SILVER FOR SLOVAK HIGH SCHOOLERS AT THE IYPT CONTEST IN CHINA
Students, employees and graduates of FMPI of the Comenius University appreciably contributed to the preparation of high schoolers for the international round of the Young Physicists´ Tournament in China, where they won silver medals.
By: František Kundracik
Slovak high-school students won the silver medals at the international round of the Young Physicists´ Tournament (IYPT) and took the 7th position in the general classification result list of 32 participating countries from 5 continents. Slovakia has thus again proved to be among the most successful European countries. Singapore was again the absolute winner.
IYPT took place on July 19th – 26th, 2018 in Beijing, China. Facing strong competition from other countries the Slovak team finally achieved to win the medals. Slovakia has kept long tradition in the Young Physicists´ Tournament, participating virtually since the event was established in 1988 when the contest covered only so-called eastern bloc. However, it became international very fast, and this year marked the 31st anniversary of the event.
Unlike other contests in physics, the Young Physicists´ Tournament is aimed at bringing high schoolers closer to real research work. Regularly in August, 17 mostly experimental assignments are published which don´t have a single unambiguous output, thus much invention is expected from the contestants. The assignments are solved by a team of schoolers for the next half a year and the students are allowed to use all resources available to any researcher – starting from study of literature resources to attending specialized university laboratories and facilities. The students thus get acquainted with scientists and the head of their team (usually a teacher or a former contestant) becomes a consultant rather than a supervisor. What follows then is the contest itself: presentation of the results to the competitor´s team (who provide the assessment) and to the committee who assign grades for the amount and quality of research and physics expertise, attained while working on the project. The contest simulates a science conference where the participant has to present the solution in 12 minutes (in English language in the international round), and defend the solution in the discussion with the assessor. The best outputs may be published in the special reviewed IYPT magazine or in a standard science periodical.
Regional rounds usually start in the beginning of February, the national rounds in April, and the international round usually takes place in July. In order to facilitate the successful launch of the contest the FMPI arranges an introductory session, which takes place in late October or early November, and where experts explain physical fundamentals of the assignments to potential contestants, offering them options how to start their research. More information can be found on the tournament website.
Slovakia has been a respected rival for long time, taking positions among the best 10, winning the second place in the general classification in 2014 and winning the gold in 2003. This year the teachers, undergraduates and graduates of FMPI again helped to prepare the Slovak representation. The preparation was managed by Matej Badin (FMPI, 3rd year physics studies), the team was led by Kamila Součková (FMPFI graduate, ETH Zurich) and Lucia Mišianiková (UPJŠ Košice), assistance was provided also by Natália Ružičková (FMPI UK,3rd year physics studies ), Zuzana Cocuľová (FMPI graduate, University of Oxford), Martin Plesch (Physics Institute, Slovak Academy of Sciences) and František Kundracik (FMPI). The contestants were Samuel Ján Plesník (1. SG Bajkalská, Bratislava,captain), Bohdan Gliševič (GJH Bratislava), Veronika Rečková (GJH Bratislava), Katarína Šamuová (Gymnázium Poštová, Košice) a Ronald Doboš (Gymnázium Poštová, Košice).