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Photo of Yunfan Zhang

Yunfan Zhang

Andover, MA

Phillips Andover Academy

Grade: Senior


Photography, cryptography, philosophy. Reading fiction, writing non-fiction, listening to music, playing the guitar, tennis, Ultimate Frisbee (I'm not good)


math club, computer science club




I was born in Beijing, China. Reading Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time in 5th grade started my interest in physics and cosmology. In middle school the lack of time and resources to learn math and physics became the biggest pain in my life. School in China was intense but learning anything beyond or not pertaining to the standardized test materials was strongly discouraged. Homework was time-consuming but mainly focused on memorization through repetition. I managed to learn calculus, general physics and some English on my own in middle school but generally did not have the chance to further improve until fairly recently. Last year Dr. Hori, a physicist at Phillips Academy, told me of the great physics series Course of Theoretical Physics by L. D. Landau and E. M. Lifshitz, which opened my eyes to physics.

Last summer I went to Canada/USA Mathcamp, and truly enjoyed meeting some cutting edge mathematicians and a vast group of mathematically talented students. From Mathcamp, I learned that I have the option not to get bored in a math or science class that does not teach me anything new; opportunities and possibilities exist and I just have to reach out to people and try for them. This year a few of my independent projects were finally approved at Phillips Academy and I am really enjoying them.

Many thanks to my teachers and the numerous people who helped me get this far. I greatly appreciate the AAPT for giving me this opportunity and I'm looking forward to meeting you all.

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