Israel hosts Asian Physics Olympiad, takes 6 medals

“As scientists we have duty to create bridges among different nations," says professor; Israeli student wins gold medal first time since 2003.

May 11, 2011 04:08
2 minute read.
Asian Physics Olympiad students at a TAU lecture.

Asian Physics Olympiad students at TAU_311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Israel hosted the 12th Asian Physics Olympiad last week for the first time in the competition’s history, and an Israeli student was among the gold medal recipients for the first time since 2003.

Initiated in 2000 in Indonesia, the Olympiad is an annual physics competition for high school students from the Asia and Oceania regions. Each participating country can send up to eight competitors, according to the contest’s official website. Throughout the week-long competition that occurred this year at Tel Aviv University and was co-hosted by the Education Ministry, the students were given physics problems of both theoretical and practical natures that involved extensive use of calculus, mechanics, thermodynamics, molecular physics, oscillation and waves, electricity and quantum physics, among other subjects, the syllabus explained.

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Gal Dor, from Ahad Ha’am High School in Petah Tikvah, was among the 16 gold medal recipients, while Asaf Rosen from Motta Gur High School in Modi’in was one of 10 to earn a silver medal. Both Gur Peri from Rabin High School in Mazkeret Batya and Ben Akiva Feinstein from Rabin High School in Modi’in received bronze medals, according to the official results.

Aviv Frenkel from Yad Leibovitz High School in Netanya and Keren Ben Zvi from Lady Davis High School in Tel Aviv received Honorable Mentions.

This year, representatives from 14 countries participated: Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand and Vietnam – with a total of 120 students.

“As scientists we have the privilege and the duty to create bridges among different nations, different religions and different societies,” wrote Prof. Yaron Oz – chairman of TAU’s School of Physics and Astronomy and of the Olympiad Academic Committee – in a welcome letter to all the students. “The Physics Olympiad is one such beautiful bridge.”

“Excellence will fuel the human development engine and is a condition for the existence of the most advanced and enlightened societies. You students are exemplars for your generation,” Education Minister Gideon Saar told the competitors.

Prof. Ming-Juey Lin, the olympiad secretariat president, said in a statement that this year’s competition was “the most successful Asian Physics Olympiad that has been held to date.”

Out of the contest’s 65 total gold, silver, bronze and honorable mention medal winners, China and Taiwan took the lead, each with eight award recipients (all eight for China were gold), followed by Singapore and Thailand with seven each. Israel and Russia received six medals each, according to the results. Participants from India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam also won prizes.

Next year’s event will be held in India, the competition’s website said.

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