Thursday, July 22, 2004
NEWS RELEASE :US Students Win Medals at International Physics Olympiad
College Park, MD (July 21, 2004) - Every U.S. student sent to the 2004 International Physics Olympiad held this year in Pohang, South Korea, will bring home a medal.
Yi Sun, San Jose, CA and Elena Udovina, Shaker Heights, OH, were awarded gold medals. Anson Hook, Princeton, NJ, and Eric Mecklenburg, Gates Mills, OH, won silver medals and Jeffrey Middleton, Austin, TX, brings home a bronze.
Udovina earned special honors: the most original solution in the competition, and the best score among female participants. This is the second year in a row that the US has earned top female student honors.
The students competed against students from 71 other nations.
Coaches Mary Mogge from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, chair of the physics department and Robert Shurtz, a physics teacher at the Hawkins School in Gates Mills, OH, accompanied the team to the nine-day competition.
The U.S. Physics Olympiad Program was started in 1986 to promote and demonstrate academic excellence and prepare students to compete in the International Physics Olympiad. The U.S. Physics Team is co-sponsored by the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Institute of Physics.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
The Results are in and the U.S. team won 5 medals:
2 Gold Medals: Yi Sun & Elena Udovina 2 Silver Medals: Anson Hook & Eric Mecklenburg 1 Bronze Medals: Jeffrey Middleton
Special Prizes: The most original solution in the competition: Elena Udovina Best score among female participants: Elena Udovina
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
POSCO Creativity Festival----As one of the special events, POSCO Creativity Festival is planned in the afternoon of July 21 in the form of "Edutainment". It will be an enjoyable program for the students participating in IPhO-2004. The national teams of IPhO-2004 participants and pre-selected Korean students will join this exciting and enjoyable program.
Evening at a Korean Home In the evening of July 21, contestants will have an opportunity to visit and interact with warm-hearted Korean families. Each national team with their guide will visit a Korean family in a near-by neighborhood. It will be a good opportunity for students to taste traditional Korean food and to play Korean traditional games. www.postech.ac.kr/group/pbs/IPhO2004/take_a_break.wmv
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Today we were able to see what the students did during their break at the competition http://www.aapt.org/olympiad2004/
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Team Arrives in Pohang, Korea. Leaders and contestants are not allowed to communicate with each other before the last experimental examination. Therefore, mobile phones will be collected from the contestants after their arrival and return to them after the experimental competition. For more detailed information of IPhO-2004 and the most recent updates, please visit the official website (http://www.ipho2004.or.kr), which is being updated continuously.
Monday, July 12, 2004
The mini-camp went well. However, the U.S.A. Team attempted to leave for Korea today (July 12) at 2:00PM PST, but because of a mixup with the airlines, Bob Shurtz and Eric Mechlenburg left on Monday, July 12 for Korea. The rest of the students and Mary Mogge left on Tuesday, July 13, after having spent the night at Mary's home. They will arrive in Seoul on Tuesday, July 13 at 6:30pm. On Thursday, July 15, they will fly to Pohang where they will begin their International Competition experience. The exams are on the 17th and 19th, and closing ceremony is scheduled on the 22nd. The Team will fly home from Korea on Friday, July 23, and 10AM, and arrive on States soil at 4:40PM.
Thursday, July 08, 2004
The five representatives and alternate arrived at Cal Poly for a mini camp before going to the International Competition in Korea. During the mini camp the 2004 representatives were visited by former team members Pavel Batrachenko (2003 Gold Medalist) and Emily Russell (2003 Silver Medalist).
Tuesday, June 01, 2004
The email messages ran rampant today as each student related the happenings of their trip back home and how they were already missing being at Camp. One of the students wrote... “Thank you all for making camp such an enjoyable experience.” Good luck to everyone who's going to Korea.... another said..”I am still adjusting to the idea tomorrow won't be filled with a physics exam, class, lecture, and then games (where everything is "obvious"!) for the evening. Camp was really fun”. One of the coaches wrote to the students “Thank you all again for making this yet another fantastic camp. I tell people that this is the best thing I do all year, and although they usually don't understand that I mean it literally, I do. This is partially because physics is fun, but mostly because you guys are.
Monday, May 31, 2004
The morning was a somber one as each student said good-bye. Some of them had not gone to sleep whey they said good bye at 4:00am to the first group headed for the airport. They assured one another that they would keep in touch via email for now as they boarded the shuttles to the Airport and to the Train Station. They wished each other a great summer as they went their separate ways.
