Society of Physics Students Sells Baked Goods

Student group aims to build small-scale railgun project using self-generated funds


Morgan Fuerstenberg graphic

The Society of Physics Students held a bake sale at Heritage Hall on Oct. 12 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The bake sale was to raise funds for their railgun project. 

The Society of Physics Students has existed as a national group since 1968. The Platteville chapter has been around for roughly 10 years, and the current advisor is Dr. Andrew Pawl. The SPS discord has under 30 members and a third of them attend the bi-monthly meetings. 

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the member count of SPS, which has since then sprouted the Drone club and the Rocketry club. Sydney Bruce, the president of the Society of Physics Students, is very resilient and excited about the railgun project.  

The railgun project was a backup project as the group wanted to take on the project of a musical Tesla coil. The musical Tesla coil turned out to be too much work for a smaller group, but past members of the group made a full-sized Tesla coil for the current members to play with now.  

SPS simplified their project, the railgun, as a process that “turns current into magnetic field that can launch a projectile,” Bruce said. The word “gun” is not an accurate portrayal of their project as the “gun” will be laying flat.  

In Bruce’s words: “The most simple designs involve two parallel conducting rails with a few magnets to help with the magnetic field and a ‘projectile’ which could just be a straight piece of copper wire long enough to roll along the two rails.”

When asked about the purpose of the group, Bruce said, “We generally just like to have a good time and make projects. We like having social events like grill-outs, and we have a club Thanksgiving where UWP physics alumni are invited back to join us and share their favorite memories about SPS or talk about life after college.”