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Did you know?

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 Shannon Weng

Shannon Weng

Princeton Junction, NJ

West Windsor - Plainsboro High School South

Grade: Senior


swimming, tennis, piano, reading, freewriting


swim team, math club, WW-P International Science Olympiads Club, Red Cross club, HSS Tutoring Desk, Science Olympiad, orchestra


USNCO Finalist (2016, 2017), USAJMO Qualifier (2015, 2016), Math Prize for Girls Olympiad Silver Medalist (2015, 2017), Math Prize for Girls Honorable Mention (2015, 2016, 2017), USAPhO Bronze Medalist (2017), USABO semifinalist (2017), PUPC Silver Medalist (2017), Science Olympiad Nationals 2nd place in Anatomy (2014)


Ever since I can remember, science has been a special part of my identity. Our relationship has evolved over the years, but I still fondly remember its humble beginnings. In my toddler years, my grandparents introduced me to the world of science by showing me space channels on TV. Soon, space shows became my favorite TV programs. I loved conjecturing what I then thought were reasonable hypotheses about space. For example, I remember pondering about the end of space. I guessed there would be a rocky wall. But then I thought, “What if I pound on the wall with a hammer? What’s beyond it? More wall?” This was how I came to convince my 5-year-old self that space was infinite. Fascinated by astronomy, I decided I wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up so I can see what space is like for myself and whether or not my conjectures were correct. Regardless of the specifics, the seed of my love for science was planted then.

Fast forward to high school when I took my first chemistry and biology course freshman year, and physics that summer. It was now that I had started to piece together the true nature of my relationship with science. I began to see that I loved science because it explored worlds beyond my own, worlds that underlie everything I know. Chemistry and physics I found to be the fundamentals of everything in nature, and biology was one of the most fascinating and complex applications of them. The idea that everything in our world has a reason and can be explained in terms of the most fundamental principles fascinates me beyond words. And physics exemplifies that most clearly. It has the perfect combination of conceptual ideas and mathematical rigor.

Sophomore year, I continued my study of physics in AP Physics C, which solidified my interest in physics. This year, I took a year of physics at Princeton University. Learning physics in a more formal, rigorous way has allowed me to understand the way science works—how through vastly complex natural phenomena, we have been able to find amazingly simple laws underlying them. Like how the elusive magnetic force that puzzled physicists for centuries is really only a consequence of relativity. And relativity itself is really only a consequence of the simple fact that light is the same for everyone.

I’m so honored to be a part of the U.S. Physics Team. None of this would be possible without the extensive support of my parents since a young age, giving me a solid background in and appreciation for math. Also, I’m grateful to my high school science teachers—Mrs. Fortunato, Mrs. Jaworsky, Dr. Bhattacharya, Ms. Naud, and Mr. Trefz—for their encouragement of my pursuit of science and belief in my abilities. And lastly, I must thank my high school for giving me the opportunity to take physics at Princeton, and my Princeton physics professors, especially Professor Jones, for taking the time to answer the questions of a naive high schooler.

I can’t wait to meet all the amazing people at camp who share my passion for science. I’ll be continuing my study of science at MIT this fall. I hope to continue exploring the world of science in college and beyond, learning about what our predecessors have discovered, and ultimately joining in the efforts to uncover the secrets that lie ahead.

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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