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The Olympiad is a nine-day international competition among pre-university students from more than 60 nations. — AAPT.ORG

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Zachary Bogorad

Solon, OH

Solon High School

Grade: Sophomore


Programming, Frisbee, Reading


Science Olympiad, Mock Trial, Math Club


AIME, Science Olympiad, OCTM


I'm not really sure why I'm interested in physics. The biggest reason is definitely an innate desire to know how things work. 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, which mainly consisted of finding devices that seemed to use a similar principle, 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 more this year.

I would like to thank my parents and sister for the encouragement and help they have given me, as well as a local physics teacher, Mr. Shurtz, who taught me most of AP Physics C (which is not available at my school), and a great deal beyond it. I hope that this camp will help my interest in and knowledge of physics expand further, and look forward to it.

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