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From 1986 to 2013, the United States Teams have brought home: 49 Gold Medals, 35 Silver Medals, 29 Bronze Medals, and 11 Honorable Mentions. — AAPT.ORG

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Photo of Alexandr Wang

Alexandr Wang

Los Alamos, NM

Los Alamos High School

Grade: Junior


playing violin, writing, hiking/exploring, driving with angst, programming, reading Nietzsche & Sartre & Kierkegaard, making movies, listening to music, watching TV & movies


Science Bowl, Orchestra, Speech & Debate, National Honor Society, Bollywood Dance Club


USACO Finalist (2012 - 2013), MOSP (2013), SPARC (2013 - 2014), USAMTS Gold Medal (2012), National Science Bowl (2012 - 2014), National Who Wants to be a Mathematician (2013, 3rd place), USAMO (2011 - 2014), USAPhO Semifinalist (2011 - 2014)


I've always been inspired by discovery. I live in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where during World War II, some of the greatest scientific minds in the world came together and built the atomic bombs in the secretive Manhattan Project. Now, it's called Los Alamos, a small enclave of about 10,000 people nestled around a national lab. It is a place of unique perspective and quirky pleasures - it is a monthly classical concert among countless PhDs and a Halloween in a science museum being taught about cryogenics.

Science and discovery have always been enthralling. From a young age, I've always been inspired of the profound implications of scientific discovery, from the discovery of special relativity to the invention of the transistor. Even now I don't fully comprehend the revolutionary consequences of every discovery, but I do understand that through science, I am uniquely empowered with the ability to profoundly change the world, and that has always taken my breath away.

My involvement in contests has been empowered by that belief and driven by my love for learning and problem solving. Olympiad problems in informatics, mathematics, and physics each present significant challenges and innovative application of difficult concepts. Such problems have taught me how to attack a daunting problem and struggle with it for days on end, not settling for a mediocre or half-hearted solution. I've learned to hold myself to a high standard and to never give up. These values and lessons have been invaluable in achieving my goals, and I'm hugely thankful that I've had these challenging yet rewarding opportunities.

The uncertainty of the future has been a source of both worry and inspiration in my life. It's worrying to know that nothing is for certain, and that no matter how hard I try, some things simply will not work in my favor. It's worrying to know that the future is unpredictable, and it is impossible to plan out my actions for the next 10 years and magically end up achieving my goals by the end. I've found that such uncertainty can be a source of inspiration as well. It's liberating to know that my life can be literally anything I make of it in 10 years, and that there are no barriers to my future. In the same vein, I must let my passions dictate my decisions and my actions, and only in that way can I be truly certain I will be proud and happy 10 years from now. In the words of Steve Jobs:

"Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."

These words have inspired me to follow my passions, and that road has led me here. I hope that others are similarly motivated by this idea, because it has changed the way I understand the future.

I'd like to congratulate every member of the 2014 US Physics Team on their achievement, and I'm so excited to meet all of you in Maryland! In addition, I'd like to thank my family, friends, teachers, and mentors for teaching me everything I know about life. If not for their love, support, or guidance, I would have never been able to make it this far!

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