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2015 Physics Olympics celebrates International Year of Light

EVENT POSTPONED: Due to winter weather, Physics Olympics has been postponed until Feb. 28.


The WKU Department of Physics & Astronomy is celebrating the International Year of Light by inviting high schools to send teams of four to compete in the 2015 Western Kentucky Physics Olympics on Feb. 21.

WKU's Physics Olympics on Feb. 21 will celebrate the International Year of Light.

WKU’s Physics Olympics on Feb. 21 will celebrate the International Year of Light.

The half-day competition consists of a pentathlon of challenging problem-solving activities that reward teamwork, communication and creativity. This year’s event will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Snell Hall, room 2113 and 3110. Teams must register online by 6 p.m. Feb. 12 at http://physics.wku.edu/olympics/registration.html.

The 2015 Physics Olympics competition will commence with two activities that involve competitors arriving at the event ready to compete with devices they have designed, constructed and tested. The Spectral Scavenger Hunt requires each team to investigate their surroundings to collect evidence of particular spectra. For the Cross Polarization event, each team constructs a device with sheets of polarizers that is capable of analyzing either the concentration of sugar in a solution or the strain within a plastic object.

This year’s “Calculation/ Communication Challenge” is titled Spectroscopic Identification and will require each team to divide into pairs for the determination of visual spectra. Laser Targeting, the “On-the-Spot Activity” for this International Year of Light themed competition, will test each team’s ability to apply the laws of reflection and refraction in a chaotic, time sensitive situation. The “Order-of-Magnitude Quiz” will remain a secret until the day of the event.

Each member of the overall top scoring team will receive a $600 scholarship to attend WKU, while members of the overall second-place team will receive a $200 scholarship. Medals for the team members and a plaque for the school will be awarded to the top three teams in the overall competition. Certificates will be awarded to the top three teams in each event.

Contact: Richard Gelderman, (270) 745-6203

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