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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 Sanjay Raman

Sanjay Raman

Traveling Team

Seattle, WA

Lakeside School

Grade: Senior



Hobbies

Running, Reading, Protobowl, Blokus, Geography Sporcle quizzes, Ping Pong, Going down the Wikipedia rabbit hole, Playing piano, Listening to epic music, Puzzles

Clubs

Varsity Cross Country and Track and Field, Quiz Bowl, Math Club, Math Team, Physics Team, Independent Math Research

Experience

IPhO 2017 Silver Medal, US Physics Team Invitee & USAPhO Gold 2017-2019, RSI 2018 Top Paper, USAJMO 2016-2017, USAJMO 2017 HM, USAMO 2019, MAA MathFest Undergraduate Paper Session Presenter 2016-2017, MAA Outstanding Student Presentation Award 2017

Bio

In this universe, our existence is a an astonishing miracle, one that at first is nearly impossible to believe. To attempt to systematically explain and describe this miracle would surely be madness. Yet that is exactly what physics seeks to do. Physics interprets and maps the universe, selecting the most important features and using mathematics to bring them into focus.

Take gravity, for instance. Classically, General Relativity governs its behavior; At the quantum length scales, it is hardly understood. However, zooming out to the astronomical scale, taking the nonrelativistic limit, and letting the field be sufficiently weak, a simplification occurs--all of gravity becomes a simple inverse-square force law! Nature is so unimaginably complex, yet if we view it through the right pair of lenses, it collapses into an expression of beauty and simplicity.

This is what I love about solving physics problems--the solution often rests in finding the right pair of glasses in which to view the problem. Physics has taught me how to look at the world systematically, through the arsenal of tools it has provided. When I look at a soap bubble, I could see a macroscopic film enclosing gas at a certain pressure above the ambient pressure. I could also imagine the molecules held together by dipole interactions or van der Waals forces. Or (as happens most often) I could just see a soap bubble!

Essentially, my entire study of physics has been one large exploration of the world through these different lenses. In 7th grade, I stumbled upon Deep Down Things, a non-technical introduction to high-energy particle physics. That was my very first pair of glasses, and I’ve been polishing it ever since. I fortified my mathematical background, and I later forged ahead with physics, diving into statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, and quantum field theory.

In 2017, I was fortunate enough to join the US Physics Team, and it proved to be one of the most transformative experiences of my life. At camp, I met some of the most passionate, motivated, and intelligent people I have ever seen. During my trip to IPhO 2017 in Indonesia, I was able to meet amazing physics students from all around the world. Throughout the competition, I got to know my teammates and coaches well, and we bonded over our shared love of physics.

In 2018, I rediscovered my interest in High-Energy physics at RSI. Ever since my 7th-grade encounter with Deep Down Things, High-Energy particle physics always held a special place in my heart, offering, for me, some of the most fascinating problems to ponder in all of physics. At RSI, I had an opportunity to explore the particle nature of dark matter with the data from the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider.

In the meanwhile, I have also taken time to pursue my other passion: running. I have been running Cross Country and Track competitively since 7th grade, and it has provided me a social community as well: Many of my best friends are fellow runners. I find running a refreshing change from rigorous academic studies.

Now, the year is 2019, and I am still 100% passionate about physics. And I’m incredibly honored to be back on the US Physics Team! To my math teachers, Ms. Alina Badus and Mr. Siva Sankrithi, thank you so much for guiding me through my study of advanced topics. To my advisor and physics teacher, Mr. Greg Lowe, you have inspired me to share my knowledge through teaching. To my math/physics team coach, Mr. Dean Ballard, thank you for taking the time to organize and administer F=ma and USAPhO these past few years. And lastly, to my parents, thank you for your unconditional support throughout my physics adventures!

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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