Some might think of science as an empirical and objective subject, leaving little room for disagreement. Members of the two Taipei American School physics debate teams would disagree.
Nine students competed at the Taiwan Young-Student Physics Tournament (TYPT) at National Taiwan Normal University from March 17-20. At the event, teams took turns making presentations on one of twelve research questions, while the other teams critiqued their work.
The A-team, consisting of Nathan Kuo (12), Aaron Kuo (12), Avery Wang (12), Leo Kim (12), and TJ Kim (12), won silver at seventh place. The B-team–Lee Thrush (12), Alvin Hsu (12), Tim Ho (10) and David Wang (10)–won second place. Along with their awards, the students also took home a combined total of 230,000 NTD in prize money.
“We began preparing in September and researched throughout the year,” says Aaron. “The most difficult part is that the questions are not designed to be completely doable by high school students, so sometimes it can be intimidating when you read other research papers and think about how to answer the questions.”
The B-team faced another problem. “Our team lost a member because one person attended the robotics trip to Australia instead,” says Alvin, the B-team captain. “Despite the extra work, everyone tried their best and stayed positive.”
The A and B teams collaborated heavily during the preparation process, meaning that all of the competitors contributed to TAS’s second-place finish. “Even Isaac Newton said, ‘If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.’ We definitely owe our win to the intellectual giants of the A-team,” says David. “I would especially like to thank Aaron for personally helping me out the most. Aaron, captain Nathan Kuo, and the rest of the A-team mentored us. They deserve credit for much of the experimentation and research.”
Impressively, TYPT club president Nathan was invited to a training camp for the national physics team even though his TAS team did not place in the top three. Three other students, Lee, Alvin, and David, were also invited to the camp, which will take place in April.