Twenty-two RCDS students competed in the 2021 U.S. Invitational Young Physicists Tournament (USIYPT), an annual physics research and debate tournament for high school students. This year, the tournament was held virtually with teams from the U.S. and China presenting their research on four undergraduate-level problems, which they spent the past year investigating experimentally and theoretically.
The tournament’s hallmarks are "physics fights," hour-long student-led debates over the quality of each team's solution to the posed problems. Usually, the debates begin with the reporting team giving a ten-minute summary of their research on one of the four official tournament problems, and then they engage in discussion with the opponents—just as members of competing research groups at a conference might discuss a presentation. This year, the teams pre-recorded their presentations and gathered via Zoom for the live debates.
Rye Country Day had a strong showing in the preliminary physics fights, and participation in the tournament, which was judged by physics professionals and professors, was a valuable experience for all. Competitors learned a great deal from each other about both problem solving and conducting research while navigating the challenges of the past year.
“Students had to be especially creative with their experimental work this year, as we did not have the usual access to space and equipment. The team’s work had to be conducted virtually and socially distanced when in-person, which required effective communication and project management via online notebooks and drives to track progress. I am extremely proud of the research the YPT team accomplished and presented at the tournament.”
— YPT Coach and Upper School Science Teacher Mary Krasovec
Congratulations to these outstanding students on their performance at the tournament and their year-long efforts collecting data and developing theory in the “Advanced Topics in Physics - YPT” course!
The 2021 YPT Team
YPT Coaches and Chaperones
Dr. Mary Krasovec, Upper School Science Teacher
Ms. Katie Sandling ’10, Upper School Science and Engineering Teacher
Mr. Craig Burt, Upper School Science Teacher
YPT Researchers, organized by problem
Max Hines ’21 (presenter)
Jack Merrill ’22
David Thurston ’21
Yuto Abe ’22
Wyatt Boester ’22
Allen Dong ’21 (Presenter; RCDS YPT Team Captain)
Dyllan Kim ’21
Xavier Lee ’21
Joseph Henry’s Rocking Motor
Matthew Harkness ’21 (Presenter)
Sofia Medina ’22
Amitav Nott ’22
Devan Phelan ’22
Josep Pujadas ’21
Sofia Rodriguez ’22
J.B. Russo ’21
Raghav Srinivasan ’23
Amitav Suchdev ’22
Lior Gurion ’22
Benjamin Mathias ’23
Taylor Le Lievre ’21
Deepta Gupta ’21 (Presenter)
Sophia Salzman ’22
2021 Official Tournament Problems
The Chatter ring, also Gyro ring or Jitter ring, is a toy with small spinning rings, called beads, around a big hoop, called the ring. The goal is to keep all of the beads spinning for as long, and as fast, as possible.Investigate how one works, both experimentally and theoretically.
Edward Craven Walker and David George Smith invented the Lava Lamp in 1963, and it soon became a fad, remaining popular throughout the 1970s. Investigate, both theoretically and experimentally, the physics of lava lamps.
MODELING IMPACT CRATERS
What happens when a large rock hits a planet or moon? Does it matter if it hits the water or land? How much kinetic energy does it take to produce a crater of a particular diameter? Where does this energy go during the impact? What forms the central peaks found in some lunar craters such as Tycho shown.
Conduct experiments designed to reproduce the shape of various terrestrial and lunar craters. Use your experimental results, and appropriate scaling relations, to estimate the energy needed to produce observed impact craters. How do your results compare with estimates from the scientific literature?
JOSEPH HENRY’S ROCKING MOTOR
In 1831 Joseph Henry invented the first electromagnetic motor, or as he put it: “I have lately succeeded in producing motion in a little machine by a power, which, I believe, has never before been applied in mechanics—by magnetic attraction and repulsion.” Read Henry’s article and reproduce his experiment. Clearly explain how it works using Henry’s reasoning, and then using modern electromagnetic field theory. Next, design and build a solar powered electromagnetic rocking motor optimized for pumping water in an arid rural area.