3 students advance to semifinal round of national physics competition

Three upper school students participated in the semifinal round of the national physics competition put on by the American Association of Physics Teachers. Joshua Oreman ’09, Andy Lucas ’08 and Jon Lee ’08 missed part of school on March 17 to take the three-hour physics exam. The test covers AP Physics B and AP Physics C material.

“It takes a lot of preparation because the concepts are more than just what we are taught in class,” said Oreman.

The first round of the competition was open to all physics students. Science teacher John Feulner encouraged all students who have taken, or are currently enrolled in, both AP Physics C courses, as well as Mechanics and Electricity and Magnetism classes, to take the test.

“They are three of the finest physics students I have had the pleasure of teaching,” said Feulner. “Of course, I am very proud of them, but not really surprised. They are representing our school in an exemplary manner.”

The top 400 scores advanced to the quarterfinal round, where they took a more extensive one-hour exam. The students who received the top 150 scores from that quarterfinal test, including Oreman, Lucas, and Lee, advanced to the semifinal round on Monday. This test includes AP Physics C concepts as well as challenges the students to draw from other outside knowledge, said Oreman.

The top 24 students from the semifinal round will be selected to participate in a one week physics training camp at the University of Maryland at the end of May. Lucas was selected last year.

Four to six of those students from the camp will advance in to International Physics Olympiad in July. The Olympiad will be held in Vietnam.

“Participating in the Olympiad is way beyond anything I can envision at this point,” said Oreman. “I will just be pleasantly surprised if I make it to the next round.”