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‘Physics of Shadows’ theme of Feb. 25 Physics Olympics at WKU

Physics of Shadows is the theme of the 2017 Western Kentucky Physics Olympics on Feb. 25.

The 2017 Physics Olympics will be held Feb. 25 at WKU.

The 2017 Physics Olympics will be held Feb. 25 at WKU.

WKU’s Department of Physics & Astronomy is inviting high schools to send teams of four to compete in the half-day competition that 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 and Snell Hall. Teams must register online by 4 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 21) at http://physics.wku.edu/olympics/registration.html.

With the incredibly rare and spectacular total solar eclipse coming to our area on Aug. 21, the activities for this year’s competition are all related to eclipses, light and shadows.

The 2017 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. Surprising Shadows is a photo competition that requires each team to design, construct and demonstrate a system of objects that casts unexpected and aesthetic shadows depending on the angle of the light illuminating the system. For the Camera Obscura event, each team constructs a pinhole projector, characterizes its properties before the competition, and uses it during the event to analyze situations.

This year’s “Calculation/Communication Challenge” is titled Moving Shadows and will require each team to divide into pairs, with one pair creating plan to be followed by the team’s other pair. The “Impromptu Team Activity” and “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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