Nicoll to vie for place on the 2012 U.S. physics team


Senior Sam Nicoll will be one of 20 students to attend a special camp in College Park, Md.  that will prepare them for the 43rd International Physics Olympiad competition.

Five of the 20 will go on to represent the nation  on July 15-24 in Estonia.

The selection process started in January with 3,600 participants first taking the preliminary Fnet=ma exam. About 400 of the participants then proceeded to take the semi-final exam, which was used to determine the 20 most qualified students for the team.

Nicoll, who made it to the semi-final last year, said the exam was difficult because its scope is beyond what is taught in AP Physics. He used that past experience to succeed this year, having practiced with past years’ exams.

“I had a pretty good idea of what the semi-final would be like. I also knew more physics this time around, having learned special relativity in Quantum Physics and some thermodynamics,” Nicoll said.

The team will participate in an intensive 10-day training camp at the University of Maryland in June. At the end of the camp, the five finalists and an alternate will travel to Estonia.

“I’ll study and work hard to make the traveling team, but I’m happy just going to the training camp. I will be there with 19 very smart kids, and I will be listening to lectures from prominent physicists,” Nicoll said. “Going toEstonia for the IPhO would just be a fantastic bonus.”