

Conference highlights

Thursday: Tours of campus, physics labs and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

Thursday students will tour Stanford's campus and physics labs and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. After a welcome from Walker, SLAC Director Jonathan Dorfan and SLAC Associate Director Keith Hodgson, students will attend a barbecue and tour the student astronomical observatory.

Friday: "The Black Experience in Physics" panel, student sessions, and awards banquet with address by Nobel Prize winner Steve Chu

Friday morning, students will hear from Stanford scientists and administrators including Walker, Provost John Etchemendy, Dean of Humanities and Science Malcolm Beasley (a professor of applied physics and electrical engineering), Nobel laureate Steve Chu (chair of the Physics Department) and Assistant Professor of Applied Physics Kathryn Moler.

Following will be a panel discussion, "The Black Experience in Physics," featuring physicists from NASA, California State University-Hayward, and Clark Atlanta University.

That evening, the National Society of Black Physicists will host an awards banquet followed by a speech by Chu entitled "Holding onto Atoms and Bio-molecules with Laser Beams" the topic of Chu's Nobel-winning research.

Saturday: Nobel laureate shows high school students the theatrical side of physics

Saturday features many events for local high school students, including "Physics Is Phun" demonstration by Nobel Prize winner Douglas Osheroff, the J. G. Jackson and C. J. Wood Professor of Physics at Stanford. This popular demonstration has evolved into a road show for Osheroff and is scheduled to make its way to the Smithsonian in late April and to Singapore in August. Based on his lectures to Stanford students, the demonstration is "a visual treat to excite the kids," Osheroff says, featuring history, hands-on experiments, theories and theatrics.

"The demonstrations show in an elegant and exciting way the beauty and sophistication of physics," Osheroff says. "The basic idea I want kids to come away with is that physics is exciting stuff why don't you take the course?"

Sunday: Stanford alumni reunion for black physicists and their mentors

A reunion brunch of Stanford Applied Physics and Physics Black Alumni will be held Sunday at the Stanford Faculty Club. About 40 African-Americans have received Ph.D.s in physics or applied physics from Stanford during the past three decades about twice as many as MIT, the number two producer of black physics doctorates.

Exhibit: "The African-American Presence in Physics"

An exhibit titled "The African-American Presence in Physics" will be displayed in the lobby of the Science & Engineering Quadrangle's Teaching Center throughout the conference. Originally created for the centennial celebration of the American Physical Society, the exhibit has been shown at San Jose's Tech Museum of Innovation.

Conference sponsors include the Department of Energy, NASA, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of the Navy, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Agilent Technologies, Applied Materials, Inc., Ford Motor Company, IBM, Lucent Technologies, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) and Stanford University's offices of the President, Provost and Dean of Research; schools of Earth Sciences, Engineering and Humanities & Sciences; and departments of Physics, Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering.


By Dawn Levy

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