Jeffrey Davis of Chesterfield and Matthew Lide of Cheraw were two of 30 South Carolina high school seniors selected to participate in the eighth annual S.C. Physics Scholars Institute (SCPSI) at Francis Marion University Nov. 3 through 5. They are the first students ever accepted to the SCPSI program from Chesterfield County.
The SCPSI program will focus on nuclear physics, astronomy, laser physics, and computational physics. Students will be introduced to the methods of thought and understanding that are used in physics and astronomy. They will perform experiments, analyze data, and be encouraged to make sense of their observations in a scientific manner.
Numerous academic and social activities are planned. The SCPSI will begin with a welcoming reception by the faculty and students of the FMU Department of Physics and Astronomy. The core academic experience of the institute will be participation in advanced experiments in physics and astronomy. On Friday evening, they will have a pizza and liquid nitrogen ice cream party. It will be followed by a session on the physics of music, where the students will create their own “Hip Hop Beat” recording.
All participants were nominated by their high school physics teacher, and have demonstrated aptitude in science and mathematics.
David M. Peterson, FMU physics professor and director of the institute, said, “The competition was rigorous and your selection is an acknowledgement of your excellent record as a student. Upon your completion of this program, you will be designated as a South Carolina Physics Scholars Institute graduate.”
Chesterfield physics teacher Larry Taylor said, “Jeffrey was interested, filled out the paperwork and got accepted. We all here think it’s a pretty big deal because from the whole state only 30 students are chosen. I’ve been teaching here since 1995 and this is the first student we’ve had that’s been accepted.”
Cheraw physics teacher Matt Parker said, “Physics is defined as the study of matter and energy and their interaction. We learn why and how things move and how the universe works. It’s very exciting for our program. I gave him the application and I had a good feeling that he would be chosen. I’m real proud that he got accepted.”
Cheraw Principal Sandra Sowell said, “I am very excited for Matthew to be selected to attend the Physics Institute. Matthew is an excellent student. He strives to excel in all academic areas. I’m sure this opportunity will be valuable to Matthew as he prepares for college.”
Davis is the son of Jeff and Bonnie Davis. He hopes to attend the USC Honors College and major in Engineering. Lide is the son of Frank and Joyce Lide. He hopes to attend Duke University and major in Environmental Science.