Sunday, July 22, 2007

Congratulations to the US Team and all Winners

The news is now official.

On behalf of AAPT and the entire physics community, I congratulate the US Physics Team for winning 2 gold medals (Jason Larue and Haofei Wei) and 3 silver medals (Kenan Diab, Rui Hu and Jenny Kwan) at this International Physics Olympiad in Iran. We are proud of their achievements. Every member of our US team returns home decorated. Please help me congratulate them and express our pride in their accomplishments. All winners and participants deserve our applause.

This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all, and especially our Team. I am so glad we were able to participate.

The competition is the main event, but the experience goes far beyond physics: It plays an important role in buildng human understanding among students from all over the world early on. Perceptions shaped by media and politicians are often inconsistent with reality. Nothing replaces personal interaction. By being in the beautiful, green and history-rich city of Esfahan 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.

All participants are on their way now to Tehran. Ours are expected back in the States tomorrow afternoon. Students and coaches will then board different planes seeking the warm welcome of their family; but they are now members of a new family. Welcome to AAPT and the physics community.

A huge thank you to Maria Elena and Annette (AAPT staff), Bob Shurtz and Paul Stanley (director and lead coach), our colleagues at the American Institute of Physics for their media and government relations support, and to the parents and teachers for their commitment and support.

(This blog will remain active, as I am sure there will be other commentary and shared experiences about the events and Esfahan.)


Toufic Hakim, Executive Officer
American Association of Physics Teachers