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Physics Olympics 2009

St Peter's 13-18

Physics Olympics 2009

Overall winners:
Gold     Yarm School
Silver     Harrogate Ladies College
Bronze     St Martin’s Ampleforth

Individual Event Winners:
Hard To Resist     St Olave’s School
High Eggspecations     Archbishop Holgate’s School
Light Fantastic     Queen Ethelburga’s College
My Very Easy Method     St Martin’s Ampleforth
Split Second Timing     Newcastle Royal Grammar School
Fermi Quiz     St Martin’s Ampleforth

St Peter’s School Physics Olympics 2009

This was the third year that we had staged this competition for year 8 pupils and once again it was a great success, with the procedures for the day continuing to become more streamlined. As well as the regular participants from Schools in and around the York area we also welcomed new teams from across the North East with Newcastle Royal Grammar School amongst others competing for the first time.
As ever the event consisted of six individual great egg-race style exercises, including supporting a box of crème eggs as high as possible using a limited number of art straws, creating a code to transmit some information down an optical fibre in as short as time as possible and placing a set of model planets the correct distance from the sun on a given scale. Teams also had to arrange a sloping board and a set of Jenga bricks to allow a ball bearing to take as close as possible to 20 seconds to reach the bottom with one team attaining an event winning time of 19.99 seconds. In another event there were 10 resistors that needed to be placed in order using an assortment of circuit components and of course the Fermi Quiz, where estimates are made to the nearest power of 10.

This year the accompanying teachers were encouraged to try the tasks for themselves and generally found that they were not as easy as they sometimes looked.

Thanks once again to the Institute of Physics and the Rotary Club of York Vikings who generously sponsored the event and enabled us to buy the water bottles and T-shirts for the competitors.

Overall event winners were Yarm School, with Harrogate Ladies College second and St. Martin’s Ampleforth third. Individual event winners included St. Olave’s and Archbishop Holgate’s School.
My thanks go to all of my colleagues and the sixth formers who helped out on the day and the support staff without whom the event would not have been possible.

David Morris, 2009