American Physical Society
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Information for Students

Welcome Students!

In this section, find specialized resources for students in Middle School, High School, and College Level sections.

In our Middle School section, you can:

  • Get advice on coursework which will help prepare you to pursue careers in Physics fields.
  • Find suggested readings to find out more about the lives of famous Physicists.
  • Discover resources to help you to explore Physics, at home and in the classroom.

In our High School section, you can:

  • Get advice on coursework and activities which will help prepare you to pursue careers in Physics fields.
  • Learn about fun ways to explore science while connecting with other students.
  • Find information about Federal Student Aid and Physics programs, scholarships, and clubs.

In our College section, you can:

  • Get advice on how to tailor your undergraduate Physics program to prepare you for specific fields.
  • Find information about how to build skills and make connections through student organizations and job shadowing.
  • Discover resources for helping you decide on a graduate school, or finding and landing that perfect job if you are interested in entering the workforce upon graduation.
David Stephenson

David Stephenson - Professor of Planetary Science

David Stevenson was born in New Zealand in 1948. Growing up there, he started developing his love for science by reading the works of science fiction authors like Isaac Asimov, Robert Forward, and Fred Hoyle.  After finishing university in New Zealand, David came to Cornell University where he took classes with famous science fiction writer Carl Sagan.  Studying the interior of Jupiter at Cornell, David fell in love with the idea of using physics to understand Earth and other planets. "It's a playground for the application of physics, " he says.

David wrote a paper describing his unusual idea about how to probe the Earth's core in the prestigious scientific journal Nature. In his paper, David describes the process as beginning with pouring a massive quantity of liquid iron down a crack in Earth's surface, which due to its massive weight would continue to tunnel downward until it reached the molten core. A probe placed in the liquid iron on the surface would then be carried along with the iron (getting to the core in about a week) where it could measure the core's temperature, pressure, and chemical composition and report them using tiny artificial earthquakes that could be detected from the surface.

In spite of seeing the benefits of being able to probe the Earth's core,  David maintains a sense of humor about the difficulty of realizing such a plan. "Before, people thought this was a ridiculous idea, " he said. "I hope that I've shifted the viewpoint from ridiculous to merely unlikely."