Eight Taft students traveled to Yale University over the weekend to compete in the 21st annual Yale Physics Olympics, an all-day physics competition for Connecticut and surrounding area high school students. Forty teams of four students completed a pentathlon of physics-themed events developed by Yale science faculty.
“Some events involved performing measurements in as precise a manner as possible where the best technique had to be discovered by the students,” explains Science Teacher Jim Mooney. “Others involved building an apparatus that would perform a given task.”
Four of the five events vary from year to year; the Fermi quiz is a perennial constant. This year, Taft’s team Human Error won the Fermi challenge, which required them to combine clever quantitative guesses to produce a good final estimate of some unknown number. Congratulations to Human Error team members Ernest Protas ’20, Stefan Kim ’20, Andrii Torchylo ’21, and Ben Le ’21, who also finished the overall competition in fifth place. Taft’s team Non-Local Interaction— Peter Yu ’20, Harry Wang ’21, Felicia Wang ’21, Christine Li ’21—finished the Fermi challenge in third place, and ended the day tenth overall.
In addition to the five competitive events, the Olympiad included a make-and-take activity for team coaches, a physics show, and a talk by a Yale scientist.
Notes Mooney, “It was a fun day for all of us.”