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Mechanics Scholar Program (Challenge Exam)
The Spring 2020 Mechanics Scholar Program has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. See you in the Fall of 2020.
The Mechanics Scholar Exam for Fall 2019 is scheduled for 4:30 pm on Fri, Nov 22, in MPHY 203.
You may download a copy of the announcement poster or the full official announcement and, if you decide you'd like to participate in this semester's Challenge Exam, please register no later than 12:00 pm on Thu, Nov 21.
The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Texas A&M University founded the Mechanics Scholar Program in the Spring of 2002 to identify and honour the best students in Physics 206 (Classical Mechanics). The top performers are identified by an end-of-semester Challenge Exam that is open to all students in all sections (typically ~750 in the Fall semester, and ~2,000 in the Spring), with a turnout of around 5-10% writing the exam. It covers the material from the first three exams. While the difficulty level of the Challenge Exam is above the norm for Physics 206 exams, it is nevertheless meant to be for “fun” and is a way to let you match your physics (aka problem-solving) skills against the very best here at A&M. Note that we do not stress memorization; a formula sheet will be provided with all of the formulae and conversions you will need.
The top three winners will be presented with the Dr. Phyllis Toback Award, given a textbook for PHYS 207, and a monetary award for their accomplishment. As an added incentive, all students who perform well on the challenge exam will be named a MacMillan Mechanics Scholar (which includes a certificate suitable for framing), and will be invited to a catered luncheon in their honour. In addition to lunch, we will have presentations by faculty members regarding potential careers for people with high levels of physics problem solving skills. The exam is typically held just before (or during) Reading Days, right before finals.
Top 3 Winner Rewards
Challenge and Recognition
Free PHYS 207 Textbook
Certificate of Excellence
(front row, from left) Thomas G. Goodwin (first), Cole A. Greene (second) and Zihan Ouyang (third), with their respective professors (back row, from left) Dr. David Toback, Dr. Ricardo Eusebi and Dr. Wayne Saslow.
Top three winners of the Spring 2013 Pearson Mechanics Challenge Exam. From left: Dr. Dan Melconian, Yinwei “Charlie” Zhang (2nd place), Xing Zhao (1st place), Gabriel Apfel (3rd place), Department Head Dr. George Welch and Dr. David Toback.
The top fall 2012 Mechanics Scholars: (from left) Jose Roberto Dimas Valle and Andrew Baxter (tie for third), Andrew Kostrzewa (1st), Department Head George Welch, Jacob Shaw (2nd) and professor/organizer David Toback.
(left to right) Dr. George Welch, freshman general studies major Matthew Krusleski (first), freshman petroleum engineering major Shangjie Yue (second-place tie), freshman general studies major Steven Skobel (second-place tie), and Dr. David Toback.