Physics major Shouvik Bhattacharya (senior) attended the American Physical Society’s (APS) Annual March Meeting in Baltimore, MD during the weekend of March 16-19. Bhattacharya presented his senior year research project “Analyzing Brightness Variance of an SX Phoenicis Star (XX Cyg)” at the meeting. Bhattacharya said, “I joined APS back in January 2009. Since then I have always wondered what exactly it feels like to attend the APS Annual March Meeting. This meeting is considered to be one of the largest gatherings of condensed matter physicists in the US. I had a great time there.”

Bhattacharya was awarded the National Society of Physics Student’s Reporter Award to attend this meeting. In addition to his poster session, he attended two press conference sessions, a plenary session on Martian atmosphere, a career session for undergraduate physics students and a career workshop for scientists given by Dr. Peter Fiske. Bhattacharya said, “I have never attended any press conference before. It was absolutely an amazing experience. I was surprised to see how quickly and efficiently scientists delivered their research findings to the science reporters.”

Bhattacharya’s trip was financed in part by the undergraduate travel support fund from the Dean’s Office of the College of Social & Natural Sciences (MSUM), the Department of Physics & Astronomy (MSUM), the Office of Student Activities (OSA, MSUM) and the National Society of Physics Students. Bhattacharya will be working as a summer research assistant for American Association of Variable Star Observes (AAVSO) in Boston this summer. He said, “The OSA and I are in a process of organizing a meeting to spread out the message of why one should consider attending an academic or professional meeting. So far, we picked April 23 for the meeting. We will send out a reminder through the dragon listserv.”