Physics Olympics 2011

St Peter's School

Physics Olympics 2011

The competition is now in its fifth year and continues to grow with 32 schools from across the North of England entering teams of four year 8 pupils. The competition is open to all schools and this year we were pleased to welcome new teams from Sedbergh School, Nottingham High School, The Derby School in Bolton and Barlby Carr Community Sports and Science College.

The day consisted of 6 individual, mini egg-race type, events in which the pupils combined their physics and mathematical knowledge with teamwork and communication skills to work together to complete a task against the clock.

The day was fun, but also challenging and stimulating, and in the Olympic spirit it was a competition with winners of the 6 individual events and also Gold, Silver and Bronze medallists. The pupils came away having both enjoyed their experience and importantly also having learnt some new physics.

The competition has regularly received generous backing form the Institute of Physics, the Rotary Club of York Vikings, the Ogden Trust, Taylors of Harrogate and this year Nestle also joined the team of sponsors and we are delighted to have them on board. Sponsorship money has paid for the T-shirts, medals, trophy, water bottles, memory sticks and Uncle Albert books that the pupils take away at the end of the day. Again we are most grateful to Taylor’s of Harrogate who provided tea and cake samples which were served throughout the day to our guests and also that went into the goody bags that grow in size each year.

Events this year involved constructing the highest tower using only jelly babies and spaghetti, building a floating vessel to hold the most marbles, making a Bloodhound Balloon Car that travelled 2 m in the quickest time, finding the mass of a fluffy duck and placing 10 resistors in order of increasing magnitude. In the Fermi Quiz, quantities have to be estimated to the nearest power of 10. One question in this year’s quiz was ‘If a golf ball was scaled up in size to be the size of the moon how deep would the dimples be on this scale?’ (Answer: 10,000 m).

Winners:

Current Affairs: Team Einstein, Yarm School
Eat My Dust: Team Oppenheimer, Bolton Boys School
Food For Thought: Team Young, Barlby Carr Community Sports and Science College
Good Vibrations: Team Millikan, St. Martins, Ampleforth
Payload: Team Becquerel, Bramcote School
Fermi Quiz: Team Tesla, Bootham School
Bronze Medallists: Team Bohr, Manor School
Silver Medallists: Team Bequerel, Bramcote School
Gold Medallists: Team Schrodinger, Fulford School

I would like to thank all of my colleagues, the support staff and the sixth formers who helped on the day to make this years’ event the biggest and best so far. In particular Graham Metcalf again showed his willingness and expertise in the designing and making of much of the equipment for the games and we will miss him now that he has retired this Summer. Mark Edwards once more displayed his ‘wizardry’ on the computer in collating and presenting all of the competition data. Clearly the competition could not happen without any of them.

David Morris, 2011