Western Kentucky Physics Olympics

The WKU Department of Physics & Astronomy is holding its annual Physics Olympics competition on Saturday (Feb. 23) at Snell Hall, room 1108.

Teams of four students from schools around southcentral Kentucky will compete on the WKU campus in a pentathlon of challenging problem-solving activities. Medals and $600 WKU scholarships will be presented to the top finishers. The event will begin at 8 a.m. and will conclude with the awards ceremony at 1:30 p.m.

Two of the events require teams to arrive with devices they have already built. In the Siege Engine event teams design, construct, and test a trebuchet (medieval catapult) that can destroy enemy targets without harming the neutral structures. Teams are allowed to build two trebuchets and bombard defensive positions in front of the enemy wall until they have destroyed them. They can then pull their trebuchets closer and this time must target enemy positions beyond the wall without harming friendly positions.

In the Gravity Vehicle, teams drive a pre-built gravity-powered vehicle and run it up to, but stop short of, a target spot. Teams score more points the closer they get to the target, but points are deducted if they actually hit the target.

Secret activities which will only be revealed on the day of the event, include the "Calculation / Communication Challenge" (where pairs have to create a statistical rule their partners can solve, but their opponents can’t understand); the "Impromptu Team Activity;" and "Order-of-Magnitude Quiz.”

Teams may get more information and register until 4 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 21) at http://physics.wku.edu/olympics/.

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