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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 Vedantha Venkatapathy

Vedantha Venkatapathy

Redmond, WA

Tesla STEM High School

Grade: Junior


Playing squash and cricket, Watching funny movies


Physics Club, Math Club, National Science Bowl Club, Robotics Team


AIME qualifier (2017-2019), PUPC Silver (2018), USAPHO Bronze (2018), Physics Bowl (2018: 7th National/12th International), National Science Bowl (2016-2019), Destination Imagination Globals


I don’t remember much from elementary school. I recall that I liked to watch leaves change color, slide paper from under a coin without moving it, and sell extremely expensive water during city simulations in class, but that is about it. I’m told by my parents that creating chaos around me was natural, but now I know that I was simply obeying the laws of thermodynamics.

In the course of my Destination Imagination (DI) experience, I built mechanical cars that had to follow a controlled trajectory and range. I also built circuits to detect occluded objects using magnets. These experiences developed my intuition for concepts like gravity, friction, rotation, electricity, and magnetism. Armed with this knowledge, I was able to help my science bowl team qualify for National Science Bowl. In preparation for the event, I started reading physics textbooks. This was when I finally understood the theory behind my DI experiments. I still remember the moment that sparked my passion for physics: I was learning about Gauss’s law and something connected with me. I was very much drawn by the perfectness of the law, its simplicity, and its universal applicability.

I initially shied away from solving problems—I thought equations were sacred objects and using them rendered them less special. As a freshman, I appeared for the ‘F=ma’ exam and was awed by the difficulty of the problems and loved the challenge of solving them. Since then, I’ve enjoyed solving interesting problems and sharing the best ones in physics club.

My learning and fun compounded with Mr. Saxby as my high school physics teacher. At physics club, we start with a problem and our discussions meander through a whole lot of interesting topics. Before we know it, we have spent hours past the school’s end and the problem was yet to be solved! Mr. Saxby also brings us interesting experiments to perform. One I liked was when we used a tube, stopper, and a frequency generator to find the speed of sound. Another one was when we levitated a magnet on top of a superconducting wire.

I’m surprised and honored to be part of the US Physics team! I thank Mr. Saxby, Victor Hakim, and Preetum Nakkiran for providing me guidance along the way. I’m indebted to my science bowl coaches and teammates, for getting me started on physics. I’m also thankful for the support that my family continues to provide me, and specifically my mother for waiting patiently in the school parking lot when I’m happily engrossed in discussions with Mr. Saxby.

I hope to learn from my teachers and peers at the camp and share my ideas with everyone too. I’d like to pursue graduate studies in the fields of physics and computer science.

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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