Five high school pupils have just returned home from the International Physics Olympiad in Kazakhstan with a gold and four silver medals.
They competed against 85 countries and placed 13th.
China finished first, and the US – in 10th place – was the only Western country to come before Israel.
Guy Segal of the Reali School in Haifa took a gold medal, and Roni Frumkin of Haifa, Elisha Modlavsky of Jerusalem, Re’i Nenigman of Misgav and Yonatan Aharoni earned silver medals.
They were accompanied by three trainers headed by Dr. Eli Raz.
The pupils first took a fivehour written test in physics theory, followed by a lab test of the same length.
The Israeli contestants said the material demanded a lot more creative thinking and deeper thinking than what is ordinarily taught in school.
There were 2,600 10th and 11th graders who competed to be part of the national team. Forty were chosen to take part in a summer camp at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, and 15 remained. Five were chosen from among them.
Pupils also prepared at a seven-day physics camp at Ben-Gurion University. Both camps were headed by Igor Lisinker.
Raz said the aim of the event is not an end but a means to encourage original thinking.
In 2019, Israel will host the 50th International Physics Olympiad, where 400 high school pupils and 200 trainers from 80 countries will participate, said Raz, who had headed the Israeli program for 20 years and heads the physics and optic engineering department at the ORT Braude Academic College.