Olympic endeavour

Last week, 140 budding young scientists from schools across the north of England competed at the eleventh annual Physics Olympics in York.

Hosted at St Peter’s School, the contest brought together Year 8 children from 35 different state and independent schools for a day full of fun and thought-provoking tasks designed to challenge and inspire the scientists of the future.

“All of the staff and students involved in running the event were really pleased to see the participants entering into the spirit of the Physics Olympics and applying themselves well to the challenges set for them,” said event organiser David Morris, Head of Physics at St Peter’s School. “The teachers’ teams lead by example, not least with their tall towers, fast boats and competitive spirit!”

Pupils made use of the school’s extensive facilities at St Peter’s to take on challenges including constructing skyscraping towers, engineering solar-powered boats and completing the mind-boggling Fermi quiz, which poses questions such as ‘How many £5 notes does it take to cover the surface of the Earth?’

The winners of the six challenges over the course of the day were: The Grammar School at Leeds, Bradford Grammar School, Millthorpe School, Cundall Manor School, St Olave’s School and The Holy Family Catholic High School, respectively. However, having placed in the top ten for each of the challenges, King’s School Chester emerged as this year’s gold medallists, with Cundall Manor School finishing second, and Bradford Grammar School third.

David consludes: “It was fantastic to once again welcome such a variety of schools from across the region; to finish the tasks required focused teamwork and the pupils were suitably challenged throughout the day. Everyone competed with enthusiasm and it was a pleasure to see so many budding young physicists rising to the challenges and enjoying themselves along the way; they are a credit to their teachers and schools."

The event was sponsored by The Ogden Trust, the Institute of Physics, the Rotary Club of York Vikings, Nestle and Taylors of Harrogate. A full list of the schools involved, and more photos from the day, can be found on the St Peter’s School website