Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Young Scientists in the Physics Olympiad, prepare to beat them this year!

Already back in June this year (section down, here in google cache instead or the page at fysikersamfundet), two members of the Swedish Federation of Young Scientists, Gunnar Peng (1st place) and Karl Larsson (4th place), qualified for the Swedish team for the International Physics Olympiad. Yay guys, congratulations! (Actually, the finals were 20-29th of July... so how did they do? - Well, Carl Andersson got an honoruable mention whereas Estonia got one silver and two bronze medals!)

Gunnar Peng receiving his 7000 SEK price The funny thing though, Gunnar (who's from the same school as Karl, Katedralskolan in Linköping) was already qualified also to the finals of the International Mathematical Olympiad just like last year so was replaced for the physics team, supposedly by the runner up, Petter Säterskog who replies to the question whether he will go to the physics finals in Hanoi: "I'm not sure since I am already qualified for the biology olympiad in India. Not sure if they run at the same time. I am better at physics than biology". He did participate in India, and together with Emelie Sandberg and Martin Van from Sweden and Rudolf Bichele, Marit Puusepp and Kärt Must from Estonia got bronze medals! Tomas Kesek from Sweden and Kai Tiitsaar from Estonia got silver medals!

Karl Larsson measuring... a balloon? But... just say WHAT?! Not to say that Gunnar and Petter are not probably brilliant guys, but that just makes me think the whole Swedish participant community of the international science olympiades must be really tiny and inbred. In his Sommar i P1 program, Stavros Louca (mathematics teacher in celebrated "Klass 9A", download his Sommar i P1 program here or here) told of how he stimulated his students by challenging them to these olympiades, and they were successful! So, my contributon to remedy this situation, and for the benefit of everyone involved, is to help all everyone who can to compete in the olympiade.

So, generally the olympiades are for students in last year in high school (Swedish gymnasium third year) i.e. roughly 17-19 years old. The competitions seem to start qualifications during winter-spring (so you've got a couple of months to decide that you want to participate), national qualification finals early summar and international finals during the summer. The topics you can compete in are according to wikipedia:

  • The International Mathematical Olympiad (Matematikolympiaden and Skolornas Matematiktävling - which starts already in November, and Gunnar Peng got a silver in Madrid this year! - "för [alla] gymnasister ... grundskoleelev i årskurs 9 kan beviljas dispens att deltaga")
  • The International Physics Olympiad (Fysiktävlingen - "för tredje årets gymnasister som har avslutat A-kursen i fysik och läst större delen av B-kursen i fysik")
  • The International Chemistry Olympiad (Kemiolympiaden)
  • The International Biology Olympiad (Biologiolympiaden has no info since 2005)
  • The International Olympiad in Informatics (Programmeringsolympiaden are clever, they help you participate if your school doesn't make sure. Though I don't believe this, Gunnar Peng also won a finals silver in the Informatics Olympiad finals in Egypt!)
  • The International Philosophy Olympiad (Sweden is not represented yet)
  • The International Astronomy Olympiad (Rymdstyrelsen should arrange Astronomiolympiaden but haven't update the page since 2005)
  • The International Geography Olympiad
  • The International Linguistic Olympiad (Lingolympiaden)
  • The International Junior Science Olympiad
  • The International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • The International Earth Science Olympiad

As a final note, I would like to share with everyone that the Federation of Young Scientists' chairman blog (in Swedish) is up and running again, and that LinkedIn now has discussions for groups, including for the funnny group of O-Unga Forskare (sw. "Non-young Scientists").


Ahto Truu said...

Though I don't believe this, Gunnar Peng also won a finals silver in the Informatics Olympiad finals in Egypt!

He did, no doubt. I was there and saw him on the stage accepting the award.

Carl-Johan Sveningsson said...

That's so cool, so you were a participant or functionare for Estonia I presume?

I'm just saying it's bordering ridiculous how much Peng has competed and won in these olympiades, someone ought to step up and beat him! :-)