Brighton Central School District

BHS teacher and student featured in journal

Tom Liu is only a senior at Brighton High School, but he’s already been published in two academic journals.

                  Liu and BHS physics teacher Brad Allen co-authored the cover story in the February issue of “The Physics Teacher.” Their article is titled, “Platonic Relationships Among Resistors.”

                  The idea for the article came out of Liu’s preparation for the U.S. Physics Olympiad competition. One of the questions on resistance in a circuit led to the discovery that there wasn’t anything published on solving the problems at a high school level.

                  “I thought it was an interesting concept that other people haven’t looked too much into,” Liu said. “I thought it’d be cool to study it a bit more and see what we could come up with.”

                  Liu and Mr. Allen built three-dimensional circuits to run experiments on.

                  “Most of the circuit problems you’re going to do in high school involve two-dimensional circuits,” Mr. Allen said. “So we found a way to use simple techniques to analyze three-dimensional circuits, like a cube.”

                  The article was submitted to “The Physics Teacher” in July. Three months later, the journal expressed interest, but requested more research. They learned it was accepted for publication just before Thanksgiving, but didn’t know it would be the cover story until receiving a copy of it in the mail.

                  Most of the contributors to “The Physics Teacher” are university professors with a few high school teachers. It’s the preeminent physics education publication in the United States. Mr. Allen noted that he received an email from his high school physics teacher, who read the article and thought it was “outstanding.”

                  Their research will provide lessons applicable in high school and entry-level college physics classrooms.

                  “It’s pretty cool,” Liu said. "I'm considering to pursue research as a career, so it was a nice opportunity for the experience.”


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