Society of Physics Students

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this organization shall be the advancement and diffusion of knowledge of physics, the encouragement of interest in physics throughout the academic and local communities, and the introduction of students to the professional community. We are devoted to fostering a welcoming and inclusive social and academic community for all UC San Diego undergraduates interested in physics. Our events include research presentations, educational talks, socials, lab tours, the physics graduation ceremony, and more!

Outstanding Chapter Award Recipients

We are grateful and thankful for the honor of being selected as the recipient of the Outstanding Chapter award by the Society of Physics Students. We would also like to extend a huge thank you to our board members, past and present, for creating a place for us to flourish and share our love for physics. Lastly, we would like to thank our community of students, professors, and all who have contributed to our efforts with both their presence and interest in this field which brings us all together!

SPS Board

News in Physics

Check out what's going on in the world of physics with stories from APS, Nature,, Science News, and more!

Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Physicists probe 'astonishing' morphing properties of honeycomb-like material

We often see patterns repeat themselves in our universe. This new study finds a repeating honeycomb pattern in the material synthesized to be Mn3Si2Te6. The properties of this material are quite bizarre as it acts as a very good insulator until exposed to a magnetic field. This is a very sudden change making it seem as though the material in and of itself is changing! This could create a variety of changes in the quantum technological world.

Click Here to Find Out More! Quantum Physics

Black hole burps up shredded star

Black holes are notorious for having such a strong gravitational field that nothing can escape them. Around 3 years ago, a small star was sucked into a black hole and now it's starting to re-emerge! Although remnants of the stars have been spewed out before, it is something unseen and unheard of for this not to happen immediately and for it to happen at such a high speed. We are able to observe this phenomenon due to the tidal disruption event (TDE) which is an elongation or "spaghettification" of a star. The TDE creates a spark of light which researchers will now be observing more closely.

Click Here to Find Out More! Astrophysics

Credit: DESY, Science Communication Lab
Credit: Southern Research

Research reveals how poliovirus takes over cells from within

Poliomyelitis also known as the poliovirus is a virus that causes paralysis by destroying nerve cells in the spinal cord. Although a lot of time has passed, there has been an emergence of new outbreaks in 2022. Polio is a type of enterovirus, which rearranges itself inside the system it infects. What has shocked researchers is that this virus uses a cell's virus-attacking system to multiply itself. Once infected and multiplied, the virus will spread passed the protection system which has been reprogrammed and used for the virus's benefit. As of now, there is no cure and the only defense against it is the vaccine. Researchers are hopeful about making progress with this newfound information but there is still much work to be done.

Click Here to Find Out More! Biophysics

Physicist Spotlight

Steven Weinberg

Doctor Steven Weinberg was an American theoretical physicist who received numerous distinctions throughout his career, including the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979, and the National Medal for Science in 1991. Weinberg was born in New York city in 1933 and from an early age, he had an interest in theoretical physics and astrophysics. He earned his undergraduate degree from Cornell, went on to study at both the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Copenhagen and Princeton, and later worked and lectured in many universities, including Columbia, Berkeley, Harvard, and MIT. In 1967, on a visit to MIT, he began to focus his studies on the unification of weak and electromagnetic interactions. He wrote a paper called “A Model of Leptons” that discussed the idea of spontaneous symmetry breaking and how that caused W and Z bosons to seem as if they were massive at low energy levels. The propositions in the paper were highly complicated, and for that reason, the paper received very few citations and praise until Gerard t’Hooft, a Dutch physicist and professor, wrote a paper in 1970 that proved that Weinberg’s model was renormalizable; soon after, the paper became very popular in the physics community. Weinberg also contributed to the studies of cosmology and astrophysics, conducting research about matter-antimatter asymmetry and the cosmological constant.

After earning the Nobel Prize, Weinberg and his wife moved to Austin in the 1980s, where they both worked at UT Austin as professors. Unfortunately, Weinberg passed away on July 23rd, 2021 in Austin at the age of 88. His contributions to theoretical physics and his discoveries about the basic forces of life remain vital to the scientific community.

Masatoshi Koshiba

Masatoshi Koshiba was a Japanese physicist who was born in a seaside town called Toyohashi. He grew to love mathematics and physics and attended a prestigious boarding school in Tokyo. One day, when considering studying German literature, Koshiba switched his focus to a physics program to prove a teacher who flunked him wrong. He studied physics at university, but his family had financial troubles, and he was forced to work long hours as well as do his schoolwork. A connection he gained through his school granted him access to a graduate scholarship at the University of Rochester, where he earned his PHD in just two years. After spending a few decades doing research around the world, he returned to Tokyo, where he began his work on neutrinos. In the late 1960s, scientist Raymond Davis developed the first technology to capture solar neutrinos with a detector, but he recorded less neutrinos than expected. In 1990, Koshiba’s own detectors in the town of Kamioka had proved Davis’ work correct, yet the issue remained that they detected less than expected. In 1998, one of Koshiba’s graduate students made the discovery that neutrinos change forms, and some of those forms elude the detectors, explaining the differences in the measured neutrinos and the expected numbers. This was a major step in proving that the sun's energy comes from nuclear reactions. Along with Davis, Koshiba earned the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics for the detection of cosmic neutrinos.

Koshiba faced an endless amount of hardships and financial troubles in his life, yet he never gave up on his dream; now, his research is a foundation of the study of the sun and its energy.

Equity and Social Justice in STEM

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month!

National Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 – October 15. According to the US Dept of Ed., only eight percent of STEM related degrees were earned by Hispanic students between 2009 and 2010. SPS offers free joint-membership to the National Society of Hispanic Physicists – if you’d like to add this to your SPS membership, email with your request!

Strike for Black Lives