Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bringing Home the Gold: U.S. Physics Team Wins Four Gold Medals and One Silver Medal

The students, from left to right, are Anand Nataranjan, Bowei Liu, David Field, Marianna Mao, and Joshua Oreman.
The proud coaches stand behind the students and are, from left to right Warren Turner and Paul Stanley.



The five student representatives of the United States Physics team won four gold medals and one silver medal at the 40th International Physics Olympiad held in Merida, Mexico in July of 2009. Students from China won five gold medals, coming in first on the overall medal count; while India and Korea also won four gold medals and one silver medal, tying for second with the United States on the overall medal count. Taiwan, Russia, and Romania each earned three gold and two silver medals. Countries winning at least two gold medals included Singapore, Kazakhstan and Japan; countries winning at least one gold medal included Thailand, Indonesia, Hungary, Hong Kong, Turkey, Serbia, Israel, Poland, and Slovakia.

The US team gold medal winners included Anand Nataranjan (with 14th highest theory score), Bowei Liu, Joshua Oreman (with 11th highest overall score), and Marianna Mao (with 6th highest experimental score). David Field won the silver medal. The overall highest score this year was Handuo Shi from China, marking the first time in the history of the Physics Olympiad that the top score was obtained by a female. Accompanying the US Physics Team to Mexico was Academic Director Paul Stanley of Beloit College and Senior Lab Coach Warren Turner of Westfield State College.

“They all did very well,” said Paul Stanley, Academic Director. “ Much of the success of the traveling five can be attributed to the collegial, supportive atmosphere of training camp; I thank each of the nineteen team members for working so hard to make this one of the best teams ever!”

The three theoretical problems this year included a question on the tidal drag affecting the moon, a question on laser cooling and optical molasses, and a question on the mass to radius ratio of stars and estimating a lower limit to the size of a star. The two experimental problems included measuring the wavelength of light using a razor blade and vernier calipers, and determining the index of refraction difference of a birefringent material. 316 students from about 70 countries took part in the examination.

The US physics team has participated in the International Physics Olympiad since 1986. On four occasions the team has won four gold medals: in Australia (1995), Singapore (2006), Vietnam (2008), and Mexico (2009). The United States hosted the International Physics Olympiad in 1993. In 2010 the Olympiad will be held in Croatia.

Traveling to Merida Mexico for the 40th International Physics Olympiad were:
David Field, of Andover, MA, a sophomore at the Phillips Andover Academy in Andover, MA;

Bowei Liu, of Freemont, CA, a sophomore at Mission San Jose High School in Freemont, CA;

Marianna Mao, of Freemont, CA, a senior at Mission San Jose High School in Freemont, CA;
Anand Natarajan, a senior at The Harker School in San Jose, CA;

Joshua Oreman, of Los Angeles, CA a senior at Harvard Westlake School, Los Angeles, CA;

Paul Stanley, Academic Director, Dobson Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Beloit College;

Warren Turner, Senior Coach, Assistant Professor at Westfield State , College in Massachusetts.

The three graduating seniors will be going to Harvard (Marianna), MIT (Joshua), and Stanford (Anand) next year.

19 comments:

Tom said...

Good job! Why are the 5 students smiling in the picture and the 2 teachers aren't?

marry said...

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Rheafun said...

well done again Joshua.

scoo0oop said...

Bowei and Marianna rock!

G from Fremont (one e)

Peter Kaminsky said...

I know Anand Natarajan, a great guy. Congratulations anyway to the entire team. I am a college sophomore with a dual major in Physics and Mathematics @ University of California, Santa Barbara. By the way, i came across these excellent physics flash cards. Its also a great initiative by the FunnelBrain team. Amazing!!!

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