WKU to host 2021 Physics Olympics as virtual event March 20 & March 27
- Department of Physics & Astronomy
- Thursday, March 18th, 2021
High school eams of four will compete via Zoom in this pentathlon of challenging problem-solving activities that reward teamwork, communication and creativity. Additional information about this year’s virtual competition is online at http://physics.wku.edu/olympics/.
The 2021 Physics Olympics competition will commence at 9 a.m. March 20 with two of the five events. The first activity, Measuring Inertial Mass, challenges teams to design, construct, and test up to three devices to measure the inertial mass of small objects. The devices get created before the competition, and their ability to function is judged on the initial Saturday morning. The first half-day concludes with the “Calculation / Communication Challenge,” a virtual Escape Room activity, Black Hole Probe Recovery. This event tests each team’s ability to be the first to solve multiple visual puzzles and challenges required to unlock the code to recover a lost space probe.
The Unknown Mass event starts the competition on March 27. After a week of improving and testing their devices designed and constructed to measure the inertial mass of small objects, teams will demonstrate the ability of their devices to accurately determine the mass of particular objects delivered in sealed boxes to each team. The "Order-of-Magnitude Quiz" is the next event of the morning, requiring each team of four to work together to arrive at a reasonable approximation for the answer to each of the given complex situations with very little to no information available to directly compute the answer. This year’s Impromptu Team Activity is a second virtual Escape Room, Forces of Nature.
A $600 scholarship to attend Western Kentucky University will be presented to each contestant on the top scoring team.
Contact: Dr. Richard Gelderman, firstname.lastname@example.org