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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 Jason Xia

Jason Xia

Naperville, IL

Naperville North High School

Grade: Senior


Biking, Singing, Cooking/Baking, Reading


Science Bowl, Math Team, Peer Tutoring, Mandarin Club, Table Tennis Team


2017 USAPhO Silver Medalist, 2017 USAMO Qualifier, 2016 USAJMO Qualifier, Only perfect score in the world on the 2016 AP Physics 1 Exam, Perfect score on the 2017 AP Physics C: Mechanics Exam (One of 3 perfect scores worldwide), National Merit Semifinalist, Member of 3-time state championship math team, Top 16 at 2018 National Science Bowl


As a kid, I constantly bombarded my parents with questions: “How does electricity make a fan turn? How does a refrigerator keep food cold?” I’m sure my parents tried to answer. “Electrons move because of a potential difference, and the fan uses that energy to spin.” But to say I understood would be a cosmical stretch. The concepts of electrons and voltage were beyond the reach of my toddler mind.

In middle school, I read that ocean currents were created because hot water was less dense than cold water. Five minutes later, I found myself in front of a sink filled with ice-cold water. I was holding a ziploc bag, about to fill it with hot water, when my parents saw me and said “Stop wasting water, Jason!” So I eagerly waited for the next day when my parents left home to run an errand. Sure enough, the hot-water ziploc bag floated.

Once I reached high school, though, my science classes provided me with the tools to understand these phenomena. I saw alternating currents inducing changing magnetic fields, causing magnets to spin; I saw refrigerants traversing isothermic and adiabatic curves on pressure-volume diagrams; I saw heat exciting water molecules, increasing their intermolecular separation.

Some people might think this knowledge ruins the magic of childhood. But for me, it did the opposite. I could finally see beyond the tip of the iceberg and admire the elegance of the underlying principles. One by one, disjointed facts clicked into a vast web of understanding. What could be more magical than that?

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