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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 Dilhan Salgado

Dilhan Salgado

Silver Spring, MD

Montgomery Blair High School

Grade: Senior


Puzzling, Playing Hearthstone, Playing Cricket


Physics Team, Math Team, Chess Club


USAMO HM (2017, 2018), PUMaC Team Winner (2016, 2017)


Like many other people, my interests with the sciences started with Math. I have been enthralled with math for as long as I can remember. I first started doing competitions in elementary school. Of course these were just simple math competitions I did as quickly as possible during lunch so I could get out to recess quicker. I became more serious about competitions in Middle School, going to my school’s math club every week, and practicing hard to do well at competitions. I had a lot of fun doing these math competitions throughout all of middle and high school, from the studying to actually going to the competitions with my friends.

My interaction with physics really only started in High School. In Ninth Grade I took a physics class and I found it fun. I was able to look at the formulas for 2d motion and be able to solve these problems that seemed interesting to me. The simple result confirming that the optimal launch angle for a projectile is 45 degrees prove a conjecture that I’d had since I was young. However, this experience was cut short, as the class was only a semester.

I really got into physics through my high school’s physics team. In my freshman year I went to the ‘experimental’ side, where some seniors showed us interesting physical demonstrations of some topics in physics, and then went into the math to show us what was actually going on. This was extremely useful me in the competition type stuff, as it helped me build intuition for a bunch of different competition problem-like situations. In the remaining years I went to the ‘theoretical’ side in which I also learned a lot and had a lot of fun learning the basics of Stat Mech, Quantum Computing and things like that. While these didn’t directly help me in the competitions, these lectures still stoked my interest for physics that caused my to study more and do better.

I really started learning more physics in my 12th grade ‘MathPhys’ class taught by Mr. Schafer, which was extremely informative. I had a lot of fun in his class, and learned a lot through the demos and lectures. It was also his class that taught me a lot for the USAPhO, especially in E&M, which I had essentially no background in prior to his class.

I would like to thank my parents for helping me throughout all of my life. I would also like to thanks all of the students and teachers at Blair for helping me learn a lot in high school, especially Mr. Schafer, and the Physics Team student lecturers in my four years. Finally, and most of all, I would like to thank Purcell Third Edition for including Problem 2.4.

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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