Society of Physics Students (SPS)

What is SPS?


The Society of Physics Students (SPS) is a professional association explicitly designed for students. Membership, through collegiate chapters, is open to anyone interested in physics. The only requirement for membership is that you be interested in physics. Besides physics majors, our members include majors in chemistry, computer science, engineering, geology, mathematics, medicine, and other fields.

Within SPS is housed Sigma Pi Sigma, the national physics honor society, which elects members on the basis of outstanding academic achievement. This unique two-in-one society operates within the American Institute of Physics, an umbrella organization for ten other professional science societies.

The Society of Physics Students was formed in 1968 with a constitution that combined its two "parent" organizations, The AIP Student Sections and the Sigma Pi Sigma honor society. SPS now has over 700 chapters on campuses across the country. About 5,000 students take part in chapter activities each year, making SPS the fourth largest physics society in the country. The associated honor society, Sigma Pi Sigma, now exists in about 450 of those chapters with over 75,000 inductees throughout its history.

The University of Notre Dame Department of Physics supports a local chapter of SPS.


Join SPS and take part in:

  • Field trips to labs
  • Monthly events and activities (with free food)
  • Guest speakers
  • REU prep


This chapter has seven roles within the physics community as well as the Notre Dame community:

  1. To encourage undergraduate research as a teaching tool.
  2. To promote scientific literacy and appreciation through physics outreach programs to grades K-12.
  3. To maintain the only institutionalized structure the physics community has for communicating with the "friends of physics" that exists throughout all walks of life in society through SPS alumni and members of Sigma Pi Sigma.
  4. To provide an effective signpost for educating the student on the many career options, in addition to traditional physics, that come with a degree in physics.
  5. To be an effective student recruitment and retention tool for the physics department.
  6. To be a gateway society to other professional societies in physics.
  7. To provide training for leadership through activities enhancing professional development, communication skills, leadership qualities, and professional networking in ways that cannot be realized in coursework alone.


2016-17 SPS Officers

President: David Shaw

Vice-President: Callaghan Commers

Treasurer: Ryan Kim

Advisory Board:

  • Michael Foley
  • Tanner Leighton
  • Kaitlin Salyer



Stop by the Department of Physics Office in 225 Nieuwland Science Hall or see one of your SPS officers to join. Dues are $10; or, purchase a physics hoodie sweatshirt for $20 and dues are only $5.


Photos from activities

2013 Undergraduate Christmas Party at Prof. Hyder's House

SPS Honor Society Induction Ceremony Spring 2012

SPS Visits Argonne National Laboratory, November 2012