March 2024

46th UBC Physics Olympics – Great Success

Every year, early March I have an opportunity to write about the the event that is very near and dear to my heart – the UBC Physics Olympics . This allows me to share how much pride I feel for BC physics teachers who inspire their teams to participate in the event and who spend the entire Saturday and many days prior to that to help students do science and experience what science is all about. You can read about the event on the UBC Physics Olympics web site mentioned above.

Here I would like to reflect on the experience of this year’s event. Just to describe the scope of the event – we had 76 teams, 927 students participated in the event, a number of schools had 2 teams of 15 or more students, 100+ teachers, coaches, parents and future physics teachers, more than 80 volunteers from the departments of Physics and Astronomy and Curriculum and Pedagogy, as well as many spectators. We had so many people that we had to have three large auditoriums at the end of the day to hold the final award ceremony.  However, the event is not just about numbers. The most amazing thing about it is that the event is a hands-on event and not a written theoretical competition. All the students participated in the hands-on labs, solved Fermi Questions, did Quizzics – answered conceptual physics questions and did two pre-build challenges. It was unbelievable to see the excitement of the students when they showed their contraptions and cheered each other during the events. It was a truly team science event that the students will remember forever.

However, for me, there is something else that I feel very proud of. Many of the teachers who brought their teams to the event (including Mr. Pyo – see the picture below), are my former students. This is something very special for me. To know that I helped to educate physics teachers who want to inspire their students and bring them to the Physics Olympics is extra special for me. It makes all my work worth it. I am so glad to see how our collaborative province-wide Physics Olympics event inspires the next generation of students. I hope Physics Olympics goes on for decades! Congratulations to all and don’t forget to check the UBC Physics Olympics web site.

46 UBC Physics Olympics Overall Winner – Port Moody Secondary School Team and their teachers Mrs. Hester Greenwood and Mr. Jin Pyo (both are UBC grads).

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