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Physics Olympians Bring Home 3 Gold, 2 Silver

Physics Olympians
Physics Olympians from left to right are: Willie Wong, Vladimir Novakovski, Brian Beck, Andrew Lutomirski, Daniel Peng Courtesy of Leaf Turner, Senior Coach of the 2001 US Physics Team (Courtesy of Leaf Turner, Senior Coach of the 2001 US Physics Team)
Five high school students, representing the US at the International Physics Olympiad (IPO), brought home an impressive victory in July: three gold and two silver medals. The team also finished third overall in the competition, just behind students from China and Russia.

Brian Beck of Ohio (gold medal), Vladimir Novakovski of Virginia (silver medal), Willie Wong (gold medal) and Daniel Peng (silver medal), both of New Jersey, and Andrew Lutomirski of California (gold medal), were selected from an original pool of more than eleven-hundred students from across the country to travel to Antalya, Turkey as part of the US Physics Olympiad Team to the IPO.

The international competition included a five-hour long laboratory test, as well as a five-hour long theoretical test. The team competed against 300 students from more than 60 countries for their medals. "We are so excited for the students," says Dr. Bernard Khoury, Executive Officer of the American Association of Physics Teachers, which co-sponsors the team with the American Institute of Physics. "They have worked so hard; to see them achieve this is incredibly rewarding."

The US Olympians do not limit their interests to science and mathematics. Beck is active in debate and journalism, as well as competing in golf and tennis. Lutomirski studies Russian and is active in the local Anti-Defamation League, also pursuing interests in theater lighting, ceramics and fencing. Wong plays saxophone in his high school band and is an avid bridge player. Peng is on the chess team, skis and scuba dives, and is active in the Junior State of America, a political awareness and debate organization dedicated to making young Americans aware of critical national policy issues.

Now in its 15th year, the US Physics Olympiad program was started in 1986 with the mission of promoting and demonstrating academic excellence, by fielding a team to compete against other nations in the International Physics Olympiad.


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Editor: Alan Chodos
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette