Ann Arbor high schoolers create international physics group

(Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – High school students interested in physics don’t have many international opportunities to explore their interests.

Realizing this, two Ann Arbor high school students teamed up to create the Young Physicists Association (YPA Physics).

Started by Huron High School seniors Siddharth Jha and Jerry Li, the physics organization helps young people passionate about physics to connect and take part in contests and virtual events.

Through email, Jha said the organization started with himself, Li, and a Canadian friend whom Jha had previously met at a physics competition. The group organized a physics event and sent applications to attendees. From there, the group grew as the original three members began interviewing applicants.

Jha said that the organizations’ reputation started to circulate internationally, which helped it grow. YPA Physics has now recruited members from the United States, India, Canada and Azerbaijan.

“While our team is strong, we couldn’t have gotten very far without the diversity of the group as, with such diversity, we were able to reach out to a greater audience”, Li said in a press release.

Currently, the small organization has partnerships with computation intelligence company Wolfram and mathematics-based software solutions company Maplesoft.

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YPA Physics has already offered some physics-focused events but more are planned as the academic year approaches.

On Aug. 30, YPA Physics will host the official Physics Bowl of Azerbaijan. In partnership with the Ministry of Education in Azerbaijan, students in the country will compete in a quiz bowl competition.

Dealing with the new reality faced by students, the organization has two more virtual events planned for young people interested in physics.

The Code-ify Physics! contest will introduce high school students to computational physics and allow them to explore coding and physics together. The top three most creative ideas will win prizes worth over $300 supplied by Wolfram.

Think Physics! allows students to work in teams of up to four. Using physics, teams will work together to create an analytically based solution to a real-world problem. Contest submissions will be evaluated by nine judges and the top three contests will win prizes by MapleSoft.

Dates have not been announced for the two events.

YPA Physics intends to continue expanding in order to reach more students interested in physics. Jha said the organization receives applications weekly, which are reviewed by team members.

“Connecting people around the world with physics is a beautiful thing to be a part of,” said Jha in a release. “I have gotten the opportunity to meet many of my closest friends today only because of the opportunities physics has provided me.”

With two of its founders in Ann Arbor, the organization hopes to use opportunities presented by living in the city to further expand.

Learn more about YPA Physics at

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.