COLLEGEVILLE - Simply put: Saint John’s Prep senior Sam Rogers is one smart cookie.

Sam Rogers in last years production of Oliver! (Submitted photo from Saint John's Prep)

Rogers was recently recognized in the December issue of the international publication, "The Physics Teacher". Sam completed a complex physics challenge from the September issue and was one of only four high school students in the world to get it right.

Here’s the challenge Sam solved:  "A catapult set on the ground can launch a rock a maximum horizontal distance L. What would be the maximum horizontal launch distance if the catapult is set on a platform moving forward with the speed equal to the launch speed of the rock? Neglect the air resistance and assume that the rock is launched from the ground level in both cases.”

"I think it took a couple of days, it's similar to a problem we solved last year when I took physics. I looked at that and added in the extra information and you end up with an equation that you have to use. I think I used calculus to get the final answer," Rogers says.

His former physics teacher, Charles Miller, says he gives the problems to his students from time to time as a challenge. He's only had one other student solve a problem for the publication…and that was six years ago.

"The vast majority of the successful ones are professors and teachers. The problems usually involve math that's beyond the high school level and sophisticated physics as well."

Sam doesn’t just stack his impressive resume with physics knowledge. He’s also involved in theater, knowledge bowl, plays cello in orchestra and even introduces his classmates to his vast and quirky knowledge of vocabulary with a “word of the day” when he reads school announcements.

Some of the favorite words he's read: "defenestrate" meaning: to throw (someone) out a window and "fremdschämen" : A German word meaning external shame.

"I take suggestions from friends or if I come across an interesting word, I'll just throw it in."

Of course Sam is described by classmates and teachers as brilliantly smart. Perhaps more importantly, they say he has an incredible wit and sense of humor. Sam says he works to try and not take himself too seriously.

"You know, a lot of people associate being good at academics or being good at math and science is that you need to be really serious and have no time for fun. I think you can incorporate humor and having that disposition in daily life."