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In 1986, under the direction of the AAPT Executive Officer, Jack Wilson, the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) organized the United States Physics Team for the first time. — AAPT.ORG

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Meet the Team


Photo of Zachary Bogorad

Zachary Bogorad

Traveling Team

Solon, OH

Solon High School

Grade: Senior


Programming, Frisbee, Reading


Science Olympiad, Mock Trial, Math Club


Physics Team, USACO Gold Division, Mandelbrot Regional 5th, USAMTS Gold Winner, USNCO National Honors, ARML, Science Olympiad, USABO, Mock Trial


I'm not really sure why I'm interested in physics. The biggest reason is definitely an innate desire to know how the world works. When I was younger, I was constantly trying to figure out how things work; one of my earliest inquiries was into how door latches allow doors to close but not to open (unless the latch is retracted). After a significant amount of analysis, I developed a theory about contact forces being perpendicular to surfaces. Years later, I was delighted to learn about the concept of a normal force, which formalized the vague idea I had thought of as a child. For the most part, though, my analysis was less successful; after developing my door latch theory, I decided that airplanes must work in a similar way, with the wings tilted upward so that the air they run into pushes them upward. The horror I experienced when I learned that many airplane wings are horizontal haunted me for years.

In any case, by the end of sixth grade, my mindset had become conducive to studying physics- but, by itself, that wouldn't have got me anywhere. Fortunately, on a trip to FPSIC, I found myself sitting next to a friendly, if a bit eccentric (in my mind) ninth grader, Eugene. During the bus ride, I saw him take out a textbook and begin studying. This was a form of entertainment I had never seen before, so I immediately inquired as to what he was doing. He explained that he was studying physics, and explained some basic ideas, which got me interested. Upon returning home, I demanded a physics textbook from my parents, and they got me a good textbook, which I began studying over the summer. Unfortunately, while my interest in physics was adequate, I was not yet adept enough in mathematics to make significant progress. A serious study of physics had to wait until two years later.

I joined our school's Science Olympiad team in seventh grade, but did not focus on physics-related events at first. The next year, however, I returned and instead chose a circuitry event and an event on optics; I was far more successful in these events than any others. While neither of these events required a significant knowledge of mechanics or electromagnetism, once I started studying physics, I couldn't stop, and had covered basic mechanics, as well as optics and basic circuitry, by the end of the year. From that point on, I began devoting the majority of my energy to studying physics, and took the F=ma and Semifinal exams freshman year. While I completely failed the latter, having almost no knowledge of calculus or electromagnetism, it was enough to motivate me to prepare the following year, and I have continued to study physics since then.

I would like to thank my parents and sister for the encouragement and help they have given me, and my physics teachers Mr. Fabo and Mr. Shurtz, who taught me most of AP Physics B and C, respectively, and a great deal beyond them. My previous experience at this camp was amazing and I hope that this year’s will be as well.

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