Sunday, May 30, 2004
News Release: Physics Students Named to Compete Internationally
College Park, MD (May 30, 2004) - After a week of grueling physics exams, lab experiments and classroom work, five pre-college students have been selected to travel to Pohang, South Korea, to represent the United States in the 2004 International Physics Olympiad held July 15 - 23, 2004. One alternate was also chosen.
The members of the traveling team are:
Eric Mecklenberg: junior at Hawken School, Gates Mills, OH Anson Hook: senior at Princeton High School, Princeton, NJ. Elena Udovina: senior at the Hathaway Brown School, Shaker Heights, OH. Jeffrey Middleton: senior at LBJ High School, Austin, TX. Yi Sun: sophomore at the Harker School in San Jose, CA. Daniel Whalen: (Alternate) sophomore at Phillips Academy, Andover, MA.
The 2004 United States Physics Team is made up of 24 high school students. First nominated by their high school physics teachers, in January the students began taking extremely challenging physics exams, eventually scoring higher than 1100 other students to earn a spot on the prestigious team. The Olympiad is a nine-day international competition among pre-university students from more than 60 nations.
The US Physics Team is co-sponsored by the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Institute of Physics.
Sunday, May 30, 2004
Today is the day...the day the students found out which of them would be selected to represent the U.S. at the international Competition in Korea. First the students were given a questionnaire and evaluation sheet to complete. They then went to the American Center for Physics where they had lunch; then heard from guest speaker Philip Batson IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center. Dr. Batson spoke with the students on how he’s been involved with atomic level imaging using novel electron optical techniques. Whereas this work allows individual atoms to be imaged in real time within the bulk and at interfaces and surfaces. The new techniques now allow the correction of spherical aberration in the electron microscope, a 60 year old problem that has limited the performance of electron microscopy in the past to a level roughly comparable to that of light microscopy in the 18th century. Afterwards the students were greeted by special guests... none other then the University of Maryland cicadamaniacs, Rob Ahern and Holly Menninger, who gave a brief indoor presentation that included photos of cicadas, information about the cicada lifecycle, and interesting ecology facts. The students then ventured outside to do a bit of exploring. Almost immediately members of the group discovered emergence holes, mating couples, females laying eggs, and even some poor souls that had been ravaged by a cicada-consuming fungus! The afternoon was a fun and interesting break from nine days of extreme physics work, and a good opportunity for team members to interact with young researchers from other scientific disciplines.
At 4:45pm the coaches came in from their meeting ready to announce the five Representatives. The room was quiet as the names were called Eric Mecklenberg, Anson Hook, Elena Udovina, Jeffrey Middleton, Yi Sun and the alternate Daniel Whalen. A round of applause went out to the representatives and alternate and each student of the traveling team received a TI83 calculator from Texas Instruments. After the announcement the student continued to play games and watch movies. It was clear that in the time left on Sunday they would not waste it doing mundane chores like "packing." They also signed each other’s book and exchanged email addresses so that they could all stay connected. Each of them were reluctant to end the evening knowing that tomorrow they would be leaving by plane, train, and automobile going their separate ways, but assuring one another that their paths would someday cross again. The one thing that was quite apparent with this latest group of U.S. Team members was the friendships that were made.
Saturday, May 29, 2004
An insight into to the training camp through the eyes of Team Member John Shen: 05/24/04 An average day at the U.S. Physics Team Training Camp runs approximately fourteen hours of physics, sandwiched between a one hour breakfast and a nine-hour nap; with lunch, dinner and the occasional cards or frisbee hours mixed in. It’s an intellectual boot camp. Even during meals and sleep, physics leaks into everyday life (not that physics isn’t the science of everyday life). At any given time in a lunch room, at least half of the student conversations are related to the latest exam problem or class discussion. Despite the saturation of the time share that physics occupies in these students’ minds, however moral remains surprisingly high, simply because all the students share a love of physics. An assistant coach can capture the attention of his student by bringing up a clever shortcut to an arduous calculation. Labs in physics are fun, even when they become difficult. Beneath the sheer volume of physics pressed upon the student’s to learn, there is an atmosphere of achievement and healthy pride. No matter how hard the students are pushed, they can rise to meet the challenge. 04/25/04 I had my first physics dream yesterday. I dreamed that my best friend was taking an exam with me that I had taken the day before. I was cheating and glancing at his answers which I had struggled to (incompletely) derive the answer to. As I glanced, I noticed that he had a completely different answer, and I panicked, left the classroom and woke up. Turns out that my dream was a precognition - the formula on the last exam that I incompletely derived was wrong, by quite a bit. However, I did not wake up to find myself comfortably at home-the intense physics training schedule is a reality I’ve had to get accustomed to. I’m always surprised to find out how much more physics I can take per day. Part of it is the distinct collegiate feeling in College Park, Maryland. Everyday during the easygoing walk from the Quality Inn and Suites to the John Toll Physics Building, on campus, the team passes TCBY, WaWa and CVS, the odd corner store and tattoo parlor, and the odd conscientious student still on campus after graduation. The UMCP campus is filled with green fields marked by bike paths and growing trees, just as a campus should look. The only congruity is the growing number of dead cicadas which apparently breed to raise more dead cicadas.
