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2024 Western Kentucky Physics Olympics

Forces of Nature competition results

Twenty-four students from four Kentucky high schools participated in the 2024 Western Kentucky Physics Olympics on Saturday, February 24, 2024.

The schools represented included:

  • Warren Central High School
  • North Laurel High School
  • Bowling Green High School
  • South Warren High School

Physics Olympians team from WCHSPotatoes team from BGHSKinetic Krew team from SWHS

Team 1st placeTeam 2nd placeTeam 3rd place

The theme of the 2024 Physics Olympics competition was Forces of Nature where students competed in events related to four fundamental forces: Gravitational, Weak Nuclear, Strong Nuclear and Electromagnetic force. Before arriving to the competition, each team was asked to construct a gravity-powered vehicle, which can travel a distance of 10.00 m using only falling mass to propel the vehicle across the track. The goal was for the vehicles to travel the distance of 10 m as quickly as possible, and as far as possible, without contacting the terminal barrier at the end of the track.

The competition commenced with the teams competing in the Plan-ahead event where each team had an opportunity to perform three different runs across the track with their pre-constructed gravity-powered vehicles. The winning team for this competition were the Physics Olympians team from Warren Central High School (WCHS). 

This first event was followed by the "Communication/Calculation" challenge which required teams to work in pairs of two to draw the Feynman diagrams of several weak force interactions. One pair was tasked to write instructions on how to draw Feynman diagrams based on the provided video tutorial, while the second pair of each team used the written instructions to draw the diagrams for a given set of particle interactions. The winner of this challenge were the Physics Olympians team from WCHS.

Impromptu Activity challenge required teams to put together a puzzle in the shortest amount of time. Each team was required to answer force-related questions on the back of each puzzle piece before they are able to use the piece in their puzzle. For this challenge, team Potatoes from Bowling Green High School (BGHS) took the lead and were able to obtain all pieces and complete their puzzle in the shortest amount of time. 

The winners of the Fermi Quiz challenge were team Physics Olympians from WCHS, while the winners of the Do-Ahead challenge (Tower Shipment) were team Potatoes from BGHS. 

At the end of the day, Warren Central High School's Physics Olympians team, consisting of Peter Simmons, Ximena Lasso, Kaleb Piercefield and Surya Rasuli, emerged as the overall winners of the competition, leading in three out of the five events. Bowling Green High School's Potatoes team, consisting of Leah Groves, Kathryn Haris, Gani Ariti and Amy Pan, won first place in the Do-Ahead event and Impromptu Activity and won second place overall, while the South Warren High School's Kinetic Krew team, consisting of Hannah Rains, Saumya Sikhwal, Hannah Vincent and Mon Theint, won the third place overall.

The Physics Olympics is an annual event that aims to promote the study of physics among high school students and encourages them to develop critical thinking skills, creativity, and teamwork. 

Additional pictures from the event can be found here (coming soon). 


Event Overview


Saturday, February 24, 2024

Registration Deadline: Monday, February 19, 2024

Forces Of Nature

Western Kentucky Physics Olympics is a half-day competition consisting of a pentathlon of challenging problem-solving activities that reward teamwork, creativity, and communication. Western Kentucky University's Department of Physics and Astronomy invites teams of high school students to register for and compete in the Western Kentucky Physics Olympics at WKU's main campus every year.


Online pre-registration is required.


Each of the four contestants on the team with the best score in the overall competition will receive a $1000 scholarship to attend Western Kentucky University. The scholarship is to be used during the freshman year and is awarded above and beyond any other scholarships the student might otherwise earn.

A plaque for the school is presented to the coach of the overall winning team. Medals for the team members will be awarded to the top three teams in the overall competition. Certificates will be awarded to the top three teams in each event.

Snow Date

In case of cancellation due to inclement weather, Physics Olympics will be rescheduled for the same times on an alternate Saturday to be announced.

Schedule of Events


Time              Activity                                                                                                  Location                                               
8:00 Mandatory check-in for all teams Snell Hall 1108
8:30 Gravity Vehicle competition begins Snell Hall 1108
9:45 Communication/Calculation challenge begins KTH 2038/ Snell Hall 1108
10:45 Order of Magnitude Quiz begins Snell 3110
11:15 Lunch KTH 2038
12:00 Impromptu Team Activity begins Snell 3110
1:00 Award Ceremony Snell 1108
Hardin Planetarium Show will be held following award ceremony (attendance optional)


Event Descriptions and Rules

Please see the Events Description page for a complete listing of the official rules for each event.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions please check our Frequently Asked Questions list or email questions to olympics@physics.wku.edu.

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 Last Modified 3/8/24