Yale Sponsors Physics Olympics for High School Students

The second annual Yale Physics Olympics Competition for teams of high school students from Connecticut and New York will be held Saturday, Oct. 16, at the Sloane Physics Laboratory beginning at 10:30 a.m.

One hundred and fifty high school juniors and seniors will compete for a trophy and other prizes as they are challenged to apply basic ideas from physics to real world situations. The competition takes the form of a pentathlon with five 35-minute events.

Plans for the day also include a tour of the Wright Nuclear Structure Laboratory, which houses, among other instruments, the 25 MV ESTU Tandem Van de Graaff accelerator, which is the largest university based heavy-ion accelerator in the world. The accelerator is used to deliver a wide variety of atomic beams to experiments investigating fundamental nuclear and astrophysics problems.

The day-long competition is co-sponsored by Yale’s Department of Physics and the Wright Nuclear Structure Laboratory. “If young people see that physics can be fun, if they can be hosted in a university atmosphere for even a day, then perhaps they can be successfully encouraged to continue to study an important and nationally vital subject,” said Physics Professor Cornelius W. Beausang, who coordinated the event. “Even if not, they may go away with an enhanced appreciation of the role of physics in daily life.”

The Sloane Physics Laboratory is at 217 Prospect St., New Haven.

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