2012 team

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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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Photo of Jason Qu

Jason Qu

La Jolla, CA

The Bishop's School

Grade: Junior


chess, piano, reading, exercise in the gym, hiking, swimming, tennis


Founder and Coach for Chess Magicians Club of San Diego, Founder and President for P2P Club (Peer to Peer Microfinancing) at the Bishop's School, Founder and Editor-In-Chief of the California P2P Magazine, Co-Founder and Co-President for Physics Club at the Bishop's School, One of Student Leaders for Physics Study Group in San Diego Math Circle, Co-President for Math Club at the Bishop's School, Physics Bowl Team of the Bishop's School


Physics Olympiad: Semifinalist, 2011 & 2012, Physics Bowl: Ninth Place in US Division II, 2011; Tenth Place in US Division II, 2012, AIME: 2008, 2009, 2011 & 2012, USJMO: 2011, ARML Team of San Diego: 2008, 2009, 2010 & 2011, AP Scholar with Distinction Award from College Board: 2011, Best Junior Team in the US Amateur West Chess Tournament : 2010, Best Game Award and Best Team Award in Sean Reader Grandmaster-Junior Simul: 2010, Chess Ranking in US: 46 in my age group


As a kid, I had endless curiosity for various subjects, not only asking nonstop questions but also doing my best to dig up the answers. In middle school, I discovered that my true passion lies in physics, which presents me the pleasure of finding things out. After passing AP Physics B in ninth grade, I completed AP Physics C in tenth grade. In eleventh grade, I have been doing Independent Study under Mr. Milling, studying more advanced Physics topics such as MIT Honor Physics Course, using The Feynman Lectures on Physics series and the MIT OCW material as helpful tools which have revealed new perspectives and more explicit proofs of many intriguing concepts. After three years of physics study, I am more certain that I will make physics as my main career choice. Physics gives me a springboard to play around with some ideas in my mind. I am really amazed at how all the theories are built up. Physics brings so many ideas and concepts together in such simple and beautiful equations.

I also realize how important a strong math foundation is for me to excel in physics. Since tenth grade, I have been taking college math courses from UCSD. I have completed Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra, and now I am taking Differential Equation. Last summer I participated in an SSTP physics research camp. This year I am doing a research project on plasma under a UCSD physics professor, and I will go to an MIT physics lab for research internship on superconductors and other topics.

I am curious and a deep-thinker. I always want to get to the bottom of the concepts. When I get curious in something, I am determined to find the answer to it, an answer that will satisfy my every doubt and question that I can throw at it. I am also able to study new concepts independently. I admire Richard Feynman who was a well-known American physicist. He championed open-mindedness and the questioning of even the sturdiest of preconceived notions. Feynman emphasized the importance of integrity in science, how it is more important to be honest than right. After reading his book, I developed a whole new excitement for physics, seeing where it had taken him, and how it had even changed just the way he thought and viewed the world. Feynman's whole take on life is described by his signature way of thinking.

I really like physics competitions because to do well in the competitions, you need to have a deep understanding of physics. It is also a testament for me that I'm going in the right direction. I look forward to participating in US Physics Team because I will have chance to further enhance my lab and problem solving skills. In the US Physics Team, I will be inspired by students with similar interests as well as by prominent physicists.

I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank my physics teacher Mr. Milling whose teaching style emphasizes the deep understanding of fundamental concepts using his intriguing lectures and lab, which has a big impact to my learning style and who has guided me for the past three years; Professor Dubin and Professor Grinstein in UCSD for their time to select research projects for me to work on; Dr. Li for his pointers for my contest preparation; Mr. Brown, Mr. Wei and Ms. Jing for their encouragement; and my parents for their full support.

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