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Utah Physics Circle

Physics circle

Welcome to the Physics Circle, hosted by the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Utah.

This is an extracurricular group of faculty and students dedicated to learning more about physics through discussion, problem solving, and demonstration. The group was inspired by our colleagues in the Department of Mathematics whose Math Circle is one of the most well-established in the nation.

What have we realized is that there is an important space in which problem-solving skills unique to physics differ from those you may learn in pure mathematics or in applied disciplines such as engineering.

Anyone who has tried to solve a challenging physics problem knows that it requires a different type of thinking, one which goes beyond just solving a math problem. Physics is much less algorithmic and often requires a physical intuition. The fostering of this physical intuition is difficult to teach and is certainly one of the things students say they have trouble developing.

This is where the Physics Circle comes in! Our main goal is to help students learn how to think like physicists. We do this by discussing the world around us, by working through interesting problems to develop intuition, and through interesting and informative demonstrations.

In the Physics Circle, we will use engaging and innovative techniques to build this intuition early by inviting high school students to work with us (and each other!) in discovering what physics is all about and to lay a strong foundation for further studies in physics and astronomy.

Application Details

1.) To join, please fill out our Registration Form. This registration requires the completion of a liability form which is then to be uploaded.

2.) In addition, please fill out the Emergency Contact Form and bring it with you to the event.

3.) If the participant is younger than 14, they are also required to fill out the Pick-Up and Self-Checkout Form and bring it to the first session. If your child is under 14 years old, you need to either sign the lower portion of this form to allow the child to sign themselves in/out, or you need to park and walk them to the JFB Rotunda and sign them in/out yourself. 20-minute free parking meters are available on President's Circle in front of Kingsbury Hall, which is next to our building, or you may look at the university parking map for paid visitor parking.

For more information about the program, please contact: