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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 Albert Qin

Albert Qin

Traveling Team

Sacramento, CA

Mira Loma High School

Grade: Junior



Hobbies

Reading, TF2, Amateur astronomy, Raising money to send a china teapot between the orbits of earth and mars

Clubs

Quiz bowl, Science bowl, Arcade Creek Project, Jade Ribbon club

Experience

USAPhO silver (2018), NAO (2019), IAAO team (2019), National Science Bowl (2018, 2019)

Bio

My physics journey began with a book I read at eight years old. (No, not Halliday and Resnick!) Rather, I remember picking up a copy of the book Star Crossing: How to Get Around the Universe, and being captivated. The book details how we might be able to use physics to build spaceships to travel around the universe. Although looking back on it, the style of the book is somewhat overdone, Star Crossing is still interesting to me even today. When I was writing this biography, flipping through the book, I found myself stopping to read sections that caught my interest. At eight, I was utterly fascinated. After reading the book, I tried to think of ways that I could create a really fast rocket. I wanted to be able to pause time and live forever, as I had read that a sufficiently fast spaceship would allow me to time travel. Of course, now I realize this wouldn’t work - sadly, in my frame of reference, I’d perceive time to proceed completely normally (I would however, see everyone on earth age due to the effects of gravitational redshift once I decided to return for home).

In high school, I found myself picking up physics initially in an effort to make my school’s science bowl team. I spent a large chunk of the summer before my sophomore year learning calculus just so that I could get through Young’s University Physics. After I became the official “physics guy” for the team and started to actually study it in depth, I began to discover a genuine love for the subject. At the beginning of my sophomore year, a science bowl alum advised me to “live and breathe this stuff”. I took his advice to heart, pouring hours and hours into studying physics. My sophomore year, I qualified for USAPhO, and came out of the USAPhO exam with the attitude that this was something that I could really do well at in a year if I tried at it.

This year, I have been working through books like Morin’s Classical Mechanics and Griffiths’ Electrodynamics (and a bit of his quantum mechanics book for fun!) They say that physics is beautiful - the more I studied physics, the more I came to appreciate this fact. As I read through these books, I saw how a particular theory - classical mechanics, electrodynamics, quantum mechanics - could be subsumed entirely by a very compact of equations (the least-action principle, Maxwell’s equations, Schrodinger’s wave equation). Physics is beautiful because it allows us, in principle, to be able to write down all the rules of the universe on a single sheet of paper!

I’m very excited to have made the US physics team this year, and I’m looking forward to meeting everybody at camp!

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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