Two student physics organizations are offering bricks salvaged from Meyer Hall, the longtime home of the Physics Department, as a reward for helping members attend the largest gathering of undergraduate physics students in the world.
Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honor society, and the Society of Physics Students hope to send 30 to 40 students to PhysCon, according to David Schmidt, president of Sigma Pi Sigma. “It will depend on how much of the trip we can cover for each student.”
Held every four years, this year’s PhysCon takes place Nov. 3 to 5 in Silicon Valley, CA, and has the theme of “Unifying Fields: Science Driving Innovation.” Attendees will explore graduate programs, summer research opportunities and job options, present their research, grow professionally through workshops, and become inspired by renowned physicists and lab tours. Between registration fees, travel and accommodations, sending one student costs around $700.
Built in 1963, Meyer Hall was torn down in March 2016 to make way for the CoorsTek Center for Applied Science and Engineering, a $50 million centralized teaching and research space.
Physics students rescued about 160 bricks from the building, as well as two larger “special” bricks from an interior wall in lecture hall Meyer 220, which will go to the two donors who give the most as of September 1. “I’d worked in the building for 21 years and didn’t know they existed until shortly before the building came down,” said Barbara Pratt-Johnson, program assistant for the Physics Department.
“Bricks from Meyer may contain actual blood, sweat, and tears from 50 years’ worth of physics majors,” Pratt-Johnson said.
While he’s excited about the new building, Physics Professor and Department Head Jeff Squier has many fond memories of Meyer Hall, first earning his BS and MS degrees from Mines, then occupying an office as a faculty member since 1980.
Squier said he’ll miss the mural in the department office—a photo of the lunar landscape. “I think it’s one of the best photos in the world.” Stopping the swinging of the Foucault pendulum “hit home for me,” Squier said.
“We’re in the age of interdisciplinary science—Paul Meyer, whom the building is named for—exemplified this as a doctor, mathematician and physicist,” Squier said. “This is an opportunity to have some unique memorabilia about a man and a building that was ahead of his time, and a tradition we now get to build on in a major way with the construction of the CoorsTek Center for Applied Science and Engineering,” he added.
Donations can be made at http://commerce.cashnet.com/stuact. Click on “STUACT-STACT” and select “Donations for Society of Physics Students.” Rewards for various donation levels are as follows:
- $15 to $24.99 – Leather bookmark engraved with the SPS logo
- $25 to $99.99 – Bookmark and personalized sign
- $100 to 119.99 – Commemorative brick, engraved with the text “Meyer Hall” 1963-2016” and the SPS logo
- $120 and up – Brick, sign and bookmark
The bookmarks, signs and bricks were engraved using CNC laser machines, recently acquired by the Physics Department and used by students in summer field session. “Some students were experimenting with different materials in the laser machine and they figured out the best power and speed settings to engrave the bricks, said Lindsey Hart, president of the Society of Physics Students. “We then made a design and started engraving all our bricks.”