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China here we come

A team of Australia’s best science students are about to leave for China to compete in the 16th Asian Physics Olympiad (APhO).

Eight secondary school pupils from around the country will be travelling to Zhejiang University in Hangzhou for the event.

 The competition involves two five-hour long exams of university standard, one theory and one practical. Exams are undertaken individually, with bronze, silver and gold medals awarded to high-scoring students. The rest of the team’s week will include seeing some of the local sights of Hangzhou and taking part in cultural exchange activities with APhO participants from twenty-five countries.

 To be selected for the national representative team, the students first sat the Australian Science Olympiad Exam in Physics last August at their schools. Based on their strong results in this exam, they were then invited to a fortnight-long summer school held at the Australian National University (ANU). This incorporated content equivalent to an entire year of university physics, as well as several exams that were used to select the final team for APhO.

 Although the Olympiad program is challenging, each student has enjoyed the experience:  travelling to China for physics is “a good escape from schoolwork” admitted Yinuo Han, with team mate Sudarshan Ravi adding that he “can’t wait to attack the exams.”

 The team has just completed a training camp at ANU during the Easter break. Annabelle Evans is one member of the team who has put in long hours practising her problem-solving skills, learning yet more physics and honing her experimental technique. “At the Asian Physics Olympiad there will be some pretty interesting questions in the exams. Thermodynamics is really cool (pardon the pun) but I’m not such a fan of circuits!” says Annabelle, “Representing Australia at such a high-level event in China is exciting.”

Congratulations to the following students on their selection to the Australian team:

Annabelle Evans, North Sydney Girls High School, NSW

Yinuo Han, The Southport School, QLD

Keeley Hoek, Burgmann Anglican College, ACT

Kevin Ke, Sydney Boys High School, NSW

Joshua Lin, James Ruse Agricultural High School, NSW

Sudarshan Ravi, Baulkham Hills High School, NSW

Shiye Su, Brisbane Girls Grammar School, QLD

Janet Zhong, MacRobertson Girls High School, VIC

The team will be accompanied by Dr Matthew Verdon (Program Director – Physics) and Bonnie Zhang (Deputy Program Director – Physics).  After APhO, five students will go onto compete at the 46th International Physics Olympiad in India during July.

Follow the team’s progress on the Australian Science Olympiad’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/AustralianScienceOlympiads