Physics Club's Trebuchet Photo: This trebuchet (a medieval siege weapon) was built by the New Mexico Tech Physics Club as a traveling demonstration for school chlidren. Photo by James. W. Caruthers.
SOCORRO, N.M. March 31, 2003 -- The New Mexico Tech Physics Club recently was awarded a prestigious Blake Lilly Prize for 2002-2003 by the national office of the Society for Physics Students (SPS), becoming one of only three SPS chapters nationwide chosen to receive this year's awards.

The annual awards recognize SPS chapters throughout the nation that have made "outstanding contributions in physics outreach" and have demonstrated "genuine efforts to positively influence the attitudes of school children and the general public toward physics," the award guidelines state.

Specifically, the Lilly Prize was awarded to the New Mexico Tech Physics Club based on the club's ongoing series of physics demonstrations to Socorro area school children, with particular mention made of its new trébuchét traveling exhibit, whose design and construction was made possible by a previous monetary award from the SPS.

In addition, the Tech Physics Club's other outreach activities this past year included Van de Graaf generator and Tesla coil demonstrations, hosting an SPS Zone 16 meeting for New Mexico and Arizona chapters, and the always-popular paper airplane contest, which the group holds each April at New Mexico Tech in conjunction with National Physics Week.

The Blake Lilly Prize is named in honor of Blake Lilly, a student of physics and an advocate of physics outreach programs, who tragically died during his graduate studies.

The Blake Lilly Prize consists of a certificate and a three-volume set of "Feynman Lectures on Physics," a celebrated collection of notes and lectures from the late Richard Feynman, considered by many to have been one of the most influential physicists of the 20th Century.