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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 Jonathan Geller

Jonathan Geller

Wallingford, CT

Choate Rosemary Hall

Grade: Junior



Hobbies

In my free time I like to hike, bike, program, bake, and play piano, cello, and ukulele.

Clubs

I am the captain of my school's Math Team, co-president of Physics Club, co-captain of my archery team, cabinet member of the Young Democrats, and I am a member of the programming and music production clubs at my school. I also tutor writing, math, and physics.

Experience

USAPhO Gold (2019), AIME qualifier (2019), PuMaC competitor (2017, 2018), HMMT competitor (2019), and MMATHS competitor (2018, 2019)

Bio

Like most of my teammates, my interest in science began at an early age. My favorite toys were always magnets that I could put together, pull apart, float on top of each other, and try but never quite succeed to understand. I fiddled with them for hours until they were completely intuitive to me and I could predict how they would behave, yet I never really understood them. I could never explain to someone else how they worked, even if I could completely justify their motions to myself. I wish I could say I was searching through physics textbooks for the equations that described their motion, but really, I just thought they were fun, and there was nothing else to it.

In school, I tried to learn math, where I could build everything from the ground up, where I could prove results to myself and know that they were true without needing a teacher or textbook to tell me so. Looking at limits and complex numbers showed me how much there was to math beyond the number manipulation I previously associated with the subject. When I got to high school and took my first physics class, I saw all the applications for what I had been learning. I had previously studied math because I thought it was amazing in its own right, but as the year went on, I saw more and more of the math I was learning in terms of the physics to which it related. Differential equations were no longer about finding a random function but describing a complicated system. Curl and divergence were access points to Maxwell's equations.

At some point earlier this year, my physics teacher asked if I wanted to take the F=ma exam; I felt like I could not possibly be up to the challenge. I decided to go for it only days before the test date, and I felt woefully unprepared. I remember being able to understand one of the problems only because I had learned the concept in my physics class just two hours earlier. I felt confused, but I knew I was fascinated. I still don't quite understand how I was able to make it past that test, much less qualify for the national team, but I know that I am grateful for the opportunity to learn more about physics with a group of talented students who are as interested in the subject as I am. I would like to thank Dr. Hogue and Mr. Gadoua for teaching me physics and getting me interested in learning more about science. I would also like to thank my physics clubmates for convincing me to take the F=ma exam when I was planning to just finish some homework instead. Lastly, thank you to my mom and dad, who helped foster my love for learning throughout my life, and who helped me to get to where I am today.

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Contact Information

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