This is a real sport: Muscovites - gold-winners of Asian Physics Olympiad

May 30

This week a real sensation took place: Russian schoolchildren set an absolute record for the XXI Asian Physics Olympiad - all eight participants of the national team won gold medals. There are four Muscovites in the Russian team - they have already been congratulated by Sergei Sobyanin.

About how Muscovites prepared and what they faced at the Physical Olympiad - in the material.

Hard theory

The Asian Physics Olympiad has been held since 2000. During this time, it has become one of the most prestigious international competitions in its discipline, and the Moscow medal-winners call it a standard complex one. This year, more than 180 participants from 23 countries competed for the victory - though in a non-standard format: because of the pandemic, the stages were held online.

The schoolchildren tested their knowledge in two rounds: theoretical and experimental, which, due to restrictions, turned into a virtual one. All the physical processes and equipment for the experiments were simulated by a computer program, which the participants of the Olympiad used. The topic of experiments at this stage was optics: the students analyzed tasks with diffraction and experiments with a cantilever - a device in an atomic force microscope for measuring the smallest perturbations.

Даниил Самоделкин

"It was, on the one hand, easier to compete remotely, because in Taiwan, where we would have to go, the climate, and environment differ from ours, no familiar faces. But, on the other hand, this format imposed restrictions: for example, the translation of tasks into Russian was limited to five hours. Sometimes it was necessary to look somewhere in the English version, check the original in order to accurately understand the task," Danila Samodelkin, the student of Yuzhnoye Butovo physicomathematical school No. 2007, says.

One of the most serious challenges on the way to gold medal was not the language barrier or even the complex computer simulation of experiments, but the theoretical part. According to the team leader Yuri Skakov, it turned out to be mathematically loaded. Nikolay Kononenko, student of school No. 57, added that the tasks of the theoretical round were difficult both in terms of ideas and solutions.

Николай Кононенко

"There were three tasks on such complex topics as hydraulic impact, ray tracing, and magnetic levitation - lifting objects using only a magnetic field. All of them consisted of a large number of items and were very difficult to solve, because they were not sufficiently designated and did not contain leading ideas," Nikolai said.

Other gold medal-winners also noted the complexity of the theoretical stage. So, Artemiy Novikov, student of the Bauman Engineering School No. 1580, said that this significantly affected the results of all participants.

Артемий Новиков

"The tasks turned out to be much more difficult than at the previous Olympiads - this is evident from the average score. Usually everyone gets 20-30 points out of 30, and this year almost the entire national team has a score of 10 points. But the rest of the participants scored mostly either two or three, the average score is noticeably lower than 10," the medal-winner added.

Year-long training

The national team recipe for success is quite simple: a large amount of preparatory work, diligent training and thoughtful planning. However, there are a few tricks here as well.

The peculiarities of the Russian national team training helped it to cope with the difficulties of the theoretical stage. The guys note that their team is distinguished by a high level of qualification and the ability to obtain further insight into complex problems.

"The Olympiad are attended by Asian countries, which are traditionally distinguished by the fact that they are able not to make mistakes, that is, they can do mechanical work very well. Our mechanical work is worse, but the creativity is better. It turns out that a difficult theoretical round was a bonus for the Russian team, which can win with ideas development," Danila Samodelkin said.

The team leader, Yuri Skakov, also confirms that the level of the guys training has become noticeably higher. In addition, the training program was changed. The mentors highlighted the most important topics, and many of them fell to the guys at the Olympiad. This helped the national team to perform well.

Moreover, the students themselves supported and motivated each other to move on, despite the intra-team rivalry.

Юрий Скаков

"The preparation turned out to be friendly. During this year, the guys have formed a great team, although they perform everywhere personally. We pushed each other up, inspired each other not to give up," the coach added.

The national team has been preparing for the Olympiad for almost a whole year - since last August. For the sake of achieving the goal, the schools even compiled an individual curriculum for the Olympiad participants. In addition, the future gold medal winners regularly went to training camps, while not forgetting about the constant homework - an independent task solution of the international Olympiads of previous years.

"We also participated in training Olympiads, for example, the International Zhautykov Olympiad, the Olympiad of Megapolises, the All-Russian Olympiad of Schoolchildren — this was also part of the preparation. Total dedication is required, and self-preparation is very important. In addition, it is necessary to learn new material at training camps, and this program is not a school program at all, but already a university program, and it requires a great qualification of teachers to convey this knowledge to students," Nikolay Kononenko said.

On the way to the top

If you ask any of the finalists what awaits them after the Asian Physics Olympiad, the answer will be the same - the International Physics Olympiad for Schoolchildren, or IPhO (International Physics Olympiad).

Each of the winners wants to participate in the most prestigious physical competition — of the eight gold medal-winners, only five will be sent to the last competition line. Who exactly will represent Russia will be decided by the coaching staff, and the participation at the Asian Physical Olympiad will be taken into account especially. By the way, the Moscow winners of the IPhO will receive not only honors and medals — the city Government also encourages them with cash prizes.

Artemiy Novikov emphasizes that the common goal for the team is above the rivalry and all participants remain friends. At the same time, the medal-winner notes that participation in the IPhO is almost a sporting interest, which is not directly related to further plans for life. Now Artemiy is interested in hydrodynamics.

"The Olympiad and scientific physics are different things. Olympiad physics is a real sport. Mental processing and special preparation are valued here," the prize-winner added.

Danila Samodelkin and Nikolai Kononenko also have big plans — both dream of pursuing pure science.

"Physics is definitely a vocation, and I planned to study theoretical physics in the future," Nikolai says. “For example, quantum mechanics has a very large application in practice, such as in the quantum computer creation. Theoretical physics paves the way for applied physics, helps to understand and describe phenomena better that can be applied in everyday life."


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