The 19 students who emerged to become the US Physics Team took a short break from their two-week training camp to visit with their senators and tour Smithsonian museums along the National Mall. While on Capitol Hill, students were able to take photos with senators from California, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Indiana, and Illinois. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) spoke to some Physics Team members during a weekly breakfast he hosts for visitors from New Mexico, and staff members from many Senate offices offered congratulatory remarks to the students. The Physics Team excitedly described some of their lab work to senators and staff, who were equally impressed to hear that the students had taken a five-hour physics exam the day before they visited the Hill.
Students offered their thoughts on the need for more high school students to have access to high-quality physics teachers, expressed their feelings about the numerous standardized tests required in public schools, and spoke of their experiences in physics classes and opportunities to conduct research in universities or federal laboratories. Senators asked members of the Physics Team to suggest ways that more high school and early college students might gain access to research opportunities. The AIP government relations staff coordinated with the Hill to arrange the visits and led teams of students around the Senate.
On June 6, AAPT announced the five members of the Travelling Team to represent the United States at the International Physics Olympiad in Astana, Kazakhstan, from July 13–21. Of the five, two of the students are from Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, MD. Congratulations to these new local celebrities, and to the other members who earned a spot on the travelling team. For more information, see the AAPT press release.