Just before the holidays the United States Physicist Tournament (USPT) took place at the Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, and our department participated in it! We had a team of seven students (Namit Chandak, Ruth Dierdorff, Matthew Gilles. I-Tzu Huang, Matthew Maxim, Elizabeth McAllister, Kudzai Musarandega, in alphabetical order), coached by our graduate students Brianna Billingsley and Manolis Drimalas.
USPT is a physics competition for undergraduate and early graduate students. In it, students get to work on a series of open-ended physics problems for a couple of months, and then engage in so called physics fights, debates in which they present and defend how they tackled these questions and then criticize and try to find weaknesses in the work of their opponents. The fights took place in Oklahoma State, and we had a subgroup of the team fly out to represent us in person.
USPT is open to any US based institution, and the winner gets the right to represent the US in IPT, the international version of the event, this year hosted in ETH Zurich. Unfortunately, our team got a close second place, losing to Oklahoma State’s team, that will be representing the US in IPT 2024. However, we hope that this was an interesting and educational experience for the participating students, and that it will be only the beginning of a continued presence of our department in USPT and IPT. We are already thinking about our mission to the next installment of the competition, so stay tuned!