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In 1986, under the direction of the AAPT Executive Officer, Jack Wilson, the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) organized the United States Physics Team for the first time. — AAPT.ORG

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Photo of Calvin Huang

Calvin Huang

Traveling Team

Palo Alto, CA

Henry M. Gunn High School

Grade: Junior

Hobbies

Programming, electronics, cross country, piano, watching movies, badminton

Clubs

Leader of the Controls group of the Gunn Robotics Team, cross country team, math circles, physics club president

Experience

USAJMO Winner (2012), USAMO Qualifier (2013); AMC 8/10 perfect scores (2010-2011), AMC 12 Distinguished Honor Roll (2013); HiMCM Finalist (2013); FIRST Robotics Best Overall, Regional Champion, Design Excellence winner (2012, 2013); USAPhO Semifinalist (2011-2013); SMT Second Place in Calculus (2013); ZERO Robotics Finalist (2011); Synopsys Science Fair ACM Special Award (2013); HMMT (2011); ARML (2010)

Bio

I've always had a sort of penchant for math and the natural sciences; I'd read science encyclopedias cover to cover (mind you, it was a kid's version, given as a birthday present) when I was six-so much so that it's fallen apart. I learned about square roots when other kids were doing basic addition, and I stuck keys into an outlet out of curiosity about electricity. I took apart remote controls and put together gazebos for fun (with my father as a minion). I went to numerous science summer camps to satisfy my appetite for science, and I learned math on my own, reading Challenge Math which would, in 4th grade, teach me all the math I would need to know for the rest of middle school (and math class became extremely boring from there on).

In late 4th grade, I found an outlet for my math ability-I discovered the AMC 8, and I did fairly well, if I do say so myself. I began to focus on math-I started reading the Art of Problem Solving series. Steady improvement followed-I made the AIME in 7th grade, the USAJMO in 8th, and won that in 10th grade. However, in middle school I took an Industrial Tech class, and that introduced me to the practical side of life-we got to play in a machine shop, weld, CAD things, and I began to like engineering as much as-if not more than-pure math, so I began to branch out into physics, robotics, and programming.

I started out programming with visual BASIC at home, and I tried to take week-long summer classes in Java (which taught me what I could have learned from the internet in a few hours). I created a website for my father's startup, Eneron, Inc. I joined our school's robotics team in 10th grade-as a programmer-and I found it a much more exciting and social experience than math competitions. Over the course of one and a half months in 2012, I put in a good couple hundred hours into working on our school's robot, and I did it again in 2013. For three months each year, my life revolves around robotics.

I learned of the F=ma competition in 9th grade, and I delved into it, going only by what I had learned in eighth grade physics (plus that encyclopedia). I managed to make it to the semifinals! I was amazed at how far I got with my lack of knowledge, and I wanted to learn more and do better. I convinced the school administration to let me take Physics APC in sophomore year, and over the summer I coerced Foothill College to allow me to take Physics 4C-thermodynamics and waves. In retrospect, getting into those classes was probably more difficult than the classes themselves-but thanks to those breaches in protocol, I was finally ready for this year's physics olympiad.

I'd like to thank all the people who helped me get to this point-Mr. Booth, for introducing me to the world of engineering; Ms. Villalobos, Ms. Johnston, and Mr. Jacobowsky, for allowing me to skirt course prerequisites; Mr. Dunbar, for being an awesome physics teacher and robotics mentor; and Ms. Pennington, for supporting our physics competitions and helping me organize our school's physics club.

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