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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 Nathan Hu

Nathan Hu

West Lafayette, IN

West Lafayette Jr/Sr HS

Grade: Senior


Tennis, ice skating, reading, card games, unearthing horrible math and physics jokes, kayaking


Varsity Tennis, Jr. High Mathcounts Coach, Spanish National Honors Society, Mu Alpha Theta


2018/2019 USAMO qualifier, 2019 Purdue Literary Awards CLA Dean’s Award for Best High School Entry, 2018 Boys Individual First Team Academic All-state: Tennis, 2018 USNCO Honors, 2018 Princeton University Physics Competition Gold, 2019 Harvard-MIT Mathematics Tournament 28th Overall (February), 2015 National Mathcounts Competition 10th place individual, 1st place team


Don’t question why I’m writing this in verse,
After all my poetry is pretty much the worst.
But perhaps, this might be more fun,
Since a biography had to be done.
Looking at my story in retrospect,
How I got here is what you’d expect.
For a young age, perhaps around six,
My dad introduced the world of mathematics.
My initial enjoyment was not immense,
But I grew to love the rules that all made sense.
The simple clean logic was just the best,
So entering middle school I began math contests.
AMC’s, mathcounts, and math bowl,
(I know, sorry, same old, same old).
Like I said, my story is hardly unique,
Even so, I should finish it, but I’ll try to be brief.
Sophomore year comes, and what a surprise!
Guess in my schedule, what class lies.
In all seriousness, after first meeting physics,
It was like math, all the logic just clicks.
Another cliche, but you could say I was hooked,
Especially once I got David Morin’s book.
I saw mechanics all around me,
F = mgsin(?) of a downhill ski.
Learning to skateboard was hard for me,
To turn, I knew, torque was the key.
Not that this stopped me from wiping out,
Yeah, that endeavor certainly went south.
Returning to the topic at hand,
Let's move on to E and M.
While I love the mechanics around me each day,
When it comes to E&M something else is at play.
I really like math, if you’ll recall,
And what’s perhaps most elegant of them all?
Calculus could certainly take the cake,
(Excluding combinatorics, that's number one - no debate)
Sure single variable is pretty sick,
But multivar overshadows it.
How does this connect to E&M?
To see we must consider a little green gem,
A certain green book written by Purcell,
It’s appendix taught me vector calc quite well.
E&M is just multivar - what fun,
Beyond useful applications to anyone,
I find that very cool in itself,
(Yes I’m sane, don’t worry about my mental health)
So I’m another math nerd, what makes me unique?
The answer lies in what I seek.
While making IPhO would be pretty lit,
I didn’t come to camp to try and make it.
This is not to say that I won’t try,
But here’s the main reason, to Maryland, I’ll fly.
All I want is to learn some new stuff,
And meet some cool people, for me that’s enough.
So cheers to more physics and some good times,
(And thank you dear reader, for putting up with my rhymes)
Lastly of course, and this is long overdue,
There are so many who have my gratitude.
To my parents for supporting my growth,
Academic yes, but as a person, the most.
To Mr. Whitcomb, for organizing it all,
From F=MA to Honors Physics that fall.
To the friends, you are are ones,
Who put up with all my horrible puns.
Even if, when telling me, you were rather strict,
“If you don’t go to camp you’re an idiot.”

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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