Saturday Morning Physics students graduate from winter session

On March 3, 71 local high school students graduated from the winter session of Saturday Morning Physics in a ceremony held in the Fermilab Art Gallery.

The Fermilab Saturday Morning Physics program is a free-of-charge series of nine lectures and tours given by Fermilab scientists. Our aim is to further the understanding and appreciation of modern physics among high school students. Students need no previous scientific knowledge to participate — only an eagerness to learn.

We witnessed this eagerness for discovery every Saturday — students (and their parents in some cases) willingly dedicated several hours of back-to-back weekends to learning about Fermilab research and the universe’s fundamental laws. Nine students demonstrated hard-core commitment: They had perfect attendance, attending all nine lectures and tours.

Our deputy director, Joe Lykken, presented the students with their certificates of completion at the ceremony.

Many people make both the program and the graduation ceremony special. I co-coordinate the program with scientist Sowjanya Gollapinni, professor at the University of Tennessee and chair of the Fermilab Users Executive Committee. Our Lederman fellows are instrumental in making Saturday Morning Physics a success: Adam Anderson, Javier Duarte, Kirsty Duffy and Ting Li. These early-career scientists act as on-site coordinators for SMP and are here every Saturday at 8:30 a.m. They lead the program tours and chaperone the students to the tour site. They are also a blast to have around. Scientist Ciaran Hughes assisted with a February class. Rosa Foote, our capable admin, ensures the program runs smoothly. Scientist Bob Bernstein helped prepare for the ceremony. Cindy Joe, engineering physicist and one of our SMP speakers, also helped with the ceremony. Finally, I extend special thanks to Sandra Charles, SMP program manager and head of the Talent Acquisition Office, for her support in making every SMP term a success.

Additionally, we would like to thank our winter term speakers, Dan Hooper, Cindy Joe, Angela Fava, Cecilia Gerber, Leo Aliaga, Erik Ramberg, Ting Li and Pushpa Bhat, for preparing the lectures and spending their Saturdays interacting with our students.

Saturday Morning Physics is one of the most popular outreach programs at the laboratory, and with our recent efforts to expand its geographical reach, we hope to share the joy of science with even more students excited to learn.

Elliott McCrory is a co-coordinator of the Fermilab Saturday Morning Physics program.

Seventy-one students completed the winter 2018 Saturday Morning Physics session. They were joined by family members for the graduation ceremony. Photo: Elliott McCrory

Seventy-one students completed the winter 2018 Saturday Morning Physics session. They were joined by family members for the graduation ceremony. Photo: Elliott McCrory