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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

U.S. Physics Team Wins Gold and Silver Medals at International Competition


College Park, Maryland, United States, July 23, 2007

The U.S. Physics Team has returned home triumphant today, having garnered a total of five medals; one by each of the team members.

The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) and the American Institute of Physics (AIP) today announced that the students chosen to represent the United States at the 2007 International Physics Olympiad in Isfahan, Iran, earned two gold and three silver medals.

The 2007 U.S. Physics Team members are:
  • Gold Medalist Jason LaRue, Miami, FL (teacher: David Jones)
  • Gold Medalist Haofei Wei, Oklahoma City, OK (teacher: Shayne Johnston)
  • Silver Medalist Kenan Diab, Gates Mills, OH (teacher: Bob Shurtz)
  • Silver Medalist Rui Hu, Wilmington, DE (teacher: David Stover)
  • Silver Medalist Jenny Kwan, San Marcos, CA (teacher: Jose Fernandez)
The students had been selected in June after a two-phase national contest and a ten-day training camp, conducted by seven AAPT-appointed coaches. The members of the team were ably mentored and prepared by Director Bob Shurtz and Senior Coach Paul Stanley who, along with AAPT Executive Officer Toufic Hakim, accompanied the team to Iran.

"We're proud of our team members and so glad they had the chance to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Hakim. "We are certainly cognizant of our challenges to attract and prepare physics students to sustain our leadership in the science, but these students do give us hope.”  He added, “This global event goes beyond just physics. By being in the beautiful, green, and history-rich city of Isfahan and by interacting with its friendly and hospitable people, we have all affirmed our belief that the commonality of people and universality of physics trump differences in language, dress code, practices, and political rhetoric.”

Each winter, more than 200 of the nation’s top-scoring high school students advance to the semifinals for the national team. Based on the results of 10 theoretical exams and 5 lab exams, as well as students’ school transcripts and letters of recommendation, the 24 members of the U.S. Physics Team are chosen in early May. Later in the month, team members travel to the University of Maryland-College Park for nine days of intense studying, testing, and problem solving at the annual U.S. Physics Team Training Camp. The five students who make up the national Traveling Team are chosen at the close of camp. Three additional days of intense laboratory work follow before the students leave for the International Olympiad.

“Not only is it challenging to keep satisfying their intellectual curiosity and answering their tough questions,” said Shurtz, “but it is the fact that we keep learning from these students that keeps us going. There is nothing better today than sharing in their success.”

This may be the end of the international competition, but all signs speak of a bright future for these students.

About the Olympiad
The U.S. Physics Olympiad Program is a joint initiative of AAPT and AIP. AAPT began the program in 1986 to promote and demonstrate academic excellence. The International Olympiad is a nine-day competition among pre-university students from more than 80 nations. This year’s Olympiad, the 38th, was held at the Isfahan University of Technology in Iran July 13-22. In 2006, the U.S. team brought home four gold and one silver medal. For a day-by-day recap of the team's experiences in Iran, view the Competition Blog available on the Physics Team site.


2007 International Physics Olympiad Traveling Team

Jason LaRue, Miami, FL. He is a senior at Miami Palmetto High School and his bio can be found here.

Haofei Wei, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. He is a senior at Oklahoma School of Science and Math in Oklahoma City and his bio can be found here.

Kenan Diab, Westlake, Ohio. He is a senior at the Hawken School in Gates Mills and his bio can be found here.

Rui Hu
, Newark, Delaware. He is a junior at Charter School of Wilmington and his bio can be found here.

Jenny Kwan
, San Marcos, CA. She is a senior at San Marcos High School and her bio can be found here.


About AAPT

AAPT is the leading organization for physics educators—with 11,000 members worldwide. Our mission is to advance the greater good through physics teaching. We provide our members with many opportunities for professional development, communication, and student enrichment. We serve the larger community through a variety of programs and publications. AAPT was founded in 1930 and is headquartered in the American Center for Physics in College Park, Maryland.


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