Yesterday, the 24 members of this year's U.S. Physics Team were on
Capitol Hill, meeting their Senators and Representatives. The Physics
Team is organized annually by the American Association of Physics Teachers
and sponsored by all ten of the Member Societies of the American Institute
of Physics. These 24 high-school age students from across the U.S. were
selected for the 2006 Team through two competitive examinations. They
arrived at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland on May
19 for a week-long training camp, where they are undergoing intensive
training and testing in problem-solving and laboratory skills.
Five team members will be selected to compete in the 2006 International
Physics Olympiad, a physics competition for pre-university age students.
This year's Olympiad will be held July 8 - 17 at the National Institute
of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. U.S. Physics
Team members earned one bronze, two silver, and two gold medals at last
year's competition in Salamanca, Spain.
In addition to meeting with their own Members of Congress, the Team
Members gathered to hear talks from Representatives Vernon Ehlers (R-MI)
and Rush Holt (D-NJ), both physicists, and to present them with gifts
and certificates for their many years of support for the Physics Team.
At the same time, the American Association of Physics Teachers also
awarded Holt and Ehlers lifetime memberships. In honor of the Team,
Rep. Ehlers inserted a statement into the May 25 Congressional Record
congratulating the students and wishing them well. His statement follows:
"Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the achievements of the members
of the 2006 United States Physics Olympiad Team. These 24 individuals
have shown tremendous aptitude in physics and leadership among their
"It is very challenging to earn a spot on this prestigious team.
After being nominated by their high school teachers and taking a preliminary
exam, 200 students qualified to take the second and final screening
exam for the U.S. Physics Team. The 24 survivors of that group represent
the top physics students in the U.S., and they are now at a nine-day
training camp of intense study, examination and problem solving. Five
of these exceptional students will advance and represent the United
States in a tremendous international competition in July at the International
Physics Olympiad in Singapore.
"Members of the 2006 team include: Sophie Cai, ZeNan Chang, David
Chen, Otis Chodosh, Kenan Diab, Jiashuo Feng, Yingyu Gao, Sherry Gong,
Timothy Hsieh, Rui Hu, Ariella Kirsch, Jason LaRue, Men Young Lee, David
Lo, Benjamin Michel, Hetul Patel, Veronica Pillar, Nimish Ramanlal,
Ingmar Saberi, William Throwe, Arnav Tripathy, Henry Tung, Philip Tynan
and Haofei Wei.
"Mr. Speaker, as a nuclear physicist and former physics professor,
I have worked to promote math and science education and to recognize
the pivotal role these fields play in our nation's economic competitiveness
and national security. Educating our K-12 students in math and science
is very important. It is encouraging to see so many young, outstanding
physics students enthusiastic about science, and I note that many of
them chose to pursue science as a result of a teacher or family member
who encouraged them along the way. Making sure our teachers are well-equipped
to teach science and math is very important in fostering the interest
of future generations in these subjects.
"I hope the composite enthusiasm of these students and the other
semifinalists will allow them to consider future careers in science,
technology, engineering and math. Furthermore, I hope some of them consider
running for public office and add their expertise to the policy world!
I am very thankful for these future leaders and ask that you please
join me in congratulating them on their wonderful achievements and wishing
the top five the best of luck as they represent the United States in