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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 Rishab Parthasarathy

Rishab Parthasarathy

San Jose, CA

The Harker School

Grade: Freshman


Math, Physics, Violin, CS, Badminton, gaining random knowledge


Math Club, Science Bowl, Programming Club, Orchestra


USAPhO Bronze (2018), USAPhO Gold (2019), PUPC Silver (2018), USA(J)MO (2017-2019), National Mathcounts 2nd Place Team (2018), AIME (2016-2019), USABO semifinalist (2019), HMMT, PUMaC


As a young child, I was always drawn to math, its deceptive simplicity enthralling me. In elementary school, I was always the person who would finish all the math worksheets early and ask for more challenging exercises.

In middle school, I joined the Math Club and started to participate in math competitions, and I realized that I had a knack for it after I made AIME without much in the form of practice in sixth grade.

I was first introduced to physics in seventh grade because the science class mandated by the school taught physics for one semester. I did not think much of Newton’s Laws and other rudimentary concepts, but I put up with it because of the way the formulas could be applied to explain interesting demos such as rollercoasters. The one thing that piqued my interest the most was a simple pendulum, because my teacher explained that physics could explain why the period was relatively constant for small displacements, which was completely counterintuitive with my limited knowledge of physics.

At the behest of my friends and math teacher, I joined my middle school’s Science Bowl team on a whim. At first, the weekly studying requirements seemed like a heavy burden on my shoulders, but slowly, as I skimmed through physics textbooks, I recognized the true beauty of physics. I studied hard after I learned this, and I was able to reach our school’s Science Bowl team, but we were knocked out early in the elimination rounds of the regional competition. I vowed to study more physics, not only so that we could win regionals next year, but also because the ability of physics to succinctly and deterministically explain natural phenomena captivated me.

Anyone who has truly studied physics would know that that view is extremely superficial, but it served as motivation for me to learn more. Going into eighth grade, I signed up for an elementary physics class where I was exposed to more in depth explanations of how almost everything in mechanics could be derived from the most rudimentary principles. Then, I signed up for an AP Physics C class after learning calculus, which exposed me to how calculus could provide methods to solve more complicated models. At the motivation of my teacher, I signed up for the F=ma and qualified for the USAPhO, but only received a bronze medal.

That motivated me to study more physics. This year, I learned thermodynamics and modern physics, which exposed me to the fact that the beauty of physics was in its ability to succinctly model and approximate the real world. Armed with this knowledge, I reached where I am today.

I am extremely honored to be invited to participate in the 2019 US Physics Team, and I hope I am able to expand my knowledge of physics. I would like to thank my 7th grade physics teacher, Mrs. Swaminathan, for introducing me to the beauty of physics; Ms. Kadam and the Science Bowl coaches, for sparking my love of physics; Dr. Tang, for helping me expand my knowledge of physics into more difficult concepts; and most importantly, my parents, for always helping me attain my goals. Finally, I would like to thank my high school physics teachers, Dr. Brada and Dr. Nelson for helping me on my path of learning physics.

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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