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From 1986 to 2019, the United States Teams have brought home: 66 Gold Medals, 48 Silver Medals, 29 Bronze Medals, and 11 Honorable Mentions. — AAPT.ORG

Meet the Team

Photo of Emily Lu

Emily Lu

Lincolnshire, IL

Adlai Stevenson High School

Grade: Junior


Playing cards, listening to music, reading webcomics, crosswords, nonograms, other word/logic puzzles


Physics, math team, newspaper, peer tutors


AIME, ARML, MPfG, USACO, Physics Bowl


Like many others, my interest in physics was preceded by an interest in math beginning in middle school. I was drawn to how the same content knowledge, often as basic as what was taught in algebra class, could be applied to solve different types of problems. When I saw a math problem in competition, I usually had all the tools I needed to solve it; the difficult part ? and the thrilling one ? would be figuring out which ones to use and how to use them.

Later, I similarly enjoyed physics after discovering it in high school because it too required a combination of content knowledge and problem solving techniques. However, it also had the capacity to explain why and how things happen in our world. Since a young age, I had always loved visiting science museums and would eagerly anticipate visits to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. I would always try to understand how the exhibits worked, staring in wonder at demonstrations such as the motion of a giant Newton’s cradle or the sparks flying from a Van de Graaff generator. I loved seeing them in action, but at a young age I didn’t understand much about those exhibits beyond oversimplified explanations. As I discovered more and more of the depths within physics, I kept on remembering the phenomena I had witnessed in the past and realizing “oh, so that’s why this happens.” I was fascinated by the wealth of explanations physics provided for occurrences I had previously taken for granted and assumed to be true by default.

I would like to thank those who have helped me reach this point: my parents, who have always supported and encouraged me in exploring my interests, as well as Ms. Edstrom, who was an amazing teacher for AP Physics last year. I’m also incredibly grateful that she always goes out of her way to organize physics contests, making it possible for students to participate. I look forward to meeting all of the amazing people at camp this year and continuing to explore physics with them!

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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 U.S. Physics Team, please contact AAPT's Programs department at 301-209-3340 or programs@aapt.org