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



Meet the Team

Photo of Gopal Goel

Gopal Goel

Traveling Team

Portland, OR

Krishna Homeschool

Grade: Freshman


Music, Star Gazing, Obsessing about Star Wars, Tolkien, and Marvel


Rose City Astronomers, Math Circle, Coding Club instructor, Temple Youth Music Band


USAPhO Gold (2018, 2017), USAPhO Silver (2016), USAJMO Honorable Mention (2018, 2017), MOP (2018 invitee), MIT-PRIMES (2018, 2017), Outstanding Poster Award - MAA Undergraduate Student Poster Session at Joint Mathematics Meetings (2018), Intel ISEF Finals (2018 - 4th place in Math Category), National AP Scholar, Canada/USA Mathcamp (2017, 2016), Mathcounts Nationals Team Oregon (2017), USAMTS (2015-2018)


It was a dream come true to be invited to the US Physics Team.

My love for physics stemmed from my love for math. Homeschooling gave me the opportunity to explore the areas of study I loved, at my own pace and with freedom. By early middle school I had completed most of the high school math curriculum; and thanks to AoPS, I was able to do so without sacrificing rigor or creativity. Then as I struggled to find other interesting areas to explore, my dad introduced me to the amazing world of physics. This was almost expected, because back when my dad was in high school, physics was the subject he loved the most. So we started going through most of Halliday Resnick 2nd edition together, which was his favorite book as a student. I can very safely say that this book provided me with solid conceptual understanding. A careful and iterative reading of this book is what helped me very much.

I used to complement my study of physics with playing around with some equipment. I remember making a simple pendulum with my old lego technic pieces, and actually discovered that the time period remained the same for small angles, but changed as the angle increased. R&H has a great explanation for the small angle approximation, and also includes a discussion about higher order expansions of the period.

I always enjoyed attending talks by scientists and mathematicians, watching scientific videos, and visiting observatories and laboratories. These provided me with a lot of inspiration. Also, these aspects nourished my love for these subjects beyond just solving hard problems. It also freed me from the fear of not doing well in a particular test or contest. My pursuit of math and physics would only increase as I explored these areas, regardless of the outcome of a test or a competition.

I was extremely fortunate to be part of a math research program - PRIMES, which is conducted by the math department of MIT. It showed me the value of creativity, and how we can use all the tools at our disposal, with no time constraints, to solve really hard problems. It was very satisfying to sit down for several hours focusing on one problem. In one sense I could see the immense value in Olympiads preparation, where focusing on a hard problem for hours together was required.

It was also my fortune to be able to have the guidance of some of the best yet very caring professors in mathematics and physics, who nurtured my love for these subjects. They introduced me to some of the deeper areas of math and physics such as general relativity, quantum mechanics, combinatorics, hyperplanes, number theory, topology, knots, etc. I am also very thankful to my mentors and seniors who helped me a lot throughout. And last but not the least, I have the most wonderful parents who chose to homeschool me, and provided me with a world of opportunities for education and having a lot of fun.

I am humbled by this wonderful opportunity to be part of USA physics team. I am very much looking forward to being a part of this camp and meeting all of the amazing people.

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Disclaimer: Information in Physics Team profiles is provided by the Team members and is in no way a reflection of AAPT's opinions or views.

Contact Information

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