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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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Meet the Team

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Steven Liu

Lincroft, NJ

High Technology High School

Grade: Sophomore


Piano, strategy games, computer programming, quizbowl, history, art


Academic Team/Quizbowl, Science Bowl, Math League


AIME Qualifier (2013-17), USAJMO Qualifier (2015), USAMO Qualifier (2016-17), HMIC Qualifier (2017), ARML 9th Place Team (2016), PUMaC 6th Place Team (2016), HMMT February 9th Place Team (2017), MOP Qualifier (2017)


I didn't really expect to be writing this bio at this point, but here I am.

I've always been interested in science (and more generally how the world works) from an early age. I started getting really into math around first or second grade, and in third grade I was allowed to take advanced classes from Johns Hopkins' CTY program at school. My interest in physics began a while later from PBS NOVA's The Elegant Universe miniseries.

I started doing math competitions in 6th grade, starting with the AMC competitions, and I have qualified for the AIME every year since then, as well as qualifying for MOP this year. My physics experience began when I took a course from CTY in the summer between 7th and 8th grades. While I didn't perform spectacularly in that class, it certainly sparked my interest even more and motivated me to improve. At this point, I had no idea physics competitions even existed, but I ended up reading two different physics textbooks to solidify my knowledge for no reason other than sheer curiosity. In 9th grade I took physics competitions for the first time with minimal preparation (trying a few past F=ma exams) and managed to get an Honorable Mention in the Semifinals. This was a complete surprise to me and to everyone, as I had never done a physics competition before, nor had I really prepared for it as much as I could have.

Competitions have never been the main source of my pursuit of math and physics (though obviously they're a nice side effect). However, I have found competitions like the Math and Physics Olympiads as well as smaller competitions like PUPC and ARML to be a useful external motivator for my studies. The unique problems set forth by these competitions have consistently forced me to take different perspectives and move outside of topic I'm comfortable with.

Outside of math and physics, two of my main activities are quizbowl and history bowl. They have been a significant part of my high school life, and the group that has formed around them at my school is quite lively. I also play a lot of strategy games, especially Paradox games, and I dabbled a bit in Dungeons & Dragons (although that ultimately went nowhere).

It goes without saying that I wouldn't be here were it not for the encouragement of my parents and my principals Mr. Rigby and Mr. Bals; they motivated me to pursue my passions and provided the means for it. It's a great honor to be part of the physics team this year, and I am very excited for what I am sure will be an interesting week.

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