Measures of Success
There are many ways to measure success. One way is to look at the medals we win and how well our team performs at the International Physics Olympiad.
We have been consistently successful in achieving this goal. Team members have won over 41 medals in the fourteen years we have participated in the IphO.
The USA Team was very successful last year in the 30th International Olympiad, held in Padua, Italy:
Another way is to see what immediate impact the program has had on the lives that were touched by it.
In an anonymous survey answered by the Team after their summer camp in 1999, one student stated: "I enjoyed being with all these smart people who think the way I do." Others commented on "solving interesting problems with interesting people," and "meeting new people with similar interests and spending time with them playing games and talking."
In 1986 under the direction of the AAPT Executive Officer, Jack Wilson, AAPT organized for the first time the United States Physics Team. The team was made up of 20 talented high school physics students who had been nominated by their teachers. Following a rigorous and intense program in the physics department of the University of Maryland, five students were selected to represent the U.S. Team in London. The United States team brought home three Bronze Medals--the most medals any team had ever won in their first competition. Since that time, the United States team has consistently ranked near the top ten of all nations.
These 24 students attend a training camp where they will engage in eight days of intense studying, testing and problem solving. At the end of that training camp, five students will be selected for the "Traveling Team." The Traveling Team will return for an extra 3 days of intense work in the laboratory before they are ready for the International Event.
The training camp experience is immensely valuable for the participants. The instruction provides an introduction to university style teaching and equipment. Students become familiar with aspects of first year university curricula in physics which in turn accelerates their studies during their remaining time in high school.