Dolores Beasley Headquarters, Washington (Phone: 202/358-1753

)

May 28, 2002

Rory Richards American Institute of Physics, College Park, Md. (Phone: 301/209-3088) RELEASE: 02-98 NASA HOSTS U.S. PHYSICS OLYMPIAD TEAM HONORS After spending a week at physics "boot camp" competing in the 2002 U.S. Physics Olympiad, the 24 members of the U.S. Physics Team will be the guests of honor at a tribute in Washington hosted by NASA. The featured speaker is NASA Astronaut John Grunsfeld, who recently returned from his mission upgrading the Hubble Space Telescope. The U.S. Physics Team is made up of 24 of the best and brightest physics and mathematics high school students from around the country. This year's team includes 18 boys and six girls from 15 states with a tremendous number of accomplishments between them; one student has studied with Russian mathematicians, another was born in Romania and is doing financial analysis for the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, yet another has deferred acceptance to Caltech to continue studying piano. However, on May 31 all their thoughts will be on physics - and competition. For a week the students will conduct laboratory experiments and take exams at the University of Maryland in College Park, competing for medals and five college scholarships awarded by the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) and the American Institute of Physics (AIP), which co-sponsor the Physics Team. Grunsfeld will award the medals and scholarships during the NASA Tribute to the team at 5 pm, June 7 at the NASA Headquarters Auditorium, 300 E Street, SW in Washington DC. "Dr. Grunsfeld is an excellent example of where physics training can take you," said James Stith, Vice President of Physics Resources at the AIP. Grunsfeld has a doctorate in Physics and has been an astronaut since 1992. He is a veteran of four space flights and five space walks, including

two missions to the Hubble Telescope. On his latest flight to service Hubble in March, he served as mission specialist and payload commander. Grunsfeld and his colleagues installed the new Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), which has resulted in some of the most stunning pictures ever taken from Hubble. Before the awards ceremony, the Physics Team will also get a behind-the-scenes tour of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, and following the ceremony students will get a private viewing of SPACE STATION 3-D at the museum's IMAX theater. Biographies and photos of the U.S. Physics Team are available on the Internet at: http://oliver.aapt.org/programs/olympiad/2002/team.cfm Additional information on AIP AAPT in available on the World Wide Web at: http://www.aip.org http://www.aapt.org -end-