Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Life As A Camper

At physics camp our daily traditions is to write the day of the week on the board because after a while we campers tend to lose track of time. I think the reason that happens is that we have so much fun here. What's been so remarkable about this camp isn't that 19 young students can have a great time together; that could happen anywhere. But here, unlike anywhere else, doing physics is our idea of fun, and I believe I speak for all of us when I say that the past 10 days have been some of the most exciting and rewarding days of our high school careers.

We've learned an incredible amount—that the Bernoulli effect is a lie, that IPHO is IHOP in Swahili, that E isn't always mc2 and that 2=2 isn't always 4. We've talked about the physics of Frisbees during breaks and gone out to play some amazing games of Ultimate at lunches. Our nights are alternately passed with water guns and problems sets. And we’ve annoyed the Hilton Inn staff to no end by spending dinner time testing the elastic modules of ice—in other words by engaging in ice-eating battles.

Though we've gone through dozens of high-level problems & worked through five challenging labs, I've never felt that the camp has been about setting up a competitive atmosphere for team spots. This is thanks in large part to our wonderful coaches who have challenged us, tested our limits, and drawn out our potential. Camp has been more about showing us that we each have the ability to succeed—that given a little push, we can all discover more about and better understand the world we live in. These are valuable lessons we’ll all benefit from not just in the short term but also in the long term whether or not we decide to pursue physics in college.

The purpose of this reception today is not only to honor the 19 students here, but also to express our gratitude towards those who have made everything possible for us—coaches, sponsors, teachers, family, friends, and the dedicated members of AAPT. Thank you for believing in us and for helping us reach where we stand today.

—Mariana Mao

Friday, May 15, 2009

2009 US Physics Team Training Camp: U.S. High School Students Prepare for International Competition

College Park, MD (May 15, 2009). The top U.S. High School Students will convene this week at the University of Maryland for ten days of physics education, friendship building and fun as they prepare and compete to represent the 2009 U.S. Physics Team at the 40th International Physics Olympia to be held this year July 12-19 in Merida Yucatan, Mexico.

The coaches for the 2009 U.S. Physics team are: Paul Stanley, Academic Director/Senior Coach, Warren Turner, Senior Coach/Lab Coach, Andrew Lin, David Jones, and David Fallest. Training for the students will involve conducting lab experiments, taking exams, and hearing presentations from prominent scientists. At the end of the training camp, five students will be selected to travel to the Mexico for international competition.

The 2008 US Physics Team brought home one silver and four gold medals. Joshua Oreman, a 2008 gold medalist will be returning as a member of the 2009 US Physics Team.

The U.S. Physics Olympiad Program was started in 1986 by AAPT to promote and demonstrate academic excellence. The nine-day international competition brings together pre-university students from more than 60 nations. This year's event is sponsored by the Mexico Ministry of Education, the National Council of Science and Technology, and the Yucatan State Government with the support of the National University of Mexico, the National Polytechnical Institute, the Metropolitan Autonomous University, and the Institute for Scientific and Technological Research of San Luis Potosi. The 2009 International Physics Olympiad is being organized by the Mexican Physical Society, the University of Yucatan, and the Merida Campus of the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnical Institute.


May 16-26 — Students visit University of Maryland for their intensive training camp.
May 26 — Five students chosen to represent the US at the international competition.
July 11 — Students arrive in Merida for the international competition.
July 19 — The International Competition's final awards given.


Main website of the U.S. Physics Team:
History of the physics team, including past winners:
The official website of the International Physics Olympiad: