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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



Meet the Team

Photo of Kiran Linsuain

Kiran Linsuain

Pittsburgh, PA


Grade: Junior


Programming, Reading, Tennis, Running, Chess.


Western PA ARML, Pittsburgh Chess Club.


USAPhO Bronze Medal (2016), USAPhO Gold Medal (2017), U.S. Physics Team (2017), AIME (2017), AIME (2018), Westinghouse Science Honors Institute (2016-17)


A stroke of serendipity brought about my first physics "experiment" at a very young age. I do not remember how old (or young) I was or how I managed to snap the connectors of two 9-volt batteries to each other. I celebrated my achievement announcing to all and sundry: "Two very hot batteries!" My father was not very happy...

Last year, I had the honor to participate in the U.S. Physics Team training camp, and spend ten very busy and exciting days attending lectures, poring over exams, and spilling water all over the laboratory table and over myself (all for science!). This camp has amplified a wave of motivation for studying physics which has not dispersed or attenuated.

In this past year I have come to realize that even very advanced and apparently esoteric concepts are often the underlying reasons for effects we normally take for granted: just recently, while solving a problem involving interference of scattered waves, I discovered that a closely packed group of small obstacles is much more effective at scattering long waves than short ones, which immediately suggests a possible explanation for why X-rays can go through things much easier than visible light.

As satisfying as it is to learn something new, continuing any line of thought further or trying to apply it to other situations almost invariably runs into trouble. In this example, the same logic seems to imply that the daytime sky should be red and the setting sun blue, which is clearly not the case.

This just goes to demonstrate a common feature in many subjects; what works in one case will not always work in another, and sometimes, the opposite may apply. As frustrating as this may feel, it also makes a subject interesting, as it makes it impossible to master just by learning a few rules and applying them everywhere. If physics were that simple, then there would be little point in studying it; it would be like tic-tac-toe, interesting at first but pointless once all the good moves are known (ever wonder why you never hear of professional tic-tac-toe tournaments?). For this reason, I think it may be a good thing that physics is such an incredibly complex and inexhaustible field of study.

Participating in the physics camp last year was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I feel very honored to be extended this opportunity again. I am looking forward to this year's challenges.

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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 programs@aapt.org