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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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Rahul Sridhar

San Jose, CA

The Harker School

Grade: Junior


Reading, writing/solving puzzles, Rubik's cubing, running


Math Club, FIRST Robotics, Quiz Bowl, TEAMS, ARML, Cross Country, Spanish National Honor Society


USAMO qualifier (2013), USAJMO qualifier (2011-2012), USAPhO Semifinalist (2012-2013), AAPT Physics Bowl Regional Winner (2012), USACO Gold Division, NACLO Invitational Round qualifier (2011-2013), TEAMS Junior Division National Champion (2012), ARML 7th place team (2012)


I am currently a junior at The Harker School, in San Jose, CA. From my early childhood I have always been interested in solving logic and mathematical puzzles. My first foray into math competitions was in 7th grade when my high school math teacher lured us to the 4 hour long Bay Area Mathematical Olympiad (BAMO) with the promise of free pizza. I clearly remember the joy of completing one perfect proof. I am fascinated by mathematics because of its objectivity: theorems are either true or false, proofs are either correct or flawed. During the last two summers, I attended the Canada/USA MathCamp. At the camp, I explored a wide range of interesting courses such as Ring Theory and Complex Analysis. I particularly enjoyed classes taught by mathematician John Conway.

My interest in physics was a natural progression from math because of its problem solving nature. I appreciate the subject because of its scope: the field of physics answers questions that range from the subatomic to the cosmic in scale. It touches topics that are exceedingly remote and incredibly practical. At the most basic level, physics attempts to explain how the world works. Freshman physics and AP Physics C were two of the most rewarding classes I have ever taken in my life. Freshman physics provided me with a strong foundation in the subject by solidifying some major concepts and sharpening my physical intuition. In AP Physics C, I enjoyed delving deeper into mechanics and electromagnetism, applying some of the calculus and multivariable calculus I was learning at that time to the course, and conducting some cool laboratory experiments. In one such lab, we had to determine the electrical circuitry (consisting of resistors, capacitors, inductors and diodes) in a black box using only a voltmeter, ammeter, oscilloscopes, and other circuit elements.

Besides math and physics, I participate in programming competitions, puzzle hunts and linguistic challenges. During my down time I enjoy Wikipedia-browsing and listening to NPR programs like "Radio Lab", "Wait Wait Don't Tell me" and "Planet Money". I also like reading books on fantasy, mystery and science fiction.

I am thrilled to be a member of the U.S. Physics team and look forward to meeting other team members at the camp. I would to like to thank my family and teachers for their continued support in making this possible.

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