In addition to her silver medal, Russell was named "Best Female Participant" in the physics competition.
Russell, who is from Yorktown Heights, New York, is majoring in physics at Caltech. She is the recent recipient of both a Lingle and an Axline scholarship.
Caltech freshman Rysmagambetov, who also earned a silver medal in the competition, is originally from Kazakhstan and plans to major in computer science while at Caltech.
Day one of the rigorous two-day competition was devoted to solving complex theoretical physics problems including "A Swing of a Falling Weight," "A Piezoelectric Crystal Resonator under an Alternating Voltage," and "Neutrino Mass and Neutron Decay." After a day of rest, the next competition day consisted of solving five-hour experimental problems utilizing laser beams or diodes, photodetectors, multimeters, and nematic liquid crystal.
At this year's International Physics Olympiad, 238 students from 54 countries participated. Originating in 1967 in Warsaw, this is the major international physics competition for secondary school students. Every year the competition is held in a different country around the world. Next year's 2004 competition will be held in July in Pohang, South Korea.
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Written by Deborah Williams-Hedges