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Airplane Mania Soars into the Eyring Science Center

Students put their aerodynamics skills to the test as they create paper airplanes to compete in the Society of Physics Students activity.

Students put their aerodynamics skills to the test as they create paper airplanes to compete in the Society of Physics Students activity.

Flying, climbing, soaring and diving — paper airplanes were cruising the skies of the Pendulum Court during the most recent activity for the Society of Physics Students (SPS).

Students gathered together to design and construct high-flying paper gliders before competing in an accuracy and distance contest to crown a paper airplane champion.

Physics student Mark Cunningham felt his experience with paper airplanes would help him win amongst the competition.

“I feel that the design has been perfected over years of throwing these at my brother, and I feel I’ve got a good chance,” Cunningham said. “It has some good aerodynamics in it, as long as I can get a good throw right off the bat. I think I should compete.”

Members of SPS meet consistently each month to participate in an activity or challenge involving physics. As a national organization with local chapters, SPS is designed to help students get involved in physics and community outreach.

“One of the ideas of SPS is to help people that are interested in physics have an opportunity to socialize because they are normally very busy and don’t get that opportunity,” said Greg Hart, BYU SPS treasurer. “SPS is also here to help foster some of the creativity and experimentation in a less academic level.”

Creativity is a consistent force at SPS activities. Past activities have included firing rockets and creating origami hang gliders. The society also strives to help students with research opportunities and to create a physics community of learners.

SPS students also volunteer to visit elementary schools, scout troops and other groups to demonstrate how exciting and interesting physics can be.

Anyone interested in physics can join SPS and participate in upcoming activities. For more information about joining SPS and community outreach programs, visit physics.byu.edu/clubs/sps/.

By Chris Scheitinger Posted on