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2020 and 2021 Canadian Association of Physicists University Prize Exam Results

University of Toronto students had stellar results, taking a number of the top spots for two years in a row.
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The final results of both the 2020 and 2021 Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) University Prize Exam were released in early September 2021.

The Canadian Association of Physicists University Prize Examination, normally held in February or March of each year, is a national competition open to students across the country who are studying physics and are enrolled in an undergraduate program at the time of the examination. All eligible students are encouraged to participate.

The CAP Foundation awards cash prizes to the top three students and when the CAP Congress is held in person, prize winners who attend are presented with their awards during the annual award ceremony at the end of the Congress.

2020 CAP University Prize Results:

The 2020 examination was held on February 4, 2020. The examination was written by 51 students from 11 universities/colleges.

The top four out of ten students were from the University of Toronto and two were from U of T Physics.

1st – Samuel Li, University of Toronto, Physics Specialist

2nd – Hanzhen Lin, University of Toronto, BASc in Engineering Science

3rd – An Zihe, University of Toronto, Incoming Exchange with APSC from Peking University

4th – Kehui Li, University of Toronto, Physics Specialist

Read more here:
https://www.cap.ca/programs/medals-and-awards/prizes-students/university-prize-exam/2020-cap-upe-results/

2021 CAP University Prize Exam Results

The 2021 examination was held on March 9, 2021. The examination was written by 61 students from 14 universities/colleges.

Five of the top ten students were from the University of Toronto and four of them were from U of T Physics.

1st – Samuel Li, University of Toronto, Physics Specialist

4th – Tony An, University of Toronto, Physics Specialist

6th – QiLin Xue, University of Toronto, Engineering; BASc in Engineering Science

8th – Jay Epstein, University of Toronto (tie), Physics Specialist

8th – Ryan Ripsman, University of Toronto (tie), Physics Major

Read more here:
https://www.cap.ca/programs/medals-and-awards/prizes-students/university-prize-exam/2021-cap-university-prize-exam-results/

Samuel Li who is in the Physics Specialist Program at U of T took the top prize in both years. We caught up with him to ask a few questions.

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What does taking the top spot two years in row mean to you?
I am honoured to have achieved first place in 2020 and 2021. I certainly did not go into the exam expecting to do this well; I viewed it mainly as a fun opportunity to spend a few hours thinking about some out-of-the-box physics problems. Many of the questions combine knowledge from disparate topics in a way that would be difficult to put on a normal problem set. The exam results were a nice surprise on top this.

What would you tell other students who are considering writing the exam next year?

I would avoid spending too much time preparing for the exam itself. The questions are written in a way that tests physical intuition, so it’s difficult to “drill” the past tests. Instead, expose yourself to a broad range of physics topics, and take note of any interesting ideas you find. In the long run, this will help you with both the exam and your future research career.

Samuel also says “If you have fun learning physics and doing physics, everything else will follow.”

Congratulations to all the winners!