“Did you hear the one about the new restaurant NASA is building on the moon? It has great food but no …”

This was the kind of question asked of undergraduates during Physpardy, the “geekiest of competitions” (according to Professor Enrique Galvez) that was held at the annual Rochester Symposium for Physics Students. Colgate placed second in the Jeopardy knockoff, competing against college teams from Houghton, Rochester, West Point, SUNY, and Siena.

A student works with laser experiments in Prof. Kiko Galvez’s physics lab in Colgate’s Robert H.N. Ho Science Center. (photo 2008)

The Colgate contingent was led by physics professors Enrique Galvez and Ken Segall.  Galvez brought the juniors Carrie Brurgess ’14, Fiora Cheng ’14, Brett Ross ’14 to talk about quantum optics. Segall led seniors Matt Brunetti ’13, Sean Guo ’13, and Ryan Freeman ’13, to talk about their research in physics.

“I was really impressed with the research being done by undergraduates at other universities,” said Freeman, “but I have to say that I really think that Colgate’s undergraduate research stands out.” He said that is likely due to absence of graduate students at the university, who would likely draw the attention of professors.

“We, as undergraduates, are a more integral part of the research being done here,” Freeman said.

Galvez, a leader in the field of teaching quantum mechanics, was recently featured in a Scientific American roadshow.

Other questions at the event included:

In the category Alphabet: “Speed of light in a vacuum.”
In the category Newton’s gravity: “The number of “g’s” you’d experience if you’re on a planet with half the earth’s radius and half its mass.”

In the comment field, add your answers — in the form of questions of course.