Harry Best, one of our year 2 physics students has made the national team for the Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad. He will be representing Britain as part of a team of 5 students, in the international Olympiad competition in Hungary in the summer. In order to qualify, Harry had to perform exceptionally well in a series of challenging and demanding physics problem solving tests set by the University of Oxford. He was then invited to a physics boot camp at Oxford University where the final selection took place.
Harry says ‘The camp lasted for 5 days and consisted of intense training and a few tests. We were taught topics such as celestial mechanics, general relativity, spherical geometry, time, and cosmology and spent our evenings either in the planetarium (a hemisphere that you can sit in that has the stars projected on it) or on the roof the physics department using the observatory. The most interesting thing that we covered was telling the time and the date just by looking at the stars. At the end of the camp we had to sit three tests which were used to decide who was to be on the final team. These were an observation test (sitting in the planetarium telling the time and naming stars and constellations), data analysis (pretty much just the data analysis aspect of a practical without actually doing a practical), and a theory paper (testing us on all of the topics that we had learnt during the week)’.
We wish Harry and the team the best of luck in the International Competition.