This year, the 53rd Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference (CUPC) was hosted by Carleton University in the city of Ottawa. The CUPC is an annual event furthering Canadian research in physics by fostering connections amongst scholars and professionals from all over the country. Between the 20th and 24th of October, delegates met to share ideas, discuss research, and have some fun along the way.
The conference kicked-off with an opening reception at the Canada War Museum, featuring appetizers and a live string quartet performance. Over the weekend and into Monday, undergraduate students delivered oral and poster presentations explaining research in the fields of particle physics, solid state physics, cosmology and engineering physics to fellow students. Each presentation was followed by a brief question period where fellow students were given the chance to ask for clarification, suggest areas for improvement, and comment on the material presented. To incentivize a healthy level of competition, top presentations were voted upon by CUPC judges, and awards were distributed at the closing banquet. The CAP awarded the prize for best overall oral presentation and the CAP Committee to Encourage Women in Physics awarded a prize for the best overall poster by a woman.
In addition to student presentations a career panel, and tours of various Carleton University research facilities were provided to delegates. Students were also given the opportunity to further build upon both peer-to-peer and academic connections in a graduate studies fair, which saw the participation of several universities. The conference also featured a total of three keynote speakers: David Sinclair provided an inside look at SNOLAB and brought delegates up to speed with the latest research in the detection of neutrinos at SNOLAB; Sangeeta Murugkar gave a fascinating lecture on the history of and developments within the field of optical medical imaging; and finally, renowned physicist and Carleton alumnus Lawrence Krauss, discussed quantum fluctuations and the detection of gravitational waves.
Coinciding with Canada’s 150th anniversary and 75th anniversary of Carleton University, this year’s conference was the largest CUPC to date! The next CUPC will be hosted by the University of Alberta, during summer of 2018.