Texas A&M Mechanics Scholar Program

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.

Congratulations to all who took the Fall 2019 Challenge Exam, especially the 15 Pearson Mechanics Scholars!

Past winners of the Challenge Exam:

Year Spring Fall
2019 Thomas G. Goodwin you?!?
2018 Faith A. Leskowitz
2016 Christian Brazell Daniel Hartman
2015 Chansik Kim Christian Aycinena
2014 Rohit Nasa Zachary Magnotti
2013 Xing Zhao Gabriel R. Siegel
2012 Matthew Krusleski Andy Kostrzewa
2011 Matthew Barry Hanyu Li
2010 Rongqiang Chen Casey Perkins
2009 Drew P. Mitchell Austin Butts
2008 Blain A. Lawson Katherine S. Bhora
2007 Peng Cheng Cory A. Olsovsky
2006 Jason D. Smith Gleb Zhelezov
2005 Varun Chowdhary Paul B. Geffert
2004 Ariel D.Z. Chisholm Christopher N. Barot
2003 David A. Smith Vernon R. King
2002 Ryan B. Thomas Heng Guo

Read about the winners in  Spring 2013
Fall 2012
Spring 2012
Spring 2011

Spring 2019 Pearson Mechanics Scholars
Top three Mechanics Scholars 
				      for Spring 2018 semester
The top Spring 2019 Mechanics Scholars (front row, left to right): Thomas G. Goodwin (1st place), Cole A. Greene (2nd place) and Zihan Ouyang (3rd place). Back row: Dr. Dave Toback, Dr. Ricardo Eusebi and Dr. Wayne Saslow.
Group of Mechanics Scholars 
				      for Spring 2019 semester
The Spring 2019 Mechanics Scholars. First row from left to right: Dr. Dave Toback, ?, Zihan Ouyang, Thomas G. Goodwin, Rayce J. Radtke, Eric D. Imhoff, Cole A. Greene, Devan P. Shoemaker and Alyson K. Alvarez. Back row: Matthew D. Elmer, ?, ?, ?, ?, ? and ?.