The physics team of PRISMS participated in the USIYPT (US Invitational Young Physicist Tournament) competition held in the Woodberry Forest School in VA during January 30th to January 31st, 2015. The team consists of nine members, two of them supervisory teacher | prepend: site.baseurl }}"s (Qi Wang and Dan Radulescu), four of them participants (Chao Liu, Joe Zhou, Richard Xiao, Eric Yu), and three of them assistants (Andy Zhang, Max Xiong, William Zhang).
The format of this competition works as a research. The philosophy of the competition is ‘Journey is more important than destination’ and series of "physics fights", which essentially means that all the teams research and prepare upon the four given problems, and one team presents its work at the "fight" as the "presenter" while another team engages in a conversation as the "opponent". There are also a group of jurors consisted of professors from various high schools or universities, who listen to the presentations and conversations, give questions to the teams, and grade the teams according to their performances. Our team was a first-year participant, and was expected to come among the lowest several rankings. We were indeed quite inexperienced, and failed to account for many important issues. In the three preliminary rounds in the first day, we did not do well. During the question and answer sessions and conversation sections, our team members were not able to answer questions good enough and were even occasionally tricked by some dirty strategies from the opponents. We had a meeting that night and figured out what we lacked. Therefore, we did a lot better on the second day, but still dropping out of the main event. However, we still got a chance and finished the third at the poster sessions, in which we put one of our presentations on a poster and discuss it with the judges. Finally we got sixth place out of nine. We met our sister school RDFZ team there, they got fourth place.
The result for our team at the competition was not very satisfactory, but we did learn a lot, both in physics and in competing strategies. We concluded that we did not do well due to lack of preparation and lack of discussion or even debating skills. We are planning to participate in the competition again next year, and we are looking for more students to join our team to make us stronger. A interesting fact is that almost all of the teams that won in recent years got the sixth place in the competition before their championship. Therefore, we believe that it is very likely that we can reach the top position next year!