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January 1993

High School Students Excel in CalTech's Demanding Ph 11 Course

Since 1990, CalTech has offered the intensive physics (Ph) 11 Research Tutorial for a small number of freshman students who are selected on the basis of an open competition. The tutorial demonstrates how research ideas are initiated, evaluated, and tested, and how the ideas that survive are developed. Students work on individual, original projects, with weekly group meetings and one-on-one tutorial meetings with instructor Thomas A. Tombrello. For the first time this summer, the program was also open to high school students.

Undergraduate students who have taken the course have won many research prizes, published substantial research papers, and have been accepted by top graduate programs. By opening the summer-quarter course to pre- college students, the CalTech Physics Department hopes to enhance its recruitment efforts by attracting these students to the university.

High school teachers who attended the 1996 CRPC-sponsored Minorities Teachers Computational Sciences Awareness Program recommended participants Duong Hang (South Hills High School, West Covina, CA), and Andrew Ren (Marshall High School, Pasadena, CA) for this summer's program. The other student participants are Cecile Lim (Notre Dame Academy, West Los Angeles, CA), and Aaron Simmons (Texas Academy of Math & Sciences, Denton, TX). Seven Ph 11 undergraduate students in the regular program have served as guides and mentors to the high school participants, and Ph 11 T.A. Brian D'Urso, a senior at CalTech, serves as a mentor to the whole group.

(CalTech staff photographer)
CalTech Professor Thomas A. Tombrello (seated) conducted the first CRPC-sponsored Ph11 for High School Students Program. Participants (left to right) Cecile Lim, Duong Hang, Andrew Ren, and Aaron Simons attended classes for ten weeks during CalTech's summer quarter. Brian D'Urso (not pictured), a CalTech Senior, mentored the group.
According to Tombrello, the high school student participants have learned a substantial amount of basic physics, brushed up on or learned calculus, and are making strong starts on their research problems. "They all represent the sort of self-motivated, determined teenagers that CalTech tries hard to attract," he says.

For more information, see http://www.pma.caltech.edu/.

Other Photos from the Program

Click here for the Caltech Ph11 Program picture gallery

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