Physics Olympics pushes student aptitude

Gleneagle’s Physics Olympics team competed at the 41st Physics Olympics on March 9, held at UBC. There are six parts to the Olympics: 2 pre-builds, 2 labs, Quizzics and Fermi. “Every year, there’s Quizzics, which is a game-show style event, and Fermi, which is based on estimating really weird quantities,” explained Aileen Zhang, grade 12 and one of the leaders of the Rube Goldberg pre-build. “[Players may be asked to estimate] how many atoms that made up Julius Caesar are in the average Caesar salad.”

“Two lab events this [year] are based on astronomy and fluid dynamics, and then [there are] two pre-builds: one of them this year [is] a timepiece that measures time and the other one is a 60-second Rube Goldberg machine that can make noise, turn on a light, and drop a sugar cube in a cup,” said Zhang.

The other Rube Goldberg leader is Han Cho, grade 12. For the timepiece, the leaders are Alana Sun and Brian Sun, both grade 12. Made up of grade 11 and 12 physics students, the team has been preparing since the beginning of February. Due to numbers, the team split up into two teams for the pre-builds. Most of the materials used for the pre-builds are average everyday objects such as toilet paper rolls and Styrofoam boards.

“I think our members work really hard. Basically, without [Zhang’s] help, we [could not] organize this event,” concluded Steven Chen, grade 12 and member of the Rube Goldberg team.