Research Science Institute 2009, Intel Science Talent Search 2010, some physics, some research, some minor academic awards
Ah, another year flew by - the books from last year's camp kept me busy! I think they helped improve my tennis a bit too, for what's tennis but applied physics? In other news, I've been occupied by many independent projects this year, the most interesting ones probably in computer science. For instance, I decided to write a computer algebra system in Java (still in progress) that resembles a very scaled-down version of MATLAB. This required studying some algorithms and numerical methods, but I've recently been dabbling in theoretical CS as well, and in particular, I intend to learn more about complexity theory.
In sum, I've just been learning what I love, including a fair amount of physics that's not entirely relevant to the Physics Olympiad. After all, solving hard little problems is enjoyable and intellectually stimulating, but the big problems that take weeks or months or years are what really get me up in the morning. For example, I am currently engaged by a problem in statistical mechanics that spawned, of all places, from my work on adiabatic quantum computation. It's a certain generalization of the one-dimensional Ising model to which I am trying to find an exact solution.
On a different note, I happened to meet a bunch of interesting physicists this year, of which I'll give only two examples. At my state science fair last month, I was judged by none other than David Griffiths of physics textbook fame. What a kind, amazing guy! And what an amazing chance to talk about diabatic transitions in a two-level quantum system, Jordan-Wigner transformations, etc.! Having gone on college visits, I recently met my idol R. Shankar at Yale (what a great place, BTW - Andrew Lin, you made the right choice), to whom I also got to speak over the phone and whose QM book I admire.
Finally, I am honored to say that I once again look forward to this extremely fun opportunity to meet fascinating people (you), improve my laboratory skills, and do what I love to do.