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School of Mines Physics Society Wins National Recognition

The Society of Physics Students

Physics students at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology are receiving national recognition. The school’s chapter of the Society of Physics Students won an Outstanding Chapter Award from the national office.



The Society of Physics Students, or SPS, is a way for School of Mines students across all majors to apply their knowledge of physics to real-world projects. 


This is the fourth year in a row that that the chapter has been recognized for its contribution to community service and organization.


Layne Tiezen is the chapter president. He said that one of the main goals of the chapters is to promote how physics work to people who may not understand.


“We like to cultivate leadership in the field, within our own departments on a local level, that’s a big idea with the organization," Tiezen said. "But, outreach, service, we like to actually get out there and get people excited about physics because not a lot of people in the general public are very interested in physics.”

Credit South Dakota School of Mines & Technology
Michael Bowles, Ph.D., attaches a gas line to the BetaCage prototype particle detector within the reduced-radon clean room in the physics department at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

Fewer than 15% of all the SPS chapters in the nation are recognized for their contributions.


Michael Dowding is the chapter advisor. He said that it’s important to know the significance of physics in daily life.


“Mathematics, physics, chemistry and everything else you do is going to be built upon those three in some combination," Dowding said. "So, for people to have a better awareness of physics and what physics is about, means having a better understanding of everything else in the world.”


Dowding was also a finalist for Outstanding Chapter Advisor by the national office.


Some of the community outreach events that the chapter takes part in is Dark Matter Day and Neutrino Day.