Attending the Physics Olympiad is a remarkable opportunity for high-school students. The recent International Physics Olympiad was held in Tel-Aviv, Israel, in July 2019, where teams of 5 from dozens of countries participated.
To learn more about the International Physics Olympiad, click here.
We are preparing students for the first screening exam for the US Physics Olympiad team, known as the "F=ma" exam, held annualy at the end of January. The material for this exam is mostly mechanics - you can find examples of previous exams here. The mentoring is done by undergraduate and graduate students, from Harvard and MIT, starting in the fall and continuing through January. In the spring (January through March) we start preparations for the Semi-Finals exam, which covers a much broader range of materials.
This year, we will be holding the Harvard Physics Circle meetings virtually over zoom, starting Saturday September 19, 2020 at 3 pm. Participation is open to any interested high school students. To receive the links for the virtual sessions, please email your name, school and grade to: harvardphysicscircle@gmail.com
To students who missed the first sessions: Meetings will continue weekly on Saturdays at 1 pm EDT, and you can still join! Simply sign up as instructed above. The syllabus and relevant pdfs can be found below.
In the spring semester we will cover topics other than mechanics, including electromagnetism, thermodynamics and relativity: see the attached syllabus.
Date | Topic |
Sep 19 | Kinematics |
Sep 26 | Dimensional Analysis/Math |
Oct 3 | Statics |
Oct 10 | Momentum |
Oct 17 | Work-Energy |
Oct 24 | Circular Motion |
Oct 31 | Angular Momentum |
Nov 7 | Harmonic Motion |
Nov 14 | Gravitation Laws |
Nov 21 | Orbital Mechanics |
Nov 28 | Hydrostatics |
Dec 5 | F=ma mixed problems |
Dec 12 | F=ma mixed problems |
Dec 19 | F=ma mixed problems |
Jan 9 | Harvard Physics Circle Exam |
Spring semester 2021
Date | Topic |
Jan 16 |
Coulomb’s Law, Gauss’s Law, Potential |
Jan 23 |
Capacitors, Current, Resistance, Resistors |
Jan 30 |
Magnetism, Biot-Savart, Ampere’s Law |
Feb 6 |
Faraday’s Law, Inductors, Inductance, RC/RL Circuits, RLC Circuits |
Feb 13 |
Continue RLC Circuits, Driven RLC Circuits, Maxwell’s Equations |
Feb 20 |
Laws of Thermodynamics, Ideal Gases, Heat Engines, Entropy |
Feb 27 |
Relativistic Kinematics (including Four-Vectors) |
March 6 |
Relativistic Dynamics, Collisions, Problem-Solving Strategies |