AAPT.org - American Association of Physics Teachers

2009 High School Photo Contest Winners

Winner's Showcase

This year, physics students from around the world were challenged to submit a photo illustrating a physics concept. The students were required to take the photo themselves and to write a summary of the physics occurring in the photo. The winning photos in the showcase below were judged by AAPT members to be the best of 100 finalists. The winners were chosen in July at the 2009 AAPT Summer Meeting in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

Prizes generously sponsored by Vernier Software & Technology Vernier Logo

2009 Prizes

  • 1st place student prize for both categories = $100 each
  • 2nd place student prize for both categories = $75 each
  • 3rd place student prize for both categories = $50 each

Winning teacher of each of the prize winning students receives a $100 Vernier gift certificate
Plaques with the student's name and photograph will be displayed at the schools of the winners.

The Photos

Click on any image to bring up a larger view, a description, and more details about the winning entrant.


Natural Category


First Place

"Pinch Yourself!!!"
Chase William Lampe
University High School
Teacher: Pamela Tautz


Second Place

"Physics Found in Snow Curls"
Bethany Jeanne Schmitkons
Amherst Steele High School
Teacher: Chas Deremer


Third Place

David Abraham Levine
Weston High School
Teacher: Boris Korsunsky


Honorable Mention

"Snowy Landscape in a Spherical Icicle Covering a Dogwood Bud"
Catherine Guenther
Columbus School for Girls
Teacher: Kevin Sweeney


Honorable Mention

"Superposition of Waves"
Alexander Craig Norton
Marlborough High School
Teacher: Dr. Robert McLeod


Honorable Mention

"Falling Liquids Tend to Form Spherical Drops"
Austin Thomas Ferro
Mission College Preparatory
Teacher: Vickie Backman


Honorable Mention

"Diffraction of Light"
Cindy Cin Yee Law
Holy Trinity School
Teacher: Nina Dolgovykh


Honorable Mention

"22 Degree Sun Halo"
Ruijun Wang
West High School
Teacher: Mr. Lyman


Contrived Category


First Place

"Where Sand Meets Sea"
Kelsey Rose Weber
Wildwood School
Teacher: Tengiz Bibilashvili


Second Place

"Poolside Phenomenon"
Samantha Nicole Gold
Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School
Teacher: Jordan Pekor


Third Place

"O How Dandy"
Christopher Michael Curti
Valley Central High School
Teacher: Christopher Cozzolino


Honorable Mention

"Reflection of Light by the Cornea"
Heather Rebecca Wilcox
West Geauga High School
Teacher: Natalie Cooper


Honorable Mention

"Squiggly Straight Stripes"
Rachel Sarah Karten
Wildwood School
Teacher: Tengiz Bibilashvili


Honorable Mention

"Liquid Lens"
Katie Marie Thompson
Barrington High School
Teacher: Chris Smith


Honorable Mention

"Agua Loco"
Jayme Lauren Littlefield
Apponequet Regional High School
Teacher: Julie Mills


Honorable Mention

"Purify the Colors"
Stephanie Fitzpatrick
Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School
Teacher: Aaron Ellis


Special Recognition - Outstanding Physics

"Defying Gravity"
John Stefan Kusiv
Lake Brantley High School
Teacher: Stan Cutler