Winning laurels at the IPhO

Winning laurels at the IPhO

In the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) 2011, the  five-member India team won a total of five medals — three golds and two silvers.

Resonance’s ‘Classroom Contact Programme’ students Shubham Mehta and Nisheeth Lahoti earned a gold and silver, respectively, in the annual event held at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.

The other three medalists from India are Burle Sai Kiran from Hyderabad, Prudhvi Tej Immadi from Andhra Pradesh and Sumegha Garg from Punjab.   While Burle Sai Kiran and Sumegha Garg won gold medals, Prudhvi Tej won a silver.

The competition, which began on July 10 and ended on July 17, drew contestants from 86 countries.  The International Physics Olympiad is organised for secondary school students in recognition of the growing significance of Physics in science and technology, with the aim of enhancing the development of international contacts.

The governing body of the IPhO  consists of delegation leaders from each country attending the IPhO. The competition is organised by the Ministry of Education, the Physical Society or another appropriate institution of one of the participating countries on whose territory the competition is being conducted.

Each participating country sends a delegation, normally  five students (contestants) and two accompanying persons (delegation leaders) who are specialists in Physics or Physics teachers, capable of solving problems of the competition competently.

In India, the Physics Olympiad programme follows five stages.
Stage 1: National Standard Examination in Physics (NSEP) Stage 2: Indian National Physics Olympiad (INPhO) Stage 3: Orientation/ Selection Camp (OCSC) in Physics.
Stage 4: Pre-departure Training Camp (PDT) for IPhO
Stage 5: Participation in International Physics Olympiad (IPhO)

Lakhs of students from all parts of the country appear for Stage 1 (NSEP) and approximately 300 students qualify to appear for Stage 2 (INPhO). This further filters down the top 35 students for Stage 3.

The camps include several theoretical and experimental tests, and conclude with a valedictory function where distinguished scientists are invited to address the session.

The top five students in the OCSC Physics merit list are declared to be special merit awardees, which constitute the five-member student team for the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO).

In Stage 4, the selected five-member Indian team underwent a rigorous training programme in theory and experiments. Special laboratories were developed at HBCSE for the purpose of experimental training. Resource persons from HBCSE and different institutions across the country trained the students. Finally, stage 5 led to the participation in the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO).

At the international level, the competition is conducted over two days, one for theoretical examination and one for experimental. There is at least one day of rest between the examinations.

The total number of marks awarded for the theoretical examination is 30 and the experimental examination is 20. After preliminary grading, the organisers establish scores (expressed in points) for gold medals, silver medals, bronze medals and honourable mentions as per the following guidelines:
Gold medals are awarded to eight per cent of the contestants (rounded up to the nearest integer).
Gold or silver medals are awarded to 25 per cent of the contestants (rounded up to the nearest integer).
Gold, silver or bronze medals are awarded to 50 per cent of the contestants (rounded up to the nearest integer).
An Olympic medal or honourable mention is awarded to 67 per cent of the contestants (rounded up to the nearest integer).

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