Physics Can Be Fabulous: A Look at an Elon Academic Society

By: Amanda McMahon

There is no denying that every club at Elon has its own assumptions tied to it (whether or not these assumptions are correct is another story). The volunteer clubs are for the hard working kids who care significantly more than the average student about charitable causes. The acapella groups are like the real-life versions of Glee. The Political organizations are for the kids who grew up watching the news and probably own a “Feel the Bern” hat or a vintage “Bush, Reagan” hoodie. That leaves the academic clubs who usually have the reputation of being, well, kind of boring. However, The Society of Physics Students at Elon is challenging that notion.

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Club members Chris Brittlebank and Michael MacAlino working on their egg drop containers. Chris won first place fro his invention.

On September 26, the organization held the second annual Egg Drop Competition for Elon’s Society of Physics Students. This event welcomed students to come and create their own mechanism that would protect an egg from breaking when dropped from the third floor of the McMichael Science Center. Though last year’s turnout was nearly 60 people, only about 15 people- consisting of both students and teachers- showed up to this year’s event. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in the president of the club, Sawyer Parker’s opinion. 

“Last year, students were given extra credit in their science courses if they came to the egg drop, so a lot of people had an incentive to come. This year, though, the people who came [to the event] genuinely wanted to be there for the experience and the comradery. I was really impressed by that”.

“Although,” she said, laughing, “the free pizza and the gift cards offered as prizes certainly didn’t hurt”.

Most people probably think that you have to be a Physics major or at least be getting a degree in the field of science in order to be a part of this club, but actually many of the people who came to the Egg Drop Competition have majors outside the scientific scope. Within the club’s members, there are a wide range of non-STEM interests. The majority of the executive board is pursuing musical study to some extent. Interestingly enough, Parker is an English major with a minor in Italian.

“I first became interested in this club because my father was an Aerospace Engineer,” said Parker, “you pick up a thing or two about physics when one of your parents has a job like that. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to join the club, but the first meeting I went to last year was too fun to pass up.”

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President Sawyer Parker assisting other club members with their egg drop containers

The intimidating title makes The Society of Physics Students, seems like a pretty boring and not so sexy club at first glance. No doubt images of a bunch of people sitting around a table discussing topics like string theory and Albert Einstein come to mind. However, it is events like the egg drop that illustrate what the club is really about. This is a group of students that came together to express an interest in something that they may or may not know a lot about, but would like to explore with a group of like-minded individuals, not to mention have fun. Like most of the club’s meetings, free food was served. Students were able to compete for prizes depending on how successful their inventions were at protecting their eggs. The first place winner was even awarded a $50 gift card to Target.

“You really don’t have to be some super genius to be in the club,” says Parker, “you really don’t even need to know much about physics- if I’m being honest, I haven’t taken a physics class since high school.” She couldn’t seem to express enough the fact that the only real requirement of the Society of Physics Students is to want “to have fun while doing loosely scientific things”.

Parker closes with saying, “Though many eggs were sacrificed today in the name of science, it couldn’t have been for a better cause”.

Photography by Amanda McMahon

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