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‘Exploration’ theme of 2016 Physics Olympics Feb. 20 at WKU

The WKU Department of Physics & Astronomy is celebrating the spirit and challenges of Exploration by inviting high schools to send teams of four to compete in the 2016 Western Kentucky Physics Olympics on Feb. 20.

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 Thompson Complex Central Wing, room 129, and Snell Hall, rooms 2113 and 3110. Teams must register online by noon Feb. 12 at http://physics.wku.edu/olympics/registration.html.

The 2016 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. Mission Procurement requires each team to design, construct and use a package to safely transport “expeditionary supplies” through harrowing circumstances. This year’s “Calculation/ Communication Challenge” is titled Cavern Mapping and will require each team to divide into pairs with one pair creating directions to locate deposited caches of specimens and the other pair following the directions to retrieve the caches.

For the Zip Line Relay event, each team constructs a harness to safely transport their four biogenetic specimens from the discovery site to the staging camp. Steady As She Goes, the “On-the-Spot Activity” for this Exploration-themed competition, will test each team’s ability to safely load specimens for transport. 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. 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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