PhysCon Undergrads See Bright Future From Green Bank Telescope

This October, students attending the triennial PhysCon conference embarked on an adventurous detour to the National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Telescope (GBT). 

Nearly 900 undergraduate astronomy and physics majors from across North America came together in Washington, D.C. for PhysCon, hosted by the Society of Physics Students (SPS) and its associated honor society, Sigma Pi Sigma. 

A group of students elected to travel to the Green Bank Observatory ahead of the official start of the Conference. They observed the Milky Way Galaxy using the 40 Foot Radio Telescope through the night on October 5, and toured the massive GBT the next morning. Students were taken 485-feet up the largest fully steerable radio telescope in the world.

“Our staff has been very excited to share our science with these SPS students. We are here to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals. Someone from this group might one day work here at the Green Bank Observatory, “ shared Sue Ann Heatherly, director of the Observatory’s Education and Public Outreach team. 

SPS exists to help students transform themselves into contributing members of the professional community, developing students’ communication and interpersonal skills, leadership experience, personal network, and participation in research, professional meetings, and journals, with chapters at higher education institutions across the country. 

The Green Bank Observatory shares STEM education through its public Science Center, in-person tours, field trips, and summer camps, along with a variety of virtual resources, including virtual tours and astronomy training. Learn more at

The Green Bank Observatory is a major facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. 

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Media Contacts:

Jill Malusky, GBO Public Information Officer, ude.o1709512776arn@y1709512776ksula1709512776mj1709512776 304-460-5608