Friday, May 28, 2004
Today was another big day! It began with class discussion and problem set, then an exciting presentation by Frontier Speaker Dr. William D. Philips, 1997 Nobel Laureate who presented several demonstrations using Liquid Nitrogen. The students enjoyed the demonstrations so much that it was the topic of conversation throughout their lunch. After lunch the students took a five hour practice olympiad exam.
Thursday, May 27, 2004
Today was the first of several big days. It started off with an exam; after lunch the students experienced their first of 2-- three hour Mystery Labs, in preparation for the experimental examination at the 35th Physics Olympiad Competition.
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Today the team boarded a bus for NASA Goddard Space Center in Greenbelt, MD for a private tour.
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
The U.S. Physics Team had a special guest during lunch today. They were joined by Society of Physics Students' Director Gary White in exploring the physics of spandex. White explained that by hanging a heavy weight from the center of a sheet of stretched spandex, an interesting potential well is formed. Almost no one could resist the temptation to roll marbles across the surface and examine the resulting orbits. White also touched on several other questions that he has explored with his students, such as the mathematical form for the curved surface, and modelling tidal effects and the formation of the solar system using the spandex. Afterwards, the team members and coaches were provided with gift bags from the American Institute of Physics, which included rainbow light pens and spectral glasses. Later that evening the students took a Physics IQ Test, from experiments demonstrated by Dr. Richard Berg, a well renowned international Physics Professor at the University of Maryland. This fun-filled session is always a favorite of the students. Dr. Berg has also been a regular Frontier Speaker and supporter of the Team since ‘86.
Monday, May 24, 2004
Today the students heard from Frontier Speaker Dr. Jordan Goodman, Physics Department Chair from the University of Maryland who talked to them about his research. Dr. Goodman has spoken to the U.S. Physics Team since the United States organized a team. He has been a staunch supporter and someone who has cared deeply about the young students and their interest in science. A Welcome Reception followed at noon. In attendance were some faculty members from the UM physics department and several administrators from the Biology Olympiad Competition, a few reporters and several AIP and AAPT staff. With only two days into camp, the team has already had, Thermodynamics and fluids, special relativity, Morden Physics, Waves, optics, etc. 2 labs and by the end of the day two exams.
Sunday, May 23, 2004
The day began with the first exam. It was very difficult but these are the students who can do it without breaking a sweat.
Saturday, May 22, 2004
The day began with a lab introduction from lab coach Warren Turner, and then on to Lab 1. The day was busy for both team members and coaches; days begin at 7:00 a.m. and end well after 9:00 p.m. in independent study.
Friday, May 21, 2004
The day started off with delays even before the staff arrived at the airport to greet the students. However, the delays did not dampen the students’ spirit. They came quietly into the airport, but by the time they reached the hotel for registration, they were a lively group. At registration, each student was given a box of physics books donated to AAPT by various publishers, a calculator donated by Texas Instruments, and a lab manual and materials on heat and fluids, both of which were to be studied that night. A few were surprised that they had to study the first day at camp, but no one complained . . . these students were up for the challenge. After registration the group met in the lobby to go to dinner in the Toll Lounge at the University of Maryland. After dinner, there was orientation by Mary Mogge, team academic director, who introduced the other six members of the coaching staff. She explained the training camp rules and spoke about the upcoming program for the week. Each member was given the opportunity to introduce themselves and share what they planned to be doing 10 years from now. Most of the students were unsure of what they’d be doing the next 10 years, but they were certain it would be something in physics.