2021 International Physics Olympiad Team

Meet the 2021 International Physics Olympiad Team!

Dhruv Hariharan

Having a love for scientific problem solving, Dhruv Hariharan decided to take part in the Australian Science Olympiads program. Today, he has earned a place as one of five talented students on the 2021 Australian Physics Olympiad team.

“The best part of the Science Olympiads is the emphasis on giving all aspects a go, whether you do well or not, it is still great fun to be exposed to such interesting concepts,” he says.

Dhruv found the Summer School the most challenging yet rewarding aspect of the program so far. “It was quite demanding to work on tough Physics problems and practical experiments for 8-10 hours a day, however the day ended with a sense of achievement,” he says. “It was an opportunity that I took on and gave my best effort.”

Dhruv is an avid debater who is heavily involved with his school’s debating program. He was recently selected to represent NSW at the National Schools Debating Championships held in Hobart. He also enjoys playing squash, cooking and watching football games with his brother.

His favourite scientist and role model is Nikola Tesla. “Not only was Tesla a scientific genius, but he had the ability to apply his knowledge to innovations that even today make our everyday life better,” Dhruv says. “I admire his commitment and passion for his work over everything else, to the point that he gave up a fortune to keep his company alive.”

He is considering a career in scientific research or data analytics.

James Monro

James Monro has always enjoyed the mental gymnastics of sitting academic competitions, so he saw the Australian Science Olympiads as a great opportunity to stretch his brain with challenging STEM questions. Now, after persevering through tough rounds of selection and outperforming thousands of other students, he has earned a place as one of five talented students on the 2021 Australian Physics Olympiad team.

“What I like best about the Australian Science Olympiads is that it tests the way you think rather than the content you know,” he says. “There was a lot of advanced material to work through and it took lots of time and effort, but I feel that I have a much richer understanding of physics now.”

He spends most of his spare time in the world of music, playing for the Australian Youth Orchestra and the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. He leads the cello section of the ANU Orchestra, is in a piano quartet and enjoys composing. Apart from music, he also likes to draw and generate computer-based visual art.

In the future, James hopes to follow the footsteps of his greatest role model Alexander Borodin, who was a research chemist, composer and cellist. “I’d like to continue to play in chamber groups, orchestras and as a soloist while doing physics or maths research,” he says.

Raymond Trinh

Raymond Trinh decided to take part in the Australian Science Olympiads so he could extend his knowledge of science beyond the NSW school syllabus. “I knew that the program would open my eyes to a wider world of science that I wanted to explore,” he says. After persevering through tough rounds of selection and outperforming thousands of other students, he has earned a place as one of five young talents on the 2021 Australian Physics Olympiad team.

During Summer School, he found performing the physics experiments remotely quite challenging, such as constructing circuits. “I only had my tiny spare room with a sketchy Wi-Fi connection,” he says. On the other hand, he has enjoyed the challenge of learning the science behind these practicals and meeting people who share his STEM passions.

In his science pursuit, Raymond looks up to Richard Feynman for his “popularisation of physics and the passion that he puts into his teachings.” He aspires to enter a career in the STEM field, most likely in astrophysics or engineering.

In his spare time, he teaches his younger peers physics at school and participates in other science competitions, like the Science and Engineering Challenge. He also enjoys robotics, juggling and solving Rubik’s cubes.

Rune Chi Zhao

Rune Chi (Chi Chi) Zhao has always had a fascination for science and loved being challenged, which led her to participate in the Australian Science Olympiads program. Now, she has been selected as one of five brilliant students on the 2021 Australian Physics Olympiad team.

“My favourite thing about the program is the creative problem-solving aspect of it and how you get to apply yourself in many different ways,” she says. “Each question is a new challenge and I’ve also really enjoyed meeting new people.”

During her Summer School training, she found learning a large amount of theory in a short period of time challenging yet rewarding. “After practicing and persisting, everything became a lot clearer and it’s great to look back and see how much I’ve improved,” she says.

In her STEM pursuit, she looks up to her dad for his dedication, selflessness and perseverance. “For as long as I can remember, he has encouraged my passion for science, often teaching me new things on car rides to school,” she says. “He’d always make sure to stress the importance of creativity in science and how science is so much more than just memorising facts on a page.”

Science aside, Chi Chi enjoys music, including playing the guitar, piano, singing and composing. She plays various sports and volunteers for the Smith Family. She has also placed 3rd in the National Microsoft AI for Good Schools Challenge for designing a bushfire prevention app and won the ADF Future Innovators Award.

In the future, she’d like to become a researcher, doctor or astronaut.

Yalun Yang

Passionate about the abstract side of science, Yalun Yang decided to participate in the Australian Science Olympiads to extend his understanding of physics. After making it through tough rounds of selection, he has earned a place as one of five talented students on the 2021 Australian Physics Olympiad team.

Though he found the extensive workload associated with the Summer School challenging, he has also enjoyed connecting with other STEM enthusiasts. “The sheer amount of content within physics I was able to learn with likeminded people who I knew had the same passion for the subject as myself just made the experience phenomenal,” he says.

Yalun is currently unsure where he is headed in the future, but he believes he will enter a career in an academic field related to physics. In his STEM pursuit, his greatest role model is Leonhard Euler for his contributions to our modern understanding of differential equations.

“The way Euler was able to view physics concepts in terms of differential equations is impressive in itself,” he says. “The impact his prolific career had on the fields of mathematics and physics is irreplicable and it is difficult to imagine a world without his contributions.”

In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis but is currently paying close attention to the Euro 2020 tournament. He finds this to be a great way to relax, spend time away from academic work and have fun with friends.