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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 Patrick Liu

Patrick Liu

Fremont, CA

Mission San Jose High School

Grade: Junior


Coaching middle school Science Bowl teams, reading and writing poetry and fiction, playing varsity golf (~6 handicap), hiking, playing cards, learning Spanish, eating, and sleeping


Science Bowl, Spanish Honors Society, Academic Challenge, Social Entrepreneur Society, Varsity Golf


USAPhO Gold (2017, 2019), USAPhO Silver (2018), AIME qualifier (2016-19), USABO semifinalist (2017-19), PhysicsBowl global 1st place (2017), PhysicsBowl global 3rd place (2018), Science Bowl regional 3rd place (2018), Science Bowl regional 2nd place (2019), TEAMS 9/10 Division 1st place (2017), TEAMS 11/12 Division 3rd place (2018)


I love physics. Physics fascinates me by explaining everything around me and opens my mind up to entirely new ways of thinking.

I have been intrigued by the world beyond Earth since I was in preschool. My mom still remembers that I spent hours and hours drawing stars on my bedroom wall. Of course, outer space inevitably included aliens; I was captivated by the idea of extraterrestrial life, and even wrote a story about aliens for a Young Writers competition.

In 6th grade, I joined my school’s Science Bowl team, which allowed me to consider astronomy from a scientific perspective. One of our coaches recommended books like Chaisson’s Astronomy Today for further study, which I read. Intrigued by the physics surrounding motion in the cosmos, I started to study physics. I took weekend classes at Tang Academy in Fremont, CA, which is where my passion for physics grew. Since then, I have continued to pursue my interest in physics, reading books like Tipler’s Physics for Scientists and Engineers and, currently, The Feynman Lectures on Physics. Every time that I open these books, I am fascinated by the parallels between and interconnectedness within physics concepts. I enjoy seeing how seemingly simple concepts combine to create the world we see, such as how electrostatics and special relativity can explain magnetism.

I am amazed by how signals emanating through space, such as X-rays, gamma rays, visible light, and infrared radiation, carry encrypted information about the universe, its origin, ongoing evolution, and possible end. Since it’s physically impossible to explore space, I realize that these signals carry information. Huge databases have been built to collect data to help us decipher and analyze this data, perhaps allowing physicists to unveil mysteries of the universe. I am very interested in learning how to develop physics models that can expand human understanding of the universe.

I enjoy challenging myself. To this end, I have participated in the USA Physics Olympiad for the past four years. I have competed in PhysicsBowl, and during the past three years, have participated in the American Mathematics Competition (AMC) and qualified for the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME). I have studied Multivariable Calculus, Linear Algebra, and am studying AP Statistics this year.

I deepen my problem-solving abilities by participating in competitions; however, not every competition ends in satisfactory results, which compels me to reflect on so-called failures and alternative approaches to solving problems.

I am very excited about the opportunity to study and discuss physics with peers at the 2019 United States Physics Team who have passions similar to my own.

And last but most certainly not least, I would like to thank everyone who brought me here: my physics teachers, Dr. Tang and Mr. Van Deusen, for encouraging my pursuit of physics; my math teachers, Mr. Peralta, Mr. Kobylecky, and Mr. Lau, for giving me the tools to learn physics with; and Mr. Geschke for organizing the test every year and making this opportunity possible for me.

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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