Paint Rock Grad and Angelo State Student Wins Top Prize at 2022 PhysCon


SAN ANGELO, TX – Angelo State University physics majors William Hennig of Paint Rock and Garath Vetters of Kingsland both won top prizes for their research presentations at the 2022 Physics Congress (PhysCon) hosted by the American Institute of Physics and Sigma Pi Sigma national physics honor society in Washington, D.C.

PhysCon is held every three years and is the largest conference in the nation for physics and astronomy undergraduate students with more than 1,200 participants. This year's conference featured international professional development workshops, research presentations, a career and graduate fair, and panel discussions with some of the top physicists in the field, including several Nobel Prize winners.

Competing against about 400 other student research entries:

  • Hennig was named Top Presenter in the Statistical/Thermal/Non-Linear/Complex Systems category for his poster and presentation on his project titled "Equilibration Times of 3D Edwards-Anderson Spin Glasses."
  • Vetters was named Top Presenter in the 100 Years of Momentum category for his poster and presentation on his project titled "Detecting Cosmic Rays on Earth's Surface and Above."

Both Hennig and Vetters received a $100 award and a year's subscription to the Wolfram Mathematica software system.

Twelve ASU students attended PhysCon and six made research poster presentations. Nicholas Swartz of Abilene was also a finalist for his project titled "Modeling, Constructing, and Testing an Electromagnetic Rail Gun with Python."

"I am proud of all our poster presenters for the hard work they put into research and the time they committed to preparing and presenting their posters," said Dr. Michael C. Holcomb, assistant professor of physics. "It is heartening that out of such a large field of presenters, we had three finalists and two who were awarded Top Presenter in their category. I think that our students' success at this national venue is a testament to the effectiveness of our program's student-centered approach and supportive undergraduate research opportunities."

Hennig's presentation detailed his work on a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) project supported by the National Science Foundation at Louisiana State University. His faculty advisor was Dr. Juana Moreno in the LSU Department of Physics and Astronomy. Vetters' presentation detailed his project that was supported by an ASU Undergraduate Faculty-Mentored Research Grant. His faculty advisor was Dr. Kenneth Carrell, associate professor of physics and director of the ASU Planetarium.

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