UBC Physics Olympics has been a major outreach collaboration between the UBC Department of Physics and Astronomy and UBC Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy aimed at engaging secondary science students for more than four decades. This year the event was completely virtual and it was labeled 41 ½ UBC Physics Olympics. It took place on March 6, 2021.
Since we have never organized it before, we were not sure how it would go. I am so glad to share that the event was a huge success. It was a collaboration of the UBC Department of Physics and Astronomy and UBC Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy. There was an amazing team of people who made it possible. Just to name a few from the Department of Physics and Astronomy: Theresa Liao, Aaron Boley, Mike Hasinoff, Valery Milner, Andrzej Kotlicki, Jorg Rottler, Alex May, and Joss Ives, and many-many volunteers graduate and undergraduate students. We had 42 teams who participated and their teams were from a 5 students to almost 20! A number of school had more than one team present, which tells us that the event was a draw to many creative students!
There were five events that the teams competed in:
1. Home Lab using phyphox: Determining the acceleration of free fall
2. Home Lab using phyphox: Determining the speed of sound
3. Quizzics (figuring out physics questions asked in a multiple-choice format)
4. Fermi questions
5. A virtual lab using PhET computer simulations
The overall winner was R.E. Mountain Secondary School. The UBC Physics Olympics is an annual event that has become a tradition. It is also a unique opportunity to bring together physics teachers from all over British Columbia. I think we all were winners in this event.
Click to see a detailed report on this event.
Dr. Marina Milner-Bolotin
EDCP Representative on the 41 1/2 UBC Physics Olympics Organizing Committee