2023 Physics Olympics
- Ariadna Sandoya
- Tuesday, May 23rd, 2023
Kentucky high school students competed in the 2023 Western Kentucky Physics Olympics on Saturday, February 25. The event, titled "The Year of Water," was centered around the theme of water, and the students competed in various water-related challenges.
The participating schools were Warren Central High School, North Laurel High School, and Bowling Green High School. Each student team was required to create a raft with a sail made from standard drinking straws, as well as a water heater that used only mechanical energy as input.
The competition kicked off with the Plan-Ahead event, where teams were tasked with heating 300 grams of water with a mechanical water heater they had designed and constructed before arriving at the competition. The water had to increase in temperature by at least 5℃.
The next event was the Do-Ahead competition, where teams had to use their pre-constructed floating rafts --- with sails made only of standard drinking straws --- to carry the maximum weight and propel it a distance of 60 centimeters. Teams had to use their problem-solving skills and creativity to ensure that their rafts were sturdy and could carry the maximum weight.
The Communication/Calculation challenge followed, where teams worked in pairs to determine the epicenter of an earthquake. One pair was tasked with writing instructions, while the other pair used the written instructions to determine the location of a specific earthquake epicenter based on wave propagation data from three different seismograph stations.
The Impromptu Activity was the final challenge, requiring teams to create the longest load-supporting arm using only standard drinking straws. The arm had to support a hanging mass of 50 grams for a total of ten seconds.
At the end of the day, North Laurel High School's "Jaguars" team emerged as the overall winners of the competition, leading in three out of the five events. Bowling Green High School's "Purple Rain" team won first place in the Do-Ahead event and second place overall, while the "Sherlock Ohms" team from the same school won the Impromptu Activity and third place overall.
The Physics Olympics is an annual event that aims to promote the study of physics among high school students and encourage them to develop critical thinking skills, creativity, and teamwork. The 2023 competition was a resounding success, and the participating students left with a greater appreciation for the importance of physics and its real-world applications. Follow this link for more photos!
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