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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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Contact Information

For more details and information about the US Physics Team, please contact AAPT's Programs department at 301-209-3340 or

Photo of Leo Zhao

Leo Zhao

Princeton, NJ

Princeton High School

Grade: Junior


Tennis, Reading, Video Games, Saxophone, and Swimming


Math Team Captain, Physics Team Captain, Science Olympiad


USAJMO Qualifier, HMMT, MATHcounts, BCA Math Competition


I enjoyed a multitude of things starting at an early age, including swimming, ice hockey, squash, piano, violin, go, saxophone, and tennis. I traveled with our school band to Orlando, Florida, playing the alto, and we brought back the gold medal in the Berklee Jazz Festival. My best memory of elementary school and middle school activities include summer camps that offered us opportunities to live with disadvantaged kids in suburban Beijing, and helping them build their study and exercise facilities.

On the academic side, I started learning math at a very early age, and won the first international math competition I participated in grade 2, winning a gold medal and a check. I became more devoted to math and participated in many other competitions, including qualifying for the USAJMO. Things changed, however, as I started to have a chance to encounter physics, initially through the building and testing of electronics circuits for LED lighting my parents bought for me. What are electrons? How do they move around? Why do they light up the LED? Gradually, I realize that physics could provide most of the answers to the numerous questions I had, as well as satiate my desire to learn why things moved the way they did. I enjoy dealing with challenging subjects, and physics is full of challenging issues. I have exhausted both physics and math course in Princeton High School, and so I got the chance to apply to take two classes offered by Princeton University in physics and mathematics. I hope to be majoring in physics and be able to join a research project during my second or third year in college, in quantum entanglement research or some other related areas.

This is my first year participating in the U.S. Physics Team Program. I would like to thank my parents and teachers for their support in so many ways that make it possible for me to win this opportunity. I look forward to the exciting challenges lying ahead and I hope to make new friends at the camp.

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