APS News

Taiwan Symposium Caps World Year of Physics Talent Search program

As a closing event for the World Year of Physics, students from about 20 different countries attended a special “Physics Young Ambassadors” symposium in Taipei from December 31, 2005 to January 4, 2006. These students, ages 10-18, were chosen to attend the event through an international program, the WYP 2005 Talent Search.

The International Coordinating Committee for the Talent Search was chaired by Beverly Hartline of Heritage University. The NSF provided travel grants for the Young Ambassadors from the United States, and also for those from Argentina, Cameroon, Ghana, Indonesia, and Tanzania, to the symposium in Taipei. The American Association of Physics Teachers helped coordinate travel for these groups.

At the international symposium, students attended a wide variety of events, including presentations by distinguished physicists, a “physics is fun”session with hands-on activities, a poster session for the students to present their work, a cultural evening, sightseeing tours in Taipei and the surrounding area, and an awards ceremony honoring the students’ achievements in physics.

“The symposium in Taiwan was the most exciting event I have ever participated in. From meeting famous physicists to discussing physics subjects with students from all over the world, it will forever influence my love of physics and has convinced me that I want to study physics in college,” said Franz Sauer, one of the US physics young ambassadors.

About 300 students participated in the United States Physics Talent Search, according to US organizer Andrew Gavrin of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. The talent search ran during 2005 as a way to create enthusiasm, interest, and participation in physics among young people and their families. Participants earned points by completing projects related to physics, such as writing an essay, doing a physics experiment, visiting a physics lab, or attending a World Year of Physics event. The talent search was intended to be inclusive, not competitive, said Gavrin.

Students who earned 10 points were recognized as “United States Physics Talent.” Higher numbers of points earned students “International Honorable Mention” awards. The girl and boy in each age group with the most points became “Physics Young Ambassadors,” and were invited to attend the symposium in Taiwan.

The symposium and the talent search helped students understand what physics is about, and encouraged the students to continue learning about physics, said Gavrin. “Every one of them said something about how wonderful it was and how inspired they were to do more physics.”

The US students who participated in the Physics Young Ambassador’s symposium were:

Franz Sauer
High Technology High School
Lincroft, New Jersey

Kelsey Duncan
J.P. McConnell Middle School
Loganville, Ga.

Amy Abramowitz
Myers Park High School
Charlotte, NC

Daniel Duncan
Millburn School
Wadsworth, IL
(also Antioch Community High School, Antioch, IL)

Alexandra Vinegar
Chapel Hill High School
Chapel Hill, NC



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