UNT TAMS student shoots for the stars

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - 10:00
David Yue (Left) practices with an optical telescope with UNT Astronomy Lab Director Ron
David Yue (Left) practices with an optical telescope with UNT Astronomy Lab Director Ron "Starman" Diiulio.

University of North Texas Texas Academy of Math and Science senior David Yue is one of six high school students nationwide set to compete in the 2018 International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics in Beijing Nov. 3 – Nov. 11.

“I’ve been interested in astrophysics from a young age but never really pursued it seriously,” said Yue. “I thought it was something you could only study in an observatory. But then, I attended a lecture by Starman at the UNT Planetarium and it opened my eyes. I realized it could be done in your own backyard, and that truly inspired me!”

Starman, aka Ron Diiulio, is UNT’s Astronomy Laboratory director in the College of Science. He said that Yue is a very impressive astronomer.

“In order to make the U.S. International Olympiad team, students must take a series of comprehensive astronomy tests,” noted Diiulio. “Those tests involve everything from celestial mechanics to spectroscopy and atomic physics. Students must also be able to use star maps and know how to apply coordinate systems in the sky.”

Yue said his TAMS experience at UNT has been a wonderful challenge and that he has been exposed to subjects he never would have considered prior to his attending.

“TAMS has provided me the freedom to explore in-depth topics, like astronomy, that would be outside of the mainstream at my old high school. I have been able to participate in not just college-level courses but graduate-level too. My time in the research labs has been incredibly challenging, yet rewarding,” said Yue.

The International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics is an annual event for high-performing high school students from all around the world. It was established by five countries: Thailand, Indonesia, Iran, China and Poland in 2006. The aim was to garner interest in astronomy among high school students, foster friendships among young astronomers at an international level and build future cooperation in the field of astronomy.

TAMS is the nation’s first early-college entrance residential program for gifted high school students. Mentored by UNT faculty, students tackle complex, real-word problems, working on solutions and breakthroughs in fields ranging from healthcare to energy consumption. TAMS serves as an important pipeline for STEM education, nurturing the next generation of innovators.


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